U.K. Schools Ignore Mandatory Christian Assembly Law

A survey has concluded that most state schools in England do not follow the mandate that requires students to participate in religious assemblies as part of their daily routine.

The Comres survey, conducted for BBC radio, posed the question to 500 parents of whether or not their children attended group worship daily at school.

According to the survey, 64 percent of U.K. parents said their children did not attend Christian assemblies during the school day, detailing that many schools preferred to teach students about community and society as opposed to religion.

A total of 1,743 adults were surveyed about their opinion on the mandate for in-school daily worship; 60 percent said that the mandate should not be enforced.

Trends show that schools are choosing to forgo religious discussion or study, possibly due to teachers' concern over whether parents actually want their children taught religion in schools.

Martin Cooper, deputy head teacher of Mile Oak School, near Brighton, U.K., told the BBC that as his school has a more secular dynamic, following the Christian assembly mandate was not practical.

"In a school like ours, there isn't a great Christian ethos, so the message has to be a social one really," he said.

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rev. John Pritchard, voiced support for in-school worship, calling the act an "important statement," but was hesitant to say schools should be forced to organize religious assemblies.

"What we believe as a country is important in the education of our young people, so I think it is an important statement that the country makes to its schools and says will you please do this," Pritchard told the BBC.

"If schools refuse to do that, or fail to, then I think they need to be encouraged to do it, I wouldn't use the word enforced though at all."

Collective worship in community schools was made mandatory in 1944 with England's Education Act.