Below are a selection of parents' perspectives on our 2018 report: The choice delusion: how faith schools restrict primary school choice in England. The groundbreaking report estimates that almost three in ten families across England live in areas where most or all of the closest primary schools are faith schools and thousands are being assigned faith schools against their wishes. For more information and to add your perspective, please click here.

Displaying 1 to 33 of 33

"I went to Church of England schools all my life, meaning I was forced to go to church. Religion should only be through choice not indoctrination. I knew I didn't believe from a young age and was still forced to go by older people up to the age of 15!"

"I went to Church of England schools all my life, meaning I was forced to go to church. Religion should only be through choice not indoctrination. I knew I didn't believe from a young age and was still forced to go by older people up to the age of 15!"

Clara, from BRISTOL

"I work in a village VC school and have seen the pressure to evangelise to children rising. It's even worse in VA schools. I wouldn't want my child to attend a faith school but might have no choice if I lived in a village. They claim to be for children of all faiths but it's clear that their main concern is with propagating the faith. It's time to end the segregation of pupils by their parent's faith and build a more cohesive society."

"I work in a village VC school and have seen the pressure to evangelise to children rising. It's even worse in VA schools. I wouldn't want my child to attend a faith school but might have no choice if I lived in a village. They claim to be for children of all faiths but it's clear that their main concern is with propagating the faith. It's time to end the segregation of pupils by their parent's faith and build a more cohesive society."

Christopher, from BRISTOL

"My own (atheist) children were taught creationist beliefs in their village primary school (there was no non-faith school we could choose), and that other faiths were essentially primitive. At secondary level, in our nearest town, there are three non-selective schools, two of which are faith schools. These faith schools don't accept children from families with no faith unless the families lie about their lack of faith. Our 'choice' was restricted to one school, therefore, unless our children passed the selective tests for the non-faith grammar schools. The faith schools' admissions criteria therefore massively distort the secondary system here."

"My own (atheist) children were taught creationist beliefs in their village primary school (there was no non-faith school we could choose), and that other faiths were essentially primitive. At secondary level, in our nearest town, there are three non-selective schools, two of which are faith schools. These faith schools don't accept children from families with no faith unless the families lie about their lack of faith. Our 'choice' was restricted to one school, therefore, unless our children passed the selective tests for the non-faith grammar schools. The faith schools' admissions criteria therefore massively distort the secondary system here."

Sarah, from TUNBRIDGE WELLS

"My daughter can't go to her local school because she hasn't been christened. This is discrimination, no matter how it is dressed up!"

"My daughter can't go to her local school because she hasn't been christened. This is discrimination, no matter how it is dressed up!"

Stephen, from NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE

"In my area I have a choice of one primary school for my son if he wants a non-religious education. It's upsetting and discriminatory that the vast majority of non-religious people, and religious people who don't believe that belief is a public matter, in this country aren't catered for."

"In my area I have a choice of one primary school for my son if he wants a non-religious education. It's upsetting and discriminatory that the vast majority of non-religious people, and religious people who don't believe that belief is a public matter, in this country aren't catered for."

Martin, from BRIGHTON

"As a former parent and chair of governors of a faith school I have seen first-hand how a school that was good in so many ways could exclude members of the local community and discriminate in employment practices."

"As a former parent and chair of governors of a faith school I have seen first-hand how a school that was good in so many ways could exclude members of the local community and discriminate in employment practices."

Joseph, from SOUTH EAST LONDON

"I had never looked into the rules of faith schools and admissions before. Now that I am expecting a baby soon, I have searched locally - I am shocked to discover that unbiased education free from religious dogma is not an option."

"I had never looked into the rules of faith schools and admissions before. Now that I am expecting a baby soon, I have searched locally - I am shocked to discover that unbiased education free from religious dogma is not an option."

Peter, from SALISBURY

"Both our children have had to go to faith schools because they were the only local schools available. We are an atheist family, and this was not at all what we would have chosen. In country areas the local faith school is effectively compulsory. Politicians bend over backwards not to offend faith groups, but by far the largest 'faith' group, atheists, are ignored."

"Both our children have had to go to faith schools because they were the only local schools available. We are an atheist family, and this was not at all what we would have chosen. In country areas the local faith school is effectively compulsory. Politicians bend over backwards not to offend faith groups, but by far the largest 'faith' group, atheists, are ignored."

John, from PLYMOUTH

"We have taken the very hard decision to remove our children from our local but C of E school. The attempted indoctrination and divisive nature of the school became too much."

"We have taken the very hard decision to remove our children from our local but C of E school. The attempted indoctrination and divisive nature of the school became too much."

