Senior CoE priest calls for more Muslim faith schools

Posted: Wed, 16 Oct 2019

John Hall

The No More Faith Schools campaign has urged the government to resist a call for "a substantial number of state-funded Muslim schools" from the dean of Westminster Abbey.

John Hall, the outgoing dean of the abbey, told a service there this week that "there should be a clear duty on Government to encourage excellent state-funded Muslim schools".

He also claimed the idea would contribute to Muslims' "incorporation, mutual engagement and flourishing" in British society.

The service, which marked the 750th anniversary of the abbey's rebuilding, was attended by the queen, who is constitutionally obliged to act as the head of the C of E.

In response NMFS campaign spokesperson Stephen Evans said ministers should "see through the Church of England's transparently self-serving rhetoric".

"The church appears to be keen to justify its own continued power to run state-funded schools. But rather than fund more Muslim faith schools, the state should make greater efforts to ensure that children of all faith and belief backgrounds are educated together.

"Inclusive secular schools offer a far better vision for British education than schools where pupils are divided along religious lines. An expansion of faith-based schooling is inimical to future social cohesion.

"Schools shouldn't divide children by religious background or push religious worldviews and identities on them."

The NMFS campaign works for the end of state-funded faith schools, so children are educated together in schools without religious privilege or discrimination.

Notes

  • There are currently 33 Muslim schools in England, according to the latest data from the Department for Education.
  • John Hall was the Church of England's chief education officer until 2006.
  • During his sermon Hall said he saw "no evidence" that religion was becoming less relevant in modern society. He also called on world faiths to "collaborate" and "discover more clearly what we have in common".
  • Hall's remarks were reported in press outlets including The Times and Church Times.

Image shows John Hall.

Tags: New faith schools