Tag Archives: School Prayers

Worrying report shows religious zealots undermining Scottish education

A comprehensive report by Prof Paul Braterman demonstrates the worrying penetration of the Scottish school system by religious zealots with profoundly unscientific views of evolution. It can be viewed at;

https://paulbraterman.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/creationism-in-scottish-schools-final-submission-to-scottish-parliament/

Additional relevant research by ESS entitled ‘Evidence of evangelical organisations targeting and accessing ‘non-denominational’ schools in Scotland’ (including specific Edinburgh information) can be accessed at;

http://edinburghsecularsociety.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/ESS-Evidence-of-Christians-Targeting-and-Accessing-Scottish-Schools-Sept-2013pdf.pdf

Scottish state schools must have prayers! (religious observance). Westminster laws inherited in 1999 by Scottish Parliament still prevail.

ESS Communications Officer, Neil Barber, explains in the Scotsman (14 June) the difference between Religious and Moral Education and religious observance;

RME teacher Isdale Anderson accurately describes the important need for religious education:To remove religious education from schools would be to leave pupils ignorant of the beliefs of millions of the world’s population” (letters 13th June). However, her description of her work as “ teaching religious and moral education (RME) in state non-denominational secondary schools” underscores an ongoing concern.

In addition to RME, so-called “non-denominational” schools are statutorily obliged to have regular Religious Observance (RO) which is often led by evangelising outsiders who might be less concerned than Ms Anderson to “encourage pupils to think for themselves.” RO is quite different from RME and, depending on the ethos of the school and the personal beliefs of the head teacher, may become exactly the “force-feeding” which she rightly condemns.

Let us not blur the distinction between RO and the work done by conscientious RME teachers like Ms Anderson.

The laws that govern religious observance in Scottish schools were determined by the UK Westminster Parliament before devolution and are similar to those that apply in England. They have never been reviewed by the Scottish Parliament in the fifteen years of its existence. Is it not about time that it used the powers that it has?