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North Berwick High School pupils unhappy at ‘Christian’ assemblies

Rev Laurence Twaddle

Rev Laurence Twaddle

Hundreds of pupils at North Berwick High School have signed a petition demanding an end to Christian assemblies in the school.

The move comes after some students raised concerns regarding the claim that no other religions were represented at school assemblies, saying they should either all feature, or be scrapped completely.

One student involved in the petition told the East Lothian Courier: “Students feel the assemblies are out of touch with the views of today’s society and young people.

“Christianity features already in our RME (Religious and Moral Education) studies, along with other religions, why is it then included in assemblies?

“It is discriminatory and outdated. Either all religions should be equally represented or none at all.”

The petition was circulated in the school last week and within three days had been signed by 334 pupils. The school roll has 953 pupils on it, however the current number falls at the end of the year as school leavers depart and they await the influx of the new first year.

The issue of single religion assemblies has been at the centre of debate between senior students at the school for some time. However it is claimed an article written by one senior pupil on the issue for the school newspaper was pulled from publication, leading to a team of around ten students setting up their own independent newspaper, The Contender.

The Contender has produced two editions with the help of a grant from O2 Think Big – a project set up to support young people’s projects – and is circulated through the school and community youth spots such as Why Not, in the town.

The Rev Laurence Twaddle, Courier columnist and Belhaven Parish Church minister, was surprised by the number of signatures the petition had gained.

He said: “There is weighted emphasis on the place of Christianity because that is the local vibe [sic] and what made Scotland: Scotland and the educationalists feel it is important it gets particular emphasis in school communities.

“But there are very real constraints on what representatives of any faith can say at school assemblies, they cannot ‘promote their own party’ as such.”

• Full story at the East Lothian Courier.

 

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