Schools pay patron body to supply sample prayer services
CEIST is a second level Catholic Patron Body (Trustee) of 110 publicly funded second level schools. According to their Annual Report for 2015, they received €289,000 in Licence Fees from the 110 schools where they are the Patron.
One of the things the schools got for this Licence Fee was sample prayer services for staff meetings and gatherings of pupils. Yes, that’s right: although the amount may be small, public funding for schools, and parental contributions, pay for sample prayers for staff meetings!
According to an ESRI report on the governance and funding of second-level schools, the State funds
- Nearly 70% of the budgets of Voluntary Secondary Schools which include CEIST schools (most of the rest comes from fees and parental contributions)
- 90% of the budgets of Vocational/ETB schools (most of the rest comes from rental income), and
- Over 90% of the budgets of Community/Comprehensive schools (most of the rest comes from parental contributions).
The CEIST Annual Report includes the following:
“Licence Fees: All CEIST schools pay a licence fee on an annual basis to the Trust and did so in 2015.”
“Ethos Resources: Sample prayer services for staff meetings and gatherings of pupils were sent to all CEIST schools for the opening of the school year. Ethos/RE educational resources are available on the CEIST website and were regularly updated in 2015.”
The main aim of the CEIST Patron body is:
“Our main purpose is to support all who work in our schools in making the CEIST Charter values a lived reality in the schools.
To further the aims and purposes of Roman Catholic education in the tradition of the combined ethos and educational philosophies of the Congregations in colleges and schools and other educational projects in Ireland”
This raises several questions:
- If CEIST is getting this amount of money every year from schools, what are the other Patron bodies, including the Catholic Church, getting from all other publicly funded schools?
- How much State funding, and money from parents in voluntary contributions, is going to religious Patron bodies whose main purpose is to support a religious ethos?
- Why are we not told how much this amounts to every year?
- What does a ‘religious ethos’ cost?