Tag Archives: life

Pupils step back in time during trip to museum

IT was a trip back to yesteryear for youngsters at Eastburn Junior and Infant School who were treated to a trek through history at Bradford Industrial Museum.

The Learning History Day at the museum in Moorside Road, Eccleshill, was a first for the Year 1 pupils who were shown how life was very different many years ago and how technology today has made a lot of household jobs so much easier.

Teacher Sarah Rook said: “The school chose Bradford Industrial Museum because we are developing an awareness of the past in history, particularly comparing transport and technology.

“The children really enjoyed soaking, starching, scrubbing and finally plunging clothes into a dolly tub before using a mangle, not a washing machine and dryer.

“They were also fascinated that so many people used to live in such a tiny room.

“We also looked at the cars, buses and model trams, in addition to comparing the different rooms with our own. No one could see a television or tablet.”

The museum has permanent displays of textile machinery, steam power, engineering, printing machinery and motor vehicles, along with an exciting exhibitions programme.

Visitors can also see Moorside House where the mill manager lived, or visit the mill workers’ terraced houses dressed to reflect three different time periods.


Model Chloe Ayling kidnap case a publicity stunt, court told

Lukasz Herba and brother Michael HerbaImage copyright Italian Police
Image caption Lukasz Herba, left, and his brother Michal are suspects in the alleged kidnap

Lawyers for the brother of the alleged captor of British model Chloe Ayling say the entire case could be a “sham”, invented as a “publicity stunt”.

Michal Konrad Herba, 36, is accused of conspiring with his brother Lukasz Herba, who is in custody in Italy, to abduct 20-year-old Ms Ayling.

His lawyer told the extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court that the case had a “set of anomalies”. Mr Herba has denied involvement.

The court is set to rule on Friday.

Prosecutor Florence Iveson said Mr Herba has been requested by the court of Milan in relation to a single offence of kidnapping arising from events between 11 and 17 July.

“The allegation is that Mr Herba acted in complicity with his brother, Lukasz Herba, and other unidentified persons to kidnap the victim in Milan,” she said.

“It is said she was drugged and kidnapped and a 300,000 euros (£270,000) ransom was demanded.”

Michal Herba has been in custody since his arrest in the Tividale area of Sandwell, West Midlands, in August.

‘Tabloid press release’

Ms Ayling has said she was drugged and bundled into the boot of a car after being tricked into attending a bogus photo shoot in Milan on 11 July.

But Michal Herba’s lawyer, George Hepburne Scott, said: “There is a real risk that the entire case is a sham.”

Referring to “open source material”, Mr Scott said: “The same complainant, it seems, generated publicity from the fact she was near the scene of a terrorist attack at the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

“Prior to the release of the complainant, the kidnapper apparently issued a press release to a tabloid newspaper setting out that this lady was being held for auction.”

He told the court of an alleged incident during which Ms Ayling and her captor went shopping for shoes and called it a “wholly anomalous feature of a hostage situation”.

She also went to breakfast with the kidnapper before her release when they found the British consulate was closed, Mr Scott added.

“This case has a unique set of anomalies which might lead to the conclusion that the Italian authorities have been duped and that their process has been abused,” Mr Scott told the district judge.

Michael Herba’s lawyers argued that any extradition could breach his right to a family life under the Human Rights Act, as he has a heavily pregnant girlfriend in the UK.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Speaking after the alleged abduction, Ms Ayling said she feared for her life

Mr Scott also said there was a lack of “particularity” in the allegations, which refer to a “strong body of evidence”, including DNA samples, statements from the victim, and telephone wire taps.

District Judge Paul Goldspring said much of the material relied on by Mr Scott came from press reports, which he said did not prove any of the theories in the case.

Ms Ayling, from Coulsdon, south London, says she travelled to Milan on 10 July for a photo shoot.

Italian police say she was attacked by two men, drugged with ketamine and abducted, apparently to be sold in an online auction.

