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
"Our society is becoming increasingly non-religious. Given many schools are 'oversubscribed' during each admission period, many parents are forced to rely on a local school being able to take their children. Selecting which children can attend the school based on their religion discriminates against an increasing proportion of society. It wouldn't be allowed in a workplace, why allow it in a school?"
"Segregation, sectarianism, division lead to myopia, intolerance, extremist groups and destabilise society, communities, services."
"There should be no religious indoctrination in state funded schools at all; the fact that not only there is, but that you want to allow religious schools to select 100% of their intake based on the religion of children's parents is outrageous. State services are for everyone, paid for by everyone."