§ Sir John Farr
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has as to the extent to which the requirement of the Education Act 1944, for a daily period of religious education to take place in maintained schools, is being observed.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
There is no requirement in the 1944 Education Act for a daily period of religious education in maintained schools. Section 25(2) of the Act provides that religious instruction shall be given in every county and voluntary school. Section 26 and schedule 5 of the Act require that such instruction in county schools is given in accordance with an agreed syllabus, determined by a conference appointed by the local education authority. The evidence available suggests that a small minority of county schools may not be providing religious instruction in accordance with their locally agreed syllabus. Clauses 6 and 15 of the Education Reform Bill are designed to reinforce the relevant requirements of the 1944 Act.