The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that over one-in-ten English secondary-schools have now converted to Academy status, despite criticism that the Academy programme can entrench discrimination in admissions and employment, and remove meaningful oversight over the curricula in state-funded schools.
204 Academies have opened since September 2010 Including primary and secondary schools, taking the total to 407 Academy schools when added to those opened under the previous government. The government has also announced that there are a further 254 planning to convert to Academy status.
British Humanist Association (BHA) Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented on the statistics released by the DfE:
‘Every announcement concerning the opening of a new wave of Academy schools represents the deepening entrenchment of religious privilege in our education system, and provides ever more scope for inequality and the dissemination of religious doctrine in a state-funded service.
‘In the name of providing schools with greater autonomy, sensible and minimal regulations to prevent discrimination in the schools’ admissions codes and employment policies have been omitted. Combined with the considerable latitude over the syllabus taught, which would permit schools to promote religious dogma in place of objective teaching on issues such as creationism or sex and relationships education for example, it is easy to see the appeal of Academies to certain religious groups.
‘The BHA continues to highlight the deficiencies within the Academies programme as it has been implemented under the current legislation, and we will continue to scrutinise the new wave of religious Academy schools as they open.’
For further comment or information, contact Andrew Copson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07534 248596
The British Humanist Association (BHA) is the national charity representing and supporting the non-religious and campaigning for an end to religious privilege and discrimination. The BHA has a decades-long history working in education, not only working for inclusive schools but also developing and providing resources for teachers, parents and pupils on curriculum subjects including RE and Citizenship Education.