End religious tests in teacher recruitment

December 5, 2016

In a landmark report, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has called on Scottish Government to take action to end the sweeping religious restrictions on teacher recruitment in Scottish schools. The Commission has indicated that it would back court action if necessary to bring about a change in the law.

Speaking today, Gordon MacRae, Chief Executive of Humanist Society Scotland said:

“Today’s report is a bold statement of intent by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The message is clear, bring the law into line with the EU Employment Equality Directive or prepare to defend the status quo in court.

“With the people of Scotland having voted decisively to retain EU employment protections Ministers should have nothing to fear from acting swiftly. For too long teachers have had to face systemic discrimination across a host of subjects areas where their religion and beliefs should have no bearing on their suitability for employment.”

Mr MacRae added:

“Through our EnlightenUp campaign, Humanist Society Scotland has been campaigning for Scottish education to be made inclusive, secular and fair. This intervention is the latest in a series of calls for changes to treat teachers, pupils and parents, of all faiths and none, equally under the law.

“John Swinney can now add ending religious discrimination in teacher recruitment to his to-do list alongside removing un-elected church reps on education committees and the need to give senior pupils the right to withdraw from Religious Observance.

“Ultimately, today’s report demonstrates the urgent need for a full review of the role of religion and religious institutions in Scottish Education.”

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