70% of school leaders oppose collective worship in schools

14 May, 2024

A new poll of school leaders in England by Teacher Tapp has once again shown that there is widespread opposition to the current law mandating schools to hold a daily act of collective Christian worship. Almost 2,000 school leaders were surveyed, including headteachers, with 70% of them opposed to the legal requirement.

Humanists UK has long campaigned for the replacement of compulsory Christian worship in schools with inclusive assemblies. In January this year peers in the House of Lords called for the abolition of collective worship as part of a debate on the quality of RE (religious education) in schools.

Responding to the poll Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:

‘The 80-year-old law requiring daily Christian worship in all our schools is really showing its age. Most parents aren’t Christian, most pupils aren’t Christian, and the vast majority of educators and of people generally would prefer to see schools hold an inclusive form of assembly that makes all pupils feel welcomed. The shared values that can be explored in that setting are a firmer foundation for community in our diverse society than unshared religious beliefs.

‘It is time for the UK Government to listen to teachers and replace this outdated requirement with inclusive assemblies’

In 2019 Humanists UK launched ‘Assemblies for All’, a groundbreaking free school resource hub providing more than 200 high-quality, inclusive assemblies for schools wanting to deliver inclusive assemblies. ‘Assemblies for All’ caters to Key Stages 1 to 5 and covers diverse themes including the environment, physical and mental health, arts and culture, and religious and secular holidays.

The poll was commissioned from Teacher Tapp, a daily survey app of teachers, by the National Secular Society.


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at press@humanists.uk or phone 0203 675 0959.

Read more about our work on religious education and collective worship

Read more about Assemblies for All.

Read our response to the Michaela School ‘prayer ban’ ruling.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 120,000 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.