P7 Pupils represent school at Edinburgh Castle event

Eerie winds whistling around the Great Hall at Edinburgh Castle did not deter a multi-faith crowd of teachers, headteachers, pupils and church leaders from celebrating the landmark occasion of the centenary of the Education Act 1918. Deputy First Minister John Swinney explained how the educational life of Scotland is enriched and deepened by the contribution of denominational schools, both at policy level and in particular at the more challenging levels of school leadership and in the classroom: 'Modern Scotland is a multi-faith and multi-cultural society and our aim is that Scotland should be a place where young people of all faiths can follow their religion and achieve their potential. The Scottish Government works hard to protect our common values, including maintaining and advancing freedom of thought, conscience and religion. We value the significant contribution that all faith communities make to public life in Scotland, supporting the most vulnerable people in our society and developing some of the community cohesion which is so precious to all of us who believe in an inclusive and tolerant Scotland'.

 

Attendees included Primus Mark Strange, Head of the Episcopalian Church in Scotland, Chief Rabbi Moshe Rubin, Papal Nuncio Edward Adams and Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia. Serenaded by outstanding choirs from St Ambrose in Coatbridge and Notre Dame High School in Greenock, the evening was a unique opportunity to unite all three Episcopalian schools and secure a promise to meet again and work together:

 

Pictured here are pupils and representatives of St Ninian's Perth, Bishop Eden's Inverness and St Mary's Dunblane who had an opportunity to speak to Mr Swinney and ask him about the support the Scottish Government offers to denominational schools. He explained how Scotland's educational system is designed to ensure that we equip all young people with the skills to cope with the challenges they face in an ever-changing world, as well as the values of goodness, hope and spirituality which are enshrined in the tradition of faith schools. He spoke of the 'energetic and enthusiastic support' that multi-faith communities bring to modern Scotland and assured those present of the Government's real commitment to continue to champion this working together in concrete, productive and meaningful ways.