Religious Observance

Religious observance at Leith Primary School will provide experiences which will be meaningful to all pupils and staff, aiding their spiritual development

The school community comprises staff, pupils and families from a variety of world views.  This diversity will be valued and considered when planning acts of religious observance.  To further these aims, the school will therefore plan:

  • to allow all pupils to engage in shared activities reflecting and expressing their spiritual needs and aspirations;
  • to celebrate important occasions in the life of the school and the community;
  • to involve pupils in experiences which stimulate, challenge and extend their capacities for spiritual response to the world in which they live

    Introduction

In accordance with the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 and the advice contained in the Scottish Government’s letter of February 2011 it is the policy of the authority and the school to hold acts of religious observance.

Definition

Religious observance is defined for schools in Scotland as:

“Community acts which aim to promote the spiritual development of all members of the school community and express and celebrate the shared values of the school community”

Religious Observance Review Group Report

Purpose

Religious observance will provide experiences which will be meaningful to all pupils and staff, aiding their spiritual development

The school community comprises staff, pupils and families from a variety of world views.  This diversity will be valued and considered when planning acts of religious observance.

Aims

The aims of religious observance are defined as:

“to promote the spiritual development of all members of the school community; to express and celebrate the shared values of the school community”

Religious Observance Review Group Report

Spiritual Development

“…includes being helped to recognise, reflect upon and develop a deeper understanding of the value and worth of each individual which comes from one’s dignity as a person.”

Religious Observance Review Group Report

To further these aims, the school will therefore plan:

  • To allow pupils and staff to engage in shared activities reflecting and expressing their spiritual needs and aspirations;
  • To celebrate important occasions in the life of the school and the community; and
  • To involve pupils and staff in experiences which stimulate, challenge and extend their capacities for spiritual response to the world in which they live.

Withdrawal

Under the terms of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980, parents have the right to ask for their child to be withdrawn from religious observance.  The school will deal with such requests with sensitivity and understanding.  The head teacher will offer to meet with any parent wishing to withdraw their child to ensure that they are clear about the school policy on religious observance.

In particular, parents should be reassured that the religious observance planned by the school adopts an open and respectful approach and does not seek to compromise the beliefs of any pupils or their families.

Where a child is withdrawn from religious observance, suitable arrangements will be made for the pupil to participate in a worthwhile alternative activity.

Frequency

The school will follow the City of Edinburgh Council policy of a minimum of six religious observance opportunities per year for each pupil.

The School Chaplain

In line with City of Edinburgh Council policy, head teachers are encouraged to appoint a chaplain.

The role of the chaplain will be fully discussed and regularly evaluation in discussion between staff and the chaplain.

The role of the chaplain includes:

  • being a resource for the RME curriculum;
  • providing pastoral care for staff, pupils (and if appropriate, their families); and
  • having a key role at times of extreme difficulty.

Currently Rev Rob MacKenzie  the Minister from Leith St Andrew’s Church has this role.

Diversity & Flexibility

The school will develop religious observance in a creative way which is most appropriate to this school community.

Worship

The following extract from the Scottish Government’s letter of February 2011 will be considered when planning religious observance events:

“Where the school, whether denominations or non-denomination, is contiguous with a faith community, that community’s faith in the ‘focus of worship’, may be assumed and worship may be considered to be appropriate as part of the formal activity of the school.”

“Where, as in most non-denominational schools, there is a diversity of beliefs and practices, the review group believes that the appropriate context for an organised act of worship is within the informal curriculum as part of the range of activities offered for example by religions, groups, chaplains and other religious leaders.

Quality

The school intends to provide religious observance events of high quality.
Parents who wish to exercise their right to withdraw their child from religious instruction and / or observance should contact the head teacher, in writing, and alternative arrangements will be made for your child.

There is an entitlement to personal support to help young people fulfil their potential and make the most of their opportunities with additional support wherever that’s needed.  There will be a new emphasis by all staff on looking after our children’s health and wellbeing – to ensure that the school is a place where children feel safe and secure.