Oppose the new Hugh Latimer faith school, West Sussex

What's happening?

Hugh Latimer is a proposed Christian (secondary) faith school in West Sussex. It will be linked to Fulham Boys' School (FBS).

In 2019 the No More Faith Schools campaign criticised the trust for placing "inculcation above education". Key personnel from FBS involved in the proposal include Alun Ebenezer, who has bemoaned that schools aren't allowed to promote creationism, and Alex Wade, who according to the 2019 article, "believes that schools also have a real part to play in introducing not only children, but also parents, teachers, governors and community leaders to Jesus' teachings". FBS selects up to half of its pupils based on faith and requires parents to sign agreements supporting its Christian principles.

We have approached West Sussex County Council, seeking the local authority's view, and have contacted the South-East England and South London regional school commissioner (as well as the DfE) seeking copies of the proposal, so we can properly scrutinise it.

Update: 6 July 2020, further updates to follow

According to the proposal's website, it's application for Wave 14 of the free school programme was rejected due to a lack of school need. The proposal was originally part of wave 13 and will likely reappear in future waves.

Update 6 July 2020: The Department for Education has refused to publish the application forms for 19 faith schools proposed in wave 14 of the free school programme. They have confirmed that an unspecified number of these applications have been rejected, though they may reappear in a future round. The Department's justification includes that application should be "free from speculation and lobbying until the final decision is made". We regard this as an unacceptable attempt to restrict criticism from civil society and are considering an appeal against the decision.

Update 14 April 2021: This proposal was not appear to have been supported under Wave 14 of the free school programme. The lack of details from the DfE mean the status of applications are not always clear and they may be resubmitted in future waves.

What's our view?

The secretary of state should not support this proposal. If there is a need for more school places in West Sussex, then all relevant parties (the local authority, Department for Education, regional school commissioner and local education providers) should work together to develop a community ethos alternative.

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?

This application was rejected as part of wave 14 of the government's free school programme, but is likely to reappear in future waves.

We're seeking further information and will update supporters as soon as we know more about any consultations or a chance to have your say. Please sign and share the petition below, ideally with a comment, to contribute to our challenge against the proposal.

Oppose the new Hugh Latimer faith school, West Sussex

Petition: West Sussex County Council, and the Department for Education

A Christian faith school shouldn't be opened in West Sussex without consultation or scrutiny. Any new school should have an inclusive community ethos, not an exclusive faith based one.

Oppose the new Hugh Latimer faith school, West Sussex

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A Christian faith school shouldn't be opened in West Sussex without consultation or scrutiny. Any new school should have an inclusive community ethos, not an exclusive faith based one.
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