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

Last chance to speak out against the Government’s faith school expansion plans

Last chance to speak out against the Government’s faith school expansion plans

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:25

The Government's consultation on plans to open more faith schools and allow them to select up to 100% of their pupils on religious grounds is coming to a close very soon.

Faith school expansion plans ‘will not improve standards or boost social mobility’

Faith school expansion plans ‘will not improve standards or boost social mobility’

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 06:25

Government proposals to allow a new wave of fully religiously selective faith schools will not improve standards and are unlikely to boost social mobility, new research has warned.

Thousands of missing children at risk of religious extremism in illegal faith schools

Thousands of missing children at risk of religious extremism in illegal faith schools

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 16:43

Research by the BBC has found that more than 30,000 children went missing from English and Welsh schools for "substantial" periods during the 2014-15 academic year.

Record numbers attending Jewish faith schools as Orthodox numbers grow

Record numbers attending Jewish faith schools as Orthodox numbers grow

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 14:28

Almost two-thirds of Jewish children in Britain attend Jewish faith schools, the majority of which are "strictly Orthodox", according to new research.

‘Catholic certificate’ breaches admissions rules, says Schools Adjudicator

‘Catholic certificate’ breaches admissions rules, says Schools Adjudicator

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 12:12

The Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) has upheld several complaints against a "Certificate of Catholic Practice" (CCP) required for school admissions.