Top judge leads calls to scrap mandatory daily Christian worship in UK schools

Dec 6, 2015 by

Influential report urges end to religious assemblies and raises concern over segregation

Schools should no longer face a legal requirement to provide daily acts of worship of a Christian character, under radical reforms being proposed by a top-level inquiry into the place of faith in multicultural Britain.

The Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life, led by former high court judge Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, also recommends curtailing the segregation of children by faith and a radical overhaul of the teaching of belief to make it more realistic and relevant in a diverse and increasingly secular country.

The weighty report is expected to set out proposals on the place of faith in the next coronation, as well as examining religion in relation to education, the criminal justice system, the media, social provision and politics. The commission’s patrons include the former archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and its members are drawn from all major religions in the UK.

Among its proposals is the repeal of a legal requirement for most state schools to hold daily acts of collective worship that are wholly or mainly of a Christian character. Non-Christian faith schools are permitted to choose their own form of worship. “The arguments in favour of retaining compulsory Christian worship in UK schools are no longer … convincing,” the report says, according to draft seen by the Observer. Instead the commission endorses an inclusive “time for reflection”, embracing children of all and no faiths.

In place of the current legal requirement, the report urges the government to issue new guidelines that would build on “current best practice for inclusive assemblies and times for reflection that draw upon a range of sources, that are appropriate for pupils and staff of all religions and beliefs, and that will contribute to their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development”.

 

Source: Top judge leads calls to scrap mandatory daily Christian worship in UK schools | Education | The Guardian

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