The Lords Reject the Proposed Amendments!
“Proposals to make worship optional in schools is rejected by
Abridgement and edit of a NSS Report
The law in
England and Wales states that children at all publicly-funded schools “shall
on each school day take part in an act of collective worship”.
possible amendments to this bill were put forward for consideration to the
House of Lords, which contains twenty-six Bishops of the Church of England
in a ‘spiritual advice’ role, and a whole host of personally religious
three possible amendments were:
Giving community schools the freedom to opt out of the requirement
to hold acts of religious worship.
Given pupils the right to withdraw themselves from worship, where it
is conducted by the school.
Allowing 15 year old or older pupils to withdraw themselves.
reasons put forward for the need to change included:
Lord Avebury said: It is time for the long-standing tradition
which no longer reflects the beliefs of a high rate of schools to be
changed, and cited the high rate of non-compliance with the law,
showing it to be unenforceable and unpopular.
England and Wales are alone
among Western democracies in requiring such enforced worship in
Baroness Turner said: “The law as it stands is the legacy of
a society unrecognisable from the pluralistic Britain today where
citizens hold a wide variety of religious beliefs, including no
given for the resulting – and inevitable, given the religious bias of the
house – rejection of all three of the proposed amendments, include the
following pathetic and religiously bigoted statements:
Baroness Trumpington “it did not matter if pupils were bored,
did not like going to chapel or were not interested in religious
matters at the age of 15, 16 or perhaps even 17. That daily event
gave each pupil a background to which they could return in later
life. It was very important to have.”
The Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds. He said “We do not want
to marginalise worship or spirituality within the life of our
schools. [...] When the nation faces a time of crisis or indeed of
joy and delight, it tends to do so in terms of prayer.
Children need to know what prayer
is about, and one of the best ways for that to happen is
through the worship that takes place in both church schools and
Baroness Butler-Sloss said “It is important that we all
remember that the Church of England is the established church of
this country. That is why we have the Prayers that we have every day
[in Parliament]. It is appropriate that that should be recognised in
The Lord Bishop of Chester suggested the amendments were “tarred
with secularist intent.” He did however concede that there is
a case for a “cool, considered look at the provisions of collective
worship.” He said: “The amendments push too quickly in a particular
direction. There is a case for a proper review and full consultation
in due course. However, let us not be misled. Collective worship is
exactly that: worship appropriate to the collection of people who
Speaking on behalf of the Government, Lord Hill of Oareford
made it clear that the Government did not support the amendments. He
said “Our starting point is that the requirement is long-standing.
It is difficult to dissociate that from the history of the country
and the role that the church has played over a long period in
individual schools and also collectively in society.
“The Government believe that the experience of collective worship
makes a contribution to the spiritual and moral development of young
people, not just for those who attend religious schools.”