Government asks public whether faith schools are “good for society”

Posted: Wed, 18 Nov 2020

No More Faith Schools protest outside parliament

The government is asking members of the public and experts whether faith schools are "good for society" as it reviews its engagement with faith organisations in England.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has launched a call for evidence as part of a review led by its faith engagement adviser Colin Bloom.

The document explaining the call for evidence says it will pose a series of questions around how those "of all faiths, or none" perceive the government's engagement with faith groups.

One of the questions is: "More than a third of all state funded schools and academies are faith-based. Do you think that faith-based schools are good for society?"

The review says it will give "priority" to responses that fit within the "parameters" of "faith and religion". But it also says "space is given for respondents to share their views in a way that they feel is appropriate".

NMFS comment

No More Faith Schools campaign coordinator Alastair Lichten urged supporters to respond to the consultation.

"Schools should enable children to make their own minds up about religion and educate them together, regardless of their parents' religious identities or lack of them. But state-funded faith schools push religion on children, divide them by their parents' beliefs and often discriminate against them on religious grounds.

"We urge supporters to respond constructively to this consultation, to make the case that state-funded education should be inclusive and secular."

Note on leadership of review

Colin Bloom, who was appointed as the faith engagement adviser at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government last year, will lead the review.

He will make recommendations to the communities secretary about how the government should engage with faith groups.

He has held several roles which have focused on working towards greater representation of faith in politics.

How to respond and other details

You can read the call for evidence on the gov.uk website and follow the link to respond. The deadline for responses is 11 December.

There is also more detail on the review as a whole on the National Secular Society website.

"Do you think that faith-based schools are good for society?" The government want to know.
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Tags: Government