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									                A Report from Bishops’ Conference of Scotland
                                                  to
                    European Council of Episcopal Conferences (CCEE)

                                                  on


              Religion in Scotland’s Schools
         (as part of a research project on ‘Religion and the School in Europe’)




                                        November 2006




Preface
This report was written in response to a request from the European Council of Episcopal Conferences
(CCEE) to provide a descriptive account of the place of Religion in Schools across Scotland. Answers
are provided to a number of given questions.



Any queries re. this report should be addressed to one of the following:

Michael McGrath                                         Rev. Paul M. Conroy
Director, Scottish Catholic Education Service           General Secretariat
75 Craigpark, Glasgow G31 2HD                           Bishops‟ Conference of Scotland
Scotland, UK                                            64 Aitken Street, Airdrie, ML6 6LT
Tel: +44 (0)141 556 4727                                Scotland UK
Fax: +44 (0)141 551 8467                                Tel: +44 (1)1698 764061
Email: director@sces.uk.com                             Fax: +44 (1)1698 762489
                                                        Email: GenSec@BpsConfScot.com
1.     Describe the religious situation in your country
       Scotland is a country of 5.1 million people. While part of the United Kingdom,
       Scotland enjoys the benefits of a devolved government in a number of key areas of
       public service, including Education.
       According to 2001 national census figures, while 65% regard themselves as Christian,
       Catholics form 16% of the population.


2.     Describe the education system in your country
       The vast majority of Scotland‟s pupils (95%) are taught in State schools (only 5% in
       Independent schools). Most children attend some form of pre-school provision,
       although this is not compulsory. Children are compelled by law to attend Primary
       school from ages 4 to 11, and secondary school from 12 to 16 (+50% remain until aged
       18).
       There are 400 Catholic schools (16% of state schools) which are managed as Catholic
       “denominational” schools by local education authorities and fully funded by
       government. Approximately 123,000 students attend Catholic schools (20% of the
       school population). Denominational schools developed as a result of the State inviting
       the Church to transfer its parish schools over to State ownership in 1918. Guarantees
       were given in statute that these schools would be managed “in the interests of the
       Church” and the Church was granted rights to supervise the Religious Education
       curriculum and to “approve” all teachers with regard to “religious belief and character”.
       While it is impossible to be precise with these figures, Approximately 5% of Catholic
       students attend non-denominational state schools and around 10% of students in
       Catholic schools are not baptised Catholics. (These figures can vary significantly across
       schools, due to the shortage of Catholic schools in some areas.)


3.     Describe Religious Education in schools
3.1     Is it provided in primary and secondary schools?
       In Scotland, all schools are required by law to provide Religious Education at all stages
       of school education - ie both Primary (ages 4-11) & Secondary (ages 12-18).

3.2    What curriculum is taught?
       The curriculum taught in non-denominational schools in Scotland reflects a non-
       catechetical approach and covers aspects of Christianity and other World Religions in
       the context of the pupil‟s personal search for meaning in life.
       In Catholic schools the curriculum is authorised and published by the Catholic
       Education Commission for Scotland on behalf of the Bishops‟ Conference. The content
       of Religious Education in Catholic schools is decided by the Church. In some areas of
       Scotland there are no Catholic schools and in these cases, wherever possible, provision
       is made to offer Catholic Religious Education to Catholic pupils; and the content is the
       same as in Catholic schools. A small number of Catholic pupils - particularly in non-
       denominational secondary schools - receive the same Religious Education provision as
       their non-Catholic peers.




      30 November 2006                                                                      page 2
3.3    What laws govern Religious Education?
       The main statutory regulations governing Religious Education relate to the compulsory
       nature of Religious Education and Religious Observance for all school pupils in
       Scotland; to the regular inspection of Religious Education by Her Majesty‟s
       Inspectorate of Education (HMIe); to the rights of the Church in relation to the approval
       of the “religious belief and character” of teachers appointed to Catholic schools; and to
       the content of Religious Education.
       (In general, details of specific curricula are published as recommended guidelines rather
       than mandatory curriculum guidance. The two sources of such guidelines governing
       Religious Education in Catholic schools in Scotland are the Scottish Executive
       Education Department and the Catholic Education Commission for Scotland.)

