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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

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following the Birmingham 'Trojan Horse' affair has received 100 letters from parents requesting that their children be withdrawn from collective worship, it has emerged.

Ofsted denies ‘bullying and traumatising’ Jewish pupils

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Ofsted has denied claims that it acted inappropriately after an association of Orthodox schools accused it of leaving young girls "traumatised" following a school inspection.

Lib Dems back proposals to end compulsory worship and faith school discrimination against teachers

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Tue, 07 Oct 2014 11:58

Liberal Democrats have voted in support of a motion to abolish compulsory worship in schools and to end religious discrimination against teachers in faith schools.

Tower Hamlets denies 'Trojan Horse 2' claims

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Tower Hamlets has denied newspaper claims that a Trojan Horse '2' is soon to be uncovered in the East London Borough.

Calls for national debate over collective worship requirement in schools

Calls for national debate over collective worship requirement in schools

Wed, 10 Sep 2014 15:33

Renewed calls have been made for a national debate about the requirement on schools to hold acts of collective worship. The calls came during an Education Committee evidence session on extremism in schools.