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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege


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Newsline 13 September 2019


Over the last three years we've resisted government plans to introduce more religiously selective state schools in England.

Last year our lobbying helped to convince ministers not to lift a 50% cap on faith based admissions to new academies. Then they proposed a wave of 14 new faith schools which could potentially select all their children on the basis of their families' religious orientation.

We've opposed these plans locally and nationally. Now just one has been taken forward: a proposed selective Catholic school in Peterborough in Cambridgeshire. And our No More Faith Schools campaign is working to convince the local council not to accept this exclusive faith school.

The campaign is exposing the harm which faith schools cause and rallying proponents of inclusive, secular education to push for an end to religious power over our children's schooling. If this sounds worthwhile, please consider getting involved in the campaign – or joining or donating to the NSS. Thank you.


News & Opinion


NSS rallies opposition to new selective Catholic school

The NSS is resisting plans to open a religiously selective Catholic school in Peterborough in Cambridgeshire.


‘No Outsiders’ teacher delivers message of equality in NSS lecture

The creator of an inclusive school programme has emphasised the importance of teaching children about equality at a major NSS lecture.


NSS urges advertising regulators not to defer to religion

The NSS has urged two advertising regulation bodies to protect free expression on religion as they reconsider their rules on offence.


LGBT-inclusive education latest

Organisers of protests against LGBT-inclusive teaching outside a Birmingham school have promised to return to the school from today, after the recent end of the summer holidays.

Meanwhile a submission the NSS made to the House of Commons, urging MPs to make clear that all children should be taught that it's OK to be gay, was quoted in a Westminster Hall debate.


Other news

The NSS has met representatives from England's education inspectorate Ofsted and highlighted the problem of some faith schools promoting the idea that same-sex relationships are morally wrong.

A new £23m Catholic school for children aged 3-16 has opened in Denbighshire. The NSS's No More Faith Schools campaign has criticised the decision to open a faith school.

DUP leader Arlene Foster has joined thousands of people in a silent protest at Stormont to show their opposition to the planned legalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland.

Stay in touch with all the latest news and views on secularism – sign up to receive your daily media briefing from the NSS.


Read elsewhere: NSS quoted


Why should parental consent be enough to allow the cutting of boys’ genitals?

By Andrew Penman, for The Mirror

A boy's circumcision would still have been wrong if his parents had consented to it – as the NSS's Megan Manson has argued.


Upcoming events

Our campaigns officer Megan Manson will speak to Nottingham Secular Society about religion and charity on Tuesday 24 September.

Megan will also exhibit at this year's FiLiA conference in Bradford on 19-20 October. Our council member Yasmin Rehman and honorary associates Maryam Namazie and Pragna Patel will speak at the conference.

Our council member Sadikur Rahman will address the need to separate religion from public life at a meeting of Gloucestershire Humanists on 14 November.

We're also hosting a talk on Richard Carlile's legacy before our AGM in November, delivered by our council member and historian Bob Forder.

Find out about these events and more.


Latest NSS podcast


Ep 13: Religious appointees | Campaigning round-up

Chris Sloggett spoke to NSS head of education Alastair Lichten about our new report calling for an end to the requirement on all Scottish local authorities to include religious appointees on their education committees.


Essay of the week

Northern Ireland's schools still aren't integrated
By Adam McGibbon, for The Nation

A grassroots movement to desegregate Northern Ireland's education system is gaining traction, led by parents and teachers.


Quotes of the week

"Aside from throwing 'Muslims' into a pot and ignoring the important and sometimes contentious differences between many Muslims, it would capture many moderate and liberal Muslims' criticism of the 'Muslimness' followed by their brothers and sisters in other denominations and movements."
Seyran Ateş, a liberal imam, calls for the APPG on British Muslims's 'Islamophobia' definition to be rejected


"How can it be that western feminists read The Handmaid's Tale without looking at a woman in a burka walking down the street and thinking: 'Hang on, that's what those bastards do to girls in Gilead?'"
Allison Pearson says Margaret Atwood's novel has striking similarities to the treatment of women in Iran


In your own words: end non-stun slaughter

"I am a butcher who strongly believes in the welfare of our animals. To slaughter an animal is bad enough, but to do it without pre stunning is just outrageous and cruel. We don't live in the dark ages so why is our government allowing this? If I was to put an animal through pain or distress, I would be prosecuted, and rightly so."
Emma, Suffolk

Sign our petition and explain why religious exemptions which allow non-stun slaughter should end.

Or sign one of our other petitions to highlight a secularist cause you care about.


NSS scholarship

The NSS is keen to support original research that supports the evidence base of our campaigns work and improves public understanding of secularism. We're now accepting applications for the latest round of our scholarship funding. You can find out more on our research & scholarships page.


NSS speaks out

A blog by our campaigns officer Megan Manson, on the case of a woman convicted over the circumcision of a boy where his parents didn't consent, was quoted in The Friendly Atheist on Patheos.

Our opposition to prayers before council meetings in Denbighshire was noted in publications including Premier Christian Radio.


Support our work

Please support our work so we can make the case for a fairer secular democracy for all.


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