3.4    What factors support Religious Education in schools?
       Firstly, the existence in much of the country (particularly the most densely populated
       areas) of Catholic schools which provide an appropriate context for Religious Education
       by creating a community which endeavours to model the values proposed in the
       Religious Education classroom. Moreover, teachers appointed to Catholic schools are
       subject to “approval” by the Catholic Church. In areas where no Catholic schools exist,
       where ever possible, separate arrangements are made for the teaching of Catholic
       Religious Education by trained Catholic teachers and/or local clergy.
       Secondly, the support of parents and local clergy. With regard to parents, it is
       recognised that the religious education and formation of their children is primarily their
       right and privilege.

3.5    Religious Education and Catechesis: What are the differences and what is the
       relationship between the two?
       They are distinctive and yet complementary. Catechesis – the handing on of the Gospel
       message – presumes that the hearer is a practising, believing Catholic. Religious
       Education does not presuppose this. In Scotland‟s Catholic schools many pupils are
       Catholic in name but not in practice; many pupils belong to another religion or profess
       no formal faith. This means that teachers are not only catechising but also evangelising.
       This is recognised in the General Directory for Catechesis, which speaks of “the
       missionary character of contemporary catechesis”. (p 29)
       Catholic Religious Education tries to be faithful to the General Directory for Catechesis,
       which states that we are called to relate with other areas of knowledge and to engage in
       a necessary interdisciplinary dialogue. (pp 73 and 74) Religious Education in all
       Catholic schools includes some teaching about other Christian denominations and other
       world religions, while being mainly concerned with teaching Catholic Christianity.
       In non-denominational schools Religious Education is not in any way catechetical or
       faith-orientated. However, where arrangements exist for the Religious Education of
       Catholic pupils in non-denominational schools, this will be of a catechetical nature.
       It should be noted that in some Catholic secondary schools, Catholic senior pupils will
       undertake courses of study (assessed in national examinations) in Religious, Moral &
       Philosophical Studies (RMPS), in addition to undertaking a Catholic Religious
       Education course. These academic courses are not catechetical or faith-orientated in
       nature, but some teachers will make links between the topics studied and the pupils‟
       faith.



      30 November 2006                                                                       page 3
3.6      What are the aims and the curricula of Religious Educations?
         Non-Denominational Schools
         Religious education is normally referred to as „Religious and Moral Education‟. In this
         context, the aims of Religious and Moral Education are to help pupils to:
          develop a knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other world religions and
           to recognise religion as an important expression of human experience;
          appreciate moral values such as honesty, liberty, justice, fairness and concern for
           others;
          investigate and understand the questions and answers that religions can offer about
           the nature and meaning of life;
          develop their own beliefs, attitudes, moral values and practices through a process of
           personal search, discovery and critical evaluation1.

         The curriculum covers the areas of Christianity, other World Religions and Personal
         Search. Personal Search is normally integrated into the study of either Christianity or
         other World Religions. At the more senior level (ages 14+) pupils have the opportunity
         to study for national examinations in Religious, Moral & Philosophical Studies. The
         aim of these courses is to allow candidates to:
          develop a philosophical approach to the study of beliefs, values and issues which are
            of importance in the world today
          develop knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs and values
          develop the ability to explain religious beliefs in relation to sacred writings
          gain insight into how beliefs and values affect the lives of followers of one world
            religion
          develop skills which can be applied to the study of the beliefs and values of a variety
            of world religions
          develop knowledge and understanding of moral, philosophical and theological issues
            which arise from religious and non-religious beliefs
          think critically about their own beliefs and those of others
          gain insight into ideas, arguments and viewpoints which may conflict with their own
          reach conclusions about religious, moral and philosophical issues and present these
            in a structured manner
          engage personally with a range of important questions and issues in order to inform
            their own beliefs and values in a way which contributes to personal and social
            development.
         These courses involve study of the following topics:
          A World Religion
          Morality in the Modern World
          Christianity: Belief and Science
          The Existence of God




