Hundreds of schools choose to drop Christian assemblies

Thousands of pupils are not having Christian assemblies because their schools have applied for legal exemptions.

The Sunday Telegraph reports that 230 schools have been given so-called “determinations” which mean they do not have to give assemblies that are “wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character”.

These schools have replaced the Christian assemblies with Islamic or ‘multi-faith’ assemblies.

Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said: “The worst thing of all that schools can do, whether they have a determination or not, is a multi-faith mish mash.”

“The British Social Attitudes survey found that 69 per cent of parents backed daily prayers in schools.

“Yet Christianity in schools is being marginalised.”

Following a Freedom of Information request from The Sunday Telegraph it was revealed that 185 primary schools and 45 secondaries had been granted determinations, meaning around 96,000 pupils are affected.

Bordesley Green Girls’ Specialist and Enterprise School in Birmingham was granted a determination in 2004 which allows it to hold a daily act of worship which is Islamic in character. The school has many Muslim pupils.

The girls receive a five minute broadcast each morning which includes readings from the Koran and presentations on moral, religious and ethical issues.

Priestmead Middle School, Middlesex, where the majority of pupils are Asian, consulted parents on its assemblies and does not have a determination.

Indeed parents who responded said they wanted their children to learn about Christianity and the Bible as it reflected the British culture.

Colin Hart said: “Parents do not want assemblies to be either secular or a confusing amalgam of faiths.

“Look at the massive number of parents of other faiths who apply to Church schools.

“They don’t like the secularism that is pervading community schools.”

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: “Requiring children to worship, as our law does, is a breach of their human rights.”

He added: “Enforced Christian collective worship has therefore gone beyond being an embarrassment to becoming a needless source of conflict.”

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