Schools to get Bible to mark translation date

Every school is to be sent a copy of the King James Bible to mark the 400th anniversary of its translation.

The move was condemned by non-religious groups which suggested it was a waste of money.

It is understood that every school in England will receive a copy of the Bible, which will include a foreword by Education Secretary Michael Gove.

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Ministers are said to believe that the text is a historically and culturally important document.

But the National Secular Society suggested that the Department for Education could put a message on its website and save “tens of thousands of pounds”. Society president Terry Sanderson said: “It’s not as if Bibles are in short supply in schools.

“But if Mr Gove intends to go ahead with this, will he also please ensure that a copy of On the Origin of Species is sent out on Darwin Day?”

Richy Thompson, campaigns officer at the British Humanist Association said: “Either the Government is funding this initiative itself at a time when it is making severe cuts elsewhere, or the Church is finding it but using the Government as a vehicle through which to promote Christianity – both are unacceptable.”