Accord coalition encourages MPs to back inclusive schooling

Accord coalition encourages MPs to back inclusive schooling

By staff writers
29 Jan 2009

The Accord Coalition, which campaigns for fully inclusive public schooling in the UK, is receiving the backing of MPs through a parliamentary Early Day Motion tabled by Ashok Kumar MP.

The motion has already been signed by 20 Members of Parliament.

Early Day Motions are used by MPs to draw the attention of the public and other politicians to important issues. Constituents can encourage their representative in the House of Commons to sign them.

Accord is a wide coalition of organisations and individuals, including religious groups, humanists, trade unionists and civil rights campaigners. The campaign launched on 1 September 2008 and aims to promote broad-based community schools through local and national campaigns.

Its founders include the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), the Christian think-tank Ekklesia and the British Humanist Association (BHA). Its chair is Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE, minister of Maidenhead Synagogue.

The coalition argues that all state-funded schools, including those sponsored by religious organisations, should:

* Operate admissions policies that take no account of pupils’ – or their parents’ – religion or beliefs.

* Operate recruitment and employment policies that do not discriminate on the grounds of religion or belief.

* Follow an objective, fair and balanced syllabus for education about religious and non-religious beliefs – whether determined by their local authority or by any future national syllabus or curriculum for RE.

* Be made accountable under a single inspection regime for RE, Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship.

* Provide their pupils with inclusive, inspiring and stimulating assemblies in place of compulsory acts of worship.

Accord stresses that it is not for or against state-funded faith schools per se, but brings together people with different views around specific aims for legislative reform.

EDM Number 530 in full:

"That this House supports Accord, the national coalition that unites religious and non-religious individuals and organisations campaigning for inclusive schools; believes that all state schools should be open to children and teachers of all backgrounds and beliefs; is concerned that current legislation permits schools with a religious character to discriminate against staff and students on the basis of their religion or belief and to teach a partial religious education curriculum; calls for religious education to be objective, balanced and fair; welcomes the positive approach taken by Accord and the breadth of its membership; and urges the Government to remove exemptions from equalities legislation for state-funded religious schools."

Dr Ashok Kumar is Member of Parliament for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland.

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You can see the EDM and who has signed it so far here:

http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=37557&SESSION=899

To write to your own MP about the EDM by email, go here: http://tinyurl.com/dde2fb

More information on Accord: http://www.accordcoalition.org.uk/

'A Christian case for Accord' - http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/7627

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