To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has as to the extent to which the requirement of the Education Act 1944, for a daily period of religious education to take place in maintained schools, is being observed.
There is no requirement in the 1944 Education Act for a daily period of religious education in maintained schools. Section 25(2) of the Act provides that religious instruction shall be given in every county and voluntary school. Section 26 and schedule 5 of the Act require that such instruction in county schools is given in accordance with an agreed syllabus, determined by a conference appointed by the local education authority. The evidence available suggests that a small minority of county schools may not be providing religious instruction in accordance with their locally agreed syllabus. Clauses 6 and 15 of the Education Reform Bill are designed to reinforce the relevant requirements of the 1944 Act.