She is believed to have been transported in a bag to an isolated village near Turin, but was released on 17 July.

Speaking after the alleged abduction, Ms Ayling said she feared for her life throughout the “terrifying experience”.

“I’m incredibly grateful to the Italian and UK authorities for all they have done to secure my safe release,” she said.

Cricket club bans nuts from premises after quick-thinking players avert ‘much worse incident’

NUTS have been banned from Keighley Cricket Club.

The move follows an incident in which peanuts were taken into the changing rooms, endangering a player’s life.

Batsman Martin Walker has a severe allergy to any nut, and a junior player also suffers with the same condition.

The club has announced the ban, plus an end to any food and drink in the changing rooms, from next season.

In a posting on the club’s website, secretary Jo Walker said: “It has come to the attention of the committee, there was an incident where peanuts were brought into the changing rooms.

“Many of the team players are aware Martin Walker has a severe allergy to peanuts and any other nuts.

“It was only down to a few quick thinking players that thankfully a worse incident did not happen.

“Due to this, it has been proposed and agreed that from the beginning of the 2018 season, peanuts or any other nuts will no longer be sold at KCC or allowed to be brought into the facilities.

“Furthermore, food and drink will not be able to be brought into the changing room facilities – there is plenty of seating within the bar area and upstairs facilities.”

Vulcan Bomber brought to life in virtual tour

Aircraft enthusiasts can get a unique insight into the workings of a former RAF plane in a newly-developed virtual tour.

Viewers can glimpse in the cockpit of the Vulcan XL426 and even feel like they are walking on its wings.

It was last flown in 1986 and is based in a hangar at London Southend Airport.

The full virtual tour can be viewed here.

DAYS OUT: Plenty to see and do at one of the world’s most beautiful abbeys

IT IS easy to leave your worries behind on a day out at Fountains Abbey.

In its secluded valley setting, you can lose yourself as you wander beside the abbey ruins and along to Studley Royal water gardens.

With the exception of rooks cawing as they wheel overhead, the peace and tranquillity envelopes you in the short walk down the hill from the visitor centre.

Among the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England, the Grade l listed abbey is an awe-inspiring sight. Owned and managed by the National Trust, the attraction forms part of Studley Royal Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This is my favourite time of year for visiting, with mists hanging above the ponds and smells of mellow fruitfulness in the air.

Visitors can look around the abbey, admiring the amazing craftsmanship, from the cloister to the infirmary, the chapter house and magnificent south aisle of the church with its towering stone arches. Then walk along to the ponds with their mirror surface and elegant statues.

It is well worth taking a walk through the woods on the valley side, along clearly marked paths, to view the abbey and River Skell from above – a beautiful sight in all weathers.

Throughout the year there are many events at Fountains Abbey, most of which are free and some which do involve paying to enter the site.

Autumn deer watch is a free guided walk through the medieval deer park which adjoins Studley Royal, where the animals roam freely. Visitors can see and hear the sights and sounds of the ‘rut’ as the stags and bucks compete for the does and hinds. It is fascinating to see red stags as they scoop up foliage to adorn their antlers and begin to roar. At the beginning of October, some may already be starting to lock antlers and at the end of the month all the deer will be ‘rutting.’

The annual rut is primarily about showing off – posturing between rival stags to gain dominance and win a harem of does. Visual displays include the antlers themselves and parallel walking, in which two stags strut side by side to assess each other’s status. The main sound is bellowing, often several times a minute, combined with low grunts. The sound brings hinds into heat.

If you fancy a decent walk tomorrow, ‘the monks’ way’ there’s a guided 7.5mile route starting at Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal visitor centre, through the surrounding landscape across to Brimham Rocks. The party then catches the Nidderdale Rambler bus back. Starting at 12 noon, the walk is free but booking is essential.

Abbey and water garden tours allow you to discover how the ruins were given a new lease of life in the 18th century and cleverly incorporated into the Studley Royal water garden.

