Religion title call over Scottish school assemblies

Assembly Parents are entitled to withdraw their children from religious observance assemblies in schools

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Calls are being made for a "symbolic change" to the description of religious assemblies in some schools.

The Church of Scotland and the Scottish Humanist Society have told MSPs the title "religious observance" in non-denominational schools is outdated.

They said changing the legal definition to "time for reflection" could ease the concerns of parents who withdraw their children from such events.

They claimed this would give more pupils the chance to explore faiths.

The groups have made their call in a submission to MSPs on Holyrood's petitions committee.

The law requires religious observance, such as assemblies, in schools.

However, since a change in government guidelines in 2005, assemblies should be aimed at children of all faiths and none.

The Church of Scotland and the Scottish Humanist Society argued that this now often means assemblies would be more accurately called a "time for reflection".

Their joint submission to the petitions committee states: "The change to a more equal and inclusive 'time for reflection' would echo the current practice of the Scottish Parliament, and bring legislation into line with modern views.

"It will also remove the current focus on 'religion', with which many non-religious people struggle."

The Free Church of Scotland said the proposal was a "disaster" for both Christians and children.

The Scottish government believes the current legislation and guidance is appropriate.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    When I was in primary school we used to have a local minister come to visit us once a week and spout fire and brimstone to us. It was terrifying and it put me off religion for life.
    If a child's parents are religious enough then they will no doubt practice their religion at home and go to church anyway. No need for it to be brought in to schools at all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 211.

    It is a very fine line between educating our children in various faiths to promote choice and tolerence, and indoctrination into a specific faith.

    Young children are extremely impressionable, so if you tell them every day that the world was created in 7 days then that is what they will believe despite other views.

    What you have actually done is taken away informed decision.

  • rate this

    Comment number 209.

    Religion should not be any part of any school. It's study can be incorporated into history. There may well be reasons for assembling the whole school occasionally, even daily, but no mentioning or practice of religions, any of them, is acceptable. 'Time for reflection' garbage, no one does that in and by ordered crowds, it is a private thing. Forced emotive PC claptrap.

  • rate this

    Comment number 200.

    Unashamedly Christian and totally supportive of teaching Christianity to school children.
    Christianity is not a religion it is about the totality of who we are as God's created humans and where we came from and our destiny.Today as we turn away from Our Maker God who loves us all, we see the consequences at every level of our societies. One day we will all know and believe this to be the Truth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    the religion of state is Christianity , most schools are paid for by the state ergo the Christian ethos and humanity is central to the schools operation . if you don't like that pay for your children to have a private education .


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