What do school leaders think about the role of religion in primary schools? In 2008, the IPPN did a study with its members. There was a good sample size of about 25% of principals that responded. The full press release can be read here but the key findings were as follows:
- 76% say that preparation for sacraments is currently done almost entirely by the school with parents attending on the day
- Nearly one-quarter (23%) say that the enthusiasm, willingness, competency and suitability of teachers to undertake faith formation and religious instruction is decreasing.
- Half (50%) say that the involvement of parents is decreasing
- 40% say the involvement of clergy is decreasing.
- Almost 9 out of 10 (87%) say that the preparation for sacraments and other religious ceremonies takes some or a lot more additional time from other curriculum areas. (note: This refers mainly to 2nd and 6th classes and seasonally throughout the year in other classes)
- Principals are evenly divided in their views as to where and when religious instruction and faith formation should take place. Some see it as an integral part of the school day as at present and others say it should be separate from the primary school completely or offered as an option at the end of the school day.