On Saturday evenings throughout October visitors can experience something truly spectacular as you explore the illuminated ruins of the abbey in ‘Fountains by Floodlight.’

The atmospheric live performance from local choirs beneath the spectacular vaulted ceiling of the cellarium is one of the most memorable events you will witness. It is a feast for all the senses.

You can dress up as a monk for the evening on a family abbey tour. Get into character, slip on a habit and step back in time to find out what it would have been like to be a monk at Fountains Abbey.

Abbey tea room stays open late so you can warm up with hot drinks and light bites. Or you can grab a burger, soup or pulled pork sandwich from the tearoom barbecue.

Children will love the attraction’s play area. Made by Flights of Fantasy, the custom built design includes a mini wooden abbey, resembling Fountains itself.

Situated close to the visitor centre – which has a shop and a wonderful restaurant – it includes a zipwire, scramble nets and posts, swings, fireman’s poles, a woodland house, a slide and a wobbly bridge. There’s also sensory equipment such as chimes, a ball roll and skittles,

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal is open daily from 10am to 6pm (last admission 5pm), and is free to National Trust members. The restaurant and shop close earlier. Times are on the website.

Fountains Abbey, Ripon HG4 3DY.
01765 608888

Rounding up

£1 coin

The round £1 coin will soon lose its status as legal tender. In practice, shops can refuse to accept these coins from 16 October.

They have been used alongside the new 12-sided £1 coin since March – a period called co-circulation.

Now, there is not long left to spend, bank, exchange or donate old pounds coins but, first, you have to find them.

The Treasury and Royal Mint estimate that around 500 million round pounds are still out there somewhere.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionA brief history of decimal coins

Rounding them up

Those old, round £1 coins might be lurking somewhere around the house. Chris Bird, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Sussex, says one way to find them is to visualise a situation when you had a handful of loose change.

“We can use our memory to imagine situations when we would use them and where we would leave them,” he says.

“That is what the memory is for. We use our memory to make decisions in the now and in the future.”

He says that a fairly recent discovery reveals that we use the same part of our brain to remember the past as we do to imagine ourselves in a certain situation.

So the same mechanism in the brain’s memory system allows us not only to travel back, but also to consider the present or the future.

The other way to find those old coins, according to Mr Bird, is simply to check all of the places that you know are where you commonly keep change.

So here is a handy list of 10 places to look:

1. A wallet or purse

Sometimes the most obvious is the last place you look. Shops can give the round £1 coins as change until 16 October, so they could be popped into a wallet or purse in a rush.

The Royal Mint has been encouraging shops to bag the round pounds separately so, when they are banked, they are taken out of circulation.

2. Down the back of the sofa

Image copyright Getty Images

The most clichéd answer to the question of where to find loose change. Honestly, when was the last time you found coins down there? But when was the last time you looked?

It is probably worth checking in the next few days, along with armchairs, and beds. Even if you do not find any money, you may come across the remote control for the DVD player.

3. Supermarket bag for life

You have finished your Friday night big shop and you are about to carry your groceries to the bus or car, but first you lock up the supermarket trolley and your £1 coin pops out of the mechanism. Into the bag for life it goes. Perhaps it is still there? If the bag really is for life, then it might be sitting in the back of the cupboard under the stairs.

Most supermarket trolleys have now been altered to accept the new 12-sided £1 coin, but there was a delay at Tesco when the new coin was launched in March.

4. Big night out handbag

Image copyright Getty Images

It is only used on special occasions, so it might be at the back of the wardrobe or hanging on a peg behind a few coats. The chances are that there is still a bit of cash in there, maybe some change from the bar or the taxi home.

If you go out a lot, you will have found the cash already. If you have young children, then the last big night was probably months ago.

5. Winter coat pocket

While you are still at the back of the wardrobe, why not check the pockets of your winter coats.

