Dismissing those who want to reform faith schools as 'useful idiots' for a 'secularist conspiracy' misrepresents the facts, feeds absolutism and undermines sensible debate, say Simon Barrow & Jonathan Bartley. It also shows how weak the anti-reform case really is.
The Church of England has at last set out what is means by a "Christian ethos" in schooling, says Jonathan Bartley. Its espoused values are very positive. So now is the time to end discrimination in schools run by the church but funded by the general taxpayer.
The Church of England is planning rapid expansion of publicly-funded schools in its control, but it faces a challenge from parents, teachers, unions, academics, clergy and many others who want to end discrimination in admissions and employment.
The debate about faith schools is often polarised into a simple pro- and anti- issues, says Rabbi Jonathan Romain. The Accord Coalition is seeking to break fresh ground on practical reform and unite people across the supposed religious-secular divide.
The inclusive schools coalition Accord has responded to research presented at the Royal Economic Society today showing that faith schools increase social segregation and fail improve local results overall.
A report by two academic institutions, to be published later this week, argues that faith schools fail to improve standards and create "social sorting" of children along lines of class, ability and religion.