A school has written to the Government to express its “outrage” that religious education is being neglected in this “Christian country”.

John Stone, chair of governors at St Bernadette's Primary School in Brighton - previously dubbed Britain's most “Godless city” - suggested that the general education of pupils was being affected because the Government was downplaying the importance of religious education.

He has now contacted the Department for Education to criticise its approach to religious education.

Mr Stone explained in his letter to Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove that he was furious the Government had not named RE as a core subject alongside maths, English, history or geography, the sciences and a language.

He spoke of his: “shock, horror and concern”.

He suggested pupils' education could be affected by not having RE considered a core subject, explaining: “This decision is totally outrageous and we believe that it is actually detrimental to the general education - in both senses of the word - of our young Catholic people as well as all students of a similar age of this Christian country.”

His letter referred to the English Baccalaureate, a performance measure introduced in 2010.

The English Baccalaureate is not a qualification, but a measure recognising where pupils have secured a C grade or better across a core of academic subjects at 16.

RE was not named a core subject.

A spokeswoman from The Department for Education said: “Ministers believe that the study of RE is important both to pupils' wider knowledge and to society as a whole.

“We know that schools value the benefits of RE in contributing to the spiritual, moral and cultural development of pupils.

“RE as a qualification remains optional, as do all qualifications.

“However, we acknowledge it is tricky to get the balance right and we will look at how this affects what schools do in practice when taking future decisions.”

A spokesman for St Bernadette's confirmed the letter had been sent but said its contents spoke for itself.