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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. This is at odds with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), including Article 14, which specifies children’s right to hold no faith. The UNCRC was incorporated into Scots Law in January 2024, after an initial vote for incorporation at the Scottish parliament in 2021 was challenged by the UK Supreme Court (the bill was amended in response).

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has repeatedly recommended that compulsory attendance of collective worship in state-funded schools in Scotland be repealed, and that children be allowed to independently exercise their right to opt out of religious observance at school.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 Compulsory attendance should be repealed and replaced by an opt-in model.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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Our campaign work is funded by the generous support of our members and supporters. Support our campaign work and help to create a fairer Scotland and world.

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Your membership will help to fund our campaign work to make Scotland a more secular, rational, and socially just country, and to ensure everyone in Scotland has access to humanist ceremonies to mark important life events.

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