«An important achievement: ‹important› in addressing increasingly controversial issues, ‹achievement› in bringing legal and education experts together. Since the 1944 Education Act introduced a requirement for daily acts of collective worship in schools, society has become increasingly secular and diverse. How to reconcile such diversity with aspirations of many to maintain a religious perspective? This is essential reading.» (Professor Richard Pring, Department of Education, University of Oxford)
«At a time when the place of religion in education is under unprecedented scrutiny, this book offers a timely examination of the law, practice and policy governing collective worship and religious observance in schools throughout the UK. Written by well-qualified legal and educational specialists, it offers a valuable interdisciplinary perspective that is sure to inform and help shape the direction of future education policy.» (Professor Ian Leigh, Durham Law School)
This book examines the law and policy governing school acts of collective worship in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, and their equivalent in Scotland, which is known as religious observance. The fact that the majority of UK schools (including non-denominational ones) are required by law to organize acts of collective worship/religious observance for their pupils has provoked significant controversy in recent decades. Yet, perhaps surprisingly, there has (to date) been a relative paucity of published interdisciplinary scholarly material on such matters. In seeking to rectify this anomaly, the book takes a holistic approach whereby it examines the nature and consequences of the collective worship/religious observance duty from a variety of perspectives. These range from examining the law and policy governing collective worship/religious observance in each country within the UK, to exploring the legal and educational challenges and opportunities thrown up by the current obligations. In addition, scholars from beyond the UK offer insights into the possibilities and dilemmas that the current statutory duties pose for schools and wider society. The aim of this book is to shine a light on an important issue that has often been neglected and ignored by policymakers.
Available for purchase here.
Peter Cumper is a Professor of Law at the University of Leicester.
Alison Mawhinney is a Reader in Law at Bangor University, Wales.