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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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Church of ‘witch-slapping’ pastor withdraws application to open UK school

Tue, 25 Aug 2015 10:08

A Christian group that linked child disobedience with witchcraft has withdrawn its application to open an independent school after the NSS called on the DfE not to grant the school registered status.

Government to investigate Islamic school which banned socialising with ‘outsiders’

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Thu, 20 Aug 2015 13:58

The DfE has written to the National Secular Society confirming that it will be "looking into" the NSS' concerns over why an Islamic school that banned its pupils from socialising with 'outsiders' was rated "good".

NSS welcomes Welsh Government plans to reform RE

NSS welcomes Welsh Government plans to reform RE

Wed, 19 Aug 2015 12:36

The National Secular Society has written to Huw Lewis, the Welsh Education Minister, in support of his plans to reform RE and rename the subject "religion, philosophy and ethics".

Muslim-majority school to integrate genders, despite protests from parents

Muslim-majority school to integrate genders, despite protests from parents

Mon, 17 Aug 2015 15:35

A Muslim-majority, non-faith school is to integrate boys' and girls' classes for the first time, after being placed in special measures by Ofsted.

NSS calls for new inspection of Islamic school that bans “socialising with outsiders”

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Mon, 27 Jul 2015 11:07

The National Secular Society has written to the Department for Education and Ofsted calling for a fresh inspection of an Islamic school where pupils are reportedly banned from socialising with "outsiders".