1. Skip to content

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

Sixth Former compared to Stalin for campaigning against mandatory prayers in school

Sixth Former compared to Stalin for campaigning against mandatory prayers in school

Thu, 28 Apr 2016 12:57

A Northern Ireland councillor has been criticised after comparing a Sixth Form student's campaign against mandatory school worship to the "early stage" of Hitler and Stalin's rule.

Independent Islamic schools undermining British values with gender segregation, says Ofsted

Independent Islamic schools undermining British values with gender segregation, says Ofsted

Wed, 27 Apr 2016 15:41

Sir Michael Wilshaw has warned that leaders in some independent Islamic schools are continuing to undermine British values, after inspectors found more evidence of gender segregation.

Academisation plans risk increasing religious influence in schools, warns NSS

Academisation plans risk increasing religious influence in schools, warns NSS

Mon, 25 Apr 2016 16:48

The NSS has warned that Government plans to convert all schools in England into academies could increase the level of religious influence and see the CofE gaining control of non-faith-based schools.

Cross-party call by MPs for more inclusive faith school admissions

Cross-party call by MPs for more inclusive faith school admissions

Wed, 20 Apr 2016 15:59

A cross-party group of MPs has called on the Government to make faith school admissions more inclusive and bolster social cohesion.

Orthodox school bans mention of “evolution or prehistoric events”

Orthodox school bans mention of “evolution or prehistoric events”

Tue, 19 Apr 2016 13:53

Ofsted have written a scathing criticism of an independent orthodox Jewish school which has a policy of not referencing "evolution or prehistoric events" that would "predate the creation of the world 5776 years ago".