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
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.
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
Due to their very existence many parents are forced to send their child to a faith-based school whether they are a member of that faith simply because they live in a catchment area where there is no alternative. At present these are mainly Church of England or Catholic schools. Indoctrination into a particular faith usually at infant and primary level is not, in my opinion, healthy and does not reflect the beliefs of most of the UK population. These schools are an anachronism.
Michael, from STOKE-ON-TRENT
I am just in the process of selecting a school for my daughter and I'm shocked at how many faith schools there are in this country! It is completely backwards to be dividing children up at the age of 4 based upon their parents’ beliefs. How are we ever going to have an integrated society?! This country is mostly nonreligious now. It makes absolutely no sense. Children should be given the chance to meet people from different religions and cultures and come to their own opinions. We’re meant to be a country of equal opportunities, but it seems if, as a parent, you are not willing to forego your own principles and pretend to be religious then you are denying your children options. The whole thing is a complete farce at best, but it is also creating a new generation of ignorance and division.
Zoe, from PRESTON
The fact is that segregating children into different faith schools cannot be a healthy way to have an inclusive society. Children need to mix with people of all faiths. We have seen the harm that religion has had on our society, the divisions clear for all to see. I do not believe that we should have faith schools educating our children. Many are set up and do not have the required oversight from the education authorities to ensure children get a good education. I fully support the campaign to end faith schools. Let our children all be educated together.
Brenda, from TAUNTON
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 was educated in a faith school in Belfast, and we all know about the religious differences there. Religious groups of any kind should not have any control over any parts of our education system it simply gives them easy access to children and allows them to influence the children’s minds and decisions for their own motives. It acts against the multi-cultural, inclusive, and tolerant society that we should be striving to build.
Michael, from EDINBURGH
Students forced to lead prayers and made to attend mass – the reality of faith schools for non-religious pupils
Posted: Wed, 13 Jun 2018 10:01
A Sixth Former gives a student's account of what it's like to attend a faith school if you aren't religious,...
Posted: Wed, 13 Jun 2018 09:59
National Offer Day is when many parents fall victim to religious discrimination or discover they've been...
Posted: Wed, 13 Jun 2018 09:43
Megan Manson on how parents are fighting back against religious favoritism/proselytizing and systemic...