State-sponsored superstition should have no place in the education of children, who should be left to make up their own minds on the basis of the evidence they see around them. Education should inspire rational thought and display the pleasures of deep understanding; it should not propagate the social poison of divisive dogma.
Peter Atkins, Writer and former Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford
If we are aiming for an inclusive society, the fewer divisions we can impose on our growing children the better.
Virginia Ironside, Journalist, agony aunt and author
Collectively we have an obligation to provide children with equal access to education, for that to be as inclusive as possible it needs to be secular. In a world marked by so many divisions it is important we protect our education system as something free from religious prejudice.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP
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
Our society is increasingly non-religious but those who practice a religion are becoming more and more polarised. Educating children separately, based on their parents' beliefs, only encourages this. And the majority in our society, the non-believers, are offered a restricted choice of schools, thus discriminating against them.
I believe all schools should aim to encourage diversity and an understanding of others. This cannot be done through segregation. No school should be allowed to discriminate access on grounds of religion and we should aim for all schools to be religiously diverse.
If we want ALL our children to grow up in a cohesive and respectful society free from prejudice and a ghetto mentality, faith schools will not achieve that aim. It is for parents and their church leaders to bring their children up in their chosen faith, the state should not fund faith schools.
Children must be free to make up their own minds on issues such as religion. End faith schools now.
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.
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