Banning ritual prayers in school: Michaela Schools Trust


In R (TTT) v Michaela Community Schools Trust & Anor [2024] EWHC 843 (Admin), the school’s governing body decided in 2023 to prohibit its pupils from performing prayer rituals on its premises after the Headteacher had banned them as an interim measure. That policy applied to all prayer rituals, regardless of religion, but there was no evidence that pupils of any religion other than Islam wished to perform prayer rituals during the school day [3]. Muslims are required to pray five times a day. The claimant, a Muslim, accepted that the requirements of the school day meant that she would not always be able to fulfil that obligation during the appropriate period; however, she wished to be allowed to perform the midday prayer [Duhr], which during the autumn and winter months would be possible during the school lunch break – which, she argued, was “free time” [4].

The arguments

It was argued for TTT that the school’s refusal to allow her to perform the prayer during her lunch break violated her rights under Article 9 ECHR (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) (Ground 1). Continue reading