Faith school discussion to take place at Church of England General Synod

By staff writers
6 Feb 2012

The Accord Coalition, the country’s leading campaign group seeking to reform state maintained faith schools, is to break new ground next week when it attends for the first time the bi-annual meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod.

In addition to fielding a display stand at the four day meeting, Accord will also be hosting a fringe event examining the role of religion in education and the need for reform.

The event is taking place at the Church of England’s Westminster headquarters in Church House at 19.00 on Wednesday 8 February 2012.

Speakers at the event will include Jonathan Bartley, Co-director of the Christian thinktank Ekklesia; Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE, Minister of the Maidenhead Synagogue and chair of the Accord Coalition; and the Rev Ruth Scott, writer, broadcaster, mediator and Chaplain of Christ’s School in Richmond, London.

Accord's chair, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain commented: ‘'Church schools used to have the mission of serving the community at large, whereas now they are often perceived as serving their own particular constituency. The debate will be a chance to explore if the church has indeed changed its focus, and how inclusive or exclusive it wants its schools to be."

The event is being sponsored by General Synod member, the Rev Hugh Lee, who said: “The Church of England has always been happy to engage on current issues and as a Synod member I agreed to sponsor this fringe event with the Accord Coalition. Synod members, including myself, have a range of views on the challenging points regularly put forward by Accord and no doubt there will be a healthy debate. The Church has a long history of providing inclusive education with a distinctive Christian ethos and I am sure this will form part of the discussion.”

The Accord Coalition was launched in 2008 and brings together both religious and non-religious organisations concerned about the need to reform current faith schools public policy.

It campaigns to end religious discrimination in school staffing and admissions, and for all state maintained schools to provide Personal, Social, Health and Economic education; assemblies and Religious Education that teach about the range of religious and non-religious beliefs in society.

[Ekk/3]

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