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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

NSS raise concerns over new faith school linked to ‘witch-hunting’ bishop

NSS raise concerns over new faith school linked to ‘witch-hunting’ bishop

Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:15

The National Secular Society has expressed concern that a school linked to a controversial Pentecostal Nigerian 'witch hunter' pastor is set to open in England.

Church school allocation angers non-religious parents

Church school allocation angers non-religious parents

Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:13

Non-religious parents in St Albans have been told by the local authority that the only state education they can offer their children is at a faith school.

Christian group threatens DfE with legal action over school equality standards

Christian group threatens DfE with legal action over school equality standards

Tue, 12 Aug 2014 09:51

A Christian lobby group is threatening the Government with a judicial review over its plans to introduce new standards for independent schools aimed at reinforcing equality and fundamental values.

Education secretary to cut public funding to nurseries promoting 'extremist views' – including creationism

Education secretary to cut public funding to nurseries promoting 'extremist views' – including creationism

Fri, 08 Aug 2014 07:49

The Government has announced plans to cut public funding to nurseries that teach creationism as scientific fact or fail to promote 'British values', Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced.

NSS responds to Government consultation on school standards and 'British values'

NSS responds to Government consultation on school standards and 'British values'

Mon, 04 Aug 2014 13:10

The National Secular Society has backed Government plans to tackle religious extremism in schools by reinforcing principles of equality and fundamental values – but has argued that proposed new standards don't go far enough.