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In this video Mgr Patrick Burke takes a deep dive into the background and aim of the event: to help bring us closer to Jesus, by exploring the Gospel of Mark.

Vote casts doubt on council commitment to faith schools

Faith groups have called into doubt Edinburgh City Council's commitment to faith schools after councillors voted to remove longstanding voting rights of religious representatives.

It is understood that the SNP, Liberal Democrats and Green Party voted to remove the rights of the reps on the Education, Children and Families Committee, while Labour and the Conservatives voted to retain them.

Deputations and other written statement were made at today's meeting in the City Chambers from concerned faith groups - Catholic, Church of Scotland, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and the Interfaith Community.

It also included speeches from pupils from St Thomas Aquin's High School and St Peter's Primary School.

'Troubling message'

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh said: “Councillors at Edinburgh City Council have ended a prosperous partnership that has existed between the Catholic community and the State since 1918 discarding decades of goodwill in the process, only a few years after the Scottish Government proclaimed it was an ‘unequivocal’ supporter of our Catholic schools.

"We have worked together in a spirit of openness and transparency with the Council, which ensured we had an active voice in the running of Catholic schools.

"Today's decision by councillors sends a clear and troubling message not just to Catholics, but to people of all faiths in Edinburgh.”

Margaret Barton and Melissa Gavan, the Religious Education Advisors for the Archdiocese, said: "The Church Representative for the Archdiocese represents the constituency of all those families who send their children to Catholic schools.

"Having the vote was very important in contributing to the good management of all schools in Edinburgh but particularly the Catholic schools entrusted to the management of the local authorities.

"If you add up the number of families who are stakeholders in Catholic schools, that is a very significant proportion of people in Edinburgh.

"So this is a disappointing decision by councillors to remove the right for the religious representatives to vote on educational matters."

In Quotes

"Across Edinburgh many families, including many families from the Sikh community choose to send their children to faith schools. To deprive Faith Representatives of voting rights on the ‘Education, Children and Families Committee’ where they sit on behalf of parents, children and young people, casts into serious doubt the commitment of some of our elected representatives to the future of faith schools in Edinburgh."

- Wege Singh, EIFA, Guru Nanak Gurdwara (Sikh Community)

"We urge the Education, Children, and Families Committee to thoughtfully weigh the potential consequences of a decision that might inadvertently marginalize the voices of faith communities. Let us ensure that Faith Representatives retain their role as advocates for parents, children, and young individuals, thereby contributing to a comprehensive and enriching educational experience."

- Habib Rauf, Imam, Central Mosque, Edinburgh (Muslim Community)

We would like to express our concerns regarding the recent decision to deprive faith representatives of voting rights on the Education, Children, and Families Committee. The participation of faith representatives in committee decisions is essential for safeguarding the rights and interests of parents, children, and young people who are part of faith-based schools.

- Richa Sinha, Chairperson - Scottish Hindu Foundation

"We are also concerned that behind this move to take faith community rights away is a strong anti-faith community agenda hidden by the cloak of standing up for democracy, which is deeply concerning to us all."

- Iain Stewart, Joe Golbatt, Nasim Azad, Edinburgh Interfaith Association

"Our schools have been entrusted to you, by us, for the benefit of our portion of the community. It is only right and just that we retain, not a veto, not a special
voice, not special treatment, but simply an active voice in council, over the governance of a part of our heritage that is presently in your care."

- Archbishop Leo Cushley, St Andrews & Edinburgh (Catholic Community)

"It is with considerable regret that we find it hard not to see this matter as a thin edge of a wedge whose aim is to remove representation altogether. This we believe is likely to damage significantly the relationship and respect we believe is important on several ecumenical and Interfaith fronts across our city."

- The Very Revd Derek Browning, Minister of Morningside, Church of Scotland

Quotes from deputations submitted to Edinburgh City Council and can be read in full here.

My Faith and Scotland

Is Scotland a tolerant country for people of faith? What has been the experience of Christians and Muslims? Register here to join us for a fascinating insight into life as a person of faith in Scotland in 2022, as our speakers lay out the obstacles and opportunities and share the story of 'My Faith in Scotland'.

Share your own experience at this event in which people of all faiths and none are warmly invited.



Event organised by the Commission for Ecumenism & Interfaith Dialogue of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh.