Peers stage fightback against religious influence and prejudice

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has welcomed the news that Lord Baker and humanist peer Baroness Massey of Darwen will be moving an amendment to implement the plans for faith school admissions that the Government had previously promised to introduce but yesterday backtracked on. They will table an amendment at the Bill’s final Lords reading on Monday.

Humanist education campaigners were not impressed with the Government’s initial plan for 25% quotas (click here) and still believe that the only real solution is for all state-funded schools to be open to all children, regardless of their or their parents’ beliefs, but they are even less impressed with the total cave-in to religious pressure that yesterday’s u-turn represents. As BHA education officer Andrew Copson commented, ‘The government has squandered a rare opportunity to respond to the widespread and increasing public concern about faith schools’

Humanist campaigners are even more dismayed as this victory for religious pressure comes so closely on the heels of another, with serious consequences for non-religious support staff in religious schools – the decision by the Government to remove the protection from religious discrimination currently afforded to non-teaching staff in voluntary aided faith schools.