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NSS campaign launched to end state-funded faith schools

NSS campaign launched to end state-funded faith schools

Historian and broadcaster Dan Snow, left, and politician and former actor Lord Cashman are among those who are supporting a new national campaign launched this week by the National Secular Society to end state-funded faith schools.

The NSS says on its website that the No More Faith Schools campaign will highlight the widespread concerns and myths that surround faith schools of all types and urge the creation of an inclusive, secular education system.

The NSS will use the campaign to demonstrate the problems associated with faith schools. These include the enabling of religious groups to use public money to evangelise to children, the undermining of social cohesion, the segregation of children on social, ethnic and religious lines and the undermining of freedom and equality.

The campaign’s website and social media channels will encourage supporters to petition the government and write to MPs in favour of:

An open and inclusive education system, free from religious discrimination.

Supporters will also be able to share their stories and reasons for backing the campaign and get free campaign posters.

The NSS has produced a short “schools are for teaching, not preaching” video for the campaign.

In praising the campaign, Dan Snow said:

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.

Lord Michael Cashman CBE, a patron of the LGBT charity, the Pink Triangle Trust, said:

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.

Stephen Evans, the NSS’s CEO, said faith schools “build division into society” and:

Segregate children on outdated lines of faith. Our campaign highlights the inequity they cause in our society. At the National Secular Society we ardently believe that no one should be marginalised or segregated on the basis of faith. We are proud to campaign for a fair and inclusive education system that creates a fair and inclusive society.

A spokesperson for the campaign said:

This campaign is a platform to let people opposed to faith schools know they can do something about it. It will also serve to build bridges with those that might be ambivalent or supportive of faith schools, by busting the myths and highlighting the inequity they create in our society.

No More Faith Schools has been launched as the education secretary, Damian Hinds, is widely expected to relax admissions rules to facilitate a new wave of fully religiously selective faith schools. Under current rules new faith schools may not admit more than 50 percent of their pupils based on the religion of their parents.

The NSS has vigorously campaigned against the plans.

Faith schools account for around a third of publicly-funded schools in England and Wales, while many Scottish and Northern Irish schools are divided along sectarian lines.

8 responses to “NSS campaign launched to end state-funded faith schools”

  1. Broga says:

    Teachers struggle with kids arriving at school, after years of passive watching videos, with minimal vocabulary and unable to use a knife and fork. They leave school without enough vocabulary to enjoy a book. The same parents have more interest in “celebrities”, crap TV and the success of the football team they support.

    They are governed by privately educated buffoons who witter on about the need for equality and developing children. In reality they don’t give a toss. The “New Statesman” has a story about some upper class twat who couldn’t understand a family which was facing homelessness. “Why don’t they sell a picture” he asks?

    These parents, in their ignorance, lack of ambition and passive acceptance have been indoctrinated into accepting that faith schools and the religion they inculcate are desirable. They have no hope of analysing what they are signing up to and are too lazy to read anything beyond a junk newspaper.

  2. Johan says:

    I say get the CoE and the RCC out of our schools as well. No more schools just for Jews. No more more schools for just Muslims. A secular education for all.

    I deeply resent that my tax money is being squandered on schools that entrench sectarian divisions in the young. Just look at Northern Ireland and you need look no further for the damage being inflicted upon the young by elderly pious bigots.

  3. Laura Roberts says:

    Let’s not forget the elephant in the classroom: the fundamental conflicts between religious dogma and good education. Religion encourages people to rely on “received wisdom” instead of disciplined argument and evidence. It encourages them to subjugate themselves to tribal authority. It discourages them from asking probing questions, claiming instead that there are “sacred” things one must never question. It teaches that “I don’t know” is not an acceptable answer to any question, rather than the first step toward true understanding.

  4. StephenJP says:

    Laura’s right. Kids – especially young kids – tend to believe what adults tell them. They haven’t the experience or the knowledge to be able easily to distinguish between truth and superstition. Worse still, religion – especially Christianity – tells them that belief without evidence is not only acceptable, but meritorious (“blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed”); and that if there is a clash between faith and evidence, they should reject the evidence.

    As Christianity becomes more and more a minority interest among grown-ups in this country, the CofE is mounting a frenzied rearguard action to try to evangelise their children instead. It needs to be stopped, now.

  5. Johan says:

    Not just the CoE. The RCC too. And the adherents of the torah and the koran. And no him schooling or sending kids off to illicit pits of indoctrination either. All children to be educated in secular government validated and monitored schools where children of all kinds mix and mingle freely without sectarian interference. And no religious dress either.

  6. andym says:

    Slightly O.T, Sentamu has had the brassneck to tell the police they need to “revisit lessons” of the Stephen Lawrence case.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43855839

    Maybe they do, but Sentamu is in no position to lecture another public body on their failings.
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/police-investigate-archbishop-for-failures-over-child-abuse-claims-289ngnt5h

    The phrase “pre-emptive strike” spings to mind.

  7. Broga says:

    andym: I read that Mrs Lawrence is to be interviewed on the BBC (where else?) about how her faith has been such a help to her. Reminds me of a car crash I was in years ago and which I was lucky to survive. My religious relative said, “God has saved him for something.”

    My son’s reply was, “I don’t suppose God could have saved him without a new car being a write off and worries to us about the effects of the smash on his health?”

  8. Maggie says:

    The government should be honest about why it believes there should be more religious schools. Taxpayers have the right to the truth.