1
    Rationale: Religious & Moral Education 5-14, Scottish Office Education Department, 1991

       30 November 2006                                                                       page 4
Catholic Primary schools
     The aims of Catholic Religious Education are to help the pupils to:
      know, love and worship God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and to know and love
         Jesus Christ and his Gospel;
      know and understand the doctrinal and moral teachings of the Catholic Church,
         which flow from the revelations of Jesus Christ;
      develop their faith in the light of Scripture, Tradition and the teachings of the
         Church;
      accept Christian moral values and live according to them;
      investigate and understand the meaning and purpose of life, with the guidance of the
         Scriptures and the Tradition of the Catholic Church;
      acquire an appreciation of other Christian traditions;
      acquire an appreciation of some other World Faiths through an appropriate
         knowledge of their principal beliefs, spiritual values and traditions.2


         The programme used in Catholic primary schools to meet these aims is the ALIVE-O
         programme which covers the following doctrinal areas:3
          God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit
          Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother
          Creation as a gift from God
          The Sacraments
          The Apostles‟ Creed
          The Two Great Commandments
          The Our Father
          The Bible as the Word of God
          The Old and New Testaments
          The Kingdom of God
          Covenant
          The Church as the Body of Christ
          The Celebration of Mass
          Christian Morality
          The History of Salvation
         In addition to teaching pupils the above knowledge of the Faith, the primary RE
         programme includes the following:
          Liturgical Education
          Moral Formation
          Teaching to Pray
          Education for Community Life
          Missionary Initiation


2
    Religious Education 5-14 Roman Catholic Schools, Scottish Office Education Department, 1994
3
    ALIVE-O Overview of Doctrine & its Development, Dublin, 2001

       30 November 2006                                                                           page 5
         Catholic Secondary schools
         The aim of Religious Education has recently been described as:
         “to assist learners in such a way that they become increasingly able to make an
         informed, mature response to God in faith”. 4

         In seeking to achieve this purpose, Catholic Religious Education is designed to engage
         pupils in a process which, always faithful to God and to the human person, builds on
         their Primary school experience and so:
          assists them to develop their knowledge and understanding of significant aspects of
           Catholic Christian faith (including an awareness of other Christian traditions and
           other world religions);
          develops the skills of reflection, discernment, critical thinking and deciding how to
           act in accordance with an informed conscience in relation to matters of morality;
          highlights and fosters the values, attitudes and practice which are compatible with a
           positive response to God‟s invitation to faith.

         The curriculum in Catholic secondary schools reflects the National Syllabus of
         Religious Education for Catholic Secondary Schools developed in the early 1980s,
         revised in the mid 1990s and currently under further review. In endeavouring to be
         faithful to God and to the human person, the curriculum is designed to make accessible
         to pupils the various aspects of the Catholic Christian tradition as expressed in the Word
         of God and lived out in everyday witness to the faith in the light of the teaching
         Magisterium of the Church.

         The main content of the National Syllabus in Secondary schools is currently as follows:
         First Year:
         Unit 1: Forming the Christian Community.
         Unit 2: Sustaining the Christian Community.
         Unit 3: The Christian Community in the World.
         Unit 4: Jesus - Saviour.
         Unit 5: Followers of Jesus.
         Unit 6: Love of neighbour.
         Unit 7: Sharing Trust - faith.
         Unit 8: A living faith.
         Unit 9: Growing Up.
         Second Year:
         Unit 1: Growing Up.
         Unit 2: The Holy Bible - Message from God.
         Unit 3: People of God.
         Unit 4: Prophecy Fulfilled.
         Unit 5: Portrait of Jesus.
         Unit 6: Jesus in our World.
         Unit 7: Pilgrim Journey.
         Unit 8: A Christian Way of Living.
         Third Year:
         Unit 1: The Presence of God
         Unit 2: Prayer
         Unit 3: Relationships
         Unit 4: Reconciliation
4
    Consultation: National Syllabus for Religious Education, Catholic Education Commission 2005).

