The prestigious Annual Cardinal Winning Lecture offers a significant contribution to educational thinking in Scotland and generally places priority on development of Catholic thinking and Catholic Education. The 2014 Lecture attracted 300 people and took a more radical approach: the speaker chose to focus on the changing demography of those who attend or work within Catholic schools, with particular emphasis on religious adherence and practice. His research showed that the population of these schools now depended heavily on students and staff of other faiths or none, while the nature of practice and knowledge of traditional adherents was perhaps less secure. \ud \ud The speaker, drawing evidence from research, showed that, despite these changes, support for Catholic schools remained very high, that schools regularly performed better than local neighbourhood schools in national inspections and that students showed commendable involvement in quasi-spiritual/ charitable events and activities. He concluded that the new demography brought significant challenges to Catholic schools, and to the institution of the Catholic Church in Scotland. However, these challenges were outweighed by strengths which could offer advantages to schools, to the Church and to a country which appeared to be developing a new maturity and a growing sense of its own purpose
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