It is unlikely that they have been worn since the new 12-sided £1 coin entered circulation on 28 March, and they might not be worn again before 16 October.

The old £1 coins cannot be spent in the shops after that date, but they can continue to be deposited into an account at most High Street banks and the Post Office for the foreseeable future.

6. The top drawer

Image copyright Getty Images

Any top drawer around the house seems a natural place to throw some loose change – even if it has socks in it.

It might also be the chance to declutter. Is the only reason that the top drawer is always overflowing while the bottom is fine simply because we are too lazy to bend down?

7. Children’s piggy banks

Children’s financial habits are formed by the age of seven, according to the government-backed Money Advice Service. So if your children are super savers, then there could be quite a few £1 coins in their piggy banks.

Junior savings accounts can generally be opened with as little as £1, to keep that savings habit going. It may be a chance for the youngsters to spend the fruits of their savings labours before there is a scene in the toy shop when the cashier refuses an old, lovingly saved £1 coin.

It is worth remembering too that tooth fairies should no longer use old, round £1 coins from 16 October.

8. A charity pot

Image copyright HM Treasury

Many homes will have a charity pot of some kind, ranging from those big glass bottles to a cardboard shoe box.

The UK Treasury and the Royal Mint have joined forces with the BBC‘s Children in Need appeal to ask anyone who finds some old £1 coins to donate them to the charity.

“We are encouraging everyone who can, to promise their round pounds to Pudsey,” says Andrew Jones, exchequer secretary to the Treasury.

9. Car glove compartment

There are probably many more coins in vehicle glove compartments than gloves.

A recent survey by the AA motoring organisation suggested drivers have been avoiding parking spots that require payment by phone as cash remained a more popular way to pay.

Many drivers keep coins in the glove compartment for parking fares, and in that little well by the gear stick that is designed to hold cups.

10. Gym kit bag

Image copyright Getty Images

Attendance at the gym or sports centre may have waned a little since the subscription was bought with good intentions in the new year.

The gym bag may actually have been unopened throughout the summer. In which case, the £1 coins for the locker may be old round ones, rather than new 12-sided ones. Dig them out, pop them in the bank, and save them ready for January’s subscription renewal, when the good intentions start all over again.

The new £1 coin: Vital statistics

Image copyright PA

Thickness: 2.8mm – thinner than old coin

Weight: 8.75g – lighter than old coin

Diameter: 23.4mm – larger than old coin

Number to enter circulation: 1.5 billion – about 23 per person. Old £1 coins will be melted down to make new ones

Outer ring: gold-coloured, made from nickel-brass

Inner ring: silver-coloured, made from nickel-plated alloy

Outrage or relief?

Uber phone app with a phone box and black cab in the backgroundImage copyright Reuters
Image caption Uber said TfL ‘caved in to a small number who want to restrict consumer choice’

Transport for London (TfL) has said it will not renew the lift-hailing app firm Uber’s licence.

The decision has provoked a very mixed reaction on social media. Unsurprisingly, the hashtag #Uber started to trend almost immediately after the announcement.


Some have been lamenting the higher cost of different taxi services, including Paul Cushion, who is not happy at all:

“I’m raging! Uber is a great service and I use it to get to work because I do anti-social hours and it’s far safer than the bus! Last year it cost me £18 to get home on Christmas Day. This year it will be treble that.”

Lynn in London got in touch via WhatsApp: “40,000 drivers in London can’t be that bad. This is to please black cab rip-off merchants.”

Kieran McCormack agrees: “Uber has provided me with clean, polite, efficient, cheap and accessible transport. The decision to revoke their licence is a regressive step.”

Peter Granger says simply: “A ridiculous decision. It would be better to ban black cabs.”

Graham Stoner, whose grandfather used to be a black-cab driver, told the BBC the decision is: “Scandalous! I thought monopolies were a thing of the past. London taxis need to wake up and smell the coffee. How come a ride home in an uncomfortable slow black cab costs me three to four times as much as going home in a modern saloon car?”

