School children in Cornwall are to be taught about paganism as part of their religious education classes for the first time.
The controversial move means that the youngsters will be taught about pagan beliefs, such as witchcraft, in addition to faiths like Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
The contentious requirements say that children should begin learning about standing stones like Stonehenge from the age of five.
The syllabus also says that when children reach the age of eleven they should begin exploring modern paganism in Cornwall.
Mike Judge, spokesman for The Christian Institute, said: “Religious education is squeezed already – there’s barely enough time to cover Christianity and the other major religions.
“Introducing paganism is just faddish and has more to do with the political correctness of teachers than the educational needs of children.”
The requirements are set out in an agreed syllabus which was drawn up by Cornwall’s RE advisory group.
Neil Burden, Cornwall Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said that the move would give children “access to the broad spectrum of religious beliefs”.
Earlier this year it emerged that a church-going former mayor in Warwickshire who declined to take part in a Halloween event had been found in breach of equality rules for upsetting pagans.
Tom Wilson, who is a member at Manor Court Baptist Church in Nuneaton, said he believed Halloween was a “pagan festival” and that he did not want to be associated with it.
But his comments, in 2009, were attacked by pagans who complained to Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council.
The former mayor was officially reprimanded for the comments and instructed to make a written apology in the press.