Publicly funded religious schools (or 'faith schools') make up around a third of our education system. This seriously limits choice for parents who do not want a religious education for their children, or do not share the faith of the local school.
We are opposed to faith schools in principle and campaign instead for a secular education system in which religious groups play no formal part. Religious organisations see schools as a way to produce the next generation of believers. The state should not be paying for that.
Over-subscribed religious schools can discriminate in admissions based on the religion of the child's parents. This exemption from equality legislation enables children to be separated into faith groups and poses a threat to community cohesion.
What success faith schools achieve is usually attributable to the privileged selection processes they alone are allowed to operate. Religious schools are permitted to 'cherry-pick' certain pupils, including those who come from supportive and better-off families who are prepared to 'play the system' by feigning belief, and screen out pupils who might be a drain on the school's resources (those with special needs or on free school meals, for example).
Faith schools are also granted special privileges in the way they select and employ staff. Teachers can be denied jobs at faith schools if they do not share the faith of the school.
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.