FAO: Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education
Dear Mr Hinds,
We (the signatories to this petition) urge you to end discrimination in faith school admissions.
Voluntary aided schools and academies with a religious character are given special exemptions from equality law that allow them to discriminate against pupils whose families do not share the faith of the school. This is unfair, unnecessary and fuels segregation in our society.
In a society as diverse as ours, rather than facilitating segregation along religious lines, the Government should be doing everything it can to ensure that children of all faiths and none are educated together in inclusive schools.
If the Government wishes to "promote inclusivity", it is clear that facilitating religiously selective schools is, by definition, inimical to this aim.
We therefore urge you to consider ways of ending religious discrimination and segregation in our schools – rather than extending it, as proposals to open more 100% selective voluntary aided schools would.
Please rethink these proposals and instead ensure that all of our schools are open and inclusive, catering for all local children regardless of their families' religious or non-religious beliefs.
A selection of petition signatures
"Any increase in 100% selective faith schools is a serious retrograde step for society, and a serious blow to freedom of thought for the children affected."
"I can't believe we've not learnt the lesson of religious segregation, not just in recent years but through a study of the last millennium."
"To separate children from each other, and severely limit the education that they receive, simply because of their parents' religious beliefs, is a breach of the children's rights, and of our duty to give them as good an education as possible."