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UK News

Headteacher tries to invoke UN convention to stop worship music in school

by Sophie Drew

A headteacher attempted to invoke a UN convention to avoid singing Christian hymns at a religiously diverse infant school, but was rejected. 

A third of students at Poulner Infant School, in Hampshire, have Christian parents, but head Jo Conner -  a humanist - believes that singing Christian hymns infringes on the 'human rights' of non-Christian students. 

At present, all schools must provide an opportunity for collective worship to promote spiritual development. 

The songs must be "wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character".

However, schools may apply for an exemption in particular circumstances. 

She sought an exemption to the rules, claiming that singing Christian hymns is inappropriate considering the religious backgrounds of the other two thirds of the students, and means school assemblies cannot be 'inclusive'.

The school hasn't had any complaints from parents in relation to the worship music.

The Hampshire branch of the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education rejected the school's application.

They said: "It was noted that, according to the application, 34 per cent of parents at Poulner Infant School identified themselves as Christian, the largest religious group. 

"Furthermore, that any parent had a right to withdraw their child from collective worship but no withdrawals had been recorded by the school."

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