Author: Alastair Lichten

NI education conference shows cause for secularist hope

NI education conference shows cause for secularist hope

Posted: Wed, 25 May 2022 by Alastair Lichten

The National Secular Society recently held an online conference on inclusive education in Northern Ireland. Here, Alastair Lichten shares the videos from the conference and thoughts on the speakers' key messages. Read More »

Tags: Education, Northern Ireland

CofE plans to increase influence in post-16 education smack of hubris

CofE plans to increase influence in post-16 education smack of hubris

Posted: Thu, 07 Apr 2022 by Alastair Lichten

The Church of England's emerging plans to expand their role in sixth form and further education colleges, accompanied by empire building and evangelism, may undermine the secularity and inclusivity of this sector, argues Alastair Lichten. Read More »

Tags: Education, Further education

A government blueprint for more religious control of schools?

A government blueprint for more religious control of schools?

Posted: Wed, 30 Mar 2022 by Alastair Lichten

The government's new proposals for education reform in England could see increased discrimination, and most non-faith schools placed in faith-based academy trusts. Alastair Lichten explores the threat to secular education posed by the 'Opportunity for all' white paper. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith schools

Religious selection is only part of the problem with faith schools

Religious selection is only part of the problem with faith schools

Posted: Thu, 20 Jan 2022 by Alastair Lichten

Ending religious discrimination in faith school admissions is an important first step – but it will not undo all the harms caused by faith schools, says Alastair Lichten. Read More »

Tags: Admissions, Education, Faith schools

Why is the Catholic church allowed to hinder secondary school choice?

Why is the Catholic church allowed to hinder secondary school choice?

Posted: Thu, 21 Oct 2021 by Alastair Lichten

A case in Leicestershire shows the mess faith groups make of admissions and why secular accountability is necessary, argues Alastair Lichten. Read More »

Tags: Admissions, Education, Faith schools

Girl at school gates

Locked in and locked out: how faith schools restrict families’ choices

Posted: Wed, 25 Aug 2021 by Alastair Lichten

State funding of faith schools means many families are left without suitable schools. The narrative that faith schools are justified on the grounds of choice should be confronted, says Alastair Lichten. Read More »

Tags: Admissions, Education, Faith Schools

Children in class

Will the government protect the ethos of secular schools?

Posted: Tue, 13 Jul 2021 by Alastair Lichten

The Department for Education's protections for the secular community ethos of non-faith academies are inadequate. This enables a consolidation of religious control and undermines accountability, argues Alastair Lichten. Read More »

Tags: Education, academisation

Children in class

Schools must be supported against religious bullies

Posted: Wed, 07 Jul 2021 by Alastair Lichten

Comments from Ofsted's chief inspector highlight the need to help schools resist efforts to shut down teaching which reactionary religious groups deem controversial, says Alastair Lichten. Read More »

Tags: Education, LGBT rights, RSE, Religious education

Teenager in class

Requires improvement: Ofsted review shows need for a major rethink on RE

Posted: Wed, 02 Jun 2021 by Alastair Lichten

A review has highlighted significant problems with the way RE is taught. Alastair Lichten argues that it shows the need to ask fundamental questions about the purpose of education about religion. Read More »

Tags: Education, Religious education

Children in class

Is the C of E ashamed of discrimination in school admissions?

Posted: Fri, 28 May 2021 by Alastair Lichten

Research suggests the Church of England downplays the extent of religious discrimination in admissions to the schools it runs. Its embarrassment shows the need to end this practice, says Alastair Lichten. Read More »

Tags: Admissions, Discrimination, Education, Faith Schools

Coats on pegs primary school

We must find the political will to end discriminatory school admissions

Posted: Mon, 12 Apr 2021 by Alastair Lichten

As families in England prepare to find out which primary schools their children will attend, Alastair Lichten says ending faith-based discrimination would make the admissions system fairer and simpler. Read More »

Tags: Discrimination, Education, Faith Schools, admissions

Welsh Senedd

Ending compulsory worship in schools should be next on the agenda for Wales

Posted: Tue, 16 Mar 2021 by Alastair Lichten

Following major curriculum reforms in Wales, Alastair Lichten argues that the Senedd should now turn its attention to ending the collective worship requirement in schools. Read More »

