A VOTE for the Green Party is a vote to close Catholic schools in Scotland, the church's education chief has claimed.

Michael McGrath accused the party of intolerance towards faith schooling and "parental choices" and a policy which, he claims, would effectively end Catholic education in Scotland.

The comments by the director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service come as it emerges the Greens have left out their policy of ending state-funded Catholic education in Scotland from their 2016 Holyrood manifesto.

However, the Scottish Greens said their policy remained where they wanted to see greater integration between the Catholic and nondenominational sectors.

Speaking in the Scottish Catholic Observer (SCO), Mr McGrath said the Green's policy intended to "close schools, and end Catholic schools in Scotland".

"They don't want Catholic schools and it's important the electorate know that voting Green means you're voting to end Catholic schools.

"I would be interested to know what the thinking behind that policy is. It doesn't seem to be about tolerating other people's wishes, or allowing parental choices, but instead imposing a one size fits all system contrary to all developments in education all over the world."

Referring to the removal of the policy from the manifesto, he added: “They’re trying to cover their tracks. They should be brave enough to stand behind their policy. They should be transparent about their desire to end Catholic schools.”

The SCO quotes comments from its own publication last year when Greens co-convenor Patrick Harvie said: "The Greens support an integrated secular education system. Children have the right to a neutral education."

Many of the Scottish Green candidates, including co-convenors Patrick Harvie (above left) and Maggie Chapman, have publicly spoken about their desire to end Catholic schooling in Scotland.

It also cited social media posts from the Green's other co-convenor Maggie Chapman when she said denominational schools could "reinforce", the SCO again highlighting the report from the Scottish Government's advisory group on tackling sectarianism which stressed Catholic schools are not responsible for the problem.

A spokesman for the Greens said: "The Scottish Greens’ policy remains to move toward an nondenominational education system in Scotland. The focus of this is not to close down schools but for greater integration."

Scottish Labour Party has said it was "committed to retaining Catholic schools in Scotland", while SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Conservative chief Ruth Davidson have also both spoken about their commitment to the Catholic sector.