What are Parochial Schools?

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  • Written By: Harriette Halepis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
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Parochial schools include religious studies in conjunction with regular scholastic courses. The term "parochial" literally means "of the parish." More often than not, parochial schools are run by priests, or religious organizations, though this is not always the case. These schools are often elementary, high school, or grammar schools. The United Kingdom, United States, and Scotland, and the Philippines all have notable parochial schools.

Many schools within England are strongly connected to religious beliefs. Most of these schools mix religious education with standard education in accordance with government law. In recent years, the British government has demanded that all parochial schools within England allow students from various faiths to enroll in a school program. Still, these schools require that all professors be well versed in religion.

Scotland also has a number of parochial institutions. Since Scotland has an educational system that is independent of England's, Scottish law regarding parochial establishments is entirely different. Most of these schools within Scotland are Catholic, though non-denominational schools also exist. Scottish parochial schools require that all students prove their faith by providing a signed document from a clergy member. Unlike English parochial schools, Scottish parochial schools do not have to accept students that are not of the Catholic faith.


While religion is not a large part of schooling within the United States today, this wasn't always the case. Historically, most elementary schools within the United States were directly connected to a parish. More often than not, this type of parish was Catholic, though many of them were also Protestant. Today, Catholic private schools and other parochial institutions exist, though most schools within the United States are not connected to any one religion. No religion-affiliated school within the United States can subject applicants to a religious test.

Almost all of the schools within the Philippines are parochial in nature. From elementary school to college, these schools have a strict religious base. Churches run most of the schools in the Philippines, though Catholic schools are run directly by the Dioceses or other Catholic orders. Within the Western world, religion is rapidly fading from the educational realm, though this is not the case in England, Scotland, or the Philippines. In these three countries, parochial schooling is just as important now as it ever was. Though times are changing the laws surrounding parochial education, religion still plays a large part in many educational systems around the world.


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Post 4

I think the uniforms are better because you know what you're wearing every day. They do not cause problems between parents about what is appropriate and not appropriate for school, depending on where you go.

Post 3

Do parochial school jobs as a teacher or an administer require the same education and certification requirements that apply to other teachers?

I am thinking of going in to teaching and I have a background in tutoring but I have never been certified as a teacher and I do not have a degree in education. I know that the rules are different for private schools. How do they apply to parochial schools?

Post 2

How much does it cost to send kids to parochial school these days? When I was a kid I know it must have been pretty affordable because my dad did not make a ton of money but all of us kids went to Catholic school.

But everything is more expensive and that especially applies to education. I can see how sending your kid to parochial school might cost as much as some elite private schools.

Post 1

I went to parochial for the entire time that I was in school. It was not so much because my family believed in the Catholic education, it was more that there were not any good public schools where I grew up.

I got a great education and the religious element is really not as forward as some people might expect. My family is not religious and I definitely am not but that did not alienate me in any way.

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