Camden councillor says schools without a waiver on Christian worship are ‘driving without a licence’

The meeting was held last night at Camden Town Hall. Photograph: Camden Council

A Camden councillor has compared schools which do not have a formal waiver on Christian worship to “driving on the roads without a licence or insurance”.

Cllr Julian Fulbrook was speaking at last night’s meeting of Camden Council’s Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE).

The council was discussing schools without a determination – the formal waiver given out by SACREs to free a school from having to offer worship “wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character”.

There are currently 12 schools in Camden without a determination, including three which used to have one but have let it expire without renewal.

Cllr Julian Fulbrook, who represents Camden Council on the borough’s SACRE, issued a call to action at last night’s meeting, saying that otherwise “kids are missing out”.

He said: “It is quite a worrying thing looking at the schools without determination and being in SACRE.

“It’s almost like driving on the roads without a licence or insurance.

“It’s quite a serious problem for the school if it’s inspected. It’s pretty important to have the appropriate piece of paper.”

He added: “I don’t understand, looking at some of the schools on this list without determination, and knowing some of the obvious religious backgrounds of some of these places, why on earth are they flying without a licence?

“I’ve been a governor of these schools, and I can’t believe that no-one raises this as an issue with the head of the chair of governors.”

Lesley Prior, the council’s professional advisor on SACRE, replied: “It’s a shame that we’ve got three on that list that have had them [determinations] in the past, and despite repeated attempts to contact them, they haven’t renewed.”

At the meeting, the SACRE agreed in principal to award a determination to Edith Neville Primary School near Kings Cross, despite some errors on its application, because of the diverse programme of religious education the majority-Muslim school is providing.