Welsh Education Minister refuses to end collective worship in schools

15 May, 2023

Welsh Education Minister Jeremy Miles MS told the Senedd Children Young People and Education committee (32:30) this week that ‘collective worship isn’t something that is raised with Welsh Government and is not a priority for action’. He went on to describe how Estyn ‘provide a broader interpretation for the act of collective worship reflecting different faiths’ and stated that Welsh Government is ‘not planning any changes anytime soon’.

Wales Humanists members have repeatedly raised the issue of daily acts of Christian worship with Welsh Government and how it contradicts the new pluralistic curriculum. In 2020 following a petition to end collective worship by two Cardiff school children, the then education minister Kirsty Williams said that statutory collective worship raised many human rights concerns, including children’s rights, but that there needed to be a focus on implementing the new curriculum first. Five years on, the new curriculum has been fully implemented in all primary schools and yet there is still no plan to repeal the outdated collective worship legislation.

In response to the Children and Young People and Education Committee consultation on the implementation of education reforms, Wales Humanists highlighted the contradiction between continued requirement for daily acts of collective worship and the objective, pluralistic approach to Religion Values and Ethics in the new curriculum. Estyn’s broader interpretation reflecting different faiths fails to address the majority non-religious population of Wales, and also fails to fix the outdated law which was inherited when education was first devolved to Wales.

Wales Humanists Coordinator Kathy Riddick commented:

‘It is so disappointing to hear that Welsh Government is still refusing to address the law on collective worship. Inclusive assemblies would enable schools to represent their communities and would align with the ethos of our new inclusive curriculum.

‘Continuing to require daily worship, or have children withdrawn and miss an important part of the school day is totally out of place in education in Wales and risks undermining the good work happening elsewhere in the new curriculum.’


For further comment or information, media should contact Wales Humanists Coordinator Kathy Riddick at kathy@humanists.uk or phone 07881 625 378.

Read our full response to the Children young People and Education Committee

Download our guides for non-religious parents in English and Welsh.

Read more about humanism being taught in all schools in Wales.

Read more about our work on faith schools, collective worship, RE, Understanding Humanism, and Creationism/Evolution.

Wales Humanists is part of Humanists UK. Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.