An overwhelming majority of parents support the continuation of collective acts of worship in the country’s Catholic schools, the latest research has found.
The data, revealed as part of the Catholic Schools Census, shows that 99.95% of non-Catholic parents support the provision of collective acts of worship in their child’s Catholic school.
Of the near 290,000 pupils in English and Welsh Catholic schools from other faiths or none, just 0.05% were withdrawn from collective acts of worship, such as prayers in assemblies, Nativity plays and Masses.
Over the last five years there has been an eight per cent increase in the number of pupils in Catholic schools in England and Wales with the current total sitting at 852,321. That is one in every ten pupils nationally.
Paul Barber, Director of the Catholic Education Service commented: “Collective worship is one of the foundations upon which our schools are built.
“Although it is a statutory requirement for all schools, collective worship is an integral part of life in a Catholic school. It is crucial to the spiritual life of the school and to pupils’ moral and spiritual development.
“Throughout the year, Catholic school communities come together to celebrate important events in the Church’s calendar, as well as the start and end of the academic year. Through regular prayer and worship, including Mass, the rhythm of the Church’s year becomes a normal part of school life.
“Whilst it’s important that schools make it clear to parents that they’re able to withdraw their child from acts of collective worship, it is encouraging to see that the overwhelming majority of parents in Catholic schools don’t.
“Too often we are led to believe that there is no longer an appetite for collective acts of Christian worship in schools, but these figures vindicate the continued existence of these practices.”
Notes to Editors
There are more than 2200 Catholic Schools in England and Wales.
The Catholic sector is the second largest provider of education and currently educates 852,31 pupils.