New guidance has been published today by education secretary Nicky Morgan stating that non-faith schools don't have to teach atheism, but can choose to if they wish. This decision comes after humanists saw a victory at the High Court, which found that atheism had been unlawfully excluded from the school curriculum.
It has been decided that schools must teach that Britain is a predominantly Christian country, and are entitled to prioritise the views of established religions over atheism. Schools do, however, have the choice to teach atheism in religious studies classes. In addition, non-religious views can be taught in other lessons.
The decision will be down to schools, so that all institutions are able to most accurately offer education in line with the wishes of parents in their area and the local community.
Ms Morgan said: "I am clear that both faith and non-faith schools are completely entitled to prioritise the teaching of religion and faith over non-religious views if they wish."
Changes to the Religious Studies GCSE, announced last February, give priority to religious views - in particular Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism. The new guidance gives schools the option to offer this same level of focus to atheism at their discretion, but clearly states that it is not compulsory. Particularly, this decision has been made because these same non-religious views can be taught within other lessons in the curriculum.
Posted by Theo Foulds