Religious and moral education

​Religious and moral education will allow your child to explore the world's major religions and other belief groups.

Your child will think about the challenges presented by these beliefs and values, and their place in the world. They will explore how religious and other belief groups' beliefs and values are expressed through traditions in religion, society and cultures. Your child will think about their own beliefs and values. It will support them to develop moral decision-making skills.

Your child will develop a better understanding of themselves, others and the wider world. Your child will develop their awareness that beliefs, values, practices and traditions are important to families, communities and society - locally and globally. They will develop a richer understanding of the world in which they live.

What will my child learn?

Each area of the curriculum is broken down into experiences and outcomes. These are clear and concise statements about children's learning and progression from pre-school to S3. In religious and moral education, progress and achievement will be assessed and reported on in the same way that it is for other curricular areas.

Read the experiences and outcomes for Religious and moral education (non-denominational schools) and Religious education in Roman Catholic schools.

What skills will my child develop?

In religious and moral education children will develop important life skills such as investigation, analysis and evaluation. They will develop their thinking skills as well as skills of reflection. This will help them to develop a fuller understanding of others, the world in which they live and their potential contribution to it.

How are children and young people learning in Scotland?

Education Scotland publishes regular 'Curriculum Impact Reports', which present a subject-by-subject view of how children and young people are experiencing learning in different curriculum areas across the country. Parents' views are taken into consideration in the reports.

The religious and moral education impact report covers both religious and moral education in non-denominational schools and religious education in Roman Catholic schools.

This summary of key points from the report has been written for parents and carers.

What's working well in religious and moral education across Scotland?

Children and young people value their learning and enjoy their lessons. They often take part confidently in discussion and debates about a wide range of religious and moral issues.

Many teachers use a range of teaching and learning approaches to motivate learners, so learning is often active and engaging.
Children and young people often have good opportunities to develop literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing through religious and moral education.

Children in early learning and childcare settings often engage in learning that encourages them to share beliefs and family traditions.
In Roman Catholic schools, most children and young people think that religious education supports them well in developing their own faith.
Young people in the senior phase (S4-S6) have responded very well to the introduction of the Caritas Award. The number of young people in the senior phase (S4-S6) studying national qualifications courses in Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies (RMPS) is increasing.

The involvement of parents and carers

  • Parents described how their children started discussions at home about religious and moral issues as a result of something that had captured their imagination in the classroom. Almost all parents felt that this was down to effective religious and moral education.
  • A few schools have moved forward with parental involvement in classwork and homework and children's learning is enriched as a result. This is more often the case in primary than secondary.
  • Some parents felt that their schools could work more closely with them to extend children and young people's learning in religious and moral education beyond the classroom environment.
  • Parents require more information about how they can support learning.
  • In many schools, partnership working with parents and the parish community should be developed to extend learning and achievement.
  • Many schools should be trying to improve how they communicate the aims and purposes of religious and moral education to parents.
  • In non-denominational secondary schools, some parents were unsure about why religious and moral education was an important aspect of their children's learning.
  • In Roman Catholic schools, parents are generally well aware of the nature and purpose of religious education. They are clear that it is essential to the faith, values and ethos of the school, and most support this without question.
  • In Scotland, parents have a legal right to withdraw their children from religious and moral education if they feel the curriculum conflicts with their own beliefs. In practice, very few parents feel the need to do so.

To learn more, read the full curriculum impact report:

PDF file: Religious and moral education 3-18 curriculum impact report (2 MB).