Majority of British Muslims would choose not to send their children to a faith school

The vast majority of Muslims would not send their children to a ‘faith’ school if given the choice, a new survey by ComRes has shown. The survey, carried out for the BBC’s Today programme, asked respondents whether or not they agreed with the statement: ‘I would like my children to go to a Muslim state school if I had the choice’. Only 31% of respondents agreed, compared with 66% who did not. Currently in the UK around a third of all schools have a religious character, suggesting that too many ‘faith’ schools are created despite their low public demand. The British Humanist Association (BHA) has welcomed the poll findings which accord with similar polling carried out with the wider public.

These most recent findings fall in line with previous surveys which question support for ‘faith’ schools in Britain. A YouGov poll from 2013 revealed that only a quarter of all parents say they would be likely to send their child to a ‘faith’ school. A further study found that the public opposed state funding of religious schools by four to three.

Commenting on the findings, the BHA’s Faith Schools Campaigner Jay Harman said: ‘The fact that two thirds of Muslims would prefer not to send their children to a “faith” school is an encouraging sign, and suggests that “faith” schools are not as popular within Muslim communities as sometimes portrayed. Government would be wise to get behind the aspirations of parents on this issue. This poll offers yet more evidence that Government should be providing fewer divisive and segregating “faith” schools and instead focus on providing inclusive schools which are open to all and represent the diversity of their communities.’

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For further comment or information, please contact BHA Director of Public Affairs and Campaigns Pavan Dhaliwal on pavan@humanism.org.uk or 0773 843 5059.

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.