The British Humanist Association (BHA) has responded to a pair of consultations run by the Welsh Government on admissions and school organisation. In its responses, the BHA has highlighted the problem of religious discrimination in school admissions, and advocated for a school organisation system which prefers inclusive schools over divisive ‘faith’ schools.
The consultation on school admissions and appeals closed on 4 January. In its response, the BHA pointed to evidence showing that religiously selective admissions policies can be discriminatory and divisive, both in ethnic terms and along socio-economic lines. The BHA also complained about the ability of ‘faith’ schools to select not just in favour of their own faith, but in favour of those of other faiths, to the exclusive detriment of those of no faith.
The more recent school organisation consultation closed yesterday. In its response, the BHA argued for inclusive schools to be privileged over religious schools in decisions of school closure; currently, the reverse is the case, leading to ‘ludicrous’ situations like that recently seen in the Isle of Wight. The BHA also advocated for the strengthening of consultation processes to require further disclosures around planned religious selection in admissions and employment; advocated for more inclusive membership of since-scrapped plans for ‘local development panels’; and supported the Accord Coalition’s submission in calling for community cohesion to be considered.
BHA Faith Schools Campaigner Richy Thompson commented, ‘It is vitally important that no young person is turned away from their local school because they or their parents are of the wrong religion, or of no religion; such selection is discriminatory and divisive. As a consequence, we believe that school admissions and organisation rules need an overhaul to stop religiously selective admissions and prioritise new schools being inclusive schools.’
For further comment or information, please contact BHA Faith Schools Campaigner Richy Thompson on 0781 55 89 636 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the BHA’s response to the consultation on school admissions and appeals: http://humanism.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/School-admissions-and-school-admission-appeals-consultation-British-Humanist-Association-response.pdf
Read the BHA’s response to the consultation on school organisation: http://humanism.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Draft-School-Organisation-Code-Consultation-response-from-the-British-Humanist-Association.pdf
Read the Accord Coalition news item, ‘Accord urges Welsh Government to ensure school’s impact upon community cohesion is considered’: http://accordcoalition.org.uk/2013/01/17/accord-urges-welsh-government-to-ensure-schools-impact-upon-community-cohesion-is-considered/
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.