Tags: Collective Worship, Education, Wales

Northern Ireland education review inclusion children at school

NI’s education review is a golden chance to take a stand for inclusion

Posted: Thu, 25 Feb 2021 by Alastair Lichten

Alastair Lichten says a review of education provision in Northern Ireland must be willing to challenge entrenched religious interests to deliver on ambitions for a more efficient and inclusive system. Read More »

Tags: Education, Northern Ireland

Christian nationalism in US Capitol riot

Christian nationalism is a key part of Trump’s legacy

Posted: Thu, 21 Jan 2021 by Alastair Lichten

As the US presidency changes hands, Alastair Lichten argues that understanding Christian nationalism is essential to understanding Donald Trump's legacy and its consequences for the world. Read More »

Tags: Christian Right, Opinion Out Loud, USA

Child praying

The requirement to hold collective worship in schools is crumbling and not worth saving

Posted: Thu, 05 Dec 2019 by Alastair Lichten

After two parents forced a school trust to provide an alternative to religious assemblies for their children, Alastair Lichten says the law which requires schools to hold acts of worship needs to change. Read More »

Tags: Collective worship, Education

RE symbols and pupils

This isn’t the time to end the right to withdraw from RE in Wales

Posted: Thu, 14 Nov 2019 by Alastair Lichten

The Welsh government is considering removing the parental right to withdraw from religious education. Alastair Lichten argues that despite potential benefits, reforms don't go far enough to justify ending this longstanding right. Read More »

Tags: Education, Religious education, Wales

School sign

Education in NI shouldn’t be a tug of war between religious interests

Posted: Fri, 25 Oct 2019 by Alastair Lichten

A report has called into question religious control over the curriculum and ethos of Northern Irish schools. Alastair Lichten says it should prompt a re-evaluation of the segregated, inefficient system which exists now. Read More »

Tags: Education, Northern Ireland

Department for Education

Anti-RSE campaigns: guidance is welcome, but schools need more support

Posted: Tue, 15 Oct 2019 by Alastair Lichten

The government has published new guidance for schools facing disruption from religious groups who oppose LGBT-inclusive education. Alastair Lichten welcomes the gesture but says the substance doesn't go far enough. Read More »

Tags: Education, RSE

Child praying

The government must respond to pressure to end compulsory school worship

Posted: Mon, 05 Aug 2019 by Alastair Lichten

As opposition to compulsory worship gathers and its defenders grow increasingly out of touch, Alastair Lichten says ministers should reconsider the law and its implementation. Read More »

Tags: Collective worship, Education, statistics

Classroom

The new education secretary must resist the reactionary campaign against RSE

Posted: Thu, 25 Jul 2019 by Alastair Lichten

The campaign against inclusive relationships and sex education risks spreading from the school gates to sympathetic faith school authorities. Alastair Lichten argues the government must act now to save the subject. Read More »

Tags: Education, LGBTQ rights, RSE

Classroom

New guidance on independent schools: analysis of hard-line opposition and DfE concessions

Posted: Fri, 03 May 2019 by Alastair Lichten

The government has published new guidance on independent schools, amid systemic failings by independent faith schools. Alastair Lichten looks at what's changed and how the DfE has handled religious groups' demands. Read More »

Tags: Education, Independent schools

Faith schools protest

Integrated communities require inclusive, secular schools

Posted: Tue, 12 Feb 2019 by Alastair Lichten

A government plan on integration sets out a positive vision on education - but faith schools remain the elephant in the room. Alastair Lichten asks if ministers' actions will match their rhetoric. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Independent schools, admissions, unregistered schools

Hand holding

Weaponised unreasonableness: father claims school standards violate his rights

Posted: Mon, 07 Jan 2019 by Alastair Lichten

After a father threatens the government with legal action over a requirement to teach about LGBT people in independent schools, Alastair Lichten argues the focus should remain on protecting pupils' rights. Read More »

Tags: Education, Independent schools, LGBTQ rights