FAO: Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education
Dear Mr Hinds,
We (the signatories to this petition) urge you to reconsider the proposal to remove the 50% cap on faith-based admissions to free schools and academies.
Removal of the cap would allow an ever greater number of publicly funded schools to discriminate against pupils based on their parents' religious beliefs. The weight of evidence makes clear that this will result in further religious, ethnic and social segregation within schools, which cannot possibly aid integration or inclusion.
Imperfect though the cap may be, it remains the only measure of any substance that has directly sought to address the segregation that has been and continues to be caused by religious selection in schools.
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 a new generation of 100% 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 these proposals 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 religious or non-religious beliefs.
A selection of petition signatures
"Dividing our children according to our own superstitions is a terrible idea."
"As some areas have only faith schools in them, the removal of this cap could leave many children without access to an education, which is unacceptable. Please reconsider to prevent segregation, discrimination and a lack of education for our children."
"It's a fact that there are many different religions as well as non-religions in our society. I believe that educating children of different religions together will help to reduce conflict between religions. Please keep the 50% cap. Thank you."