I support the National Secular Society’s campaign to end the segregation and discrimination in our state schools. The idea that we should be segregating children based on the religious beliefs of their parents is wrong, outdated and damaging to our society. It is extraordinary that, in 21st century Britain, we should allow taxpayers’ money to be spent on state schools that discriminate against children based, not on their ability or need or where they live, but simply on their parents’ religious beliefs. While many parents believe faith schools are better than other schools, the evidence is clear that this is simply not true. Only faith schools that use faith as a way to select more academic pupils by the back door get better results. Faith schools serve no purpose other than to divide our children and our communities and they should be consigned to the rubbish bin of history.
Julia Hartley-Brewer, Broadcaster and journalist
Faith schools contribute to the fragmentation of our education system and the religious segregation of pupils. This is not conducive to social integration, cohesion and equal opportunities for all. That's why I'm supporting the 'No more faith schools' campaign. I want to see an education system that is free from religious control and that brings together pupils from all backgrounds and beliefs.
Peter Tatchell, Human rights campaigner
The societal division of state education can hardly be said to be in the wider public interest.
Crispin Blunt, Conservative MP
I support this campaign. There is too much segregation in life. As we live together so we grow through sharing and understanding not by reinforcing a faith or belief or one set of values. Children from all faith and belief backgrounds should be educated together and allowed to develop their own beliefs independently and within the rich communities in which we all have to live.
Lord Cashman CBE
I wholeheartedly support the No More Faith Schools campaign. Education should level the playing field despite background and give access to the latest advances in science and human progress and encourage freethought and inquiry whilst religion contradicts and/or discourages all of the above. Children are not extensions of their parents but individuals with human rights. Why must they be divided and segregated based on their parents’ beliefs when no such divisions are acceptable when it comes to parents’ race, sexuality or political opinions. An end to faith schools would mean that we finally see our children as citizens and not as the property of their parents and that we as a society value them more than any faith or belief.
Maryam Namazie, Human rights campaigner
Schools are for education not indoctrination. Faith is a personal matter and not one the state should fund. Forcing parents to follow a Faith that they may not agree with to get their children into their local school is not acceptable.
Supporting one faith, particularly in assemblies, in a school undermines respect for those of other faiths or no faiths. The agreed religious curriculum is biased towards having a faith and does not, especially at primary level, provide sufficient teaching materials, teacher training or time to considering life without a faith.
Marketing or branding schools in a religious context is in my opinion quite wrong. A collective broad system, the same for all would be simpler and non coercive. Educating a country's population should form a solid and united foundation for society, while having freedom to subscribe to religions independently if desired.
In South-West Scotland, where I was educated, faith education (RC especially) is practically universal. There is repeated, heated opposition by clerics and primates to any form of amalgamation of faith and non-faith schools, so that practically none such exists. The outcome of this is religious bigotry and sectarian enmity, well into adult life in many cases, often life-long.
As a former headteacher of a Catholic comprehensive school in a deprived area of Liverpool I know how divisive faith schools can be in a local community. It seems to me that our society would be greatly enhanced by the abolition of all faith schools.
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