Amendment 30

Schools Bill [HL] - Report (1st Day) – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 12th July 2022.

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Baroness Meacher:

Moved by Baroness Meacher

30: After Clause 27, insert the following new Clause—“Religion and worldviews education(1) The proprietor of an Academy school without a religious character must exercise its functions with a view to securing, and its principal must secure, that religion and worldviews education is provided to all pupils at the school.(2) The religion and worldviews education required under this section must—(a) reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian,(b) take account of the teachings of the other principal religions and non-religious beliefs represented in Great Britain, and the beliefs and practices of their adherents, and(c) be designed and taught in a manner that is objective, critical and pluralistic.(3) In subsection (2)(b), the reference to non-religious beliefs is to explicitly non-religious philosophical convictions, within the meaning of Article 2 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights, that are analogous to religions.(4) In this section, “the European Convention on Human Rights” means the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, agreed by the Council of Europe at Rome on 4 November 1950, as it has effect for the time being in relation to the United Kingdom, and “the First Protocol”, in relation to that Convention, means the protocol to the Convention agreed at Paris on 20 March 1952.(5) A provision of an Academy agreement or master agreement (including an agreement entered into before this section comes into force) is void so far as it is inconsistent with any provision made by or under this section.”Member's explanatory statementThis replaces religious education in Academies without a religious character with religion and worldviews, which is explicitly inclusive of non-religious beliefs and is explicitly required to be objective, critical and pluralistic.

Photo of Baroness Meacher Baroness Meacher Crossbench

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in this debate. I particularly thank the noble Lord, Lord Storey, and the Liberal Democrat Benches for their support. I am aware that the Labour Party is having a free vote on this amendment—out of respect for its Catholic members, perhaps. I very much thank the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham for his comments and for noting the fact that our only differences are those of timing. Bearing in mind the amount of time that legislation takes, if we miss this opportunity in the Bill, it will be many years before we have another one to recognise that schools that do not teach religion and worldviews are breaching human rights. We have legal cases that make this very clear and we have the example of Wales, which has put things right. I feel obliged to test the opinion of the House.

Ayes 82, Noes 145.

Division number 1 Schools Bill [HL] - Report (1st Day) — Amendment 30

Aye: 80 Members of the House of Lords

No: 143 Members of the House of Lords

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Nos: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Amendment 30 disagreed.

Clause 28: Academy grammar schools