New petition to end un-elected religious seats on councils

A new petition has been submitted to The Scottish Parliament, asking The Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to bring an end to un-elected religious representatives on local council education committees.

Earlier this year as part of the launch of its Enlighten Up campaign HSS published details of 88 un-elected religious representatives. Each of whom sit on the Education Committee (or similar) in each of Scotland’s 32 local authorities.

HSS’s Enlighten Up campaign is supported by a range of parents, teachers and academics who was to see a fair, democratic and inclusive education system.

The petition, submitted by the Scottish Secular Society, calls on The Scottish Parliament to ‘urge the Scottish Government to remove the constitutional anomaly that imposes unelected Church appointees on Local Authority Education Committees’.

A similar petition was submitted by Edinburgh Secular Society in late 2013, however it was dismissed by the Parliament’s Petitions Committee in May 2014 after the ruled that a proposed Member’s Bill from John Finnie MSP would have raised the debate in Parliament.

The Scottish Government is currently working on a reorganisation of local government services in Scotland.

Gordon MacRae, HSS Chief Executive

Gordon MacRae, HSS Chief Executive

Speaking at the launch of the campaign in March, HSS Chief Executive Gordon MacRae commented:

“The presence of unelected religious representatives is anti-democratic and out of step with modern Scotland.

“Parents should not be left guessing who has a right to make decisions over their children’s education. Every full voting member of local education committees should be accountable through the ballot box.

“Instead religious groups, should have the same, not more, rights as teachers, parents, trade unions and community groups to contribute to and shape local education decisions.”


For further comment please contact Gary McLelland on 07813060713 or

About HSS: Humanist Society Scotland seeks to represent the views of people in Scotland who wish to lead ethical and fulfilling lives guided by reason, empathy and compassion. We provide a range of non-religious ceremonies and campaign for a secular state. HSS has over 14,000 members across Scotland.


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