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
"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."
"All this will do is lead to more division in society. We need to come together not drift apart."
"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."