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[As Introduced]

A

bill

to

Amend the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 to make provision regarding assemblies at state schools without a designated religious character in England; to repeal the requirement for those schools to hold collective worship; and for connected purposes.

B e it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 Entitlement to spiritual, moral, social and cultural education in assemblies

(1)

Chapter VI of Part II of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998
(religious education and worship) is amended as follows.

(2)

For section 70(1) (requirements relating to collective worship) substitute—


“(1)

Subject to section 71, each pupil in attendance at—


(a)

a community, foundation or voluntary school in Wales,


(b)

a foundation or voluntary school in England which is
designated with a religious character, or


(c)

an Academy in England which is designated with a religious
character,


must on each school day take part in an act of collective worship.”

(3)

In section 70(2), for “community, foundation or voluntary school”, substitute
“school to which subsection (1) applies”.

(4)

 After section 70, insert—


“70A
 Requirements relating to assemblies


(1)

 This section applies to schools in England that are—


(a)

maintained schools without a religious character;


(b)

 non-maintained special schools;


(c)

 City Technology Colleges; and


(d)

Academies without a religious character.


(2)

Each pupil in attendance at a school to which this section applies must
on each school day take part in an assembly which is principally
directed towards furthering the spiritual, moral, social and cultural
education of the pupils regardless of religion or belief.


(3)

Subject to subsection (4), no acts of worship or other religious
observance may be organised by or on behalf of a school (whether or
not forming part of the curriculum) in schools to which this section
applies.


(4)

Staff or pupils of a school may arrange voluntary acts of worship on
school premises, provided that—


(a)

subject to paragraph (b), pupils are permitted to decide whether
to attend any such acts of worship; and


(b)

for pupils aged under 16, a parent or guardian may request
that their child should not attend.


(5)

In relation to any school to which this section applies—


(a)

the local authority responsible for education (in the case of
maintained schools) and the governing body must exercise
their functions with a view to securing, and


(b)

the head teacher must secure,


that subsections (2) and (3) are complied with.”

2 Consequential amendments 


The Schedule to this Act has effect.

3 Extent, commencement and short title 

(1)

 This Act extends to England and Wales only.

(2)

This Act comes into force on the first day of September following the day on
which it is passed.

(3)

This Act may be cited as the Education (Assemblies) Act 2021.

Schedule Consequential amendments

School Standards and Framework Act 1998 

1

The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 is amended as follows.

2

In section 71(1A) (exceptions and special arrangements; provision for special
schools), after “voluntary school”, insert “in Wales”.

3

After section 71(1A) insert—


“(1AA)

If the parent of any pupil other than a sixth-form pupil at—


(a)

a voluntary or foundation school in England which is
designated with a religious character, or


(b)

an Academy in England which is designated with a religious
character,


requests that he or she may be wholly or partly excused from
attendance at any acts of worship or other religious observance
organised by or on behalf of a school (whether or not forming part
of the curriculum), the pupil shall be so excused until the request
is withdrawn.”

4

 For section 71(1B), after “voluntary school”, insert “in Wales”.

5

 After section 71(1B) insert— 


“(1C)

If a sixth-form pupil at—


(a)

a voluntary or foundation school in England which is
designated with a religious character, or


(b)

an Academy in England which is designated with a religious
character,


requests that he or she may be wholly or partly excused from
attendance at any acts of worship or other religious observance
organised by or on behalf of a school (whether or not forming part
of the curriculum), the pupil shall be so excused until the request
is withdrawn.


(1D)

For any pupils who have been withdrawn from attendance at any
acts of worship or other religious observance organised by or on
behalf of a school, the school must provide an assembly of equal
educational worth, which shall be principally directed towards
furthering the spiritual, moral, social and cultural education of the
pupils.”

6

In section 71(7)(b), before “attends” insert “, in Wales,”.

7

Schedule 20 (collective worship) is amended as follows.

8

For paragraph 2(1) (general provisions as to collective worship) substitute—


“(1)

 This paragraph applies to—


(a)

any community, foundation or voluntary school in Wales,


(b)

any voluntary or foundation school in England which is
designated with a religious character, and


(c)

any Academy in England which is designated with a
religious character.”

9

For paragraph 3(1) (nature of collective worship in community schools and
foundation schools without a religious character), substitute—


“(1)

This paragraph applies to—


(a)

any community school; and


(b)

any foundation school which does not have a religious
character,


in Wales.”

Education Act 1996

10

The Education Act 1996 is amended as follows.

11

For section 342(5A), substitute—


“(5A)

Regulations shall make provision for securing that, so far as
practicable, every pupil attending a school in England that is
approved under this section receives religious education unless
withdrawn from receiving such education in accordance with the
wishes of the pupil’s parent.”

12

In section 391(1)(a)(i), at the start insert “in Wales,”.

13

In section 394(1), for “The council”, substitute “In Wales, the council”.

14

In section 578, after “2018” insert—  


“Education (Assemblies) Act 2021”

Education (Special Educational Needs) (England) (Consolidation) Regulations 2001 (S.I. 2001/3455)

15

For regulation 5A of the Education (Special Educational Needs) (England)
(Consolidation) Regulations 2001 (S.I. 2001/3455), substitute—


“(5A)

Arrangements must be made to ensure that, so far as practicable,
every pupil attending a maintained special school receives religious
education unless withdrawn from receiving such education in
accordance with the wishes of his or her parent.”

Education (Non-Maintained Special Schools) (England) Regulations 2011 (S.I. 2011/1627)

16

For paragraph 24 of the Schedule to the Education (Non-Maintained Special
Schools) (England) Regulations 2011 (S.I. 2011/1627), substitute—


“(24)

Arrangements must be made to ensure, so far as is practicable, that
every registered pupil at the school receives religious education,
unless withdrawn from receiving such education in accordance with
the wishes of the pupil’s parent.”

Equality Act 2010

17

The Equality Act 2010 is amended as follows.

18

In paragraph 11(c) of Schedule 3 (services and public functions: exceptions),
after “curriculum)” insert “that is—


(i)

in Scotland or Wales,


(ii)

a voluntary or foundation school in England which
is designated with a religious character, or


(iii)

an Academy in England which is designated with a
religious character”.

19

In paragraph 6 of Schedule 11 (curriculum, worship, etc.), after “school”
insert “that is—


(i)

in Scotland or Wales,


(ii)

a voluntary or foundation school in England which
is designated with a religious character, or


(iii)

an Academy in England which is designated with a
religious character”.

Education (Assemblies) Bill [HL]
[As Introduced]

A

bill

to

Amend the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 to make provision regarding assemblies at state schools without a designated religious character in England; to repeal the requirement for those schools to hold collective worship; and for connected purposes.

Baroness Burt of Solihull

Ordered to be Printed, .

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