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National Secular Society

June 2019 update

  

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It has been quite a bumper month for the NMFS campaign, as you can see in the number of stories below. Our top two stories show the leading role we're playing in opposing the new wave of voluntary aided faith schools. We were the first to publicise that proposals for three fully religiously selective Catholic schools in Cambridgeshire were in direct competition with proposals for inclusive schools without religious designations.

In Wales we've challenged proposals to convert a community primary into faith school and we've publicised research into how Northern Ireland's largely faith-based school system impacts teachers.

This month we have two testimonials from a school governor and teacher on how they're affected by faith schools. Making the principled or theoretical case against faith schools (and for inclusive community ethos schools) isn't enough. It's personal stories that help people relate, that put a face to faith schools' discrimination, that tell people they're not alone, and inspire people to take action. Please help us increase the testimonials on the site by sharing your story today.

Finally, please take a minute to scroll down to our get involved section. For the campaign to succeed we really need supporters to take action. If even a fraction of those who oppose faith schools, were to write to their MP, speak to a friend or even just share the campaign, we could have a huge impact.

Best wishes,

Alastair Lichten
Campaigner - NMFS
Education and schools officer – NSS

  

Latest testimonials

 

Governor's perspective: How faith schools prioritise religion over education

Matthew is the governor at a Church of England school in Cornwall. He says those running the school have made it a priority to push religion on children.

 

Teacher's perspective: Non-Catholics need not apply

When Rachel applied for a teaching position at a state funded faith school, she found that non-Catholics weren't welcome to apply. Although such discrimination may be legal, she says it isn't necessarily moral.

  

Latest news & opinion

 

Proposed faith schools in direct competition with non-faith schools

Opening three fully selective Catholic schools would mean three secular schools would not be able to open, the NMFS campaign has found.

 

Selective faith schools proposed in areas with no need for schools

The NMFS campaign has criticised proposals to open selective faith schools in areas which appear to have no need for extra school places.

 

Flintshire community primary school to become a faith school

The NMFS campaign is opposing plans by Flintshire County Council to convert a community primary school into a faith school.

 

Faith schools’ normalisation of discrimination must be challenged

Alastair Lichten says organising schools around religion makes discrimination which should be unacceptable seem normal.

 

Religious academy trust recruits full-time ‘Christian Youth Worker’

A state-funded academy trust is seeking a permanent, full-time 'Christian Youth Worker' with the specific role of evangelising to pupils.

 

Research reveals impact of religious discrimination on NI teachers

Segregated education and legal discrimination are causing the "cultural encapsulation" of Northern Ireland's teachers, a report has said.

  

What you can do to get involved:

  

1. Follow us on social media. Please take a few moments to follow the campaign on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. If you can share a message of support using the hashtag #NoMoreFaithSchools it helps us get the message out and helps others find the campaign. Please use #NoMoreFaithSchools whenever sharing on of our stories, a link to the petition or our main video.

2. Keep us informed. It's always helpful to know how the issues were working on affect real families. We follow new faith school proposals and developments extremely closely, but we can't catch everything. If you can report a new faith school proposal as early as possible, we can do more to help.

3. Share your story. Statistics and theoretical arguments may win some people over, but sharing stories help many more empathise with those affected by faith schools and perhaps rethink their support.

4. Get creative. Please send us a video or photo of you supporting the campaign and let us know why you're saying: "No More Faith Schools!"

5. Get talking. Why not have a chat your friends and family, do they support secular inclusive schools, and they absorb some of the pro faith school myths? Sometimes having a genuine friendly conversation can have a big impact.

6. Get writing. If you haven't already please write to your MP, and if you have please consider a follow-up letter. It's worth writing to your MP even if you live in a UK nation where education is devolved. MPs take up casework and policy issues which go beyond their Westminster role. You can also write to your local representatives asking what they're doing support inclusive education, and while you've got your metaphorical pen out why not send a letter to your local newspaper?

7. Get together. If you're a member of a club or society, why not hold an event discussing faith schools and the need for secular inclusive education system? We can provide advice and resources, and potentially a speaker.

8. Support us financially. NMFS is coordinated by the National Secular Society, which works for the separation of religion and state and equal respect for everyone's human rights. Running a leading campaign of this scale takes resources and there's still so much more we can do. If you're able to, please consider supporting the NSS from just £1 a month, or joining from £2 a month. One off donations are also gratefully received.

  
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