Posted: Mon, 21 May 2018
The No More Faith Schools campaign has launched a short guide to help supporters challenge the establishment of new faith schools. The guide provides an overview of the education systems and process for opening faith schools in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – as well as how to find information on and respond to consultations.
Alastair Lichten – education and schools officer of the National Secular Society, which coordinates the campaign – said: "The guide is a starting point, but I would still urge anyone challenging a new faith school in their area to get in touch. Our team can provide advice and support to help you make the case for inclusive non-faith-based schools.
"There's a lot of confusion at the moment about the different education systems and types of faith school in the UK, especially with new English faith schools opening through academies and once again through VA schools.
"Voluntary aided faith schools are able to potentially practice 100% religious discrimination in admissions and hiring teachers and can teach confessional religious education. Having won the battle to keep the 50% cap on faith-based admissions, it's essential that increased religious discrimination isn't snuck in through the backdoor.
"In the coming months the DfE will be making funding available for these new schools. We'll be helping lead the opposition, which will also come from local authorities, supporters and communities.
"Perhaps the biggest pro-faith school myth is that 'we're stuck with them' or they're 'inevitable', but stopping their expansion is an achievable goal. If we work together – people from all backgrounds, faiths and beliefs – we can roll them back and create a truly inclusive education system."