British require worship in schools?

Am I reading this correctly? Does the British government require daily worship in schools? Noncompliance of the law aside, even the idea of forcing children to pray and worship daily seems to fly in the face of what a modern democracy should stand for.

Update: I’ve done a little more research. This Guardian piece publishes the text of a speech by David Bell, chief inspector of schools, on the 60th anniversary of an education bill known as the Butler Act. A portion of Bell’s speech indicates that these are state schools in question, not church schools:

But we are still left with some weighty questions. What, as a society, do we think about collective worship in non-denominational state schools? Arguably, the 1988 Education Reform Act added a further layer of complexity when it added the requirement that collective worship should be wholly, or mainly, of a broadly Christian character.

Ironically, or not, the United States has a famous “Butler Act” of its own: namely, the 1925 Tennessee law banning the teaching of evolution in public schools.


2 thoughts on “British require worship in schools?

  1. As I understand it, parents have a choice in CoE, Catholic, or secular schools for their children. All of these schools are governed by the same department.

    There is no separation of church and state in the UK.

  2. Not quite true. All state schools — that is, all schools funded by the government — are supposed to provide at least one religious education class a week, and a daily communal act of worship, which has to be ‘broadly Christian in character’. Parents can opt their children out of these. I never went to them.

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