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Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Two-Thirds Of Schools Ignore Legal Requirement To Provide Daily Act Of Worship

Most schools ignore the legal requirement to hold a daily act of worship for their pupils, a new study has found.

Almost two-thirds of parents told a survey that their children do not attend a daily act of collective worship at school.

And a majority of people thinks that the law on daily worship on schools should be no longer be enforced.

Assembly: But two-thirds of schooldchildren do not attend a daily act of worship.

A Church of England spokesman pointed out that the BBC Local Radio poll did not differentiate between primary and secondary schools, and argued that most primary schools do have collective worship or a daily period of reflection.

'The law states that all maintained schools must provide a daily act of collective worship, with the exception of those withdrawn by their parents,' he said.

Praying: The Church of England says that collective worship promotes pupils' 'spiritual, moral, social and cultural development'.

'The Church of England strongly supports this - although it is not its job to enforce it - as it provides an important chance for the school to focus on promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of its pupils.

'Collective worship is when pupils of all faiths and none come together to reflect - it should not be confused with corporate worship when everyone is of the same belief.'

However, 60 per cent of the public do not support enforcing the law which prescribes a daily act of worship in all state schools, with older people more favourable towards the law than the young.

A small majority (51 per cent) of those aged 65 or over believe it should be enforced, but only 29 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds agree.

Following the release of these findings, National Secular Society executive Keith Porteous Wood called for the law on collective daily worship to be repealed, saying it infringed pupils' human rights.

'As the BBC survey confirms, the law requiring daily collective worship is being widely flouted, and because the law should not be brought into disrepute in this way, it should be repealed,' he said.

'England is the only country in the western world to enforce participation in daily worship in community schools.

'To do so goes beyond the legitimate function of the state and is an abuse of children’s human rights, especially those who are old enough to make decisions for themselves.'

The survey was carried out by telephone in July and interviewed over 1,700 adults, including 500 parents with children at school in England.

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