Why do Christians want Christian prayers removed from UK schools?

Since the 1988 Education Reform Act, all public schools in the United Kingdom have been required to have some form of Christian prayers invoked during school days. However, few schools actually participate in the act, citing the fact that there is not enough time in the day or staff members who are willing to actually lead the prayers. This has led to many groups proposing that prayers are removed from the schools entirely, a sentiment that has been gaining significant traction.


While it is law that all schools offer an assembly for the purpose of holding Christian prayers, a recent survey has come to the conclusion that upwards of two thirds of all schools do not engage in any form of prayer. Many parents, students, and even school administrators show a lax attitude towards the implementation of prayer, but others feel that the law is being flouted. After all, if it is mandatory yet not enforced, the law becomes more of a suggestion. The advocates for the enforcement of the 1988 Education Reform Act say that while the law is based in religion, the message provided by daily prayer is an important statement for students to hear.


There are many groups with a variety of reasons for wanting to put an end to Christian prayers in schools. Of course there are teachers throughout the United Kingdom who have expressed discomfort at the idea of leading a prayer, being that they are not members of the church. However, there is another group that is leading the argument against in-school prayers that has been turning heads: The Church of England.

The Christian element has expressed two primary complaints about having prayers in school. First, as stated by the Bishop of Oxford, Rev John Pritchard, the days of having mandatory Christian prayers was suited for a time when the religion was more homogenous and widespread. The message, he says, is lost on those who do not share the specific Christian outlook or have no faith of any kind. The other reason that Christians believe that prayer should be eliminated from schools is that it can put teachers who are not Christians in the position of saying the prayers for students. Several members of the Church have expressed a certain degree of discomfort with non-religious individuals giving half-hearted prayers because it takes away the spirituality that they are supposed to offer.


While the government has not released a definitive position concerning the disregard for this particular law, the secular and modern Christian position seems to indicate that it may be time to put this law to rest. As the socio-religious climate continues to become more complex and diversified, fewer practicing Christians feel compelled to pray in a public space. Whether the law is just a remnant of a bygone era or a symbol of changing social attitudes, it seems that most individuals are comfortable with letting it remain unenforced.