33 new ‘faith’ schools and one new pseudoscientific school have been approved by the Department for Education (DfE) to open from 2013. These schools form part of the 102 schools approved in the so-called ‘third wave’ of Free School proposals. The British Humanist Association (BHA) has expressed regret at the approvals, which include the first ever state-funded special needs and alternative provision ‘faith’ schools.
102 new Free Schools have been approved by the DfE in total. Of the 33 ‘faith’ schools, 20 are formally designated as such, whereas 13 have a ‘faith ethos’. The group also includes the first ever multi-faith/spiritual school, and a school proposed by a creationist group.
The BHA believes the 33 ‘faith’ schools are:
Church of England (8):
- Bradford Girls’ Grammar School – previously a private school
- Cathedral Primary School , Bristol
- Fulham Boys School
- Sparkwell All Saints Primary School, Devon
- St Mary’s CE Primary School, Herefordshire
- St Mary’s Hampton Church of England Primary School
- St Mary Magdalene Academy Courtyard, Islington – Anglican ethos special school
- The St Marylebone Bridge School, Westminster – Anglican ethos special school
Greek Orthodox (1):
- St Andrew the Apostle Greek Orthodox School
- Durham Free School
- Exemplar – Newark Business Academy – Christian ethos/creationist
- Hope Community School, Bexley
- King’s School, Hove
- Oasis Community School Waterloo – Christian ethos
- Sevenoaks Christian School
- St Anthony’s School, Gloucestershire – previously a private school and with ‘strong links with the Catholic Church’
- The London Riverside School, Barking and Dagenham – Christian ethos
- Tyndale Community School, Oxfordshire
- University Cathedral Free School, Cheshire West and Chester – Christian ethos
- Wye Free School, Kent – Christian ethos
- Southend YMCA Community School – Christian ethos alternative provision school
- Khalsa Science Academy, Leeds
- Khalsa Secondary School, Slough
- Nanaksar Primary School, Hillingdon
- Nishkam School West London, Hounslow
- Anand Primary School, Wolverhampton – Sikh ethos
- Leeds Jewish Free School
- South London Jewish Primary School, Wandsworth
- The New Jewish Primary School, Barnet
- Rainbow Schools, Nottingham – Muslim ethos
- The Northern Lights Primary School, Calderdale
- The Olive School, Blackburn
- Collective Spirit, Oldham – faith ethos
In addition, the pseudoscientific Steiner Academy Exeter has been approved to open.
BHA Faith Schools Campaigner Richy Thompson commented, ‘It is disappointing to see a further diversification of the “faith” schools sector: with not only more evangelical schools and more pseudoscientific schools, but also the first special needs and alternative provision schools.
‘“Faith” schools are discriminatory and divisive, selecting pupils and staff based on religious beliefs and teaching skewed curricula. The BHA believes all schools should be inclusive to everyone, regardless of religion or non-religious beliefs.’
For further comment or information, please contact Richy Thompson on 020 7462 4993.
Read the Department for Education press release, Prime Minister: More new Free Schools than ever before to raise standards and increase choice: http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/inthenews/a00211691/prime-minister-more-new-free-schools-than-ever-before-to-raise-standards-and-increase-choice
Read more about the BHA’s campaigns work on ‘faith’ schools: https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/religion-and-schools/faith-schools
The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.