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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Tags: Education

Why we need a 21st century RE for all

Why we need a 21st century RE for all

Posted: Wed, 17 May 2017 12:30

Next year marks the 30th anniversary of the Education Reform Act 1988 which saw the introduction of a national curricular entitlement for all pupils. One subject alone remains set apart from this - religious education.

Casework focus: community schools and religious takeovers

Casework focus: community schools and religious takeovers

Posted: Thu, 11 May 2017 14:32

Parents and staff regularly contact the NSS over concerns related to religious influence in their schools. Campaigns officer Alastair Lichten looks at a typical example of the casework we receive and what lessons can be learned.

Why are we still allowing religion to retard young people’s education and health rights?

Why are we still allowing religion to retard young people’s education and health rights?

Posted: Thu, 09 Mar 2017 10:56

The Government's proposals on Relationships and Sex Education are a step in the right direction – but religious opt outs mean many children will continue to be left behind, writes Stephen Evans.

A faith-based education system is deeply inefficient

A faith-based education system is deeply inefficient

Posted: Tue, 07 Mar 2017 12:27

Both the Government and the Labour Party have wilful blind spots around faith schools, and as the Government looks set to launch a new wave of faith schools amid an education funding crisis, how can such an inefficient system be justified?

Faith schools mustn’t be allowed to stymie young people’s sexual health and well-being

Faith schools mustn’t be allowed to stymie young people’s sexual health and well-being

Posted: Thu, 12 Jan 2017 14:48

Political sensitivity about faith schools is getting in the way of providing evidence-based, age-appropriate sex and relationships education (SRE) to all children. We can't wait forever for the Government's proposals on SRE, writes Stephen Evans.

A faith ethos is no magic solution for improving schools

A faith ethos is no magic solution for improving schools

Posted: Sat, 07 Jan 2017 09:05

There are success stories and failures in schools of all types, including faith schools, despite what the churches would have people believe. NSS vice president Alistair McBay debunks the myth that 'faith school' is a byword for success.

Clerics shouldn’t be the gatekeepers to publicly funded schools

Clerics shouldn’t be the gatekeepers to publicly funded schools

Posted: Fri, 25 Nov 2016 10:53

A progressive education policy would seek to break down barriers between people of different faiths and beliefs, not erect them, writes NSS campaigns director Stephen Evans.

Inclusive education: divisive faith schools are the elephant in the room

Inclusive education: divisive faith schools are the elephant in the room

Posted: Fri, 30 Sep 2016 11:40

NSS campaigns director on why progressives of all political and religious stripes should unite in opposing Theresa May's plan to open a new wave of divisive 'faith schools'.

Facilitating more religious segregation in faith schools can only harm social cohesion

Facilitating more religious segregation in faith schools can only harm social cohesion

Posted: Mon, 12 Sep 2016 16:30

In a move devoid of any common sense, Theresa May's government looks set to capitulate to the demands of religious groups by relaxing admissions rules for faith-based academies, allowing them to select all pupils along religious lines.

Governor’s perspective: beware an increasingly assertive religious ethos in ‘Church schools’

Governor’s perspective: beware an increasingly assertive religious ethos in ‘Church schools’

Posted: Tue, 16 Aug 2016 11:35

The NSS is regularly contacted by governors and staff at Church of England schools who are pressured to promote a more rigorous 'Christian ethos'. Here's one governor's account of increasing religiosity at their local school.

What do pupils need to know about religion?

What do pupils need to know about religion?

Posted: Tue, 02 Aug 2016 10:06

In recent years faith communities have amplified their demands for a better understanding of religion in the private and public sector. But what do pupils need to know about religion by the time they leave school?

When is a community school not a community school?

When is a community school not a community school?

Posted: Wed, 06 Jul 2016 10:44

Religious organisations are pushing for an increased role in non-religious community schools. This seriously risks blurring the line between faith and community schools, writes Alastair Lichten.

