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and the Scottish Humanist Society have told MSPs the title "religious observance" in non-denominational schools is outdated.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 205.

    Well studies show a strong correlation between education and religion, i.e. the more educated you are the less likely you are to believe in a deity. So by all means teach it, so children can make their own minds up. Personally, god is a crutch for the weak.

  • rate this

    Comment number 204.

    #203 Andy T

    and what right do you have to victimise someone because of their religious beliefs

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    Comment number 203.

    there is always an opt out choice those that opt out can go and sit in the playground looking at each other until assembly is over

    You seem to be making the crass error that the religious mumbo-jumbo is "correct" and that anyone who doesn't agree with it is somehow "wrong" or "misguided". Religion has no place at school

  • rate this

    Comment number 202.

    This is a sensible move and I'm pleased to see that the Church of Scotland sees that.

    They don't, they have very different agenda in supporting this which the humanists wouldn't approve of if they understood it, there's lot of regional variation in Scotland with this issue - generally light touch religion in schools approach will advantage CoS but disadvantage free Church & Catholics

  • rate this

    Comment number 201.

    Our family is pagan, and my child's school is very supportive. We're happy to have her learn about other religions and help her classmates celebrate their own religious holidays (because they do the same for her). The only people who have badgered her about religion at all are a small minority of older children who try to scare her by telling her she'll go to Hell if she doesn't believe in God.

  • 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 199.

    The Church has got away with indoctrination that would be illegal were it not linked to religion for millennia.

    Religion, or legitimized ignorance as it should be titled, has held back the human race by teaching fairy stories as fact to children, and cementing it with stories of hell and damnation if they dare to question.

    Where could we be as a species if we'd not been hogtied by bigotry?

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.

    @190 David McKenzie:

    Militant secularism? You are DEMANDING the right to FORCE your unproven superstitions on other peoples' children. YOU are the militant here.

    And why do you think YOUR faith is the one that should be imposed on MY children? I think we should make your kids attend a Madrasa 5 days a week and see how you like that.

    Butt out of other peoples' lives.

  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    This modern-day terror of all things religious is ridiculous. Most of our laws and ways of life were dictated by religion, and I believe it does good to give thanks for the privilege of your existence to a higher power, however one chooses to do it, and even if you can't quite comprehend it. Humanism, materialism, they have nothing to offer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 196.


  • rate this

    Comment number 195.


  • rate this

    Comment number 194.

    there is always an opt out choice those that opt out can go and sit in the playground looking at each other until assembly is over

  • rate this

    Comment number 193.

    Schools should be reserved for educating our children. Churches should be reserved for telling them about ancient fictitious mythologies. In a secular society such as ours, there should really be no cross-over between the two. I don't see any laws requiring evolution to be taught in church, so keep creationism and religion out of our schools!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 192.

    There are lots of people who think their faith is more than just a 'superstition'.
    Unfortunately for them they have no grounds to believe that other than their own opinion. Christianity has no more credibility than your average witchdoctor:)

    My kids attend a Catholic school - they have a better achievement record than others - but like me will choose their own path in time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 191.

    There are lots of people who think their faith is more than just a 'superstition'.

    just because they have been brain-washed as children does not mean we should propogate the error.
    By it's very definition "faith" is blind belief devoid of sense or logic.
    Hence, it is exactly that - superstition - and is no more credible than
    the tooth fairy, santa clause or Godzilla. Stop it, now

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    The level of ignorance displayed in many of these comments is staggering. People should know that what is being forced upon their children is militant secularism, not "religion". The shocking thing is that the so called "Church of Scotland" is complicit in this when they should be standing up for what they claim to beleive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    Good to see HYS concentrating on the most important things on the day the great GDP figures are announced? Why......because they are not good news for Labour that's why. Religion by the way is just a group of simpletons chanting "My imaginary friend is better than yours"

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    @153 EddieCaufield " They want to remove "religion" from the public square and force it , if not underground, then out of sight."


    YOUR religion is only relevant to YOU. It has no place in public life, in schools, in the law or imposed on other people in any way.

    Maybe we should start imposing ourselves on you and see how you like it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    Children tend to believe what they are taught, especially if it is claimed to be true. That is why they believe in, for instance, the Tooth Fairy. For that reason no child should be taught religion until they have reached an age, say 12 years old, when they are in a better position to make their own mind up instead of believing what some authority figure tells them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    One person's education is another person's indoctrination, and you have to consider both style and content when deciding which is which.
    My fear is that with so many groups taking a hard line and demanding that the education system follow their particular beliefs and opinions, it will not be possible for schools to handle such matters in a sensible, reasonable and inclusive manner.


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