Christina, from PETERBOROUGH

"Parents attend church just to get them into their most convenient school, not because of their devotion to the religious orientation. We have a school five meters away from our house, but our son can't go there because we refuse to attend the local church. This should not be happening in today's society. Children should be able to make their own choice when they are able to make that choice."

"Parents attend church just to get them into their most convenient school, not because of their devotion to the religious orientation. We have a school five meters away from our house, but our son can't go there because we refuse to attend the local church. This should not be happening in today's society. Children should be able to make their own choice when they are able to make that choice."

Darren, from LIVERPOOL

"As an atheist, my children are automatically not eligible for a great number of local schools in my area because I refuse to attend church to get them in. I am paying for these schools as a taxpayer but am not allowed to benefit from them."

"As an atheist, my children are automatically not eligible for a great number of local schools in my area because I refuse to attend church to get them in. I am paying for these schools as a taxpayer but am not allowed to benefit from them."

Sarah, from TUNBRIDGE WELLS

"My child had no choice but to go to a faith school - all of the state primary schools near us are faith schools. We eventually placed him in a private school in order to get out of the faith system - not an ideal solution. I really object very strongly to the stranglehold that religion is taking in our children's education. The state system is forcing non-faith families into religious obligations around our children's education. This is unacceptable and contrary to the freedom to follow and practice any religion or none!"

"My child had no choice but to go to a faith school - all of the state primary schools near us are faith schools. We eventually placed him in a private school in order to get out of the faith system - not an ideal solution. I really object very strongly to the stranglehold that religion is taking in our children's education. The state system is forcing non-faith families into religious obligations around our children's education. This is unacceptable and contrary to the freedom to follow and practice any religion or none!"

Sarah, from SWINDON

"Why is my child facing such blatant discrimination due to the beliefs of her parents? I have always encouraged her to learn about all religions and decide for herself when the time feels right. So, I haven't had her christened or baptised because that isn't my choice to make for her. But now we need to apply to high schools and it seems she isn't worthy enough to even be considered for half of the faith schools in my area based on religious criteria."

"Why is my child facing such blatant discrimination due to the beliefs of her parents? I have always encouraged her to learn about all religions and decide for herself when the time feels right. So, I haven't had her christened or baptised because that isn't my choice to make for her. But now we need to apply to high schools and it seems she isn't worthy enough to even be considered for half of the faith schools in my area based on religious criteria."

Emma, from WARRINGTON

"Having a daughter due to start school next year, there are few options other than faith schools locally."

"Having a daughter due to start school next year, there are few options other than faith schools locally."

David, from KINGSTON UPON THAMES

"Parents are forced to send children to faith schools as there is effectively no choice due to lack of school places and/or the need to move to a new house and area to avoid them. A faith school should not be forced up on us."

"Parents are forced to send children to faith schools as there is effectively no choice due to lack of school places and/or the need to move to a new house and area to avoid them. A faith school should not be forced up on us."

Tom, from CAMBRIDGE

"Over subscription in our area means the catchment area for us is tiny. We have a Catholic school and a C of E school, both of which require additional forms signed off by priest or vicar and church to confirm your attendance. The school we got for our child is a 40-minute walk from our house, so we have to drive every day.

"Although it's a wonderful infant school, it feeds into a C of E junior school which for the sake of my son and the friendships he has made I will send him to. I feel I have no choice and I can't believe more parents aren't outraged that our taxes majority fund a school that actively discriminates against our children based on religion. Our local Catholic school has 13 levels of entry. These were Catholic looked after children from local parish, siblings of children in the school, other children from parish. It then went through these three groups but anywhere in borough, any Christian children, any other religion and at the very bottom non-religious children."

"Over subscription in our area means the catchment area for us is tiny. We have a Catholic school and a C of E school, both of which require additional forms signed off by priest or vicar and church to confirm your attendance. The school we got for our child is a 40-minute walk from our house, so we have to drive every day.

"Although it's a wonderful infant school, it feeds into a C of E junior school which for the sake of my son and the friendships he has made I will send him to. I feel I have no choice and I can't believe more parents aren't outraged that our taxes majority fund a school that actively discriminates against our children based on religion. Our local Catholic school has 13 levels of entry. These were Catholic looked after children from local parish, siblings of children in the school, other children from parish. It then went through these three groups but anywhere in borough, any Christian children, any other religion and at the very bottom non-religious children."

Kirsty, from SUTTON

"My son recently started reception at a faith school. Not because I'm religious, but because I had no choice. This is our local school; most other local schools are also faith schools. As a result, I will be forced to navigate challenging conversations with a four-year-old whether I feel he is prepared for them or not. Religious families will already be speaking to their children about religion at home, and non-religious families will not appreciate having to contradict what their children are taught at school."

