Faith schools provide ‘no better results’

New research published by IPPR Scotland, supported by Humanist Society Scotland, has debunked the myth that denominational schools in Scotland provide better educational outcomes for pupils than non-denominational schools.

The respected research body found that there is no evidence to suggest that denominational schools have any better performance than their non-denominational equivalents. The research showed that 45.37 per cent of pupils in religious schools get three highers or more compared to 45.96 in non-denominational schools.

The report also recommended that decisions on education provision should only be made by those with a democratic mandate, this supports HSS Enlighten Up! campaign for the end to religious reps sitting on and voting on crucial educational committees.

IPPR Finding


Commenting on the reports findings, Gordon MacRae Chief Executive of Humanist Society Scotland said:

Gordon MacRae, HSS Chief Executive

Gordon MacRae, HSS Chief Executive

“Today’s report reveals there is no evidence, of any merit, to back up claims that denominational schools produce better educational outcomes for students that non-denominational schools.

“The evidence points to parental involvement, and not a school’s religious character, as the key to success.

“It is clear therefore that segregating school pupils should play no part in closing Scotland’s education attainment gap.

He added:

“HSS fully endorses IPPR Scotland’s call for all new Education decision making bodies to be democratically accountable. To this end we hope that Scottish Ministers will remove the existing requirement for local authorities to appointment religious reps to education committees at the soonest possible opportunity.”

IPPR Report

To support our campaign to make education fair, inclusive and with objective learning on religion please sign our petition at

Humanist Society Scotland (HSS) supported IPPR Scotland to consider the question of school governance and the attainment gap. The report is third party, and independent, and as such does not represent HSS views. As always, full editorial control was retained by IPPR Scotland, IPPR’s dedicated cross-party, independent think tank for Scotland.


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