       30 November 2006                                                                             page 6
       Fourth Year:
       Unit 1: A World in Need of Healing
       Unit 2: Living a World of Relationships

       In Fifth and Sixth Years of Secondary school there is no National Syllabus. Rather, the
       Catholic Education Commission has given guidance as to the features of Religious
       Education at senior school level and outlined possible areas of study which cover a
       range of scriptural, doctrinal and moral topics. At diocesan level, Religious Education
       Advisors provide relevant guidance, support and resources to schools.

3.7    Who develops and approves them?
       In non-denominational schools it is the responsibility of the Scottish Executive
       Education Department to set the guidelines for teaching Religious and Moral Education.
       In Catholic schools the Catholic Education Commission for Scotland authorises the
       aims and curriculum of Religious Education in Catholic schools on behalf of the
       Bishops of Scotland.
       The ALIVE-O programme was developed on behalf of the Bishops' Conference of
       Ireland, although our own Diocesan R.E. Advisers and some of our teachers have been
       involved in the programme's development.

3.8    Is it taught like other subjects or does it have its own special pedagogy?
       Religious Education has its own pedagogy and is recognised as a distinctive and
       important area of the curriculum, contributing to the wider development of students.
       Because the RE programme in Catholic schools is catechetical, it has its own distinctive
       pedagogy. It is child-centred in its approach and so presents the Christian message to
       children in a manner appropriate to their age, stage of development and life experience.
       It takes account of the need for active learning and makes use of multi-sensory,
       multimedia approaches.

3.9    Is it assessed as other subjects?
       In both non-denominational schools and Catholic schools, Religious Education is
       formatively and summatively assessed by teachers.
       However, in Catholic schools it is recognised that, despite faith development being a
       feature of Religious Education, it would be inappropriate to endeavour to assess and
       grade individual levels of faith development. In Catholic primary schools assessment
       materials have been developed which directly relate to the ALIVE-0 programme.

3.10 Are there examinations, grades, evaluations?
     There are external examinations in Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies
     organised by the Scottish Qualifications Authority. They are available to pupils from
     age 14+. These courses are non-catechetical. There are no such courses designed
     specifically for Catholic schools, but, as indicated above, some Catholic schools present
     pupils for such courses in addition to delivering catechetical-based Religious Education.

3.11 How many hours per week does it have on the timetable?
     In all Primary schools, national guidelines stipulate that the minimum time which
     should be spent on the teaching of Religious Education is 10% of the week‟s teaching -
     time.


      30 November 2006                                                                        page 7
         In all Secondary schools the national minimum requirement for Religious Education is
         5% of curriculum time in First and Second Year and a minimum of 80 hours over Third
         and Fourth Years (approximately 5% of curriculum time). At Fifth and Sixth year
         levels a continuing element of Religious Education should be provided but the time
         allocated can be variable.
         In Catholic primary schools the Catholic Education Commission recommends that
         schools allocate 2.5 hours per week, - ie over 15% of curriculum time, usually spread
         over five days.
         In Catholic secondary schools the Catholic Education Commission recommends that
         schools allocate two hours per week throughout First to Sixth Year.

3.12 Is it obligatory/elective/optional….?
     In all schools Religious Education is a compulsory element in the curriculum. However,
     the right of parents to request that their children be excused from Religious Education
     and from Religious Observance is recognised and governed by statutory guidance. In
     Catholic schools it is very rare for this right to be exercised, most parents expressing a
     wish for their children to participate in all courses.

