Concerns are being raised that all religious symbolism could be abolished from schools following the removal of Bible studies from an Auckland school timetable.

Some parents are worried that New Zealand could follow the lead of France and enforce a strict secular educational environment.

It comes two weeks after St Heliers School announced it would move its Christian religious education programme to outside school hours following complaints to the Human Rights Commission.

A number of parents at the school oppose the decision, which they say goes against the majority opinion and was undertaken without proper consultation with the school community.


The National MP for Tamaki, Simon O'Connor, said he had been regularly stopped in the streets of his constituency by concerned parents since the decision was made public on February 11.

"My primary concern is, what does this ultimately mean? If you take the negative line, which is to remove programmes from schools on religious grounds, what's the next step, what does that mean for the use of say, karakia or grace in schools, and other spiritual expressions."