There's quite a lot of news in this month's update. The newsletter may have taken a break in September, but it's been a very busy period. On the casework front
we always seem to get a lot of concerns over compulsory/coercive worship this time of year. On that theme the Catholic Church in Scotland have been advising 'their' schools how to exclude and
marginalise pupils withdrawn from prayers. On a brighter note in Scotland the debate over the future of sectarian schools has been continuing, with a proposal by the Scottish Liberal Democrats to create a
single secular model of state-funded education.
On admissions there have been a couple of reports detailing how faith schools push parents into Church services and
disadvantage poor and BME families. In
brighter news the Irish government has removed the 'baptism
barrier' – meaning almost all state primary schools will no longer be able to religiously discriminate in admissions. Let's hope politicians in the UK take
notice. Perhaps they could watch Holy Sh!t – a new play
highlighting the dilemma faith-based education causes to parents trying to get into their local school.
Also in this newsletter there's an update on an
earlier story of a proposed new selective faith school planned for Oldham. The latest information from the trust shows what could charitably be described as a
lack of self awareness (what the less charitable may see as simple dishonesty). To claim in bold that you will serve families of 'all' backgrounds, while detailing how your discriminatory admissions and exclusive religious ethos
will operate is comical.
If like me you are frustrated by this, if it offends your sense of freedom and fairness, then let's channel that into positive action. Together we can make the
positive case for an inclusive education system free from religious control.
We think it's so important for this campaign to share stories of ordinary
people affected by faith schools. There's more information below and lots more information on how to get involved on the website.
Thank you to everyone continuing to write to your MP, share the petition, spread the message on social media and
let us know about new faith school proposals. If you need resources or a No More Faith Schools speaker for a local group, please let us know.