Safety first

Women have been expressing their dismay, including @sunnysingh_n6 who describes Uber as her life support: “I KNOW the driver will accept my fare (unlike black cabs)”

There are concerns about travelling late at night, especially from twitter user Charlie: “Without Uber, I’m going to be at a bus stop late at night, on a night bus, walking home from the bus stop that is NOT right outside my house.” She posted.

Annie Josephine thinks the decision will affect some people more than others:

Sabrina Mahfouz tweets that she’s never felt safer: “Safest I’ve ever felt in my city with uber app on tap.”

Freedom of choice

Mike Packham in Beckenham asks: “Whatever happened to choice and competition? Certainly some working practices and safety issues need improving, but to deprive 3.5 million customers and cutting jobs is madness.”

Carol Merrifield is also outraged: “Uber is the best thing to happen in London for years. Black cabs should not be allowed to dictate.”

John in London adds: “TfL has made a fool of itself and fails to take account of the needs of passengers in the round when it acts like this. If there are problems, surely they need sorting? This stupid decision puts tens of thousands out of work and will cost taxi users dearly.”

Uber drivers

Uber driver Muhammad Naveed says he has to pay off £12,000 of lease on his car and insurance which he bought two weeks ago: “How am I going to manage? My life will be finished. No job with thousands of debt is the worst thing that can ever happen in a person’s life.”

Martin Shaw says he is proud to drive for Uber: “Many taxi companies across the UK have had the market in their towns and ripped off users. Uber has honest pricing.”

Pay for standards

However, there has been praise for the decision. Christine Soper called it excellent and heartening:

“There is no shortage of local and London-wide cab companies and, of course, the wonderful and iconic British black cab. They are strictly regulated and have to abide by the rules and pay for that also. Why should Uber be the exception? It’s an environmental disgrace that they are swamping London’s roads with numbers adding each week with no controls. If you want decent standards, safety and security then we all have to pay for them.”

David Lamont has had a poor experience with Uber, although he says the app is great:

“The drivers are awful. Until they are vetted and employ drivers with more respect for London, they should be banned.”

Meanwhile, a bit of perspective has been called for by Scott Anthony who pointed out that Londoners were more outraged at Uber losing their licence than the terror attacks this year:

And a hint of sarcasm:

By Sherie Ryder, UGC and Social News team

In-work poverty is holding too many people back, Council leader tells conference

YORKSHIRE’S economy “isn’t working well enough” for too many people, Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe has told an economic conference.

Cllr Hinchcliffe said both the public and private sector had a role to play in ending in-work poverty.

She said there were three key challenges the region had to overcome for this to happen: improving productivity, making sure growth benefited everyone rather than just the wealthiest, and securing the devolution deal that has so far eluded Yorkshire.

Giving the opening keynote speech at the inaugural West Yorkshire Economic Growth Conference in Leeds, Cllr Hinchcliffe said: “Our region has so much to be proud of and I firmly believe that we need to shout much more loudly about our achievements.

“As we enter a period of profound change nationally however, there are a number of challenges and opportunities that we must work together to address regionally if we are to ensure that our economy remains globally competitive and our people have the best possible quality of life.

“For too many people, our region’s economy isn’t working well enough at the moment but gone are the days when government alone can plug gaps in living standards.

“As a businesswoman myself before I entered politics, I’m well aware it’s good businesses creating wealth and jobs that holds the key to a better quality of life for people in our region.

“Part of becoming more self-reliant as a nation and as a region is ensuring that we’re all –public and private sectors alike – the absolute best we can be, whether that’s increasing productivity by investing in R&D [research and development], training or technology and improving quality of life by enabling people to find good jobs with good prospects for progression, ending the in-work poverty that is holding too many people – and businesses – back at present.

