Constitution of the
Scottish Joint Committee on Religious and Moral Education
(AS Revised by AGM on 2nd May 2001)

1. Name

The Committee shall be called 'The Scottish Joint Committee on Religious and Moral Education.'

2. Rationale

The following rationale shall underlie the work of the Committee:-

Education is concerned with the growth and development of the whole person.

This involves among other things enlarging the pupils’ and students’ understanding of the human quest for meaning, value and purpose in life in such a way that they will not only learn about but also learn from the beliefs and traditions of world faiths and at the same time acquire the social skills needed for fostering good relationships and for making moral decisions.

The religions of the world are the classic expressions of this search and for many people provide the context within which their experience of life is understood and interpreted.

Religion is a dimension of human experience which is very important to many human beings and continues to shape their values and culture. It is a universal phenomenon of life and as such pupils need to be aware of it if they are to understand the values and culture of those with whom they have to learn to live together and share the world.

Many individuals, however, reject religious explanations of the meaning and purpose of life and live according to more or less explicit moral codes of behaviour, founded on concepts such as common humanity, community or good neighbourliness. Accordingly, the Committee accepts that, while moral education is part of religious education, it also exists independently of religious education and may be addressed in non contexts.

For these reasons, the Scottish Joint Committee on Religious and Moral Education believes that Religious and Moral Education must be an integral part of the education of each individual and that it is necessary for pupils and students to appreciate, not only the teaching of the religious tradition, if any, within which they have been brought up, but also the influence and insights of other religions and of non-religious philosophical stances.

3. Aims and Objective

The aims and objectives of the Committee shall be as follows:–

The promotion of Religious Education, Religious Studies and Moral Education in schools and in further and higher education through:–

(a) Giving advice and receiving and making submissions on the curricula and on relevant consultative papers on Religious and Moral Education and Religious Studies.

(b) Identifying issues and disseminating information relating to the above, including the monitoring of Government legislation.

(c) Ensuring that, as far as possible, this part of the curriculum constitutes an effective educational experience for the pupils and students.

(d) Organising conferences of interested parties at national or district levels.

(e) Engaging in dialogue with groups who have an interest in this field but who may adopt a different philosophical stance towards it.

(f) Undertaking such other activities related to the above objectives as may be appropriate from time to time.

4. Membership of the Committee

The initial membership of the Committee shall consist of the bodies listed in Appendix A to the constitution, who shall appoint representatives to serve on the Committee in the numbers indicated in the Appendix. It shall be open to the Committee, at any of its stated meetings, to make alterations in the list of member bodies in the light of communications from any of those bodies or from any body seeking membership. The period of service of the members of the Scottish Joint Committee on Religious and Moral Education shall be determined by their appointing body.

5. Annual Subscriptions

The Annual General Meeting of the Committee shall fix from time to time the amount of the annual subscription payable by each body, which may vary according to the size of the body. The amount of the annual subscription from a particular body shall be notified to that body by the Joint Secretaries. Non-payment of the subscription by a date stated by the Joint Secretaries shall result in the particular body ceasing to be a member of the Joint Committee.

6. Accounts

shall be maintained by the Joint Secretaries and audited annually by a firm of Registered Auditors or Chartered Accountants. An account or accounts shall be opened in the name of the Committee with a chartered or joint stock bank in Edinburgh.

7. Servicing of the Committee

(1) Joint Secretaries shall be appointed annually at the Annual General Meeting, one from the EIS and one from the Church of Scotland, from those members appointed to represent the Educational Institute of Scotland and the Church of Scotland on the SJCRME. If possible the Joint Secretaries should be officers in their respective bodies.

(2) The Joint Secretaries shall be responsible only for the administration and servicing relating to meetings of the Full Committee and of the Executive Committee and shall take it in turn to service these meetings. If possible both Joint Secretaries should be present at the two meetings of the full Committee held each year. The Joint Secretaries shall not be required to attend meetings of any Standing Committees or Working Groups.

(3) Conveners of Committees or Working Groups shall be responsible for servicing arrangements relating to their own committees.

