ESS petition leads to rethink by the Scottish Parliament of religious representation of council education committees

A petition from the Edinburgh Secular Society has resulted in the Scottish Parliament undertaking a major review of laws which require three religious appointees on each of Scotland’s 32 local authority education committees.

The laws, inherited by the Scottish Parliament from the UK Westminster Parliament with devolution in 1999, have never been reviewed in the fifteen years in which Holyrood has had responsibility for the subject.

The discussion of the petition at Tuesday’s Scottish Parliament Public Petitions Committee identified a number of concerns that will be followed up in subsequent hearings with interested groups and individuals. MSPs who had been councillors reported that they had concerns deriving from their observations about the influence of these non-elected religious nominees on council educational decisions.

Committee members were clearly open to the need for a review of the current arrangements which were seen as questionable on a number of fronts, particularly their undemocratic nature.

Over 1700 people supported the petition. Individual and organisations who would like to express views to the Committee on the issues raised by the petition are entitled to make them known via

More detail on the petition can be found at the previous post below

Some press reports on Tuesday’s hearing are available at;     and

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