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
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
In today’s society, it is more important than ever that our children can enjoy a diverse and fair education, and have the chance to learn from each other’s differences. The National Secular Society’s No More Faith Schools campaign is an important step in this direction and provides a platform for those who want an inclusive education to show their support for that.
Dan Snow, Historian, broadcaster and television presenter
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
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
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.
Allowing schools to discriminate against students on the basis of their parents' religion is socially divisive and fosters intolerance towards people of other faiths. The government should be seeking to eliminate discrimination in the UK school system, not increase it.
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.
I do not see that religion holds any place in defining our education system. I believe all religions should be taught in schools for the purposes of a tolerant and understanding society, but I am not comfortable having the church make important decisions for my childrens' futures.
Hana, Tunbridge Wells
When I asked the local vicar, who is also a governor at my child's primary school why they still had a discriminatory admissions criterion he said "well how else are we going to get people into church", obviously more bothered about bums on seats in his church than treating local children equally. When I then asked the head why they the governing body had just voted to maintain the discriminatory denominational admissions criteria she said "it's not on my agenda and not up for discussion". I doubt either of these people would want their children, family or friends to be discriminated because of their beliefs yet they promote this when it comes to those not of their faith.
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