Community Education Government Stormont

Allister Highlights Legal Duty on Schools Relating to Religious Education

Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:

“Last week the University of Ulster published an Integrated Education Fund funded report calling for the repeal of legislation requiring “Christian focused” RE lessons and worship in schools. This anti-God agenda amounts to a direct assault on the established ethos of schools throughout Northern Ireland. An important fact which is all too often overlooked when it comes to discussions on this issue is that many controlled schools were originally run by various Protestant churches in Northern Ireland before they were handed over to the state. This is an important fact to remember when one is discussing a proposal which would do away with God in the classroom and the assembly hall, despite the existing right to parental opt-out.

“Many schools and families continue to recognise the value of including Christian instruction as part of the school day. Faith remains an important part of the identity of schools and children are more likely to develop as citizens when they have a clear values system which informs their actions towards others and their behaviour in society as a whole. Christian faith has been a cornerstone of education for many hundreds of years and has helped create the society in which we live.

“I have therefore tabled a question to the Education Minister reminding her of the statutory duty of schools to provide Christian focused religious instruction and acts of worship and asking her to commit to its retention”.

To ask the Education Minister is she committed to retaining the statutory provisions protecting religious education in Articles 21 and 22 of The Education and Libraries (NI) Order 1986.


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