8. Office-Bearers of the Committee

The Office-Bearers of the Committee shall be appointed annually at the Annual General Meeting of the Committee and shall consist of a Convener, a Vice-Convener and two Joint Secretaries.

9. Meetings of the Committee

Stated meetings of the Committee shall take place in May and November of each year, with the May meeting being designated as the Annual General Meeting. The date and place of each General Meeting, and the agenda for the meeting, shall be notified to member bodies and their representatives at least fourteen days before the meeting.

A special meeting may be convened by the Office-Bearers and shall be convened on receipt of a requisition signed by one-third or more of the member bodies or their representatives, which requisition shall specify the business to be discussed at such a meeting and shall be delivered to one of the Joint Secretaries. In the case of a requisitioned meeting, only the business specified in the requisition shall be considered. Two clear weeks notice to member bodies and their representatives of the date, time and place of any special meeting shall be given by the Joint Secretaries.

10. Executive Committee

An Executive Committee, consisting of the Convener of the SJCRME, the Vice- Convener of the SJCRME, the Convener of the Curriculum Committee, the Convener of the Conferences Committee and six members of the full Committee elected by the Annual General Meeting, shall conduct the business of the Committee between stated or special meetings and shall normally meet not more than four times a year. The Convener of the SJCRME shall be the Convener of the Executive Committee. All members of the Executive Committee (including the Convener and Vice-Convener) shall retire after serving three years and shall be eligible for re-election for a further period of three years.  No member shall serve more than two consecutive terms of office without a break of at least one year.

The Joint Secretaries shall be ex officio members of the Executive Committee.

11. Standing Committees and Working Groups

(1) There shall be Standing Committees on the Curriculum and on Conferences. The membership of these shall be determined each year at the Annual General Meeting, which shall also elect chairpersons of these committees.

(2) On each Standing Committee there shall be eight (8) members and a Convener. It shall be open to each Standing Committee to co-opt up to two additional members where there is a need for a particular expertise and additional input.f

(3) All members of each Standing Committee (including the Convener) shall retire after serving three years and shall be eligible for re-election for a further period of three years. No member shall serve more than two consecutive terms of office without a break of at least one year.

(4) Working groups for specific purposes may be appointed by the full Committee or by the Executive Committee from time to time. The membership of such Working Groups shall be as specified by the full Committee or the Executive Committee, as the case may be, and may include persons who are not representatives serving on the full Committee. Such Working Groups shall report to the Executive Committee and the full Committee.

12. Expenses

In respect of meetings of the full Committee, representatives shall claim expenses from the bodies who appoint them. In respect of meetings of the Executive Committee, of Standing Committees and of Working Groups, persons elected to these bodies shall be entitled to claim and to receive travelling and subsistence expenses from the Scottish Joint Committee on Religious and Moral Education on a scale approved from time to time by the full Committee. The expenses of the Joint Secretaries shall be as provided for in the agreement between the Church of Scotland Committee on Education and the Educational Institute of Scotland which is referred to in clause 7 of this constitution.

13. Standing Orders

Standing Orders for the conduct of the business of the Committee shall be approved by the Annual General Meeting and shall apply to the full Committee, to the Executive Committee and to Working Groups. Proposals for changes in the Standing Orders may be submitted by the Executive Committee or by any member body to the Joint Secretaries by 15 April in any year. Such proposals shall be contained in the agenda for the subsequent Annual General Meeting and shall be disposed of by a simple majority vote of those present and voting at the Meeting.

14. Changes in the Constitution

Changes in this constitution may be proposed by (a) the Committee itself, (b) the Executive Committee, (c) any member body. They shall be notified in writing to the Joint Secretaries by 15 April in any year. Such proposals shall be contained in the agenda for the subsequent Annual General Meeting. A proposal shall only be enacted if it is supported by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting at the Meeting.

NOTE:
At the first AGM when this revision to the constitution is applied, members of the Executive and each of the Standing Committees shall hold office as follows:
3 members shall be elected for 1 year
3 members shall be elected for 2 years
2 members and a Convener shall be elected for 3 years
thereafter all members shall serve for the full term of three years.
In the first instance the Executive Committee shall determine which members shall retire in this order.

Scottish Joint Committee for Religious and Moral Education