“It’s incumbent on the public sector, both local and national, to help set the conditions for businesses to thrive.

“Absolutely central to achieving this is having the right investment and powers at our disposal so that we can focus on those issues that will have the greatest positive impact on our region.

“This is why I’m calling for Government to work with politicians and business leaders across Yorkshire to find a way to bring the benefits of devolution that people in Manchester, Teesside, Birmingham and other places are already experiencing here.

“Devolution isn’t an end goal in itself, but it’s absolutely fundamental to giving our region a strong voice on the national and international stage, and taking the right decisions about the issues that most affect us.”

The conference, at LeedsNew Dock Hall, aimed to bring together business and civic leaders to discuss how to drive forward the county’s economy.

Speakers also included Lorna Pimlott, phase two sponsorship director at high-speed rail company HS2, Sean Jarvis, commercial director at Huddersfield Town AFC, Nigel Foster, director of strategy at Transport for the North and Roger Marsh, chairman of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.

Conference hears moving accounts of care system, from people who experience it firsthand

MOVING accounts of the care system, from the people who experience it firsthand, were given at a major conference in central Bradford.

Age UK Bradford and District hosted the event at the Bradford Hotel, with prominent speakers coming from all over the country to take part.

The main theme was the importance of tailoring care for the elderly, to allow each person to live his or her life to the fullest.

The challenge of getting different organisations to work better together was discussed, as was the importance of building systems which reflected the fact that each elderly person was an individual with a range of skills, interests and preferences.

Mark Rounding, chief executive of Age UK Bradford and District, said: “We so often see the problem, the label, the stereotype. Working at Age UK, like many of you, we see on a daily basis the vast experiences, skills and knowledge that people who come to us have. These don’t stop at some arbitrary birthday.”

One of the projects being featured was the Complex Care Team, which began in the Bradford district in April last year and helps co-ordinate the medical and emotional support for adults living with multiple conditions, many of them elderly.

The project brings together medical and care experts from Age UK Bradford and District, Carers Resource, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford District Care Trust, Yordales Health and Bradford Council and puts together individual packages of support for each person.

Each member of the cohort is assigned their own ‘navigator’ to co-ordinate their care.

In one video played to the audience, service user Janice Bond described how the team had lifted her spirits, given her a voice and helped her to once again ride a horse – something she hadn’t been able to do for four years.

She called one member of staff, who had been her main point of contact, her “angel”.

She said: “They’ve just brought back life into me. I was a dry husk before the Complex Care Team came along and they’ve just brought back into me all the things I thought I would never see or do again.

“My angel has done so much for me.”

Waine Pybus, of Age UK, is a personal support navigator with the team.

He said of their cohort of more than 200 people, only five had ended up in long-term care.

He said: “The vast majority could be in long-term care now, but they have managed to stay in their own homes, which is what we are all about.”

They had saved the NHS more than £2,500 per person by avoiding hospital admissions, but he said cost-savings had been a side-effect rather than the main driver.

The project is now hoping to expand and is in the process of taking on an occupational therapist, psychology assistant and therapy assistant to add to the team, which already includes psychologists, physiotherapists and GPs.

Annette Jackson, a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Society in East Yorkshire, also gave a moving account of her work with John Jones, a golf lover who has dementia.

As a fellow fan of the sport, she arranged to take him on regular golfing trips – an arrangement which has even seen her handicap improve.

Pan Creaven, national director of services for Age UK, said care centred on individual people was “not rocket science”, describing it as a basic human right.

Bev Maybury, strategic director of health and wellbeing at Bradford Council, spoke about the authority’s aim of looking beyond the five traditional services, of daycare, homecare, residential care, respite care and nursing care, to see how people might else be supported.

She said: “I can’t support 8,500 people in Bradford with five things. It’s got to be personalised.”

The event was open to the public and in a question-and-answer segment, people raised a host of issues, from Government cuts to the difficulties faced by people who wanted to book single rooms for holidays.

