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Secular Schools

Volume 451: debated on Tuesday 7 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether his Department has estimated the (a) demand for and (b) availability of (i) atheist and (ii) secular education. (99827)

No. It is for local authorities to plan and secure the provision of schools in their area which are sufficient in number, character and equipment to provide for all pupils the opportunity of appropriate education. The Education and Inspections Bill adds further focus to these duties, requiring local authorities to secure diversity and increase parental choice when planning the provision of school places.

Around two-thirds of maintained schools in England do not have a religious character. All schools, regardless of whether they have a religious character, are required to contribute to the moral and spiritual development of their pupils, to teach religious education and to hold a daily act of religious worship.