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Religion in Scots Lawon Education
Callum G Brown
Project investigators
Professor Jane Mair, Professor of Family Law, University of GlasgowProfessor Callum Brown, Professor of Late Modern European History, University of GlasgowDr Thomas Green, Researcher in Law, University of Glasgow 2014-15
Provisional Contents List:Chapter1: Introduction:Chapter 2: The Church ofScotlandChapter 3MarriageChapter 4EducationChapter 5 Employment andEqualityChapter 6 TheSabbathChapter 7 Blasphemyand Hate SpeechChapter 8 General AuditChapter 9 Conclusion
Strong trend to secularisation of Scots lawBut not in EducationChurch of Scotland, Roman Catholic Church and other churches secured exemptions, & safeguards during 20thcentury change in education lawExample: RE permissive 1872-1945, 1945 onwards compulsoryExample: Church role in education administration ended 1929, restored 1973Example: Church of Scotland role in University theology appointments legislated in 1931
Denominational Schools
1872: role of presbyteries in inspecting schools repealed1872: non-denominational state schooling started1918: denominational state schooling startedRE from 1872 by “custom” and “use and wont”. This effectively passed RE choices to head teachers. This still majorly true today in non-denominational schools
Conscience clause 1872 and 1980 ActsGives parents right to withdraw child from RE; child does not hold the right.(Scotland not alone in this – embedded within whole European and international legal framework governing parents and children)RO and RME must be timetabled separate from all other subjects. More scrutiny needed?
Provision made that an LA can dispense with RME on a local plebiscite.Head teachers can change or alter RO and RME; appoint or not appoint school chaplains (not mentioned in legislation).Government and LAs issue RO, RMO & chaplain guidance to head teachers.
Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 compelled LAs to give seats on Education Committees to Church of Scotland (1 seat), Roman Catholic Seat (1 seat bar Western Isles and Northern Isles), and 1 seat to next largest church.
1918 Act established denominational schools: currently 370 – 366 Catholic, 3 Episcopalian and 1 Jewish.These can be discontinued by LAs after consultation, government approval and Court of Session review.LAs can create new denominational schools on application by a religious body. This likely includes a ‘belief’ body – i.e. anonbeliefbody.
General points
School admissions policies may not discriminate against potential pupils on grounds of religion, but may discriminate in favour of a particular religion.GTC Scotland has 1 Church of Scotland and 1 Roman Catholic Church representative each by law.Parental Councils and CombinedParentialCouncils by law mustconainchurch representatives from denominational schools included.
From 1931 Scottish universities free to enter agreements with any Christian Church or Association; and appointment boards for theology or divinity professors may include Christian church representativesSeparate provision for the old St Andrews Teacher Training College for RC church role in the teaching and appointment of lecturers.
Education has buckedthe trend insecularisation“Religious literacy”- not merely of other religions, but of different faith conditions such asspirituality – a reasonto sustaincompulsory RME, butnonbeliefhasn’t attainedparity in the curriculum.Yet,potentialnew roles fornonbeliefbodies - in conducting their own state-funded schools, or drawing attention to ways to transfer schools from denominational status.Yet,churches retainastrong foothold in educationa society which is otherwise secularising rapidly.





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