Church leaders urge the return of religious assemblies in public schools

.- Christian leaders in Britain have urged the country’s new education secretary, Alan Johnson, to restore daily acts of worship in schools.

By law, public schools must organize daily acts of worship, which are "wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character.” Usually, there are daily school assemblies or a class gathering with a spiritual theme. However, this practice has become less and less common in high schools.

In a joint letter to the new education secretary, senior representatives of the Anglican, Catholic, Methodist and Baptist churches said secondary schools were limiting children's "spiritual and moral" development by failing to organize daily acts of worship. They called on Johnson to act to restore "an important part of pupils' entitlement in school,” reported the Guardian.

In a joint statement accompanying the letter, the churches said collective worship helped "equip young people to understand more about themselves, foster a sense of the aesthetic and to cope with life-changing moments".

"We strongly support the continuation of collective worship in all schools, recognizing the major contribution it makes to the spiritual and moral development of pupils, which is a prime goal of education," the statement said.

It also said teacher-training should include how to lead collective worship.

A spokesman for the Department for Education and Skills told the Guardian that collective worship was important to help promote tolerance and understanding among students.

"Every maintained school, by law, must provide religious education and a daily act of collective worship for all its pupils. It is the responsibility of the headteacher, governors and local authorities to make sure these are carried out," the spokesman reportedly said.

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