September 14, 2011

Schools break Christian assembly rules

by Jan Harris

A BBC survey has found that most state schools in England ignore a law requiring them to hold broadly Christian collective worship on a daily basis.

The Comres survey for BBC local radio asked 500 parents if their children attended daily religious assemblies at school and 64 per cent said they didn’t.

However, the majority of parents don’t seem concerned about this, as of the 1,743 adults questioned about the law, 60 percent said that it should not be enforced.

ComRes believes that the results of the survey indicate that support for Christian worship in schools is declining.

In response to the survey, the Church of England said that most primary schools hold either collective worship or a time of reflection, on a daily bases.

However, whether ‘reflection’ is a substitute for ‘collective worship, is debatable.

While most primary schools still adhere to the law, around 80 per cent of secondary schools are believed to ignore it, and there are growing calls for the requirement to be dropped.

Following the recent riots in cities across England, the Archbishop of Caterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, laid some of the blame on schools for failing to teach children “virtue, character and citizenship”.

Dr Williams said that education was too focused on teaching children to be “consumers” and “cogs” in an economic wheel.

Perhaps enforcing the daily assembly rule could provide an ideal platform to teach children about moral, social and religious values.

Schools have also been criticised for failing to organising practical science experiments and trips, because of concerns over health and safety.

According to a report by the Commons science and technology committee, these concerns are unfounded and are causing pupils to miss out.

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