No New Faith School in Soham

What's happening?

St Bede's Inter-Church School, a 750 pupil joint CofE/Catholic faith school in Cambridge, has proposed opening a new secondary school in the Cambridgeshire town of Soham. However, the county council do not believe it is necessary and fear it could be a "detriment" to existing schools.

"The council's clear preference is to continue to work in partnership with our existing schools and academy trusts on small scale expansions when and where the pupil population justifies it." Report to the children and young people committee, March 2019

The council are supporting the leaders of local schools opposed to the proposals to "work with their respective MPs".

The school is proposed to have a mix of 50% religiously selective/discriminatory and 50% open admissions.

The No More Faith Schools campaign opposes this unnecessary and divisive proposal, it would be far better to meet any small increase in school need by expanding places at existing community ethos schools in the area.

Update 12 Nov 2020

Despite opposition from the local council, the Department for Education have approved the faith school proposal with it aiming to open in September 2023. The council's service director for education, Jonathan Lewis, has said he is "extremely concerned" about the plan for the new school, and that "our worry is about destabilising the local education system".

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?

Between Monday 30 September and Friday 22 November 2019, the schools proposers will be running a feasibility survey looking at demand "demand for school places based on faith preference". If you live locally, you may wish to consider responding to say why a faith school would not be suitable.

If the proposals move forward, this page will be updated with information on the formal consultation process. In the meantime, you may wish to write to your MP or local councillor to let them know your views.

If you can sign the petition with a comment, it really helps us demonstrate local support and prepare for any consultation response.

Soham doesn't need a faith school

Proposals for a new CofE/Catholic faith school able to select half its pupils based on faith are unnecessary and risk undermining local schools.

Soham doesn't need a faith school

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