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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

CofE takeover of schools progresses rapidly

Posted: Fri, 13 Jan 2012 12:12

CofE takeover of schools progresses rapidly

A new secondary free school with a "Christian character" is being proposed in Hove,Sussex. It is apparently being promoted by a group of parents who think there aren't enough "faith schools" in the area and want to ensure that the children who've been to religious primary schools continue their indoctrination until they are 16.

The parents behind the school say they are looking at sites inHovebut are keeping details under wraps until they have heard the result of their application to the Department for Education.

Sue Worthing, a solicitor and one of the parents behind the proposal, said there was a shortage of Christian secondary places in Brighton and Hove.

She told the Telegraph & Argus newspaper: "We wanted to see a C of E senior school. It is ridiculous that in a town of our size there is only one Christian school. Site wise we are restricted in the city because obviously you could not produce something as large as Newman or even the others because within our geographical area there are simply not the sites."

Mrs Worthing said the group had been in contact with the Diocese of Chichester about the proposed school and is investigating possible links to an existing C of E primary school. She said the school would be focused on celebrating Christian festivals such as Easter and Christmas.

The King's School website said it will aim to "inspire" Christian values through "the teaching of high moral standards, a discussion-based RE curriculum, collective worship and a full-time chaplaincy."

Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said: "Yet another chaplain potentially being funded by taxpayers' money. How exactly can the salary of a chaplain be justified when the money is being provided for education? We can expect to see this pattern repeated all over the country as the CofE steps up its evangelising in schools. If we thought the cost of chaplains in hospitals, prisons and the army was a scandal, wait until the school chaplains start mushrooming."

Meanwhile, in Brentwood, Essex, the local diocese is celebrating the approval of a new secondary school, Becket Keys, which will open in September. On its website the school is advertising for a headteacher – the primary qualification for which is being a "committed Christian".

Tags: Faith Schools, Education, Chaplains