Editorial: Schools Must Be Allowed Flexibility in Religious Observances

April 28, 2004

Source: The Herald


On April 28, 2004 The Herald ran an editorial on the lack of a response from Peter Peacock, Member of the Scottish Parliament and Minister for Education and Young People, to the report from the religious observance review group, which examined religious observation in schools in the UK. The editorial board wrote, "If, as is strongly hinted at, the executive [Peacock] insists that religious observance must continue in non-denominational schools to be within a broadly Christian context, it will be flying in the face of moves in England to recognise the increasingly secular nature of British society...It would appear that Scottish ministers have taken fright at the prospect of telling Scots that they want to move their schools away from a broadly Christian context to a secular one. We can expect them to endorse broad sections of the review group's findings while still insisting that the Lord's Prayer remains part of the school ritual. While many people from a Christian background will heave a sigh of relief at this decision, others working in Scottish schools will be dismayed at what they will interpret as a lack of moral fibre in the face of enemy fire. The review group's proposals recognised – as do other education policies promoted by the executive – that schools must be allowed the space to be flexible. It is a pity that Scottish ministers do not seem ready to allow flexibility in this particular context."