3.13 Who chooses? When and how?
     see 3.12

3.14 Are there similar/alternative curricula to Religious Education curricula in schools? On
     what themes?
     It is common for all pupils to study courses in Personal and Social Development. These
     can include aspects of relationships which relate directly to Religious Education in
     Catholic schools e.g. covering moral topics such as self esteem, bullying, peer pressure,
     Citizenship Education and Sex Education. Accordingly, in Catholic schools close
     attention is usually given to the close co-ordination of Personal and Social Development
     and Religious Education. The Catholic Education Commission has published guidance
     on „Faith & Citizenship‟5 to demonstrate the links between Religious Education and
     aspects of „Education for Citizenship‟ and „Guidelines on Relationships & Moral
     Education‟6 to determine the nature of relationships education in Catholic schools.

3.15 What are the expectations of families, students, schools and parishes with regard to the
     teaching of religion in school?
     In non-denominational schools the expectations of these groups will be that Religious
     Education is educationally valid and interesting to the pupils. In some situations
     (particularly in areas of the country where the influence of Christianity is strong),
     parents and parishes will expect a strong Christian input. In circumstances where
     provision is made for the Religious Education of Catholic pupils in non-denominational
     schools, the expectation of parents and parishes will be the same as for Catholic
     schools.

         In Catholic schools, because of the focus on faith development, parishes and those
         parents who practise their faith will have high expectations of Religious Education and
         see it as of great importance. However, in cases where the parents‟ practice of the faith
         is weak, their expectations - and perhaps, those of their children - will be lower and their
         support weaker. In Primary schools, parents tend to be more involved in the Religious

5
    Faith & Citizenship, Catholic Education Commission, 2005
6
    Guidelines on Relationships & Moral Education, Catholic Education Commission, 2003

       30 November 2006                                                                         page 8
     Education programme at times of preparation for receiving the Sacraments of
     Reconciliation and Holy Communion. In secondary schools, the enthusiasm of all
     students will vary as they strive to come to their own decisions about faith and a
     Catholic way of life.

3.16 What is the responsibility of the state in relation to Religious Education?
     As Religious Education is required by law to be provided at all stages of school
     education, the state supports Religious Education as a core element of school
     educational provision in the same way as it supports all other subjects on the curriculum
     e.g. in terms of teaching staff and the provision of textbooks and other resources. This
     applies to both Catholic and non-denominational schools.

3.17 How does/do the Church/Churches exercise their special responsibility for Religious
     Education in school?
     The Catholic Education Commission for Scotland is the main advisory body to the
     Bishops‟ Conference of Scotland on all matters relating to education. As such,
     Religious Education comes under that remit. Hence, for example, the Commission is
     responsible for developing and reviewing the National Syllabus for Catholic Religious
     Education in Primary and Secondary schools. At national level, the priorities of the
     Commission are addressed and implemented by the Scottish Catholic Education
     Service. At diocesan level, Advisors of Religious Education support schools in the
     delivery of Religious Education and advise the Bishop on relevant matters. Dioceses
     offer significant Chaplaincy support to Catholic primary and secondary schools.

3.18 Is Religious Education in Catholic schools different from (the same as) Religious
     Education in the other schools? In which way?
     As indicated previously, the main way in which Catholic Religious Education differs
     from non-denominational schools is in regard to the catechetical, faith-based nature of
     Religious Education in Catholic schools. There is no such focus in non-denominational
     schools (other than in the case of Religious Education specifically provided for Catholic
     pupils where there is no Catholic school). This difference of focus results, of course, in
     very different content being presented to students.

3.19 How are parents and parish communities involved in Religious Education programmes
     taught in schools?
     In non-denominational schools it would be unusual for special arrangements to be made
     to involve parents or parish communities in Religious Education programmes (other
     than at normal Parents‟ Meetings).
     In Catholic schools links between home, school and parish are valued. Hence, efforts
     are made to inform parents and parish communities of what is being taught in school
     e.g. by way of a regular newsletter. In Catholic Primary schools efforts are made to
     provide Family Prayer Services linked to the RE topics, to provide take-home
     worksheets and pupil books, as well as Video/DVD materials designed to inform
     parents of what is being taught. There is more involvement with parents and local
     parishes at times of sacramental preparation. In Catholic secondary schools, pupils are
     given homework tasks which involve discussion with parents or are required to ask
     parents to sign homework. Moreover, parents are given the opportunity to discuss
     aspects of their pupils‟ Religious Education at regular Parents‟ Meetings.

