PE01623: Unelected church appointees on Local Authority Education Committees

People Communities

Petitioner: Spencer Fildes on behalf of Scottish Secular Society


Date Lodged: 16 November 2016

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to remove the constitutional anomaly that imposes unelected Church appointees on Local Authority Education Committees.

Petition History:


24 November 2016: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government, COSLA, Scottish Parent Teacher Council, Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, Scottish Catholic Education Service, Educational Institute of Scotland, Interfaith Scotland, Muslim Council of Scotland, Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland, Church of Scotland Education Committee and Humanist Society Scotland. Link to Official Report 24 November 2016

2 February 2017: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government. Link to Official Report 2 February 2017

27 April 2017: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government. Link to the Official Report

29 June 2017: The Committee agreed (by division: For 3; Against 1; Abstentions 1) to close the petition under Standing Orders Rule 15.7 on the basis that the Scottish Government has given a commitment to consider the issues raised in the petition as part of its Education Governance Review, and has confirmed that it will carry out an Equality Impact Assessment on any policy changes made through that review. The Committee also agreed to highlight the issues raised to the Education and Skills Committee. Link to the Official Report 29 June 2017

Written Submissions: 


  1. Is it acceptable that some positions on Council Education Committees are restricted to adherents of a specific religion?
  2. Should Councils be free to decide for themselves whether or not to co-opt representatives of religion to their Education Committees?
  3. Should unelected representatives of religion be making decisions about the education of children whose parents are not of that religion, also in many and perhaps most cases, unlikely to be religious?
  4. If representatives of religion have special insights that they wish to share, could they more simply do this by presenting evidence to the Education Committee, or indeed by standing for election in their own right?
  5. How can Church appointees avoid real or apparent conflicts of interest?
  6. How could the general public be made more aware of the existence of these unelected appointees?
  7. Assuming the status quo does not change, should Scottish Council Education Committee's be proactively seeking to redress the democratic imbalance by aiming to recruit from other faiths?


Religious morals belong in the church, not imposed upon anyone outwith that.

Amanda Darling

5:12 on 07 Nov 2016

There are thousands of distinct religions, all claiming to hold the ''truth''. Hence, at most one of them can be valid. Religion is important to those who choose freely to subscribe to it, but intellectually vulnerable children are not in a position to make such a commitment. Religion should be taught by experts outwith the school environment and in appropriate environments. There should be an age of consent for religion.

Doug Clark

23:18 on 06 Nov 2016

Democratic representation is required for other governing bodies and is a fairer approach.

Ruth Norton

21:28 on 06 Nov 2016

Do please leave the theocratic option to Iran and similar primitive nations. Scotland deserves better.

David M. Kiely

21:27 on 06 Nov 2016

Real leadership steers safe passage through uncharted places ... time to leave the dark ages behind.

DRD Woodward

14:10 on 06 Nov 2016

About time the Isle of Lewis! Got into the 21 century! Stop the churches ruling our Island!!

Muriel Mackenzie

14:03 on 06 Nov 2016

All positions on Council Edication Committees should be contestable and all members democratically elected.

Margaret Cameron

18:17 on 04 Nov 2016

Unelected and represent only a minority of the population of Scotland.

Kenneth James Bruce

8:15 on 03 Nov 2016

I believe that spirituality is important and that the variouse faith groups each have much to offer. Education should teach children to think for themselves and provide a start to the teaching of a large selection of the different faith groups in our society

Clive Briggs

9:28 on 02 Nov 2016

This is certainly a concern for us all, in a modern democratic country which we aspire to and which by and large, the Scottish government works hard at ensuring that Scotland progesses in all areas if society. Education must be progressive, and must not cling onto any old fashioned, antiquated ideas of how our young be educated. Religion should be a choice, especially in schools. Children are not there to be indoctrinated, committee members should be elected on merit, with an emphasis on a modern inclusive education system. This anomaly has to be challenged and changed to reflect the equality in education, that is required in vastly important decision making processes.

Heather Wilson

2:31 on 02 Nov 2016

< Prev  1 2 3 4 5  Next >  

Share this petition

Help promote this petition through the following websites.

Number of signatures collected


View all

This website is using cookies.
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website.