Religious Worship in Schools
In England all state maintained schools are legally required to provide daily collective worship for all their pupils. In community schools the majority of the acts of daily collective worship that are provided in a given term are legally required to be of a ‘wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character’. In ‘faith schools’ the act of worship is provided in accordance with the school's trust deed or the tenets and practices of the religion or religious denomination of the school.
This means that all school pupils are currently legally obliged to undertake an act of (usually Christian) worship each school day, regardless of their own beliefs. Although there are opportunities to opt out of this, this is only allowed if requested by the parents. This leaves young people without access to their right to freedom of belief.
As an alternative, many people are strongly in favour of inclusive school assemblies, which can help to build shared values and a sense of community.
Dr Julian Huppert MP has tabled an Early Day Motion, EDM 395, in Parliament which “calls on the Government to repeal the requirement for compulsory worship in schools and to encourage schools to hold educational assemblies that will include all children.” Early Day Motions help to demonstrate the extent of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view so it is very important to get as many MPs to sign as possible.
Use the links on the left to email your MP and sign the petition!