The real places for "collective worship" are such buildings designated for that purpose. Schools are not such places and it is not surprising that a number of schools do not have the facilities to satisfy the requirement for acts of collective worship.
The fact that both parents and teachers could be conscientious objectors to acts of collective worship theoretically makes it impossible for daily acts to take place where the majority of teachers and pupils exercise their right to withdraw.
The British education system was built on the solid rock of Christian principles. The Education Acts reaffirm Christianity as an undergirding principle which should "predominate" in all schools, whilst giving expression to "the other principal religions represented in the country".
For the Department for Education and Employment to draw the distinction between "collective worship" and "corporate worship" is mere semantics because where Christianity "predominates" this necessarily means worshipping Our Lord Jesus Christ.
When I talk of undergirding Christian principles, I am not talking about ethnocentrism or Eurocentrism or some other form of oppression and exploitation which may form the social construct or paradigm of some people's minds. I am merely talking about a set of principles which have been acclaimed to be the established faith of this country. But, since such principles have been torn from the pinnacles of royal power, it is not surprising that as a nation we too want to be "defender of faith" rather than "the defender of the faith," that is to say, the Christian faith. In such a climate of "relativism", it is not surprising that we have fallen victim to the old adage "if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything".
A law is not a law unless it can be enforced and has sanctions attached to it. The law on collective worship falls under the rubric of such a law and must be given a decent burial, while we ponder whether we are still a Christian nation or a multicultural or multi-faith one!
PAUL C BOYD
Director Quality Education Consultants
PO Box 3368 London N20