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and the Scottish Humanist Society have told MSPs the title "religious observance" in non-denominational schools is outdated.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 225.

    "Gott mit uns" (God is with us) said the Germans in WW1, yet our padres were claiming that he was on our side too. Now, 100 years after that war started, we are still teaching our children how to hate and kill in the name of a god of love. Time we scrapped religion altogether. It does more harm than good. It divides rather than unites. It suppresses innovation and rewards bigotry.

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    I fail to see the point of an assembly in school, unless constituted for some form of religious observance. I would be content to remove assemblies from schools as irrelevant to their scholastic purpose.

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    I'm atheist, but I want my son to know ABOUT religion. No knowledge is bad knowledge. We've read books about Christianity and other faiths, and should he choose to follow any of them, I'll accept his choice. Key word there is choice.

    Forcing religion on children is wrong, but don't hide it from them; if they want it, believe it, don't stand in their way, but they must decide for themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.

    Ban or regulate the Saudi funded Imam's teaching Wahhabi Islam = HATE OF THE WEST, WOMEN, DEMOCRACY etc. to CHILDREN in MOSQUE's to start with! Why does the government/media do NOTHING about, and even censor this very real threat to society???????????

  • rate this

    Comment number 221.

    RE is a really enjoyable and interesting subject and should be taught. I remember singing religious (Christian) songs in a secular, state school in inner London where the student body was from a very mixed background, what was the point, I'd have rather sang The Beatles and learnt about scientific discoveries to inspire me. There is no point in teaching religious belief as facts to young kids.

  • rate this

    Comment number 220.

    210. halibutmcscruff
    "Those delusionally misguided by such nonsense ought never to be around children full stop."

    I'm used to the usual torrent of anti-theistic hatred on HYS, but... wow. You're saying that anyone with religious belief should be denied any access to children at all?

    Truly religion has no monopoly on bigotry, ignorance or hatred...

  • rate this

    Comment number 219.

    The religous indoctrination of young impressionable children is appalling and needs to end.

    How about letting them make their own minds up?

  • rate this

    Comment number 218.

    #208 corncobuk

    you now have the choice as I do to send your child to any school including a godless one , so whats the problem

    #213 Andy T

    and where did you learn your morals , there are non religious schools you can send your children to .

  • Comment number 217.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 216.

    I am fed up of reading posts by Christians claiming persecution and exclusion. The religious have Churches and their homes in which they can practice their faith, and no-one is trying to stop that.
    School in Scotland is about Education for ALL, and other than in the subject of Religious Education (where all faiths' beliefs should be taught and discussed) it has no place in daily school life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 215.

    Religion should play no part in any school.

    Religion is only a belief - it is not factual and should not be fed to children as fact. It's just brainwashing - beats me why we've tolerated it in schools for so long.

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    @Susan 182....removing religion from schools does not prevent you having your just allows you to practice it in the most appropriate place.....your place of worship

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

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

    If you want to feel a victim because I point out your stupidity, feel free, but don't assume you have the moral high-ground on this - you don't, because it is you who wants to impose religious dogma on all, I just say do it in your own time to your own kids, and not at school.

  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    My 2 kids have been armed with the facts about science and what is undesputable. Upon mentioning that 'GOD' simply COULDN'T have made the world in 7 days when there is quite clearly scientific EVIDENCE to the contrary, their teacher requested my presence at school! The religeous decision, if they decide to have one, is theirs when and IF they decide to have one... was my answer to the teacher!

  • 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 210.

    Faith in supernatural beings ought never to be taught in schools. Those delusionally misguided by such nonsense ought never to be around children full stop. It is this kind of (dangerous) fluff that stalls progress in other sensible areas of life. The spiritual gangsters will never win though....long live the Kulturkampf.

  • 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 208.

    1 Hour ago

    surely those who are not of a religious persuasion are doing exactly what they claim they don't want for their children. They are imposing their faith beliefs on others.


    Except for one thing. If i want my child educated i have no choice but to sent them to school whereas if you want your child to learn religion you can take them to church or sunday school.

  • rate this

    Comment number 207.

    Presumably every one of those against religious assemblies here does not allow their child to participate in any school christmas plays?

  • rate this

    Comment number 206.

    For centuries our laws, education and way of life were based on christian teaching and values. Now they are slowly being salami sliced away one slice at a time. Each generation has less values than the one before, believe in nothing, please yourself, wallow in ignorance society, an invitation for the intolerent extremists to fill the vacuum that the removal of Christianity will leave.


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