     In February of each year the Catholic Education Commission promotes school, home
     and parish involvement in Catholic Education Week, designed to highlight the purpose

    30 November 2006                                                                      page 9
       and value of Catholic Education in various contexts across the country. The theme for
       2007 is ‘Parents as first educators in the school of life’ and it will encourage parents to
       consider their crucial role as educators in faith.

3.20 Who is involved in preparing children for the sacraments?
     Most Catholic children receive support for their sacramental preparation in Catholic
     primary schools. Parents are expected to participate in this preparation by attendance at
     meetings and by working with their children at home, using workbooks specifically
     developed for this purpose.

       Children who do not attend Catholic schools are prepared by parishes and/or by parents,
       using appropriate material.
       At times of sacramental preparation and celebration there is more intensified liaison
       with the local parishes and the local priest. In some dioceses, programmes have been
       developed for use by parish catechists, wherever possible complementing the work that
       takes place in schools, but with the main aim of giving children a sense of belonging to
       their own parish.
       The majority of pupils will have received the Sacraments of Initiation prior to coming to
       Secondary school. Preparation for reception of the other sacraments forms part of the
       Religious Education programme for Catholic schools delivered by teachers (and, at
       times, supported by the Chaplain and/or local clergy).
       No such formation takes place in non-denominational schools except in those situations
       where arrangements are made for the Religious Education of Catholic pupils, or in
       exceptional circumstances when requested by parents.


4      Teachers of Religious Education in school
4.1    How are teachers of Religious Education recruited?
       The Scottish Executive advertises for students to undertake appropriate course which
       will enable them to enter the teaching profession. The Executive is also responsible for
       funding these courses which carry no tuition fees for students.

4.2    What qualifications do they need? What formation do they have?
       Teachers in Primary schools either complete a 4 year B.Ed. degree or another degree in
       an appropriate subject, followed by a one year Professional Graduate Diploma in
       Education. Only those who undertake a course at the University of Glasgow are able to
       complete a concurrent qualification in Catholic Religious Education, for Primary or
       Secondary teaching. This university also provides opportunities to undertake a
       distance-learning course in Religious Education.

4.3    Who is responsible for their retention and formation?
       Local education authorities employ teachers, recruiting from a pool of those who have
       graduated with academic and professional qualifications and who are registered with the
       General Teaching Council of Scotland. The Scottish Executive has instigated a Teacher
       Induction scheme which guarantees teachers one full year‟s permanent employment
       within a school during their „induction‟ year.
       Beyond this first year, teachers are contractually committed to complete 35 hours
       Continuing Professional Development each year. They can select from a wide range of
       professional issues, including Religious Education and other faith issues.

      30 November 2006                                                                        page 10
         To this end, the Catholic Education Commission has developed „Faith & Teaching‟7, a
         self-evaluation and professional development framework which is designed to support
         the faith development of teachers in Catholic schools.

4.4      Who appoints them?
         Teachers are appointed by local education authorities, although any teacher appointed to
         any post in a Catholic school is required by law to be approved by the Church, in terms
         of their “religious belief and character”.

4.5      What is their juridical standing in school? How and by whom are they paid?
         Teachers are employed by local education authorities according to national pay scales.
         All teachers in Catholic schools are employed by local education authorities.

4.6      Have they a specific mandate from the Church/Churches?
         They have no formal contract with the Church, other than to meet the requirements for
         Approval, as specified above. However, many teachers make great efforts to make
         significant contributions to the mission of the Church in various ways, such as
         participation in sacramental preparation, support for liturgical services or for pastoral
         activities, often in partnership with local parishes and the Diocese

5        Other denominations and faith groups
5.1      What are the views of other denominations and other faith groups on Religious
         Education?
         There is broad agreement across the Christian Churches that Religious Education should
         be an important part of the school curriculum for all pupils.

