Accord concerned about indirect religious selection at non-faith schools

By staff writers
10 Feb 2013

The Accord Coalition for inclusive education has written to Surrey County Council, urging it to reconsider proposed admission arrangements for Reigate Priory School.

Under draft plans, the Council has proposed that if the junior school is oversubscribed, children leaving two local infant schools should be chosen over other children.

This, says Accord, is despite one of the infant schools being a faith school that selects up to half of its own pupils on religious grounds when it is oversubscribed.

The chair of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, commented: "Indirect religious selection at non-faith schools, by making discriminatory schools feeder schools, presents yet another practical problem that stems from having religious selection in the state funded system. It is something that we are monitoring and seeing more of."

He continued: "There can be a range of reasons for employing feeder schools, to ensure that school places are assigned in an equitable manner.

"However, we have suggested to the Council ways it could amend the proposed arrangements for Reigate Priory, so that it cannot be accused of indirectly privileging or discriminating against pupils on religious grounds, and we await the outcome of its current consultation on its admission policies with interest."

Accord is a wide coalition of organisations which includes religious groups, humanists, teachers, trade unionists, educationalists and civil rights activists, working together for inclusive education.

Although the Accord Coalition’s supporters derive inspiration for their values from different sources, they are united in wanting to ensure that state funded schools respect and uphold human rights and promote mutual understanding.

Ekklesia is a co-founder and active participant in Accord's work, which focuses around the reform of faith schools.

* Accord Coaition: http://accordcoalition.org.uk/

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