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 The idea that we should be segregating children based on the religious beliefs of their parents is wrong, outdated and damaging to our society.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
I am happy to join the No More Faith Schools campaign. Education must be secular.
Lord Desai, Economist and Labour politician
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
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
I am a political secularist - I believe the State should adopt a level playing field when it comes to religious belief. Even many religious people now recognise that the State funding of religious schools involves giving special privileges to religious communities that are not afforded to the rest of us. This is unjust, anti-democratic, and should stop.
Stephen Law, Philosopher and author.
Where I live we have no choice - my kids have to go to a faith school which flaunts the rules and has told my kids that they 'will pray'.. What more do you need?
I don't understand why the government encourages dividing our children and creating segregation along religious lines. We should be working towards a fairer, more cohesive society instead of a society that promotes separatism, which leads to a lack of understanding of others outside of the faith which our children have been given by their parents.
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.
Religious indoctrination and organised worship should not be part of our educational system. The curriculum should include RE to give children a perspective on the religious views of others that they will meet in life.
I believe it is fundamentally wrong to force a child into one or another religion at school. Schooling should be about education only, not segregating children into tribes. This has been proven by many studies to lead to more divided societies and the conflict which arises from such - Northern Ireland for a recent example. Religion can be studied outside school; make schools secular and give all children the same start in life.
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