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Catholic Education Service denies receiving outside funding for homophobia document

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The Catholic Education Service did not receive any outside funding for either writing, printing or distributing its document on homophobia, a spokesman has said.

The booklet, titled Made in God’s Image, is due to be distributed to Catholic schools across the country, and gives lesson plans for teachers on dealing with bullying against same-sex attracted pupils.

A covering letter accompanying the document, reported online, had stated the CES has “received funding to cover the printing and distribution of a hard copy for each school”.

However, a spokesman said: “The document is a collaboration between the CES and St Mary’s and no external funding has been received for it.”

Another spokesman later added: “The CES has not received any funding for either the printing or the distribution of the document,” apparently suggesting that the original letter was carelessly written.

Critics also pointed out that sections of document appeared to have been lifted from materials produced by gay rights groups Stonewall and lgbtyouth Scotland.

A spokesman for Stonewall denied the group had any specific involvement with the production of the document, but did say: “Our resources on bullying and many other issues are public, and we welcome other organisations using our work to help inform their own.”

The group also praised the guidance, calling it a “positive and welcome step from the Catholic Education Service”.

“It will give teachers the confidence to tackle harmful behaviour and language, and in turn help them to create environments where all young people are accepted and included. We work with hundreds of schools – including faith schools – to do exactly this,” the spokesman added.

This story has been updated in light of the later quote from the CES.