The Vale of Glamorgan Council is proposing a new 3-16 faith school, worth £31.9m, as part of the 21st Century Schools Programme. The proposals are at an early stage and are likely to be part of B and C of the programme.
If (as is likely) the school is a Church in Wales voluntary aided faith school, 85% of the capital costs of will come from the central government programme, with a 15% 'contribution' from the diocese that may also come from public sources. 100% of running costs will be paid by the public and the school may be owned by the diocese.
Voluntary Aided faith schools have a majority of governors appointed on religious grounds to promote the faith ethos. They can potentially select all of their pupils and teachers on religious grounds and teach confessional religious education. The current Church in Wales scheme of work for RE between Nursery and Year 6 requires that almost 90% of teaching time is dedicated to Christianity.
What's our view?
Rather than funding a divisive new faith school, the council should be investing in a new inclusive community school that will provide an appropriate education for all pupils, regardless of religious background.
Section 14 of the Education Act 1996 requires local authorities in Wales to ensure that the schools planned in their area are "sufficient in number, character and equipment to provide for all pupils the opportunity of appropriate education".
The Vale of Glamorgan is one of few areas in Wales with a need for a net increase in school places. Given the significant public funding, and that many families in the area already face great difficulties finding a non-faith school, an inclusive community school should be prioritised over a faith school.
Who are we?
No More Faith Schools is a national campaign coordinated by the National Secular Society and with supporters from a broad social, political and religious spectrum. We're dedicated to an end to state funded faith schools. We would like all schools to have an inclusive community ethos, free from any religious discrimination, privilege or control.
We help people challenge new faith schools, particularly where they have discriminatory admissions rules and where there are proposals for inclusive alternatives.
When do you get a say?
Proposals are at an early stage, but it is still worth writing to your Members of the Senedd and local councillors if you live in Glamorgan. Please consider signing the petition below with a comment will help prepare our response and sign up to the newsletter to be kept up to date with developments.
No new faith school in Glamorgan
The Vale of Glamorgan Council shouldn't support a £31.9m new faith school. We need inclusive community schools for all.
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