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Parents withdraw Judicial Review claim

Burford Primary School court case dropped

Earlier this year the parents of two children at Burford Primary School sought a Judicial Review of the arrangements for children withdrawn from weekly collective worship. The claimants, who were backed by Humanists UK, have now withdrawn their application for Judicial Review.

ODST and Burford Primary School have always acted in the best interests of children, and, without accepting any liability, have made an out-of-court agreement to ensure we safeguard public funds for the education of children. Burford Primary School will not need to pay any legal costs.

ODST have agreed some specific arrangements for the claimants’ children when they are withdrawn from collective worship and are able to provide some appropriate resources for them. Burford Primary is a small, happy and successful school, which will continue to provide collective worship, alongside a broad, balanced and inclusive curriculum.

Anne Dellar, CEO Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST) said:


“A small community school has been placed at the sharp end of a national campaign. At a time when school funds are stretched ODST took the pragmatic decision to avoid wholly unnecessary court costs. A short term child-specific arrangement has been agreed between ODST and the parents of two children attending Burford Primary School. The arrangement will lapse when the youngest of the two children leave the school. Burford Primary School is not offering an alternative assembly; rather, a small number of children who are withdrawn from collective worship will be able to access alternative materials, overseen by a teacher. Burford Primary School is a happy, successful and inclusive school. While recognising every parent's right to withdraw their child from collective worship, we are saddened that this case has diverted valuable funds and staff time.”


The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, adds:


“From reading with children to organising assemblies and talks, input from the local community and volunteers enhances the life of every school, including community schools. Members of local churches play a valuable role in communities across the country. The Church of England has always worked to enable the best education for all children, motivated by our deep Christian values and recognising the changing, diverse society we serve. We will continue to do so.”


‘At Burford Primary School the needs of children sit firmly at the heart of decision making. We are successful in offering broad cultural and academic experiences, and last year Ofsted highlighted how our pupils ‘’speak with confidence about different faiths and cultures’’, ‘’have a keen sense of equalities’’ and demonstrate ‘’a deep understanding of British Values’’.

For media enquiries please contact:

Jennifer Payne, Communications officer, ODST, 01865 202737 / 07825059040

Download the full out-of-court agreement: