Only a very small number of Schools have opting out of Christian worship to provide “multi-faith” alternatives, new data shows.
According to a freedom of information request by Schools Week, only 48 out of the 25,000 schools that could apply to opt out of the daily act of worship have done so, over the past three years and 42 were successful. Most of the successful Schools asked to hold multi-faith assemblies instead.
Under legislation dating back to 1944, local authority controlled schools in England and Wales have to provide for collective worship which is “wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character,” although parents can excuse their children.
Schools can opt out of the requirement by asking permission of a local board.
The Rev Stephen Terry, chair of the Accord Coalition - which campaigns for inclusive education - said it was “encouraging” that schools are opting for multi-faith assemblies.
“This indicates that educators take seriously the increasing diversity of cultural traditions present in modern British society,” he said.
While more schools are choosing to run multi-faith assemblies, the overall number applying to local boards to opt out of daily worship appears to have slowed.
The Rev Nigel Genders, chief education officer for the Church of England, said: “The fact that only 42 out of 25,000 schools have [opted out] suggests that schools are able to work within the broad definitions that exist in law.”
The Department for Education has said collective worship “encourages pupils to reflect on the concept of belief and helps to shape fundamental British values of tolerance, respect and understanding for others”
Posted by Amanda Hopkins
Extract from https://inews.co.uk