Protect non-denominational education in Inverclyde

What's happening?

Due to high demand on school places in Inverclyde, the council have agreed to expand St Columba's High School in Gourock. They are also consulting on proposals which will affect both denominational and non-denominational schools in the area. These proposals include options to:

  1. Convert one of the non-denominational primary schools into a Catholic faith school.
  2. Open a new campus with both a Catholic and non-denominational school in West Inverclyde.
  3. Introduce religious selection so that only pupils with a certificate of Baptism into the Catholic faith will be able to automatically transfer from village schools to Roman Catholic secondary schools.
  4. Remove non-denominational village schools as feeder schools for denominational secondary schools.

UPDATE 14/01/2020: A report to Inverclyde Council's education and communities committee does not recommend options 1, 2 and 4 above. But the report has recommended that only pupils with a certificate of baptism into the Catholic faith should be automatically allowed to transfer into Catholic secondaries from the local non-denominational primary schools. Read more...

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 be nondenominational with 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.

What's our view?

Introducing discrimination in admissions can only entrench separationism and sectarianism. It will disadvantage those for whom a particular local school is otherwise acceptable. If additional school places are needed, a joint campus just adds unnecessary complexity. The focus should be on inclusive non-denominational schools open to the whole community. The lack of any consideration of this option is perplexing. Depriving either Wemyss Bay or Inverkip of an inclusive non-denominational primary school is a step backwards and deeply unfair on these communities.

When do you get a say?

Inverclyde Council has carried out a pre-consultation on the proposals and the results have now been published - find out more here.

The Council has ruled out options 1,2 and 4 above, but would now like to introduce religious selection so that pupils with a certificate of Baptism into the Catholic faith will be prioritised in admissions. They are now consulting on this plan; you can find the consultation here (the accompanying consultation document can be downloaded here).

Please respond to the consultation and let Inverclyde Council know that it should rethink its discriminatory admissions proposals. Whether children have a religious certificate or not should not be a relevant factor in determining where they go to school. The deadline to respond is 25th March 2020.

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