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Do you need a religious cert to work in a Church of Ireland School?

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Most people know that in order to work in a Catholic school, it is a good advantage to have a certificate in Catholic studies, which is offered by all the colleges in Ireland. While, technically, it is not a requirement to have the certificate to teach in a Catholic school, not having it puts you at a disadvantage. Catholic schools cannot ask you for your religion in an interview but they can ask you if you’ve done the certificate. The logic is that no practicing Catholic would have any issue with doing these studies so it’s a neat little way for Catholic schools to filter out people that don’t support their ethos. (For the record, I find this practice unethical. For more on my feelings about the role of religion in schools, please see the equality section of this site.)

In a similar way, if you don’t go to Church of Ireland Training College (CICE) you won’t get to learn about the CoI programme and therefore you are at a similar disadvantage. Again, while the school can’t ask you your religion, seeing that you went to the CICE gives you an advantage over somebody who didn’t so while the answer to your question is “no,” it is only a technicality.

There are two other types of denominational school currently in Ireland: Muslim and Jewish. Neither of them have a cert you can do but as there are almost no teachers of these faiths in Ireland, it’s probably not necessary for them to use them to identify the background of their applicants.

Multi-denominational schools should not use the above to weed out applicants, obviously, but there are rumours that the ETB Community Schools may ask for certs in at least one religion while they still provide Faith Formation in school time. As this practice is also entirely unethical, it looks like this practice has changed or will be changing in the future.

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