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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

National Secular Society welcomes call for faith schools to face Ofsted inspections of their religious teaching

National Secular Society welcomes call for faith schools to face Ofsted inspections of their religious teaching

Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:00

The National Secular Society has welcomed calls from Labour's Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt for religious teaching in faith schools to be inspected by Ofsted.

NSS calls on Welsh Government to review compulsory collective worship

NSS calls on Welsh Government to review compulsory collective worship

Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:40

The National Secular Society has called on the Welsh government to review the legal requirement on schools to provide worship after parents expressed concern about prayers being imposed on children in non-denominational schools.

European Commission dismisses NSS complaint over employment discrimination in faith schools

European Commission dismisses NSS complaint over employment discrimination in faith schools

Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:03

The European Commission has announced it will take no further action after investigating complaints, submitted by the National Secular Society, regarding UK state funded 'faith schools' legislation and European employment laws.

Tory MP calls for all sex education to be scrapped

Tory MP calls for all sex education to be scrapped

Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:08

During a debate introducing the Sex and Relationships Education (Curriculum) Bill to parliament this week, Conservative MP Philip Davies blamed "sex education fanatics" for a rise in unwanted pregnancies since the 1970s, and called for "less sex education, or even better, none".

Religion continues to cause disruption in 'Trojan Horse' schools

Religion continues to cause disruption in 'Trojan Horse' schools

Wed, 15 Oct 2014 11:06

A school placed in special measures following the Birmingham 'Trojan Horse' affair has received 100 letters from parents requesting that their children be withdrawn from collective worship, it has emerged.