Religious & Moral Education

Curriculum for Excellence Religious and Moral Education

Learning through religious and moral education enables me to:

  • recognise religion as an important expression of human experience
  • learn about and from the beliefs, values, practices and traditions of Christianity and the world religions selected for study, other traditions and viewpoints independent of religious belief
  • explore and develop knowledge and understanding of religions, recognising the place of Christianity in the Scottish context
  • investigate and understand the responses which religious and non-religious views can offer to questions about the nature and meaning of life
  • recognise and understand religious diversity and the importance of religion in society
  • develop respect for others and an understanding of beliefs and practices which are different from my own
  • explore and establish values such as wisdom, justice, compassion and integrity and engage in the development of and reflection upon my own moral values
  • develop my beliefs, attitudes, values and practices through reflection, discovery and critical evaluation
  • develop the skills of reflection, discernment, critical thinking and deciding how to act when making moral decisions
  • make a positive difference to the world by putting my beliefs and values into action
  • establish a firm foundation for lifelong learning, further learning and adult life.

(Extracted from Principle and Practice: religious and moral education, Education Scotland)

The Education (Scotland) Act 1980 continues to impose a statutory duty on local authorities to provide religious education in Scottish schools

The Secretary of State has issued regulatory advice that makes clear that religious and moral education has a fundamental place in the normal school curriculum. Parents have a statutory right to withdraw their children from Religious and Moral Education (RME) and may contact the Head teacher to discuss this. The school makes suitable alternative arrangements for those children whose parents have requested their child be removed from RME so that they are not disadvantaged as a result of this choice.

Time for Reflection at Stockbridge

Time for reflection / religious observance is a statutory requirement (Education Scotland Act 1980) and is part of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). In 2005 the Scottish Government defined it 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”

In 2011 the Scottish Government clarified their position regarding the provision of religious observance in Scottish Schools in a letter to all Head Teachers where they stated that:

Scotland is a society with a longstanding Christian tradition. However, Scotland has for many generations also been home to many who have other faith and belief traditions, never more so than at present. This trend is likely to continue as Scotland remains a country where people from other communities are welcomed and we expect Scotland to become increasingly diverse in the range of faith and belief traditions represented. Religious observance needs to be developed in a way which reflects and understands diversity. It should be sensitive to our traditions and origins and should seek to reflect these but it must equally be sensitive to individual spiritual needs and beliefs, whether these come from a faith or non-faith perspective.

This letter also acknowledged that whilst the Act uses the term religious observance schools may feel a different name for the events that meet these requirements will be more appropriate to their context and culture. It noted that in a non-denominational school, such as Stockbridge, the use of the title “Time for Reflection’ might be appropriate.

Time for Reflection

  • provides opportunities for the school community to express and celebrate values which are considered common human values
  • gives the school community time to reflect upon a variety of traditions and viewpoints as well as other stimuli such as literature, art and music;
  • provides opportunities for the community to reflect upon values, beliefs, commitments and hopes which are explicit in being human.

(extracted from CfE briefing16. November 2014)

Stockbridge Primary is non-denominational and organised acts of worship do not take place within the school.

Weekly assemblies provide ‘Time for Reflection’ from topics such as Friendships, Respect and Building Resilience, to sharing learning around Global issues, projects and class news as well as celebrating successes from both inside and outside of school.

The Religious Observance Review Group concluded that…..” Where, as in most non-denominational schools, there is a diversity of beliefs and practice, the Review Group believes that the appropriate context for an organised act of worship is within the informal curriculum as part of a range of activities offered for example by religions, non-religious groups, chaplains and other faith leaders.”

In Stockbridge we sometimes share learning about some religious festivals such as Christmas, Diwali, Eid or Holi for example and people of faith may occasionally lead these assemblies. However, content is discussed in advance with the Head Teacher to ensure it is appropriate.

Parents should note there is a statutory provision for parents to withdraw children from participation in religious observance. If you wish to exercise this right you should contact the Head Teacher to discuss arrangements further.

Details of assemblies will subsequently be added to the school website for your information.

A special Christmas assembly and an End of Year Reflection and Celebration Assembly, to which parents are invited, are held in Stockbridge Church, Saxe Coburg Street and may be attended by the Minister.

Religious & Moral Education (RME) at Stockbridge

Stockbridge Primary School is a non-denominational school. We welcome children and families of all faiths and of none. At Stockbridge Primary School we believe that in order for children to be tolerant and respectful of difference they first have to learn what those differences are.

A programme of Religious and Moral Education begins in our Nursery, when children are introduced to a variety of religious and ethnic festivals and learn the nursery code of conduct and how to co-operate with each other.

We try to lead our children to an understanding of the codes of behaviour that govern our society irrespective of belief or indeed non-belief. We follow a course of study which investigates a range of religious beliefs, which are meaningful in the lives of individuals and groups within a multicultural society, to better foster understanding and tolerance.

Within the school community, pupils are given increasing experience of being responsible and this is extended to consideration of local and global contexts e.g. rules and laws, responding to charities and world issues and looking at the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.

Learners study aspects of all major world faiths. We welcome parents and carers to visit the school to provide information on their own belief systems and values. Examples last year included the Hindu Festival of Colours/ Holi and discussion on Christian Easter traditions. We also work with members of the community and relevant external organisations such as The Gurdwara in Leith, The Mosque at Southside and Stockbridge Parish Church in Saxe Coburg Street.

At Stockbridge the main proposed areas of study for each stage are:

Primary 1 Harvest

Birth of Jesus (Christian)

Raksha Bandhan (Hindu)

Primary 2 Chinese / Lunar New Year

Easter Traditions (Various)

Guru Nanak (Sikh)

Primary 3 Birth of Buddha (Buddhist)

Eid-ul-fitr (Muslim)

Jesus as a Gift (Christian)

Primary 4 Harvest Succoth (Jewish)

Places of Worship (Various)

Christmas as a Festival of Light (Various)

Primary 5 Finding out about World Hunger

Faith in Action (Various)

Key Figures (Various)

Primary 6 Personal Sacrifice

Religious Writings (Various)

Zakah and Muslim Aid (Muslim)

Primary 7 Festival and Celebrations (Various)

Creation (Various)

Personal Passport


However, it should be noted that as planning is responsive to children’s interests these themes may be replaced with alternative ones as appropriate.