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
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 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.
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
Faith schools indoctrinate children into a particular religious belief system. I have no problem with religions trying to recruit members, but this should not be done with an easily-swayed captive audience of children at the taxpayer?s expense.
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.
The Scottish Secular Society strongly supports the NSS "No More Faith Schools" campaign. At a time when social cohesion is a matter of great concern, it is folly to increase the amount of separation between different faith communities by segregating children according to parental affiliation. In many parts of England, faith schools already dominate to the point where parents (and pupils) find themselves with no option other than schools whose religious identities they do not share. It is not the case that the specific ethos of faith schools is universally shared; if it were, they would not need to be labelled as distinct faith schools. In our diverse society, it is an imposition on taxpayers, half of whom do not even identify themselves as members of a religion, to be forced to subsidise the indoctrination of children with beliefs that they do not themselves subscribe to. Finally, problems have already arisen within schools of more than one religion because of the influence of extremist doctrines denying evolution, despite the fact that in England the importance of evolution is recognised in the curriculum from the primary level onwards. For all these reasons, we consider that the further expansion of faith schools will work against intellectual independence and good community relations, contrary to the interests of schoolchildren, and of the wider community of which they are part.
Professor Paul S. Braterman, Science adviser to Scottish Secular Society
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.
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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