Introduction

1.1 The following motion was remitted to Council at the June 2009 Annual General Meeting and the Executive Committee, at its meeting on 13 November 2009, asked for a paper to be prepared in order that the matter could be given further consideration prior to coming to a decision:

"That this AGM call on the Scottish Government to take steps to repeal Section 21(2)(A) of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980".

1.2 Section 21 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 states:

"All teachers appointed to the staff of any such school by the education authority shall in every case be teachers who satisfy the Secretary of State as to qualification, and shall require to be approved as regards their religious belief and character by representatives of the Church or denominational body in whose interest the school has been conducted."

It is for the church or denominational body alone to consider whether an applicant for a post is approved in terms of the 1980 Act. Separate approval is required for each post applied for regardless of whether the applicant is currently approved on not.

1.3 The relatively recent "McNab" case, although portrayed in the media as a fundamental challenge to Section 21 of the 1980 Education Act, actually centred on a very narrow point of law ie the operation of the "Strathclyde" list of posts which required church approval. The Employment Appeal Tribunal made it clear that the approval process applies to all teachers and that Section 21 of the 1980 Act does not prevent any Council from interviewing any teacher for a post in a denominational school.

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