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.
If we are to have publicly funded faith schools, then they must serve the whole community, says Anglican vicar Jeremy Chadd. They mustn’t exist to prop up one community, nor to offer escape routes from a more diverse real world to those who already have all the advantages in life.
The Liberal Democrats have become the first mainstream political party to acknowledge that many faith schools currently pursue unnecessary practices in admissions and employment which work against inclusion - and pledge to challenge them.