Christian religious assemblies for schoolchildren should no longer be enforced, according to an ex-High Court Judge. In addition, Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss has called for the segregation of pupils by faith to be scrapped.
The radical changes are proposed by the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life, and also include an overhaul of the teaching of faith to make it more reflective of multicultural Britain.
Currently all state schools are legally required to provide daily acts of Christian-themed worship, such as assemblies, although past studies have found many schools ignore the rule.
A report is being collated by the commission which will include the proposal to remove the legal requirement for state schools to hold daily acts of collective worship that are wholly or mainly of a Christian character.
The commission is suggesting that a "time for reflection" would be more beneficial to pupils, and would be inclusive for children of all or no faiths. In place of the current legal requirement, the report urges the government to issue new guidelines that would build on "current best practice for inclusive assemblies and times for reflection that draw upon a range of sources, that are appropriate for pupils and staff of all religions and beliefs, and that will contribute to their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development".
Former education secretary Charles Clarke has agreed with this proposal. Earlier this year he urged the abolition of compulsory daily worship, saying that individual governors should decide what is best for their schools.
Posted by Harriet McGowan