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Parents back move to secular assemblies

COMPULSORY religious assemblies should be replaced by a more secular duty to develop the whole person in a multi-faith and no-faith society, the Scottish Parent Teacher Council says in its evidence to the review group on religious observance.

The parents' organisation argues that society has moved a long way from both the Education Act in 1980 and the Scottish Office circular in 1991, which set out stricter advice on school assemblies. Two years ago, inspectors found that many secondaries did not follow the recommendations of ceremonies at least once a month.

The SPTC comments: "The definition of religious observance, offered in the consultation document, is not an adequate definition of religious observance. It could be used, unchanged, to apply to citizenship or values education, neither of which need have a religious element.

The nature, organisation, venue and frequency of gatherings should be left to each school, it adds.

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