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

Sex education should be mandatory to help prevent child abuse, says former Solicitor General

Sex education should be mandatory to help prevent child abuse, says former Solicitor General

Tue, 02 Aug 2016 15:05

Former Solicitor General Vera Baird QC, the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, considers that compulsory PSHE in primary schools is "key" to tackling "sexual exploitation" and child abuse.

Local councils lose challenge against unwanted Sikh free school

Local councils lose challenge against unwanted Sikh free school

Mon, 18 Jul 2016 13:27

Two councils have lost a high court battle against the decision to have a Sikh faith school situated in the small village of Stoke Poges.

NSS criticise Church plan to open 125 new free schools

NSS criticise Church plan to open 125 new free schools

Mon, 11 Jul 2016 12:49

The Church of England is planning to bid for control of more than one quarter of the new free schools announced by the Government.

Parents protest against religious discrimination in Irish schools

Parents protest against religious discrimination in Irish schools

Mon, 04 Jul 2016 13:54

Irish parents demonstrated over the weekend for reform to the country's school admissions – in an education landscape still dominated by the Catholic Church.

Government challenged over treatment of non-religious views in RE lessons

Government challenged over treatment of non-religious views in RE lessons

Thu, 30 Jun 2016 16:19

The Government has been challenged in the House of Lords over its approach to the inclusion of non-religious worldviews in religious education.