All 1 Debates between Baroness Flather and Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds

Mon 24th Oct 2011

Education Bill

Debate between Baroness Flather and Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds
Monday 24th October 2011

(12 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds Portrait The Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds
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I still think that the amendment is undesirable and I think that the noble Lord does so, too.

The main point is that within the maintained sector we have a dual system in a country where more than 70 per cent of people describe themselves as Christian, and it serves very well the duality of purpose in terms of the whole development of the child. It is a system that has led to significant degrees of integration within our communities, and much of that has been led by faith schools. I hope that we shall reject these amendments and that we shall do so in the cause of community integration.

Baroness Flather Portrait Baroness Flather
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My Lords, I should like to make a few points on this subject. I think that we should turn the issue round a bit and ask ourselves what the 15 year-old derives from morning collective worship. I heard what the right reverend Prelate said about primary schools. It is much more likely that children at primary school will accept whatever is said to them, but these days in secondary school children are open to a lot of experiences, which was not the case, say, 20 or 30 years ago. I think that we need to see whether morning collective worship is still relevant to children. The question regarding these amendments is: are they relevant to young people? They are of course relevant to a Christian country but at the moment the practice of Christianity in this country is not really in your face. Falling levels of church attendance and so on are happening all around us.

From my days at school I remember that we always met for assembly in the morning. Everyone had to go. We did not have worship. We had something that taught us about life, behaviour, ethics, and right and wrong, but it was not geared to a particular faith. I still believe it would be far more useful if all the young people in a secondary school came together and discussed issues that are relevant to their everyday life, not something that is many steps away from them.