Schools break law on religious education, research suggests

Pupils in RE lesson
Image caption RE can bring better understanding of other religions and cultures

More than a quarter of England‘s secondary schools do not offer religious education, despite the law saying they must, suggests research given to BBC local radio.

The National Association for RE teachers obtained unpublished official data under Freedom of Information law.

It says that missing the subject leaves pupils unprepared for modern life.

But the main union for secondary head teachers said many schools covered religious issues in other lessons.

“They might be teaching through conferences, they might be using citizenship lessons, they might be using assemblies,” said Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders.

By law, RE must be taught by all state-funded schools in England, with detailed syllabuses agreed locally.

NATRE says the FOI data, gathered by the Department for Education in 2015 but not published until now, showed that, overall, 26% of secondaries were not offering RE lessons.

Among academies, which make up the majority of secondary schools, more than a third (34%) were not offering RE to 11 to 13-year-olds and almost half (44%) were not offering it to 14 to 16-year-olds.

As more schools become academies, the problem could escalate, NATRE warns.

Image caption RE teacher Joe Kinnaird says the subject can help teenagers with fundamental questions

The Coopers Company and Coborn School in Upminster, Essex, is an academy which bucks the trend.

As part of a GCSE in RE, students have been studying religious festivals and teacher Joe Kinnaird believes the subject is vital.

“RE in schools provides the best and the perfect opportunity to explore those issues which students see in in the wider world,” he said.

“RE and philosophy provide students the chance to explore fundamental questions such as what happens after we die, does God exist, how do we cope with the problem of evil?

“These questions are both philosophical and ethical and the RE classroom is where we can explore these issues.”

His pupils agree, with one, Lisa, saying: “Not being religious myself, I think it’s really interesting to learn about other religions, other cultures, I feel like it can be vital in life to understand other religions.”

Her classmate, Benjamin, said that not being taught about religion could result in people being “heavily influenced by what they find on social media”.

Fellow pupil Luke added: “Once you’re educated about a certain religion you actually know the true meanings of it.

While for Nicole, better religious education could help cut the number of racially and culturally motivated crimes.

“Religion affects politics, so you have to think of it that way. It’s really important to know the diverse cultural traditions of other people because it’s really relevant today,” she said.

Not religious

Fiona Moss of NATRE said too many schools were “breaking the law”, resulting in pupils “missing out on religious education”.

“It means they are not religiously literate,” she said.

“They don’t have the opportunity to learn about religions and beliefs, to learn what’s important to people or to have the chance to develop their own ideas, beliefs and values.

“It’s going to be important for them to understand what people believe they think and what encourages them to behave in the particular ways that they do.

“We’re not teaching people to be religious. We’re teaching children about religions and beliefs that exist in this country.

“You don’t only teach geography to children who are going to be world explorers.”

Image caption Fiona Moss of NATRE was shocked by figures showing how many schools fail to teach RE

Ms Moss said the data showed a shortage of specialist RE teachers throughout the state system.

“If you are an academy, there’s a freedom about how you can teach RE and I think some schools struggle with that freedom and think they don’t have to be as committed to RE.

“They’re under financial pressures and maybe this is an easy loss.”

Different faiths

But Mr Barton called the idea that schools were deliberately breaking the law “a real oversimplification”.

“It might result from the report trying to find a very traditional delivery model of RE. Or it could that they find it hard to recruit an RE teacher, for example, and most head teachers would agree they’d prefer to have provision which is better quality, taught by other people in different ways, if they can’t get specialist staff.”

A Department for Education spokesman said the government firmly believed in the subject’s importance.

“Good quality RE can develop children’s knowledge of the values and traditions of Britain and other countries, and foster understanding among different faiths and cultures.

“Religious education remains compulsory for all state-funded schools, including academies and free schools, at all key stages and we expect all schools to fulfil their statutory duties,” said the spokesman.