1. Skip to content

National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Faith Schools

Publicly funded religious schools, or 'faith schools', currently make up around a third of our education system. This limits choice for parents who do not want a religious education for their children, or do not share the faith of their local school.

In order to ensure everyone's right to freedom of religion and belief is respected, we believe all publicly funded schools should be fully inclusive and equally welcoming to children of all religion and belief backgrounds.

We therefore campaign for an inclusive secular education system in which religious organisations play no formal role.

Whilst all schools should respect the beliefs of pupils and their families, no schools should seek to promote or instil such beliefs. Parents have the right to raise their child in accordance with their religious and philosophical convictions, but they should not expect to do that via the state or our publicly funded schools.

We consider the promotion and public funding of religious schools to be divisive and detrimental to social cohesion.

Modern Britain is a diverse and pluralistic society made up of citizens of many faiths and a growing number of non-religious people.

State funding of religious schools is the least appropriate response to this diversity. Rather than facilitating the segregation of pupils along religious lines, we would like to see steps taken to ensure children of all faiths are no are educated together in a respectful but religiously neutral environment.

As long as faith schools are publicly funded, we campaign for an end to exemptions from equality legislation that allow them to select pupils on the basis of the religion, or religious activities, of the child's parents.

We are concerned that the Government's desire for greater proportion of academies and free schools, which are independent and self-governing, will see more and more control of state funded education handed to religious organisations.