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Religious Education

Volume 173: debated on Friday 8 June 1990

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9.34 am

I have the honour to present a petition to the honourable Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, in the name of Mrs. Denise Bell of 42 Devonshire road, Ealing W5, and hundreds of my constituents and constituents throughout the borough of Ealing:

"The Humble Petition of the residents of the London Borough of Ealing sheweth
That the agreed syllabus of religious education for the London Borough of Ealing contains no specifically Christian content and that this contravenes the intention of your honourable House in passing Section 8 and Schedule 1 of the 1988 Education Reform Act requiring all new agreed syllabuses 'to reflect mainly Christian religious traditions'."
My constituents and the petitioners are concerned that the syllabus produced by the former Labour council in Ealing, but still in force, contains no reference to the Bible, Jesus or God and no formal or informal indication of what aspects of Christianity might be taught and how the subject might be taught. The petitioners seek not to exclude the teaching of other world religions in schools, but to have the founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ, mentioned in the syllabus in which Christianity is required to be central, and they are determined about it. They look to the Secretary of State for Education and Science, to the House and to the Government to direct that changes be made. The new council shows sympathy to the petitioners' attitude. They hope that the Government and the council will come together and produce a syllabus which is directly Christian-centred but not exclusively so. The petition concludes:
Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your honourable House will urge the Secretary of State for Education to direct Ealing local education authority immediately to withdraw its agreed syllabus and adopt a new agreed syllabus with clear and specific Christian content.
And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.

To lie upon the Table.