The British Humanist Association (BHA) employs the country’s only dedicated campaigner against the discriminatory and divisive faith schools system. The BHA is asking for donations so they can continue to have this post. In just the past year, the successes of the Faith Schools and Education Campaigner include:
- Publishing a landmark report revealing that thousands of children may have been unlawfully denied a place at their chosen school as a result of a near-universal failure by ‘faith’ schools to comply with the School Admissions Code.
- Exposing the widespread practice of state-funded ‘faith’ schools demanding financial contributions from parents or pressuring them into making payments that are supposed to be voluntary.
- Seeing evolution taught as part of the primary national curriculum for the first time, following years of campaigning through our ‘Teach evolution, not creationism!’ campaign.
- Welcoming the Welsh Government’s plans to transform Religious Education in Wales into a new ‘Religion, Philosophy, and Ethics’ syllabus, along very similar lines to those we recommended in our response to a consultation on the Welsh curriculum.
- Seeing the Office of the Schools Adjudicator rule once again that the London Oratory School’s faith-based admissions criteria were unlawful and must be removed. This came over two years after we made our initial objection about the school’s discriminatory and divisive admissions arrangements. And it’s not over yet. The Oratory has already stated that it intends to appeal.
- Securing recommendations in the UK Civil Society report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child for the inclusion of non-religious worldviews in RE, compulsory sex education in all schools, and a reduction in the degree to which schools can religiously select. We were part of the education working group responsible for steering the report.
- Successfully campaigning on a change to regulations requiring school inspectors to be independent not only from the school they’re inspecting, but also from any organisation representing the school. This led to the closure of the Bridge Schools Inspectorate, some of whose inspectors were revealed to have extensive links to the ‘faith’ schools they were inspecting, and also to hold very conservative religious views in relation to homosexuality and women.
- Revealing that despite a ban introduced last year, taxpayers’ money is still going to creationist and potentially extremist private nurseries through the Government’s early years funding programme.
- Exposing significant inconsistencies in the outcomes of Ofsted’s inspections of Charedi Jewish private schools, finding that the schools were far more likely to be rated favourably by a Charedi Jewish inspector than by a non-Charedi inspector. The two Charedi inspectors involved have since been dropped by Ofsted.
- Working alongside the Humanist and Secularist Liberal Democrats to pass a policy motion at the Lib Dem Conference backing an end to collective worship and employment discrimination in faith schools.
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