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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege


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Newsline 11 May 2018


In a week when the government revealed plans to fund yet another tranche of faith schools, this Newsline includes a piece from our CEO challenging the continued privilege afforded to faith groups in the education sector and setting out the rationale for our new No More Faith Schools campaign.

You can read about our renewed call for the government to stop funding faith groups' 'religiosity inspections' of faith schools. This came after the Church of England outlined plans to make its inspections more rigorous, in order to increase the fervency with which church schools promote their faith ethos.

We've also urged the legal regulatory authorities to investigate the conduct of the Christian Legal Centre in the recent case of the toddler Alfie Evans. This tragic case has crystallised many of our reservations about the unscrupulous activities of this evangelical lobby group.

Meanwhile we're continuing to campaign against plans to lift the 50% cap on faith-based admissions to faith schools. Our page on discriminatory school admissions has a reminder of why lifting the cap is a terrible idea and some guidance on ways you can help us make the case.


News & Opinion


NSS renews call to end faith schools’ ‘religiosity inspections’

The NSS has asked the government to stop funding religious inspections of faith schools amid C of E plans to make them more rigorous.


NSS: investigate Christian campaigners’ role in Alfie Evans case

The NSS has urged regulators to investigate the conduct of a Christian campaign group in the case of the toddler Alfie Evans.


Government plans to create 36 new religious free schools in England

The government plans to create 36 new faith schools in England as it rolls out its latest round of new free schools, the NSS has found.


DfE warned 12 more private faith schools over failures in one month

The government warned 12 independent faith schools they were failing to meet relevant standards in November 2017, letters have shown.


NSS writes elsewhere


‘An archaic settlement’: the National Secular Society’s bid to end faith schools

By Stephen Evans, NSS CEO, for LSE Religion and Global Society

The continued existence of faith schools cannot be justified, and only a fully secular education system can truly promote tolerance and inclusivity.


Other news

A council in north London could take legal action against a local Jewish organisation over a bonfire that "exploded" in the middle of a packed street during a festival.

The bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, proposed an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill in the House of Lords this week. He made several biblical references in his speech proposing the motion.

To get all the latest news and views on secularism from the media in your inbox every morning, you can sign up to receive your daily media briefing.


Faith schools myth buster

Have you heard the usual arguments about faith schools giving parents greater choice, being better at teaching children morals and not doing any harm? Our No More Faith Schools campaign features a myth buster which deconstructs them.


Read elsewhere


The Catholic grip on Irish education is being loosened

By Carl O'Brien, for The Irish Times

The Irish government is planning to remove the 'baptism barrier', which allows Catholic schools to give priority to baptised children in cases where they are over-subscribed. But the fight for an equality-based education system, in many ways, has only just begun.


Caste hatred in India - what it looks like

Based on photos by Sudharak Olwe, for the BBC

A recent exhibition in the Indian city of Mumbai documented Dalit (formerly known as "untouchable") families that have lost a loved one because of discrimination and violence.


Support our work

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


Quotes of the week

"You can't just choose one exhibit you think might offend someone and self-censor in that manner. It's sad and unwarranted, and it's also illegal."
Chaya David, a visitor who complained about the Natural History Museum in Jerusalem covering an exhibit to avoid offending ultra-Orthodox people

"We are a society which is still pandering to religious lobbies."
Marlene Hassan Nahon, the only openly pro-choice MP in Gibraltar, on laws which make abortions punishable with life imprisonment there

See our quotes of the week archive...


Essays of the week

The new era of abstinence in the US
Editorial, for the New York Times

The administration of Donald Trump is promoting abstinence with a zeal perhaps never before seen from the US government. Its approach defies all common sense.

No wonder there's an exodus from religion in the US
By EJ Dionne Jr, for the Washington Post

The hypocrisy of America's religious right is turning the young away from religion.


Event coming up this week


The unkindest cut: the case against infant genital cutting

Date: Monday 14 May 2018

Time: 7:30 - 9:00pm

Venue: Wanstead Library, Spratt Hall Rd, Wanstead, London E11 2RQ

Dr Antony Lempert, the chair of the NSS's Secular Medical Forum, makes the case against infant... Read More »


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