Remove religious observance from Edinburgh's non-denominational schools

(10 Posts)
VeronicaW Fri 22-Mar-13 11:03:58

A petition to remove religious observance from Edinburgh’s non-denominational schools has been submitted and is available to sign on the City of Edinburgh Council website:

Religious observance (not to be confused with religious education) has nothing to do with education, but everything to do with religious indoctrination.

It is indoctrination in the same sense that it would be if we allowed, for example, the SNP to enter our schools and tell the children who they’re going to vote for when they’re 18.

Imagine if the children in our state-funded schools were made to sing songs in praise of the SNP manifesto? Imagine if they were given pictures of Alex Salmond to colour in? Imagine if they were having to sit in assembly listening to an SNP member telling them how the SNP was associated with light and hope and all things positive, and that to be a good person you really ought to be an SNP supporter?

All of this is going on in our schools. All you need to do is replace the political references with religious ones.

Church ministers and members of evangelising organisations such as Scripture Union Scotland and Prayer Spaces in Schools and others, who want every child to remain automatically enrolled in RO in our schools, would tell me that as a parent I can choose to withdraw my child from RO.
But I can only do so at considerable disadvantage to my child and to myself. No child wants to be singled out and segregated from the rest of their class. In fact this makes children so uncomfortable that it is often used as a method for dealing with misbehaviour.

As for myself, I would have to declare my position on religion to the school - akin to having to publically declare one’s political affiliation.
So, parents are in effect forced to give the Church of Scotland and like-minded organisations, ‘shared custody’ of their children, in exchange for a state education. This is of course a completely outrageous, intolerable situation.

I can think of better ways for our children to spend their valuable time at school and so can 63% of the Scottish respondents to a recent YouGov poll who gave their support for a secular education system.

I would urge any Edinburgh resident who is registered to vote to sign the petition and would be very grateful for your support.

GrooveeCar Tue 26-Mar-13 16:07:26

There is already an option to remove your child from religious assemblies. I won't be signing as I feel the correct policies are in place.

tribal Wed 27-Mar-13 22:38:42

Will you be giving your dc easter eggs?

WillPenn Thu 28-Mar-13 20:05:36

Easter is also a pagan ceremony. I believe the Easter eggs have pagan/pre-christian roots, as well as the Christian symbolism that was added later.

VeronicaW Sat 30-Mar-13 10:00:49

In reply to GrooveeCar: Parents can only remove their children from RO at a considerable disadvantage to their children and themselves. Segregating a child from the rest of the class is the modern day equivalent of physical punishment, and is used in many schools as a method for dealing with misbehaviour. It is even endorsed as such by the UK Government (
“Schools have a legal right to impose reasonable sanctions if a pupil misbehaves. Sanctions a school might use include:….removal from class or group”

GrooveeCar Sat 30-Mar-13 11:06:21

Actually many children are removed in my son's school. They have time with a class teacher or 2 learning assistants playing games or other activities. So it can work. It started with 1 child who was never made to feel they were being disciplined. Other parents who wished to remove their children then asked to do so when they saw it wouldn't cause any problems. The classes see it no different to children leaving to go and see a therapist or the LS team, or go to a group within the school such as wildlife rangers, eco group, JRSO.

If you worked along side your child school it could be a positive action.

You said you urged any resident who is entitled to vote to sign... I choose not to. I prefer the option we have and what some parents have managed to achieve by working with the school.

HibernatingHamster Mon 01-Apr-13 16:42:02

I've signed.

OP, you're not the only one that thinks this is indoctrination.

emma12344 Wed 24-Apr-13 19:41:50

I've signed. And I regret that this petition is not more widely known. I will do my best to spread the word.

Grooveecar - you make the point that there is already a policy in place to allow parents to opt out. This was never mentioned to any of us parents at our school. Shouldn't it at least be compulsory to inform parents of this right? And may I ask, are you religious?

And also, would you not prefer to see an opt-in to the celebrating of something as controversial and divisive as religion? Surely, that at least should be the default, even if the status quo remains.

Agree with Veronika W. It is outrageous and intolerable.

Religious people: most of us may respect you, and your rights to hold these views, but that does not mean your VIEWS are worthy of any respect.

emma12344 Wed 24-Apr-13 20:40:33

Veronika W - for some reason this thread doesn't appear on the main Mumsnet Edinburgh Talk page.

Perhaps if you post it here, it might be read by more people.

GrooveeCar Thu 25-Apr-13 15:45:03

Emma12344 No I am not religious. I have no faith which is my choice.

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