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Time to observe common sense

Education directors in their evidence to the review group on religious observance suggested it was time to drop the term in non-denominational schools. It is not going to happen. Ministers of the realm remain fearful of ministers of the cloth and their supporters and will not face realities in schools. That is why they have opted, against the wishes of the independent review group, to retain the "broadly Christian character" of the present position.

Political ministers like to regard themselves as radical policy-makers but have adopted a pragmatic, conservative approach. In effect, the review group proposals give even more flexibility to headteachers and many will want little to do with an initiative that smacks of imposed religion.

The crux is time for collective contemplation, often in smaller groups, and that can be established in many settings, as the review group makes clear.

It is not necessarily religious, and neither is it observance. Directors were quite right and may yet have their say.

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