Church of Scotland speaks out on religious observance in schools

The Church of Scotland has responded to reports that there may be a legal challenge to the rules governing religious observance in schools.

Richard Frazer
Richard Frazer

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council said:

“In the pluralist society in which we live, faith plays a significant part in the lives of a great many people. The idea of a Time for Reflection in schools is something the Church of Scotland supports.

"Such moments do not seek to indoctrinate or give preference to one faith tradition but instead enable shared reflection and a deepening of our understanding of the rich range of spiritual and secular traditions held within our society”.

The Humanist Society Scotland is asking the Scottish courts to consider whether older school pupils should have the right to opt out of religious instruction.

The Scottish Government has rejected calls for a change to the current rules which say parents may opt out on their children’s behalf.

The society wants that right extended to older pupils and has asked the Court of Session in Edinburgh for a judicial review. It cites a recent United Nations Children’s Rights Committee, which recommended that parents' right to opt out of religious observance should be extended to young people. The Humanist Society argues that the government's decision not to change the guidance may be unlawful.