End collective worship laws

End collective worship laws

No child should be compelled to pray in school.

We want to see laws requiring schools to hold acts of worship abolished.

The laws are archaic, unnecessary and breach children's freedom of religion or belief.

The United Kingdom is the only Western democracy which legally imposes worship in publicly funded schools.

The law in England and Wales provides that children at all maintained schools "shall on each school day take part in an act of collective worship". Northern Ireland and Scotland have similar laws.

Even in schools with no religious designation, the worship must be "wholly or mainly of a Christian character".

School assemblies are an important feature of school life. They foster a sense of community in schools and promote the moral and social development of pupils. But acts of worship are neither necessary nor desirable to achieve these educational goals.

Polling has found 70% of senior teachers "disagree" or "strongly disagree" with the law mandating worship, and 66% of teachers say their school does not even hold collective worship.

The majority of the public (52%) say school assemblies should be about moral issues, whereas just 26% agree that they should feature religious worship.

Many schools ignore the law, but where it is enforced it causes division and discrimination, as well as opening the door to evangelism and proselytising.

Parents have the right to withdraw children from collective worship, but many this is an unreasonable imposition on both themselves and their children. Parents should never have to withdraw their children from any part of the school day to ensure their rights to raise their child according to their own religious or philosophical convictions are respected.

Collective worship laws are outdated relics of a society unrecognisable from the diverse and pluralistic Britain of today, where citizens hold a wide variety of religious beliefs, and increasingly, no religious beliefs. The abolition of collective worship is long overdue.

Take action!

1. Write to your MP

Ask them to help end compulsory worship in schools

2. Share your story

Tell us why you support this campaign, and how you are personally affected by the issue. You can also let us know if you would like assistance with a particular issue.

3. Join us

Become a member of the National Secular Society today! Together, we can separate religion and state for greater freedom and fairness.

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