Notes from the pews

2nd April 2004 at 01:00
More than half of councils are now committed to establishing spiritual spaces or contemplation areas in new schools, two years after the General Assembly agreed to pursue the development.

The Church praises the "particularly inventive and creative use of space" shown by the new Quiet Room at Forthview primary in Edinburgh.(Scotland Plus, February 13) The school is showing how to run assemblies or observance in a multi-faith primary where children are encouraged to contemplate the big questions in life and find time for stillness.

* The Church has condemned the delay in publishing the Scottish Executive's report on religious observance. A review group reported last September but Peter Peacock, Education Minister, is not expected to announce his recommendations until after Easter.

* Plans by ministers to allow primary teachers to work in the first two years of secondary will be opposed if they are a dilution of standards.

Teachers can already gain extra qualifications if they want to work in a different sector, the Church argues.

* Local authorities must defend the posts of principal teachers of religious education in the new faculty structures in secondaries.

* Proposals to raise the retirement age from 60 to 65 will only increase illness and death among teachers over 50, the Kirk warns. Many will become disillusioned and demoralised by being forced to stay on for another five years. It is also in contrast to the post-McCrone plans to introduce wind-down schemes for teachers nearing the end of their careers.

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