"My son recently started reception at a faith school. Not because I'm religious, but because I had no choice. This is our local school; most other local schools are also faith schools. As a result, I will be forced to navigate challenging conversations with a four-year-old whether I feel he is prepared for them or not. Religious families will already be speaking to their children about religion at home, and non-religious families will not appreciate having to contradict what their children are taught at school."

Jenny, from SOUTHAMPTON

"My son has to go to a local RC school because of SENS needs - his timetable includes five periods of RE every two weeks. This is more than any other subject and is straight up evangelising. Education should be secular, faith schools severely limit the choice of pupils especially in areas like mine which is a grammar area."

"My son has to go to a local RC school because of SENS needs - his timetable includes five periods of RE every two weeks. This is more than any other subject and is straight up evangelising. Education should be secular, faith schools severely limit the choice of pupils especially in areas like mine which is a grammar area."

Sally, from CANTERBURY

"I believe that it is harmful for children to be segregated by their parents' beliefs. As a person without a religion, who had not been to a religious school, I was surprised at and disturbed by the level of religious indoctrination in our local state C of E primary school when my children were young, and at the amount of time that was devoted to religious themes."

"I believe that it is harmful for children to be segregated by their parents' beliefs. As a person without a religion, who had not been to a religious school, I was surprised at and disturbed by the level of religious indoctrination in our local state C of E primary school when my children were young, and at the amount of time that was devoted to religious themes."

Clare, from EXETER

"I was gobsmacked and outraged when they told me I didn't get any of my six chosen choices of schools… I didn't want her to go to a Hindu school so I am surprised the council would think I would accept a faith school which I didn't even apply for."

"I was gobsmacked and outraged when they told me I didn't get any of my six chosen choices of schools… I didn't want her to go to a Hindu school so I am surprised the council would think I would accept a faith school which I didn't even apply for."

Naz, from EAST LONDON

"We were unable to go to our nearest secondary school, because it was a Catholic school. Our children's infant and primary schools were both C of E, which caused them a great deal of confusion - their teachers telling one thing, when they knew we didn't believe."

"We were unable to go to our nearest secondary school, because it was a Catholic school. Our children's infant and primary schools were both C of E, which caused them a great deal of confusion - their teachers telling one thing, when they knew we didn't believe."

Christopher, from GUILDFORD

"I live right by a school (2 min walk) that I would like my daughter to go to. But as we are not a religious family I'm told she can't go there and will now have to drive my child to school as the others are 5-10 minute drive from our home."

"I live right by a school (2 min walk) that I would like my daughter to go to. But as we are not a religious family I'm told she can't go there and will now have to drive my child to school as the others are 5-10 minute drive from our home."

Zoe, from WOLVERHAMPTON

"It is appalling that in this day and age children continue to have religion forced upon them. A child should be allowed to make their own mind up when in possession of all the information and when they are able to fully assess their options. There are no non-faith schools where I live and consequently my children have to go to school in the neighbouring town."

"It is appalling that in this day and age children continue to have religion forced upon them. A child should be allowed to make their own mind up when in possession of all the information and when they are able to fully assess their options. There are no non-faith schools where I live and consequently my children have to go to school in the neighbouring town."

Tim, from REDHILL

"People should have the right to send their children to a non-faith school. In many villages/areas this is not practically possible. Segregating children by religion cannot help society."

"People should have the right to send their children to a non-faith school. In many villages/areas this is not practically possible. Segregating children by religion cannot help society."

Joan, from HEMEL HEMPSTEAD

"As a teacher I see a lot of schools, often in areas where there is no educational choice, adding the weight of respected adult support to a set of beliefs they expect very young children to follow. This should not be done using public money!"

"As a teacher I see a lot of schools, often in areas where there is no educational choice, adding the weight of respected adult support to a set of beliefs they expect very young children to follow. This should not be done using public money!"

Vikki, from PETERBOROUGH

"Certain parts of Cheltenham are in the catchment area for just one non-religious school, with four religious schools nearby who select children based on the parent's availability to attend church on Sundays. How is this fair on anyone?"

"Certain parts of Cheltenham are in the catchment area for just one non-religious school, with four religious schools nearby who select children based on the parent's availability to attend church on Sundays. How is this fair on anyone?"

Craig, from GLOUCESTER

"Not being religious ourselves we think this school is completely inappropriate. We've been told we can withdraw our daughter from worship and RE but there's no alternative provision, and sitting outside a classroom feels like punishment. Why should our daughter be punished for not being religious?"

"Not being religious ourselves we think this school is completely inappropriate. We've been told we can withdraw our daughter from worship and RE but there's no alternative provision, and sitting outside a classroom feels like punishment. Why should our daughter be punished for not being religious?"

