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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.

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Ofsted reveals “serious risk” to students’ physical and educational welfare in faith schools

Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:15

A series of Ofsted investigations have exposed serious failings in six Islamic schools. The head of Ofsted, has warned the Education Secretary that pupils "may be vulnerable to extremist influences and radicalisation."

Promotion of 'British values' undermines Christian teaching, says Church of England: NSS responds

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Fri, 14 Nov 2014 08:05

The Church of England has complained that the promotion of fundamental values such as democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance in schools could undermine Christian teaching.

NSS alert Ofsted after Jewish faith school tells pupils not to answer exam questions that conflict with school’s religious ethos

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Thu, 13 Nov 2014 19:56

The National Secular Society has called on Ofsted and the DfE to ensure that all schools teach the National Curriculum in full after the head of a publicly funded Jewish faith school admitted to advising students not to answer exam questions which conflict with the school's strict Orthodox religious beliefs.

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A new report from Sharia Watch UK has revealed the reach of Islamist speakers and the dangers of censorship on university campuses. The report's launch event has been cancelled by the University of West London.

Niger removes sex education from schools after condemnation from Islamic clerics

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UN-designed sex education material has been withdrawn from the Niger schools syllabus after condemnation from Islamic clerics.