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Bid to make worship optional in schools rejected by Peers

October 31, 2011 6:32 PM
Collective worship in schools

The House of Lords has this week rejected moves to make collective worship in schools optional, rather than compulsory.

Three amendments were moved by Liberal Democrat Lord Avebury during the Report Stage of the Education Bill last week.

One of the proposed amendments would have given community schools the freedom to decide for themselves whether or not to hold acts of religious worship. A second amendment would have given pupils the right to withdraw themselves from worship. A further amendment would have allowed pupils aged 15 or older to withdraw themselves.
Speaking in the Chamber, Lord Avebury set out a list of reasons why requiring schools to conduct a daily act of religious worship is no longer appropriate. Not least of these were numerous references to the high rate of schools' non-compliance with the law, showing it to be unenforceable and unpopular. He said: "It is time for the long-standing tradition which no longer reflects the beliefs of more than a tiny fraction of the people to be jettisoned".