The Southwark C of E Diocese has proposed a new voluntary aided (VA) faith based secondary school in Kingston, London, to open September 2024. It's part of the first wave of new VA faith schools in a decade.
The Department for Education's own equality impact assessment has found that these proposals will disadvantage families who do not share these schools' religion and risk undermining community cohesion.
Despite claiming open "to all faiths and no faith", the statutory proposal makes clear that up to one third of school places will be "foundation places", meaning that if oversubscribed up to a third of pupils could be selected based on faith.
VA faith schools can theoretically apply a religious test in selecting up to 100% of teachers and pupils. They can teach faith based religious education and relationships & sex education, and enforce daily acts of denominational worship.
The diocese claims it has carried out consultations. However, these activities are more accurately described as evidence gathering, targeted primarily at supporters of the proposal.
What's our view?
Kingston London Borough Council should not support this proposal and should rigorously pursue alternative inclusive options to address new school need.
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?
The diocese has published a statutory proposal for the new school. This will be open to consultation until 12.00 on Friday 26 February.
Following this the local authority (Kingston London Borough Council) should carry out its own consultation. Please sign the petition below and add a comment to help our consultation response.
Oppose the new Kingston C of E faith school
Calling on Kingston London Borough Council to oppose the new C of E faith school and support inclusive alternatives.
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