Government's Refusal To Challenge Faith Schools Over Cohesion Is "Madness"

Responding to the speech launching the Commission on Integration and Cohesion by Ruth Kelly today (24 August 2006), Terry Sanderson, vice-president of the National Secular Society commented:

“The refusal by the Government to allow its new commission to even consider that faith schools are part of the problem with integration is sheer madness. It seems clear to almost everyone except the vested religious interests that separating children on the basis of their parents’ religion is divisive in the extreme. Instead of breaking down barriers, as the Government says it wants, the continued expansion of single faith schools will exacerbate the problem.”

Mr Sanderson added: “The problem now seems to be that because Christians have so many schools, there is no fair way to deny them to other faiths. The answer is to begin dismantling the whole system of religious schools. Every opinion poll that has been taken recently shows a massive opposition to the principle of religious segregation in schools. The Government’s policy of expansion is short-sighted and dangerous. It must face up to this fact.”