The need for inclusive education

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Commenting on recent publicity concerning faith schools, including a new Hindu Academy in North London, Simon Barrow, co-director of the Christian thinktank Ekklesia, said:

"The crying need in Britain right now - recognised by people of all faiths and backgrounds - is for integrated education that enables pupils, teachers and parents from different communities to grow in mutual understanding and respect.

"Although both opinion surveys and independent qualitative research demonstrates the case for open access, non-discrimination and positive inclusion in taxpayer-funded schooling, the main parties remain trapped by the idea that more selection means choice - when actually it limits the choices of a greater number.

"Vested interests are also being allowed too great a role in determining policy. At a time when there is widespread concern about 'cleaning up politics' this kind of collusion is unhealthy."

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Ekklesia is a founding member of the Accord Coalition: www.accordcoalition.org.uk/