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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Religion and Schools

Education is where a lack of secularism impinges most on the lives of British citizens.

Schools with a religious character, or 'faith schools' as they are commonly known, account for around a third of our publicly funded schools. 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.

Despite a consistent and dramatic decline in church attendance, and a growing proportion of non-religious citizens, successive governments have paved the way for ever greater religious involvement in education, often to the detriment of community schools.

We oppose publicly funded faith schools and campaign for an end to religious discrimination in school admissions.

We also campaign for an end to compulsory worship in schools and for reform of Religious Education.

A secular approach to education would see 'faith schools' phased out and ensure that publicly funded schools are equally welcoming to all children, regardless of their religious and philosophical backgrounds.

Visit our education statistics page for facts and figures on religion and education.

Related News

Latest religious takeover will see two community schools run by the Church

Latest religious takeover will see two community schools run by the Church

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 14:00

Two community schools in Kent are to be folded into an academy trust under Church control, in the latest Church takeover of community schools, a trend warned of by the National Secular Society last year.

Local community rallies against religious ethos for new school

Local community rallies against religious ethos for new school

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 12:43

Hundreds of people have protested against a new school in Bala having a Church in Wales ethos, and a local councillor has called on the Church to back away from the project.

Ireland to consider banning schools from using religion in admissions

Ireland to consider banning schools from using religion in admissions

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 14:57

The Irish Minister for Education and Skills has set out plans to tackle the religious discrimination endemic in the Irish education system, hitting out at the unfairness of a baptism requirement for school places.

Faith school heads and governors raise concerns about academy religious takeovers

Faith school heads and governors raise concerns about academy religious takeovers

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 10:57

Religious leaders are set to steamroll faith schools into massive academy chains, centralising church control over the state-funded schools.

NSS urges Scottish Government to tackle governance failures concerning religion in schools

NSS urges Scottish Government to tackle governance failures concerning religion in schools

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 15:21

The National Secular Society has highlighted failures in the governance of Scottish schools, identifying a string of incidents where pupils have been exposed in schools to extreme religious views.