Religious and moral education (RME) teacher Isdale Anderson accurately describes the important need for religious education: “To remove religious education from schools would be to leave pupils ignorant of the beliefs of millions of the world’s population” (Letters, 13 June).
However, her description of her work as “teaching RME in state non-denominational secondary schools” underscores an ongoing concern.
In addition to RME, so-called “non-denominational” schools are statutorily obliged to have regular religious observance (RO) which is often led by evangelising outsiders who might be less concerned than Ms Anderson to “encourage pupils to think for themselves”.
RO is quite different from RME and, depending on the ethos of the school and the personal beliefs of the headteacher, may become exactly the “force-feeding” which she rightly condemns.
Let us not blur the distinction between RO and the work done by conscientious RME teachers like Ms Anderson.
Edinburgh Secular Society