Commenting on the dialogue between the Accord Coalition on inclusive schooling and the Minister of State for Education, Simon Barrow, co-director of the Christian thinktank Ekklesia, said:
"Successive opinion surveys, as well as independent research, indicates that the great majority of parents and teachers favour more inclusive schooling, whether provided by local authorities, religious foundations or others. Without schools genuinely open to all, real choice is undermined.
"Both this government and its predecessor seem rather nervous about reform, fearing that making necessary and commonsense changes to discriminatory admissions, employment, curriculum and assembly policies in faith schools will produce a negative reaction from those who oppose inclusion in these areas.
"But good governance is about responding to need and listening to the public, not bowing to vested interests. It is good that Minister of State Nick Gibb is willing to talk about these issues. This conversation and dialogue needs to go forward in a broad and positive fashion. These concerns will not go away, and are likely to deepen given the trajectory of current education policy."
More about Accord here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/AccordCoalition
Simon Barrow is a member of the Accord Coalition steering committee.