A voting box bearing a religious symbol

Fair School Votes

In Scotland the law requires that each local council reserves three seats for religious representatives on their education committee. These seats are unelected and in most areas the seat-holders have full voting rights. We think this is wrong. Our Fair School Votes campaign calls for an end to this outdated and undemocratic system.

The problem

Every local authority education committee in Scotland is required by law to include three unelected seats for local religious representatives. In most local authority areas representatives are given the same voting rights as the other democratically elected members of the committee. Education committees deal with all decisions involved in the running of local schools, including major decisions such as school closures, teacher numbers, and education policy.

This three-seat rule is a throwback to the religious origins of Scotland’s state schools and is an anachronism in a contemporary Scotland that is majority non-religious. Unelected and unaccountable religious representatives (and by extension the religious organisations that they represent) should not be able to influence how Scottish schools are run.

The solution

We want the Scottish government to rescind guidance that requires local authorities to have three unelected religious representatives on local education committees. Education committee representatives should be composed of representatives who are democratically chosen and accountable to the communities that they represent.

Our campaign

Through our Fair School Votes campaign we hope to work with the Scottish Government and local authorities to remove the legal requirement for religious representation on Scottish education committees. Whilst the requirement stands we are working with Scotland’s 32 local authorities to remove voting rights from the three local representatives.

We are also working with individual councils to campaign for the removal of voting rights from religious representatives on education committees. In 2023 we saw six councils opt to remove voting rights from faith advocates, and we expect more to follow.

Sign the petition

Sign our petition to call for fair school votes

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