The UK is the only sovereign state in the world to impose Christian worship as standard in state schools.
Current law in England and Wales requires all state-funded schools to conduct daily acts of ‘worship’, and where the school is not religious, this still must be of a ‘Christian character’.
Parents can withdraw their children from this, but such pupils are typically isolated from their peers and often miss out on the opportunity to participate in the collective life of the school as a result.
These pupils are rarely given any sort of meaningful alternative to worship – they are usually left to waste valuable learning time sitting in hallways or empty classrooms until their classmates return.
In 2021, responding to the fact that collective worship is overwhelmingly unpopular with teachers, Schools Minister Nick Gibb announced the UK Government was planning to remind all schools of their ‘duty’ to enforce collective worship. The Government must instead get the message: the time to replace collective worship with inclusive assemblies is now.
No child should be wasting prolonged periods of the school day without meaningful educational activity simply because they do not hold Christian beliefs.
All children have a right to participate in fully inclusive assemblies which bring the school community together and treat everyone as equal irrespective of background.
Please end compulsory worship and introduce a requirement that schools conduct inclusive assemblies, which promote the development of all pupils, regardless of their religious or non-religious beliefs.