WATCH: Archbishop's message for Catholic Education Week

It's Catholic Education Week 2021! Here is Archbishop Cushley's message to teachers, pupils and all involved in our Catholic schools.

Resources and ideas for school, parish and home can be found at

GALLERY: Happy Christmas to our Catholic schools!

Happy Christmas to the Catholic school community in our Archdiocese from our Education Team. Thanks for keeping Christ in Christmas!

Silent Night performed by Anna and Maddy from the Schola Cantorum at St Mary's Cathedral. Accompanied by Michael Ferguson. CD album With Angels & Archangels is available to buy here.

Education team revamp to benefit schools

The Very Reverend Nick Welsh VE has been appointed the Vicar Episcopal for Catholic Education for the Archdiocese.

The post replaces his former role as Head of Schools and he will continue working closely with Eileen Rafferty (main pic, left), Religious Education Adviser to Primary Schools. They are joined by Margaret Barton (main pic, right), who takes up the part-time post of Religious Education Advisor to High Schools.

Fr Welsh said: “Schools are a big part of what we’re doing in the diocese, so it makes sense to have a Vicar Episcopal for Education to be part of discussions on the Archbishop’s Council.

“That means I’ll get a good idea of what’s going on across the diocese, along with the other VEs, and the vision Archbishop Cushley has for our schools.”

The team are currently busy putting together new sacramental material for primary teachers.

Catholic schools

Fr Nick continued: “One of the unique parts of a Catholic school is that we prepare our kids for the reception of the sacraments.

“But a Catholic school is much more than that; the encounter with Jesus Christ and the mission to educate our children according to our beliefs, values and faith is the most important thing. One of the challenges is making that clearly known to local authorities.”

Fr Nick is currently parish priest at Our Lady & St Andrew in Galashiels, also serving Our Lady & St Joseph's in Selkirk and St Cuthbert's in Melrose. He has two primary schools in his parish, St Joseph’s in Selkirk and St Margaret’s in Galshiels.

He said: “I genuinely love going into the schools. There’s a great energy that comes from being around kids who, because of the environment we create in our schools, are confident and feel safe. That makes them open to the message of the gospel."

Margaret Barton started her role today (Monday) at the Gillis Centre in Edinburgh. She is a former principal teacher of RE at St Aidan's HS in Wishaw, where she worked for 20 years.

VIDEO: Catholic schools backed by MSPs

Politicians across Scotland have backed Catholic schools in a powerful show of cross-party support at Holyrood.

They discussed the 'positive contribution' of Catholic education to Scotland since the foundation of the 1918 Education act, following a motion made by Elaine Smith MSP.

They also unanimously dispelled the myth that Catholic schools in Scotland are a cause off sectarianism.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “It is vital that our support for Catholic education is expressed without equivocation and I do so positively and enthusiastically in parliament this evening.

"The Scottish Government remains an unequivocal supporter of Catholic education — we value the contribution Catholic schools and faith schools make and we are absolutely determined to ensure that this tradition is maintained in Scotland as a vital element of the Scottish education system.”

Other MSPs who spoke included SNP MSPs Richard Lyle, Annabelle Ewing, Fulton MacGregor, John Mason and Clare Adamson, Labour MSPs Jackie Bailie and Iain Gray, and Conservative MSP Liz Smith.

Archbishop Cushley watched the event from the public gallery and was joined by pupils from St Augustine’s High School, St Thomas of Aquin’s High School and Holyrood High School.

Full coverage of the event by the Scottish Catholic Observer can be read here.




Inspirational leader Lisamaria collects national award

Pupils in Livingston will be glued to their screens this Saturday to watch their ‘inspirational’ leader collect a national award.

Lisamaria Purdie was named Headteacher of the Year at a Primary School at the 2019 Pearson Training Awards. She attended a glamorous ceremony in London hosted by BBC presenters Tina Daheley and Sean Fletcher.

It will be broadcast on BBC2 this weekend in a programme called Britain’s Classroom Heroes.

It’s the second big award for Lisamaria. In June she was named Headteacher of the Year at the Scottish Education Awards 2019 in Glasgow for her outstanding work at St Ninian's Primary School.

She previously described how the Catholic faith is central to her role and the school's ethos.

Judges said: "Lisamaria’s passion for education embodies all that is important in the 21st century. She is an innovative and motivational leader who is forward thinking and inspirational.

“Lisamaria has engaging and effective communication skills which allow her to reach out and touch everyone both in school and in the wider community.

“She is a distributive leader who recognises her staff’s strengths and creates an open-door policy ensuring effective communication for all.”

They also highlighted her work in ensuring St Ninian’s is central to the local community, including transporting shopping to stuck families during winter snows and organising a ‘parent boot camp’ to get families into shape.

The Pearson Teaching Awards celebrate the best teaching across the UK, and gold winners are nominated for awards by pupils, parents and colleagues.

Eleven UK teachers were honoured as winners for their inspirational work in education.

Britain’s Classroom Heroes is on BBC2 this Saturday at 5:30pm.