Worship lessons for NQTs

16th June 2006 at 01:00
Churches have called for classes about religious worship to be added to teacher-training courses to stop schools flouting the law on assemblies.

In a letter to Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, leaders of the Anglican, Catholic, Methodist and Baptist churches said this week they were concerned about the number of schools failing to have Christian worship every day. They urged the Government to introduce training for new teachers and would-be heads about the importance of collective worship, and called on better enforcement of the law.

Ofsted said that out of 1,838 primaries inspected last year, more than 88 per cent complied with the law. However, in secondary schools, only 17 per cent had a daily Christian assembly.

The letter said: "A clear statement of the implication of the law for schools, backed up with other resources, may resolve some of the issues leading to dissatisfaction with the legislation."

However, the move was criticised by John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, who said: "This is an outdated law. We have moved on from the days when all schools started with a hymn, a prayer and a bollocking."

Under the 1944 Education Act, schools are compelled to hold a daily act of "broadly Christian" collective worship.

The National school, a CofE secondary in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, is among the few comprehensives conforming to the law. David Shannon, the head, said assemblies had a particular Christian theme and included issues like world peace and the importance of families. "As well as the sense of being together, it means we can start the day highlighting something which focuses pupils' minds," he said.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today