Having problems with this newsletter? View it in your browser

National Secular Society

Thank you everyone who has joined and supported the #NoMoreFaithSchools campaign this week, as well as everyone who have been with us from the beginning and have helped spread the word.

This week the National Secular Society released polling by Censuswide looking at British attitudes to religion in schools. As is the trend, the figures make unhappy reading for supporters of faith schools. The public are on our side, but will the politicians listen?

Just 17% of respondents said they agreed with the statement: "Publicly funded schools should be able to select pupils on the grounds of their religious beliefs". Even when the question said "faith schools should be able to select pupils on the grounds of their religious beliefs" just 29% agreed.

Interestingly, those supporting religious selection in schools aren't much more than the fringe 13% of people who say state schools should be able to select pupils based on their parents' political beliefs.

For me this exposes a discrepancy at the heart of our schools. State schools are forbidden from promoting, showing favouritism to or discriminating on the grounds of partisan politics. So why is religion treated so differently?

Does anyone seriously suggest the lack of state funded Conservative Comprehensives, Nationalist Nurseries or Socialist Secondaries is an affront to political freedom? Are there any Labour voters outraged their local school isn't able to favour their children over those of their Lib Dem neighbours?

In my latest opinion piece I argue our approach to politics in schools could show a fair way forward to ending faith schools and protecting freedom of belief for all.

Best wishes,

Alastair Lichten
NMFS campaign

  

Five easy ways you can support the campaign today

1. Write to your MP (or write to them again) find out what they are doing to support inclusive education.

2. Make sure you're following us on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

3. Send us a message saying why you support #NoMoreFaithSchools, you can even create your own poster with your message.

4. Share our video giving a quick overview of the case for inclusive education free from faith schools

5. Share our guide to challenging new faith schools.

  

Quotes of the week

  

"The overwhelming emphasis on religion at my children's CE school is affecting my son's mental health. He is constantly being reprimanded for questioning Christianity and it takes up a huge amount of curriculum time that could be better used. Less than 50% of this country identify with any religion let alone Christianity."

Nancy, Oxfordshire

"In today's society, it is more important than ever that our children can enjoy a diverse and fair education, and have the chance to learn from each other's differences. The National Secular Society's No More Faith Schools campaign is an important step in this direction and provides a platform for those who want an inclusive education to show their support for that."

Dan Snow, Historian, broadcaster and television presenter

"I totally support this campaign. I have lived in the north of Ireland and in Scotland and have seen at first hand the damage that faith schools can cause in terms of creating divisions in society and creating entrenched 'differences'."

Cathryn, Manchester

"Permitting more faith schools is going to result in less unity and more division within society - at a time when we need to be uniting around our shared humanity (rather than sowing the seeds of intolerance/superiority within the impressionable minds of future generations)."

Andy, Stockton-on-Tees

  

Latest updates

 

Religion and politics – the discrepancy at the heart of our schools

Alastair Lichten asks why partisan religious beliefs are treated so differently to political ones in schools in England and Wales.

 

British public opposes religious influence in education, poll finds

British adults are strongly opposed to religious influence in school admissions, assemblies and the teaching of Religious... Read More »

  
Write to your MP Campaign Locally Myth Buster