Call to end compulsory worship in schools

The BBC is reporting that a report co-authored by former Education Secretary Charles Clarke is calling for the requirement for schools to have an act of collective worship to be abolished…

A report from Mr Clarke and Linda Woodhead, professor of sociology of religion at Lancaster University, says there needs to be a “new settlement” in the relationship between religion and schools…

It argues that the obligation for a compulsory act of worship is often not really fulfilled, but there is a “nod and wink culture” about not admitting this.

The report, published as part of the Westminster Faith Debates about religion and values, says that schools should be allowed to make their own decisions about how to hold such a morning assembly and what should be included.

Mr Clarke says that even though many heads have not wanted to carry out such an act of worship there has been a political reluctance to grasp the nettle.

“The reason there has been no change in 70 years is that politicians have been very wary of dipping their toes in this debate,” he said.

But the report argues that there should be a stronger and more relevant form of religious education in schools, which should be compulsory for all schools and include non-religious beliefs, such as humanism.

These lessons in religious literacy would teach pupils about different faiths and involve visits to different places of worship.

The concerns about radicalisation and fundamentalism meant that this was a very necessary lesson, said Mr Clarke…

More at: Call to end compulsory worship in schools


You can read the report in full at: A New Settlement: Religion and Belief in Schools 


There are a number of areas covered in the report but what do you think of the headline suggestion here that the requirement for an act of collective worship should be abolished?

Would you support such an idea or argue against it? Either way, please let us know why.

The report wants to see a ‘stronger and more relevant’ form of religious education in schools – tell us what you would like to see in that.


Is it time to end compulsory worship in schools?


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Categories: Policy.


  1. spawneedave

    It’s outdated! About time we had a more inclusive assembly. The usual argument is “you child can be opted out” is discriminatory, make collective assemblies inclusive – talk about politics, the environment, morality, ethics, etc.

  2. LaCatholicState

    Secular schools need Christian worship to fill the gaping void at their centre.  They should have MORE Christian worship not less…to take the raw edges of these value free schools.  And worship of Christ is something every child should experience.  Worship is quantitivly different from RE.

    Christ said….’Let the children come to Me and do not stop them’.  What kind of person wants to stop children coming to Christ and knowing Him?!

  3. FionaTipper

    SchoolsImprove idea to incl non religious ideas good, but wouldn’t some faith schools opt out of teaching anything other than their own?

  4. Nairb

    Maybe a person who recognises that morality and ‘goodness’ are human traits and don’t need to be inspired by a mixture of fear and promises.

Let us know what you think...