The Minister of State for School Standards has reminded schools in England and Wales that they must comply with the requirement to have a daily act of collective worship.
Nick Gibb MP, in a written reply to a question raised by Sir John Hayes MP, stated that the Department for Education (DfE) will investigate schools reported to be in breach of legislation and advise on how they can fulfil their duty.
Under the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, state-funded schools must conduct acts of collective worship “wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character”.
Last month, Sir John wrote to the Secretary of State to ask what steps the DfE was taking “to ensure that a daily act of worship is taking place in every maintained school”.
Replying on behalf of the Education Secretary, Gibb said: “Every maintained school, academy and free school is required to ensure that collective worship takes place each day.
“If the Department is informed that a school may be in breach of this requirement, it will be investigated.
“Where needed, the Department will remind schools of their duty on this matter and advise on how this can be met.”
53 per cent of 2,680 respondents to the Twitter poll said that their schools did not offer a daily act of collective worship
Following the announcement, an informal poll of primary school teachers revealed that a significant proportion of their schools were in breach of their statutory duty.
According to a report in the Tes online, 53 per cent of 2,680 respondents to a Twitter poll said that their schools did not offer a daily act of collective worship.
Primary colleagues…following on from the news that we might get investigated if we don’t have collective daily worship, I was wondering, does this happen in your school? Do you have collective daily worship?
— Ian Addison 🙋♂️ (@ianaddison) April 14, 2021
The Christian Institute’s Education Officer John Denning said: “The law is clear. State-funded schools in England and Wales must provide a daily act of collective worship which is wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character, unless they have received an exemption, which is rare.
“The Minister’s statement encourages parents to raise concerns if the law is being breached, and to escalate these to his Department if necessary. The Christian Institute is happy to assist parents with this process.
The Minister’s statement encourages parents to raise concerns if the law is being breached
“Some schools find this duty difficult, so Christian teachers and local churches could consider how they might support schools in delivering these acts of worship.”