Education & Schools

According to research in a 2018 report by the National Secular Society (The Choice Delusion):

  • Almost three in ten families across England live in areas where most or all of the closest primary schools are faith schools. There is significant regional variation and the problem is more prevalent in rural areas. However, even in urban areas around one in four families live in areas with high or extreme restrictions.

  • In 43.4% of rural areas restrictions on non-faith school choice are categorised as "high" or "extreme". In fact, 53% of rural primary schools are faith-based.

  • 20.6% (7,727) of those who missed out on their first choice of a non-faith primary school in September 2018 were assigned a faith school. This includes 1,398 people who had made all their preferences (typically five) for a non-faith school.
  • Nearly half of all CofE churches send a member of their ministry into schools to lead an act of worship.
    Source: Statistics for Mission 2016

  • In a survey of 300 schools, only 35% of schools had a policy which covered the participation, invitation or behaviour of external visitors and speakers. Only 16% of schools had a policy or policies concerning the partisan promotion of religious or political beliefs by external groups/visitors/speakers.
    Source: NSS

  • No policies of schools surveyed requires parents to be informed of visitors in advance, and no policies clearly prohibited religious proselytization or required a teacher/staff member to introduce an external visitor and make clear that they are representing their religious views.
    Source: NSS

  • Studies in 2009 found that the number of dedicated school chaplains increased by 25% in five years
    Source: The Guardian
  • Just 14% of respondents disagree with the statement: "State-funded faith schools should be obligated to teach RE in a way that is inclusive of all religious and non-religious belief systems".
    Source: Censuswide | Related: British public opposes religious influence in education, poll finds (2018)

  • A quarter of England's secondary schools do not offer RE.
    Source: National Association for RE Teachers| Related news: Schools sidelining RE, survey finds (2017)

  • In a poll asking members of the public to rank 18 school subjects based on importance, people placed religious studies 15th, ahead only of Drama, Classics and Latin.
    Source: YouGov| Related news: Majority of Britons see religious studies as unimportant (2018)

  • More than half of those polled said religious studies was either 'not very important' or 'not at all important', with more than a quarter saying the latter. Just 12% said it was 'very important'.
    Source: YouGov| Related news: Majority of Britons see religious studies as unimportant (2018)

  • The majority of British adults say that RE is not as important as English, Maths and Science (62%).
    Source: ComRes (2018)

  • The majority of British adults agree that schools are increasingly restricted in what they can say about religion (59%).
    Source: ComRes (2018)
  • 45 % of British adults agree that RE should be compulsory for all children in school, compared to 28% who disagree (28%)
    Source: ComRes (2018)

  • 57% think state-funded schools should teach knowledge about the world's main faiths even-handedly, without any bias towards any particular religion, and without trying to inculcate belief.
    Source: Ipsos MORI (2011)

  • More Christians oppose (38%) than support (31%) the teaching of 6-day creationism in state-funded school science lessons.
    Source: Ipsos MORI (2011)
  • 77% of state-funded faith schools distort sex education by teaching the subject in accordance with religious scripture.
    Source: NSS (2018)

Religion and the State

United Kingdom:

England:

Scotland:

Ireland

  • Only 34% of the UK public think future British monarchs should keep the title of supreme governor of the Church of England. Only 34% think future British monarchs should be required to be members of the C of E. 35% think future British monarchs should be required to swear a religious oath to maintain the C of E as the state church.
    Source: Censuswide | Related: Just a third of public supports royal ties with CoE, NSS poll finds

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Healthcare

  • Religious chaplaincy costs NHS £23.5 million a year – the equivalent cost of employing 1,000 new nurses.
    Source: The Independent| Related news: Religious chaplaincy costs NHS £23.5 million a year (2015)

  • Several NHS Trusts pay full-time chaplains from £30,764 to £40,558; part-time chaplains are paid between £25,783 and £34,530.
    Source: The Independent| Related news: Religious chaplaincy costs NHS £23.5 million a year (2015)

  • Four in ten Christians oppose the costs of hospital chaplains being met from NHS budgets rather than by the chaplain's religious organisation, with a third happy for the NHS to pay.
    Source: Ipsos MORI

  • Data provided by hospitals reveals no demonstrable clinical benefit from hospital trusts spending proportionately far more on chaplaincy services than those that do not.
    Source: NSS

Other

  • 55% of people have little or no confidence in Church groups running "Crucial social provisions such as education". Only 6% have a lot of confidence.
    Source: YouGov / Oasis UK | Related news: Faith in public services?

  • 65% have no confidence in Church groups running "Crucial social provisions such as healthcare" with only 2% of people expressing a lot of confidence.
    Source: YouGov / Oasis UK | Related news: Faith in public services?

  • When asked "Whether a bank should, or should not, be able to insist an employee removes religious dress or symbol at work" a majority of Scots were in favour of allowing an employer to ask for an employee to remove a full Islamic face veil. 34% said they should definitely have the right to insist on this, and a further 31% said an employer should "probably" have the right to ask an employee to remove a face veil.
    Source: Scottish Social Attitudes Survey| Related news: New survey reveals Scots' attitudes to religious symbols at work (2016)
  • The Church of England handled more than 3,000 safeguarding concerns or allegations of abuse in 2016.
    Source: General Synod | Related: CoE faced 3,300 safeguarding concerns or abuse allegations in 2016 (2018)

  • In 2018, Populus undertook an online survey of 2,065 adult Britons on behalf of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. One of the questions concerned where respondents thought child sexual abuse was most likely to take place. Religious institutions were ranked fourth, after the family home (59%), the internet (50%), and a welfare institution (41%).
    Source: Populus (2018)