A number of parents have brought to our attention that SPTC (Scottish Parent Teachers Council) is currently surveying parents’ views on certain aspects of what they call “religious observance” in schools. However, this survey goes beyond religious observance; it deals with many aspects of schools in which there may be a religious component (e.g. Church reps on education committees, RC Church nominee on Parent Council).
The introduction to the survey states:
“The question of religion and its place in the education system has crossed our desks quite frequently lately, whether it be religious observance in schools, involvement of church representatives in Parent Councils and Local Authority education committees, or the way parents can exercise their choices in Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood Education (RSHP). We understand that many parents have strongly-held views on some or all of these issues – we have heard many – but we want to gain a better understanding of how you feel it is possible to accommodate these varying perspectives in our education system. We are aiming to find points of agreement rather than points of difference!”
We are concerned that there is room for some confusion in how to answer some of the questions e.g., question 9 suggests that children will be unable to reflect on their place in the world and values if they focus on “one particular religion”, thereby misrepresenting the nature of religious observance in schools. We are also concerned about the purpose of this survey and the implied criticism of religion being part of education, with none of the questions implying any positive outcomes. Clearly this impacts significantly on Catholic schools. It is our concern that, in recent times, Catholic school parents have had occasion to express concerns to SPTC on its stance on a number of related issues.
In the light of these concerns we would urge Catholic school parents to respond to this survey and to take the opportunity to express their views and to use question 17 as an opportunity to comment on the survey. This link will take you to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NC3BR5D
Parental Involvement Group
Catholic Education Commission