Faith schools add to the angst of school offer day

Faith schools add to the angst of school offer day

Posted: Mon, 18 Apr 2016 11:25

National Offer Day is when many parents fall victim to religious discrimination or discover they've been allocated a religious school against their wishes. Stephen Evans argues that a move towards a secular education system might make school offer day a little less fraught.

The surprising origin of Collective Worship in schools

The surprising origin of Collective Worship in schools

Posted: Thu, 10 Mar 2016 15:32

Collective worship has its history in a murky compromise between politicians and the church dating back to the Second World War – and it is long since time the arcane requirement was removed, writes Ed Moore.

Classrooms should be free from an overbearing religious ethos

Classrooms should be free from an overbearing religious ethos

Posted: Mon, 15 Feb 2016 12:43

With the Church seeking to extend its influence over the management of schools, Stephen Evans argues that religious groups' demands shouldn't outweigh parental rights and children's independent interests.

The niqab in schools: An argument for prohibition

The niqab in schools: An argument for prohibition

Posted: Thu, 04 Feb 2016 11:42

Sadikur Rahman argues that the case for banning full face veils in schools extends far beyond whether or not they present a barrier to learning.

Religious education reform: mistakes of the past must be avoided

Religious education reform: mistakes of the past must be avoided

Posted: Fri, 04 Dec 2015 09:28

Despite many RE teachers doing their best under difficult circumstances, a growing consensus now recognises that religious education in schools needs a rethink. Alastair Lichten looks at the latest report calling for reform.

God “is the man who saves people” – a parent discovers what Religious Observance in school has taught their child

God “is the man who saves people” – a parent discovers what Religious Observance in school has taught their child

Posted: Wed, 14 Oct 2015 11:51

A parent writes of their shock at discovering Religious Observance in the non-denominational Scottish school attended by their daughter, and gives their perspective on the problems caused by archaic Religious Observance rules in Scottish schools.

A parent’s perspective: collective worship and evangelism in schools

A parent’s perspective: collective worship and evangelism in schools

Posted: Thu, 17 Sep 2015 11:28

Even where parents have the option of a community school, securing a secular education can be difficult. One parent offers their perspective on negotiating appropriate boundaries which respect children's rights to form their own beliefs.

Let Ofsted inspect religious education in faith schools

Let Ofsted inspect religious education in faith schools

Posted: Wed, 09 Sep 2015 11:19

Religious education should receive the same scrutiny as any other area of the curriculum – and be inspected by Ofsted, argues Stephen Evans.

Students forced to lead prayers and made to attend Mass – the reality of faith schools for non-religious pupils

Students forced to lead prayers and made to attend Mass – the reality of faith schools for non-religious pupils

Posted: Thu, 03 Sep 2015 09:59

A Sixth Former gives a student's account of what it's like to attend a faith school if you aren't religious, and shows the reality of some faith schools for pupils who don't share the school's enthusiasm for religion.

Christians shouldn’t put self-interest above Britain’s need to better integrate

Christians shouldn’t put self-interest above Britain’s need to better integrate

Posted: Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:09

The long history of Christian involvement in state education shouldn't stand in the way of a more integrated education system, argues Stephen Evans.

Why have I never taught a Jewish child?

Why have I never taught a Jewish child?

Posted: Tue, 14 Jul 2015 13:59

Is this the way to unite society – with faith schools teaching the supremacy of their ideology and how wrong the rest of us are, asks Dennis O'Sullivan, a headteacher with thirty-five years of experience in education.

When is a faith school not a faith school?

When is a faith school not a faith school?

Posted: Wed, 08 Jul 2015 13:46

Academisation and the 'grey area' between faith and non-religious schools may allow even more schools to assume a religious character by stealth. To avoid this, we need a much clearer definition of 'faith school', argues Alastair Lichten.

Academics call for greater sensitivity about religion in universities, but students suggest it’s not an issue

Academics call for greater sensitivity about religion in universities, but students suggest it’s not an issue

Posted: Fri, 19 Jun 2015 15:03

Some academics are giving undue prominence to religion and religious students- when the evidence shows they are exaggerating the scale of the 'problem' they describe.