“Children and young people . . . have the right to be encouraged to make sound moral judgements with an informed conscience and to put them into practice by personal choice . . .” para 1 Declaration on Christian Education (1967)
The education of children about their health, physical growth and relationships has always been a sensitive issue for teachers and parents. The Church has recognised the need to support parents and teachers to meet their obligations to children and young people. Over a number of years SCES has developed materials to offer support to parents and teachers on how to provide appropriate teaching, in line with the teachings of the Church. In December 2014, the Scottish Government published statutory guidance on the ‘Conduct of Relationships, Sexual Health & Parenthood Education in Schools’. This guidance, which applies to all schools managed by local authorities, sets out the Scottish Government’s expectations in relation to the manner in which such education is conducted in local authority schools. It reflects the introduction of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 which legalised same sex marriage in Scotland. The statutory guidance upholds the right of Catholic schools to provide education in accors with guidance provided by the Catholic Church:
religious authorities with a role in denominational education provide guidance on RSHP education for their denominational schools and that right will continue as at present.
This means that Catholic schools in Scotland are enabled by the Scottish Government and required by the Church to follow Church guidance, provided via the Scottish Catholic Education Service, to give witness to the Catholic faith and to uphold the tradition of Catholic education. An advice note from SCES on this statutory guidance is attached.