5.2      Is there collaboration between these groups in the development of the policy on
         Religious Education?
         Given the different perspectives on the purpose of Religious Education, and the lack of
         support for Catholic schools from some Christian Churches, it has not been possible to
         establish agreement on the content of R.E. programmes. However, the development of
         a Scottish Churches‟ Education Group has been a positive attempt to develop a broad
         Christian vision for education.

5.3      What provision is made in Catholic public schools for the Religious Education of non-
         Catholic pupils in their own faith tradition?
         The aims of Religious Education in Catholic schools have been outlined above. All
         schools teach significant aspects of other Christian traditions and other World religions.
         This can provide opportunities to involve representatives of other faith groups in
         explaining aspects of their own traditions.

6        The effect of Religious Education
6.1      What is the effect of Religious Education in the life of the school, the pupils and in the
         wider society?
         Scotland is a country where two thirds of adults still describe themselves as “Christian”,
         even though a much smaller proportion regularly attend a church. Most would support
         the idea that religious education in school should be broadly Christian, in recognition of
         the Christian heritage of our country. Much anecdotal evidence exists about the

7
    Faith & Teaching, Catholic Education Commission, 2003

       30 November 2006                                                                       page 11
       particular „ethos‟ of the Catholic school, evident in the relationships which sustain its
       distinctive culture.

6.2    What contribution does it make to the overall education of pupils?
       Academic research in Scotland has consistently pointed to the „added value‟ which
       Catholic schools bring to educational provision for young people. Evidence can be
       found not only in academic attainment, particularly among the most disadvantaged
       communities, but also in the „social capital‟ which has developed out of the explicit
       teaching of values located within the Gospel message of love of God and love of
       neighbour.

7      Religious Education in public
7.1    Is there a public debate in your country about Religious Education in schools?
       The existence of Catholic schools in Scotland has been a source of much media
       speculation, in particular over the past 10-15 years. Much attention is given to this
       apparently „anomalous‟ provision which is sometimes cited as the main contributory
       factor which explains the continuing existence of sectarianism in Scotland. Some
       „humanist‟ groups and individuals take every opportunity to speak out against the
       existence of Catholics schools in Scotland.
       In recent years, some members of the Muslim community - many of whom enrol their
       children in Catholic schools - have campaigned for the provision of Muslim schools on
       the same basis as Catholic schools.

7.2    What developments are foreseen in the next ten years?
       The Scottish Executive has undertaken a national review of the school curriculum
       affecting all children and young people aged 3 to 18. This will lead to the revision of
       curriculum guidelines so as to identify experiences and outcomes which will help young
       people to become: successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens, and
       confident individuals. It is intended by Executive Ministers that learning through
       Religious Education will help young people to develop a knowledge of significant
       aspects of Catholic Christianity and an understanding of how faith can play a vital part
       in their lives.

       The Catholic Education Commission is working closely with the Scottish Executive to
       ensure that guidelines on Catholic Religious Education are appropriate to the context of
       the Catholic school and in line with the teaching of the Catholic Church. This is likely
       to lead to specific guidance and resources being developed to support the teaching of
       Religious Education in Catholic schools. Beyond Religious Education, the Catholic
       Education Commission is developing resources to support a Christian understanding of
       „Values and Virtues‟ in the curriculum.

9      How does one comprehensively assess the experience and quality of Religious
       Education in your country?
       Her Majesty‟s Inspectorate of Education (HMIe) carries out inspection of Religious and
       Moral Education in a proportion of Scottish schools each year. While they do not
       inspect RME in every school, they do ensure that the legal requirements are being met
       in every school. They do not comment on the content of R.E. programmes in Catholic
       schools. HMIe has developed a self-evaluation tool - „How Good is Our School‟ -
       which schools use to evaluate and develop their own practice. The Catholic Education
       Commission is keen to work in partnership with HMIe to ensure the appropriate
       evaluation of all aspects of provision in Catholic schools.

      30 November 2006                                                                       page 12

								
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