The report from the Office for Standards in Education is a blow to John Patten, the Secretary of State for Education, who is trying to give religious education and collective worship a higher profile.
The first official investigation of the effect of the Government's 1988 legislation, which requires a daily act of worship 'wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character', says 96 detailed inspections revealed that no secondary school fully complied with the law.
The report also says that at least 20 per cent of primary schools are not teaching RE at all; only half offer satisfactory lessons. The vast majority of secondary schools did not provide enough time for RE for pupils aged between 14 and 16.
John Sutton, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, said it had been difficult for secondary schools to comply with the law on collective worship for many years.
Religious Education and Collective Worship; Office for Standards in Education; HMSO.