2012 ‘faith’ schools campaigner appeal
The British Humanist Association leads the campaign against state-funded ‘faith’ schools, and the BHA’s Faith Schools Campaigner is the only person campaigning full time on the issue. Since May 2011, this campaigner has been Richy Thompson, and he’s been working hard to end religious discrimination in admissions, in employment and in the curriculum.
Please donate today so that we can employ Richy to continue the campaign for another year at http://justgiving.com/nofaithschools.
Religious schools make up over one-third of all state-funded schools – more than 7,000 in total. Most of these schools can select all their staff and pupils based on their or their parents’ religion. They can also teach a skewed curriculum in Religious Education, Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) and Collective Worship.
The result is discrimination based on both religion and socio-economic standing, and pupils being denied a high quality education in, for example, SRE, which would enable them to make informed, responsible decisions later in life.
Richy works with the Government, the media, other national groups, local campaigners, parents and staff to try to reform the system. Ways in which Richy works includes:
- Briefing MPs and peers, in particular members of the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group, on legislation and other debates taking place in Parliament, such as the Education Act 2011 last year.
- Responding to relevant consultations run by the Government and other organisations. Over the last year, this has included the National Curriculum Review, the PSHE Review, Labour’s Review of the Curriculum and consultation on the ‘middle tier’, the RE Council’s RE Subject Review andOfsted’s A Level Reform consultation.
- Working through the media to raise awareness of our issues and ensure our perspective is heard – this year has seen the BHA repeatedly get in the media for its campaigns work, including the front pages of The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph and on The Today Programme.
- Continuing to research issues surrounding ‘faith’ schools and relevant areas of education – in April, the BHA published major new research showing for the first time that most new maintained ‘faith’ schools have been opening outside of competition, ‘by the back door’.
- Supporting parents, teachers and pupils dealing with issues they may experience surrounding admissions, collective worship, RE, sex and relationships education and creationism.
- Supporting local campaigns against ‘faith’ schools and in favour of inclusive alternatives – such as the successful campaigns on the Isle of Wight and in Dagenham, and the ongoing High Court case in Richmond.
- Working closely with the Accord Coalition, an alliance of religious and non-religious groups, trades unions and educationalists working for the reform of ‘faith’ schools, of which the BHA is a founding member.
- Representing non-religious and secularist views in meetings with external stakeholders – for example, through the Sex Education Forum and the Religious Education Council.
- Campaigning to ensure there is a Humanist representative as a full voting member of every Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) – over the past year, the number of SACREs with a humanist as a member or applying to join has increased from about half to two-thirds.
Donations will be used to ensure Richy can continue this work for another year. Any money donated beyond our target will be spent on BHA education campaigns.
Please donate generously at http://justgiving.com/nofaithschools to help us continue to fight against the powerful ‘faith’ schools lobby.