Religious Observance

The Royal High School

The Royal High School will follow the City of Edinburgh authority policy of a minimum of six Respecting Diversity opportunities per year for each pupil.

Time for Reflection: 2020/21 Programme

13/11/20 – Rememberance

04/12/20 – Christmas message of giving + charity drive

29/01/21 – Holocaust Memorial

26/02/21 – Rights Respecting Schools Award

23/04/21 – Earth Day (with interfaith focus)

14/05/21 – Spotlight on Eid and Lent (with message of selflessness)



In accordance with the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 and the advice contained in the Scottish Government’s letter of February 2011 it is the policy of the authority and The Royal High School to create opportunities for religious observation.



Religious observance is defined for schools in Scotland as:

“Community acts which aim to promote spiritual development of all members of the school community and express and celebrate the shared values of the school community.”

Spiritual development:

“includes being helped to recognise, reflect upon and develop a deeper understanding of the value and worth each individual which comes from ones dignity as a person.”

There are many contexts across the curriculum, which encourages pupils to consider matters from spiritual perspective; the potential for spiritual development is open to everyone and is not confined to the development of religious beliefs.



It is important to acknowledge that formal worship is not part of the religious observance programme. The following extract from the Scottish Government’s letter of February 2011 will inform the school programme:

“Where, as in most non-denominational schools, there is a diversity of beliefs and practices, the review group believes that the appropriate context for an organised act of worship is within the informal curriculum as part of the range of activities offered for example by religions, groups, chaplains and other religious leaders”[3]

The school will consider positively requests by members of the community for organised acts of worship within the informal curriculum of the school.


Respecting Diversity

The Royal High School will refer to the community acts planned to meet the requirements of the Education Act as Respecting Diversity.



The school community comprises staff, pupils and families from a variety of faith background, non- faith backgrounds and worldviews. This diversity is a valued aspect of The Royal High School and informs the planning of Respecting Diversity events. Such events will provide opportunities that will allow learners to develop skills such as reflection, analysis and evaluation; allowing learners to make their own minds up about important issues and help them to express their own views reasonably and securely.

Curriculum for Excellence encourages each individual within a school community to develop as a “successful learner, confident individual, responsible citizen and effective contributor.”

To further these aims, the school will therefore plan:

  • To allow pupils and staff to engage in shared activities to reflect upon, challenge and develop the spiritual perspectives of the world in which they live;
  • To celebrate important occasions in the life of the school and community
  • To share and celebrate our values as a community.

Our values are:

  • Everyone in our school community matters.
  • Diversity should be celebrated and everyone should be cared for, respected and valued.
  • Everyone has the potential for learning and to achieve success beyond what they themselves ever thought possible.
  • Success only happens when we work hard, when we never accept anything less than our best.
  • To be successful we need to raise the expectations we have of ourselves and each other.
  • Together we can create a supportive learning culture based on trust, where we can all take risks with our learning and our teaching.
  • An excellent school is a sustainable one that respects its environment and its community.



Under the terms of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980, parents have the right to ask for their child to be withdrawn from Respecting Diversity events (religious observance). The school will deal with such requests with sensitivity and understanding. The head teacher will meet with any parents wishing to withdraw their child to ensure that they are clear about the school’s policy on religious observance.

In particular, parents/careers should be reassured that the opportunities for Respecting Diversity planned by the school adopts an open and respectful approach and does not seek to compromise the beliefs of any pupils or their families.

Where a child is withdrawn from these activities, suitable arrangements will be made to pupils to participate in a worthwhile alternative activity.



The Royal High School will follow the City of Edinburgh authority policy of a maximum of six Respecting Diversity opportunities per year for each pupil.



The school intends to provide Respecting Diversity events of high quality which will further the aims of these community acts, as defined above.


The Respecting Diversity Team

The school will appoint a group to supervise Respecting Diversity under the direction of the Head Teacher. This team will be drawn from a range of people – members of staff, pupils, members of the faith community from a range of traditions and faiths in order to plan events for Respecting Diversity.


The Schools Chaplaincy Team

In line with The City of Edinburgh Council policy, head teachers are encouraged to appoint a chaplain or chaplaincy team.

The role of the chaplain or a chaplaincy team includes:

  • Being a member of the Respecting Diversity team;
  • Providing pastoral care for staff and pupils (and if appropriate, their families) if requested
  • Being available at community events in the life of the school
  • Having a key role at times of extreme difficulty; and
  • Providing a bridge and common resource across the cluster


A Planned Programmed

The head teacher, in consultation with the school’s Respecting Diversity Team, will draw up a programme for the session.

It is appreciated that within the school’s programme pupils will assemble for a range of reasons. A clear distinction will be made between Respecting Diversity assemblies and assemblies for other purposes. Respecting Diversity assemblies or events will be devised which allow all members of the school community to participate with integrity. Plans of the content of the six opportunities will be shared with the school community on the school website.



Regular evaluation of the Respecting Diversity programme and the quality of religious observance events will take place under the direction of the head teacher. The quality of religious observance may also be subject to external evaluation by officers of the authority or HMIe inspectors.



Respecting Diversity events will take place during Friday Form time.


Diversity and Flexibility.

The Royal High School will develop Respecting Diversity in a creative way in which most appropriate to the school community. We place great value on the fact that our community is made up of families and individuals from a wide variety of cultures and traditions.