A parliamentary candidate has been suspended from his position as a parent governor of a Catholic school because of his party’s critical position on faith schools policy.
A report in the Herts Advertiser newspaper says that Loreto College decided to suspend Jack Easton, Green parliamentary candidate for St Albans, because it believed that the Green Party policy criticising the idea of religious organisations running state schools could be incompatible with his role at the school.
Mr Easton explained that while he is not religious, his wife is a Catholic and his children have been brought up as believers.
Defending the policy on which he is running for parliament Mr Easton said: “The Green Party’s underlying vision is that every child and young person should be entitled to attend their local community school and for their needs to be met on an inclusive basis.”
He continued: “The Greens believe that education should include a celebration and recognition of religious and cultural diversity and spirituality and Green Party policies include requiring schools to provide prayer space for those who wish to practice their religion.”
“Schools could choose to hold acts of worship but would be expected to provide alternative activity for pupils that do not wish to take part,” he added.
The Accord Coalition (which includes Ekklesia, and a wide range of organisations and individuals from both religious and non-religious backgrounds) also campaigns for major reform to laws governing school admissions, religious discrimination against teachers, and compulsory worship.
However, unlike the Greens at present, the Coalition does not take a position against or for faith schools in principle - instead bringing together all those who favour reform.
Polls suggest that the Green Party may win its first MP in the General Election on 6 May 2010.