asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what guidelines are issued by his Department for the provision of and instruction in religious education in all schools.
The place and nature of religious education in the curriculum of maintained schools are governed by the relevant provisions of the Education Act 1944. "The School Curriculum", published in 1981 by the Department of Education and Science and the Welsh Office, set out the Government's views in these terms:
"The place of religious education in the curriculum and its unique statutory position accord with a widely shared view that the subject has a distinctive contribution to make to a pupil's school education. It provides an introduction to the religious and spiritual areas of experience and particularly to the Christian tradition which has profoundly affected our culture. It forms part of the curriculum's concern with personal and social values, and can help pupils to understand the religious and cultural diversity of contemporary society. The Secretaries of State consider that local education authorities should keep under review the provision made for religious education, bearing in mind the requirements of the Education Act 1944 as regards collective acts of worship and religious instruction; and that they should also reconsider from time to time the appropriateness of the Agreed Syllabus for their area in the light of the needs of particular groups of pupils and changes in the society in which the pupils are growing up."