The Accord Coalition for inclusive education has published the first four of a series of position papers setting out its main campaign objectives and the problems it is seeking to tackle.
The initial papers concern issues surrounding religious discrimination in staff employment and pupil admissions at faith schools; the need to ensure that the curriculum prepares pupils for adult life in an increasingly diverse, mixed belief society; and positive civic assemblies as an alternative to the mandatory imposition of collective worship.
The Accord Coalition unites a wide range of member groups and individuals, who want all state funded schools to be made open and suitable for all children, regardless of their or their parents’ religious or non-religious beliefs.
The chair of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, commented: "Public debate around the role of religion in education can be negative, vexatious, and often suffers from people arguing from entrenched positions."
"Accord enters the debate based on both solid evidence and the shared values of its supporters. These new papers provide readers with a more nuanced upstanding of the coalition’s concerns, as well as further demonstrating the coherence of the positive range of proposals for reform of faith schools that it advocates," he declared.
Further papers on an inclusive ethos in publicly-funded schools, and on beliefs and values education, are in the process of being prepared.
The Accord coalition also maintains a comprehensive databank of evidence on the consequences of current policy on and practice of state funded faith schools at http://accordcoalition.org.uk/research/ .
Accord (http://accordcoalition.org.uk/ ) is a wide coalition of organisations, including religious groups, humanists, trade unions and human rights campaigners.
The Christian thinktank Ekklesia is an active, founding member of the coalition.