Support faith schools, think-tank urges Scots Govt

The Scottish Government needs to resist pressure to remove Christianity from Scotland’s state schools, the director of a think-tank has warned.

David Robertson, a Free Church of Scotland Minister and Director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity, said the current education system marginalises Christianity and called for more support of faith schools.

He made the comments to the media ahead of a press conference at Holyrood to launch the new Solas magazine.

Increasing pressure

He said: “We are concerned at the increasing pressure on Scotland’s education system to move away from its Christian ethos and roots.

“Whilst other progressive nations such as England, the Netherlands and Sweden allow for a variety of education and faith schools, it appears that the Scottish system is seeking to be a one size fits all which increasingly marginalises Christianity.

“We call upon the Scottish Government to resist the continuing pressure from secularist groups who are seeking to remove Christianity from the State education system.”

Faith schools

He also said they support faith schools and would encourage the Government to “develop and assist” more of them.

Revd Robertson told BBC Radio Scotland that Scotland’s state education system is in many cases “fundamentally anti-Christian”, and warned that a small minority of people are “dictating their philosophy on all children in Scotland”.

He said that humanism is not neutral and is “actually incredibly divisive”.

Radical secularising

Last week, The Christian Institute criticised a raft of proposals on religious education in England from the former Education Secretary Charles Clarke.

The wide-ranging plans, drafted with the help of the British Humanist Association, include the Government seizing control of religious education in church schools, and requiring all schools to teach humanism.

Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said: “These proposals would have a radical secularising impact on education.

Absurd plans

“Religious education would be nationalised and imposed even on church schools and independent schools. For the first time RE would also be imposed on children, with parents losing their right of withdrawal.

“The focus in the press has been the call to scrap Christian assemblies, but the proposals are much more wide-ranging.”

He continued: “Read the small print and you discover that church schools would in effect be stripped of their ethos, losing control over their religious teaching and staff appointments.

“Absurd plans to have a law against religious ‘instruction’ would mean stopping any promotion of Christianity in any school. It would plunge teachers running Christian Unions into fear and confusion.”

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