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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 25 July, 2001, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Religious schools
At first, education was largely conducted by the religious establishment. The cornerstone of the modern system was laid by the Elementary Education Act of 1870, which enshrined the principle that the system of elementary schools should be the responsibility of the state.

The 1944 Education Act continued this work, although Church of England and other religious schools have remained in operation. The 1944 Act required every state-aided primary and secondary school to begin the day with collective worship on the part of all pupils, and with religious instruction in every such school.

Religious instruction continues to be given in both fully maintained and state-aided voluntary schools, and opportunities exist for religious training beyond the daily worship and minimum required instruction.

In many schools, the religious offering has become non-denominational, and in areas of high non-Christian immigration, consideration may be given to alternative religious provision. For example, in the summer term of 1998, Islamia primary school in Brent became the first Muslim school to join the state sector.

The government has decided that proposals from independent promoters to set up schools in the maintained sector will be considered on a number of grounds, including:

  • provision of a good standard of education
  • delivery of the national curriculum
  • the appointment of qualified staff
  • equal opportunities for girls and boys
  • competent management and viable finance
  • suitable buildings for the school
  • the extent of parental demand and the need for new places in an area
  • cost implications.

    The range of religious schools includes Church of England, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh.

    The government has said it is happy to see more single faith secondary schools.

    The Church of England is hoping to create 100.

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