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.
We are supporting parents Lee and Lizanne Harris who are taking legal action to challenge the Church of England trust that runs their children’s school – which is not legally a faith school – for failing to provide their children with a meaningful educational alternative to Christian worship.
Lee and Lizanne are worried that assemblies at their children’s school treat Christian beliefs as true and have involved re-enactments of Bible stories, including the crucifixion. When they opted their children out of these sessions, the children were simply left to sit with a teaching assistant and play on an iPad.
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.