Scottish academics are to lead a £365,000 study into whether religious education in schools across the UK is divisive or brings pupils together.

The three-year project, led by Professor Jim Conroy, dean of the faculty of education at Glasgow University, is the most comprehensive study into religious education ever.

The research, expected to be completed by December 2010, will look at pupils' experience of religious education in 24 secondary schools across the UK.

Dr Paul Gilfillan, a leading academic in the study, said: "The findings of the study will help to informwhether religious education in the curriculum contributes to diversity or social division."