The Sunday Times reports this morning that Education Secretary Damian Hinds has confirmed that he will go ahead with proposals to drop the 50% cap on faith-based admissions at religious free schools.
If true, the decision means that all new and existing religious free schools can seek to admit children from only one religion, leading to entirely segregated intakes. Humanists UK, which leads the national campaign against religious discrimination and segregation in schools, has stated that such a decision would ignore the evidence that the cap has boosted integration in faith schools and instead show that the Government has bowed to the demands of the religious lobby instead of sticking up for the interests of children.
Reacting to the reports, Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson commented:
‘The 50 percent cap on faith school admissions has worked successfully to reduce social, ethnic, and religious segregation within state schools. To abolish it because one religious group – the Catholic Church – claims disingenuously that it breaks its own laws would be misguided in its motivations and a disaster in its outcome.
‘If today’s reports are accurate, we will be fighting even harder to promote the open, inclusive, and fair education system that parents and young people deserve, and we will be encouraging local families all around the country to do the same. Wherever a school seeks to segregate its community rather than serve it, it must be opposed.’
Humanists UK will be writing to the Education Secretary Damian Hinds immediately to seek clarification on his remarks.
- Religious lobbying on the 50% cap – https://humanism.org.uk/wp-
content/uploads/2016-11-17- BHA-briefing-Religious- lobbying-on-50-per-cent-cap.
- 50% cap on religious selection in free schools – https://humanism.org.uk/wp-
content/uploads/FINAL- Briefing-on-50-religious- selection-cap.pdf