Edinburgh plans to oust religious reps from its education committee

Edinburgh plans to oust religious reps from its education committee June 1, 2019

AN Edinburgh Council member has angered the Catholic Church by insisting that religious representatives should no longer have a say in the way education is dealt with in the city.

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Mary Campbell, above, a Green Party member, is reported here as saying:

It’s 2019. It’s no longer appropriate for religious representatives to have special status on the education committee, although they will still be able to take part in debate, just as parents can currently do and I hope pupils will be able to do.

Edinburgh City Council’s education committee is currently made up of eleven councillors, three religious representatives and one parent.

The Scottish Green Party’s proposal means the council might scrap the religious roles and add in more parents and a pupil representative.

The plan is supported by the Liberal Democrats. The Conservatives and other parties also agreed with the plan but want to wait to assess how similar plans at councils in Perth and Kinross are faring.

Campbell, said:

I believe that, in making decisions which affect schools and nurseries, the council needs to hear much more from the people directly affected: that is, parents and, above all, young people. That is why I have proposed to boost the parent and pupil voice on the council’s education committee, and at the same time, ending the right of church representatives to vote on school matters.

It is about rebalancing influence for the 21st century and taking the same step as at least three other councils. Pupils and parents need to be at the heart of education decisions.

But one Catholic priest from the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Msgr. Anthony Duffy, wrote to the council saying the plan endangers:

The very harmonious and positive relationship which has existed for many years between the council and the church. There have been no formal discussions regarding this matter – only a very informal meeting and definitely not an official response.

He added:

I believe that this motion being presented endangers this ideal and will damage the very positive, harmonious relationship of Church and State at every level. The church hopes that the views of people of faith continue to be important to members of Edinburgh City Council.

When making a decision on this matter we would ask that councillors note that almost 20% of the school estate and pupil population of Edinburgh City Council is within their Catholic schools, chosen by members of the electorate, who are from all faiths and none.

Campbell retorted:

It appears that the Catholic Church representative is out of touch with councillors. In 21st century Scotland it’s time to give parents and pupils at least the same status as churches.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • epeeist

    According to the 2017 Scottish Household Survey only 14% of the Scottish population identify as Catholic (though only about 25% of these regularly attend mass) and 23% as Church of Scotland. However, 52% identify as having “no religion”.

    It would seem that even on the numbers privileged access to the education system looks dodgy.

    When making a decision on this matter we would ask that councillors note that almost 20% of the school estate and pupil population of Edinburgh City Council is within their Catholic schools,

    The only reason for this is a historical one, if you live in the UK – sign the petition

  • Michael Neville

    Shorter Msgr Duffy: “My authoritarian cult is losing power. WAAAAH!”

  • larry parker

    The kids aren’t going to church so we need another way to indoctrinate them.

  • rubaxter

    When Scotland rejoins the EU it’ll have to be able to compete in Education with the rest of the market.

    Ask the simple question, “Just what have these people done of any specific VALUE, lately?”

  • Broga

    Duffy commends, “The very harmonious and positive relationship which has existed for many years between the council and the church.” What Duffy neglects to say is this relationship is only there because in the past the council has provided special status, privileged access and acceptance of a degree of censorship by the RC Church. Let the council take a strong and decisive stance on issues like abortion, assistant dying, contraception and divorce, and much else, and Duffy’s harmonious relationship will depend on the extent to which he gets his own way.

  • Broga

    Did you need the last word in your sentence?

  • Vanity Unfair

    I believe that this motion being presented endangers this ideal…
    Ideal for whom? The RCC of course, and I suspect the other churches are not complaining.

    [A]lmost 20% of the school estate and pupil population of Edinburgh City Council is within their Catholic schools, chosen by members of the electorate, who are from all faiths and none.
    And that is part of the problem if you would but realise.Campbell retorted:

    Campbell retorted,
    It appears that the Catholic Church representative is out of touch with councillors. In 21st century Scotland it’s time to give parents and pupils at least the same status as churches.

    This does not go far enough. Unless the church can give good, logical reasons why it should have any status in education it should have none.

  • Jim Jones

    Fine. Put Catholic kids or parents on the board, but never priests (who aren’t supposed to have children).

  • Sau Peih

    This is relatively small fry. It will be a joyous day when religious representatives are ousted from the House of Lords.

  • rubaxter

    Don’t know, but I’m sure religion in Scotland had some value or it would never have existed.

  • rubaxter

    Could be moot as far as Scotland is concerned.

  • Broga

    They won’t give up their £300 a day, subsidised booze and food and a quiet place to sleep during the debates when someone drones on to about six dozing peers. And remember, this is what passes for democracy. No need for elections.

  • Sophotroph

    It had the same value all religions had in ancient times.

    “Join/remain/obey and we might not kill you.”