young person thinking

My Beliefs, My Choice

We call on the Scottish Government to make all religious observance in Scottish schools opt in

In Scotland children and young people have no right to opt themselves out of acts of religious observance at school. This does not respect children and young people’s right to freedom of religion and belief, and fails to meet the standards set under the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child. Our My Beliefs, My Choice campaign calls on the Scottish Government to make all religious observance in Scottish schools opt in.

The problem

All state-funded schools in Scotland have a statutory obligation to provide religious observance to students. Children and young people cannot choose to opt out of religious observance, something that is at odds with the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which was incorporated into Scots Law in March 2021. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has repeatedly recommended that compulsory attendance of collective worship in state-funded schools in Scotland be repealed, and children be allowed to independently exercise their right to opt out of religious observance at school.

The solution

We want the Scottish Government to give all school pupils the option of whether or not to participate in religious observance at school. Compulsory attendance should be repealed and replaced by an opt-in model. 

Our campaign

We have campaigned for an end to compulsory religious observance for many years and work in partnership with Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) to hold the Scottish Government to account in its commitment to incorporating the UNCRC and addressing this incompatibility. We also meet and correspond directly with the Scottish Government to protect the right of Scotland’s children and young people to freedom of belief at school.  

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