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Education (Assemblies) Bill [HL]

Volume 816: debated on Wednesday 8 December 2021

Third Reading


Moved by

My Lords, in moving that this Bill do now pass, can I just say how delighted I am that this landmark Bill has reached Third Reading and will shortly conclude its journey through this place? I am grateful for the wide support it has received from noble Lords and from Humanists UK, which has assisted me throughout.

Colleagues have rightly recognised the importance of enabling children to take part in inclusive assemblies as part of their school day, and the pressing need to address the current injustice whereby those children who do not wish to take part in collective worship can at best be left twiddling their thumbs and at worst be ostracised from their peers, while the structured school day carries on without them.

The UK is the only sovereign state in the world to impose worship in all state schools, including those without a religious character. This Bill would free up schools to hold assemblies on topics parents want to see covered and uphold children’s rights to an inclusive education. It would also reflect the recommendations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which has urged the UK to repeal these collective worship laws.

Finally, I just place on the record my heartfelt thanks to all noble Lords who have engaged with this Bill throughout its progress. It has led to robust and stimulating debate about the moral framework within which we educate our children. I wish the Bill well on its next stages in the other place, where the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group, Crispin Blunt, intends to pick it up. Meanwhile, I beg to move

Bill passed and sent to the Commons.