The Minister says the charter is designed to promote "absolute respect for freedom of conscience".

The charter's 15 principles have been much discussed and have already been condemned as "an attack on Islam".

On Sunday, Mr Peillon told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper that: "The first article of our constitution states that the Republic is indivisible, democratic, social and secular. The school must teach these values, explain their meanings and their history. Because if we do not teach them, we should not be surprised if they are misunderstood or even ignored," he said.