Jo, from HERTFORDSHIRE

"We decided we couldn't live with our son being indoctrinated in the Catholic faith, a religion we don't follow, and the alternative of excluding him from classes and religious activities is just not acceptable. The appeals panel said they understood our decision but said they couldn't guarantee a place at an alternative school by September."

"We decided we couldn't live with our son being indoctrinated in the Catholic faith, a religion we don't follow, and the alternative of excluding him from classes and religious activities is just not acceptable. The appeals panel said they understood our decision but said they couldn't guarantee a place at an alternative school by September."

Rachel, from MANCHESTER

"My village school is C of E - most who attend do so because it is the village school, not because of its religious affiliation. My children attended for this reason but have been shown pictures of God's garden presented as fact, been given alcoholic wine without my consent and it has been a challenge to keep their minds open and objective about religion. I've now removed my children from the school."

"My village school is C of E - most who attend do so because it is the village school, not because of its religious affiliation. My children attended for this reason but have been shown pictures of God's garden presented as fact, been given alcoholic wine without my consent and it has been a challenge to keep their minds open and objective about religion. I've now removed my children from the school."

Helen, from YORK

"Everyone should be entitled to have their children educated at the school that is nearest to them, regardless of whether or not they subscribe to a particular religion or other superstition. No one should be discriminated against on the grounds of "faith". I object to having to contribute to funding the local school to which my own child was denied access on religious grounds while also having to pay for him to be educated privately as a result."

"Everyone should be entitled to have their children educated at the school that is nearest to them, regardless of whether or not they subscribe to a particular religion or other superstition. No one should be discriminated against on the grounds of "faith". I object to having to contribute to funding the local school to which my own child was denied access on religious grounds while also having to pay for him to be educated privately as a result."

Rob, from SOUTH EAST LONDON

"I'm a Christian but I believe faith schools cause big problems in society. They cause segregation and reduce school choice for parents. It is so much better for all children to learn together, mixing with all the children in their community. It is wrong that children are turned away from a school or prioritised for entry based on what their parents happen to do on a Sunday! I know a number of people who've told me they faked faith to get a school place, and I know one rather corrupt C of E primary school that helps out children who fail the 11-plus with their secondary application, so they go to a faith school not a regular high school. These sorts of problems are avoided by having all schools open to all local pupils."

"I'm a Christian but I believe faith schools cause big problems in society. They cause segregation and reduce school choice for parents. It is so much better for all children to learn together, mixing with all the children in their community. It is wrong that children are turned away from a school or prioritised for entry based on what their parents happen to do on a Sunday! I know a number of people who've told me they faked faith to get a school place, and I know one rather corrupt C of E primary school that helps out children who fail the 11-plus with their secondary application, so they go to a faith school not a regular high school. These sorts of problems are avoided by having all schools open to all local pupils."

Joanne, from CANTERBURY

"I am an atheist raised by atheists, the only school in the village I lived in was C of E. I had to go participate in Christian rituals in a church several times a year, was regularly told off for not praying and was taught that Hindu and Muslim legends are "myths" whilst Noah's ark literally happened. Aside from the obvious issues of indoctrinating impressionable children and encouraging tribalism and exclusion, when state schools become faith schools, they actively impinge on the right of anyone who is in that catchment area but not of that faith to raise their children with their own beliefs."

"I am an atheist raised by atheists, the only school in the village I lived in was C of E. I had to go participate in Christian rituals in a church several times a year, was regularly told off for not praying and was taught that Hindu and Muslim legends are "myths" whilst Noah's ark literally happened. Aside from the obvious issues of indoctrinating impressionable children and encouraging tribalism and exclusion, when state schools become faith schools, they actively impinge on the right of anyone who is in that catchment area but not of that faith to raise their children with their own beliefs."

Rachel, from CROYDON

"Faith schools leave non-religious parents with a difficult choice. Too frequently you have to either send your child to a school miles away from your home, or send them to your local faith school and have them be educated about things you do not believe in. I went to church as a child, my mother is a church warden, I understand some of the moral advantages of Christian teaching. I just don't want it in my children's schools. Religion belongs in a church, or place of worship."

"Faith schools leave non-religious parents with a difficult choice. Too frequently you have to either send your child to a school miles away from your home, or send them to your local faith school and have them be educated about things you do not believe in. I went to church as a child, my mother is a church warden, I understand some of the moral advantages of Christian teaching. I just don't want it in my children's schools. Religion belongs in a church, or place of worship."

Coombes, from KINGSTON UPON THAMES

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Above are a selection of parents' perspectives on our 2018 report: The choice delusion: how faith schools restrict primary school choice in England. The groundbreaking report estimates that almost three in ten families across England live in areas where most or all of the closest primary schools are faith schools and thousands are being assigned faith schools against their wishes. For more information and to add your perspective, please click here.