A letter from members of nine religious traditions calling for an end to religious discrimination in schools has been published in the Times. The plea coincides with the first day of the Equality Bill’s committee stage.
Dismissing those who want to reform faith schools as 'useful idiots' for a 'secularist conspiracy' misrepresents the facts, feeds absolutism and undermines sensible debate, say Simon Barrow & Jonathan Bartley. It also shows how weak the anti-reform case really is.
The Church of England has at last set out what is means by a "Christian ethos" in schooling, says Jonathan Bartley. Its espoused values are very positive. So now is the time to end discrimination in schools run by the church but funded by the general taxpayer.
The Church of England is planning rapid expansion of publicly-funded schools in its control, but it faces a challenge from parents, teachers, unions, academics, clergy and many others who want to end discrimination in admissions and employment.
If we are to have publicly funded faith schools, then they must serve the whole community, says Anglican vicar Jeremy Chadd. They mustn’t exist to prop up one community, nor to offer escape routes from a more diverse real world to those who already have all the advantages in life.
The Liberal Democrats have become the first mainstream political party in Britain to admit that many faith schools currently pursue unnecessary discriminatory practices in admissions and employment, and to pledge to challenge them.