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National Secular Society

May 2019 update



Over the last month our continuing efforts leading the campaign against the proposed new voluntary aided faith schools in England have been a priority. There's a lot of information not currently in the public domain that will soon be reporting on. We've also joined leading public figures and campaigners from across the political and religious spectrum in a major open letter opposing the plans include new 100% religiously selective schools.

In Wales we've reported on multi-million-pound new developments which will see new faith school buildings and land entirely funded by the state handed over to religious groups.

In other news the national secular society's ground breaking report on how faith schools restrict school choice has an airing in House of Lords debate. A state funded Jewish school is to split in two to avoid restrictions on gender segregation in mixed sex schools. And I responded to the leader the state funded faith schools call for more state education to promote Christianity.

P.S. there will be a No More Faith Schools information and resources stand at the National Secular Society's upcoming conference (Secularism 2019: Reclaiming Religious Freedom) in Central London on Saturday 18th May. If you're attending, please come over and say hello. Tickets are just £50 (or £25 for members and £10 for students) including the full day event at a prestigious venue with an incredible line-up of speakers, lunch, refreshments, and awards drinks reception overlooking Tower Bridge.

Best wishes,

Alastair Lichten
Education and schools officer – NSS
Campaigner - NMFS


Latest updates


Campaigners sign major letter against fully selective faith schools

Leading public figures and campaigners have urged the government not to fund new faith schools which can choose all their... Read More »


Church to receive publicly funded faith school buildings for free

The Welsh government and a council will give new buildings and land to the Church in Wales for free after spending £4.2m... Read More »


Faith school advocates place inculcation above education

As a faith school is celebrated for unapologetically pushing its evangelical ethos, Alastair Lichten says the expansion of... Read More »


Peer raises shortage of religiously neutral schools in Lords debate

A peer has highlighted the shortage of religiously neutral schooling during a Lords debate, referencing figures from the NSS.


Jewish faith school to split to avoid gender segregation ruling

A Jewish school where male and female pupils receive separate RE lessons and curricula has finalised plans to split into two schools.


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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