David Bell's questioning of the insupportable requirement that schools hold a daily act of Christian worship is welcome (see opposite). Others, from the former Archbishop of York, Dr John Habgood, to the Evangelical Alliance have also challenged this 60-year-old anachronism over the past decade.
Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary, also has doubts (page 3).
All three elements - the daily requirement, its statutory Christian focus and the hypocrisy of compulsory worship - are inappropriate. But though the law in this respect may be an ass, its reform will not remove from schools the duty to ensure children's spiritual development, any more than compulsory worship necessarily ensured it. Schools will still need to provide regular opportunities for pupils to reflect on values and beliefs and to experience their religious heritage first hand.