UPDATE February 2020: A challenge to the council's decision to open the new faith has been rejected, despite strong backing from local residents and a No More Faith Schools campaign intervention. Read more...
The growing community of Hampton Water in east Peterborough need a new school. An inclusive new academy has been proposed, but the council are instead considering opening a new Catholic faith school. We're supporting residents to oppose this.
To cut a long story short, since 2016 the government has been looking for ways to allow new faith schools to open which can select up to 100% of their pupils based on religion. They originally planned to allow dozens of new academies and was instead forced to opt for voluntary aided schools. Due to more opposition, out of fourteen proposals the Catholic School on the Hampton Water site is the only one currently moving forward.
- Approve the faith school which will be able to select up to 100% of its pupils and teachers based on religion and teach denominational religious education.
- Reject the proposal so alternative proposals for an inclusive new school on the site might move forward.
Our briefing clearly sets out why this proposal should not be approved.
- In the first year up to 80% of places may be subject to religious discrimination in admissions, meaning it won't serve all local families. This may rise to 100% in future years.
- There is a clear well-established alternative proposal for a community ethos academy which will be free from religious discrimination.
- The school will be able to religiously discriminate against/in favour of all teachers.
- Religious education and RSE will be taught from a religious perspective.
- All the capital funding is coming from public sources (90% from the DfE and 10% from a Section 106 agreement with the council) but the Diocese will own the school. All running costs will be paid by taxpayers.
Both the Diocese and the No More Faith Schools campaign have organised public meetings.
"At a Catholic school, Catholic doctrine and practice permeate every aspect of the school's activity. It is essential that the Catholic character of the school's education be fully supported by all families in the school. We therefore hope that all parents will give their full, unreserved and positive support for the aims and ethos of the school." - Final proposal document
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?
In January 2020, Peterborough City Council's cabinet member for education was advised to proceed with the plans to open the new Catholic school, despite considerable opposition. Read more here.
We are currently exploring the possibility of a legal challenge to the decision.
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