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Humanists launch fundraiser to tackle divisive religious schools

Humanists UK has launched a fundraiser to employ a national campaigner who will work to stop government funding of religious schools and tackle the widespread religious discrimination which occurs in school admissions, employment, and the curriculum.

Humanists UK, which leads the campaign to end state funding of religious schools and replace them with schools equally inclusive of all, is calling on the public to donate to its fundraising campaign to employ Dr Ruth Wareham. Ruth is the leading expert spearheading work to stop the UK Government from opening new, 100% selective religious schools.

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Ruth, who joined Humanists UK in 2018 as Education Campaigns Manager after spending more than a decade researching faith schools, is making the case to Government and other education officials and stakeholders for the need to replace religious schools with inclusive, non-discriminatory education.

Humanists UK estimates that 16% of regular state school places – or 1.2 million in total – are subject to religious selection. These schools are legally entitled to discriminate against children on religious grounds by only permitting students to the school if they belong to the same religion as the school. In some cases, this forces families to attend church to ensure they get selected into their local school, or face having to travel long distances at significant expense every day.

In her work, Ruth also defends the rights of children, parents, carers, and teachers by campaigning in favour of education about religions and humanism being impartial, critical, and pluralistic, as well as replacing daily acts of religious worship with inclusive assemblies for all. She also lobbies for comprehensive and inclusive relationships and sex education (RSE) to be taught in all schools, with accurate information about safe sex, women’s reproductive rights, and LGBT people on offer.

Humanists UK President Alice Roberts said: ‘Studies have clearly shown that not only do faith schools reduce parental choice, they create social division. In a diverse, pluralistic society, we really need inclusive schools – not segregation which instils and perpetuates racial, religious, and social discrimination in our communities. 

‘If, like me, you think that children deserve better than to be indoctrinated into beliefs they are too young to confidently hold for themselves, and that education policy should be dictated by the best interests of children – and not the vested interests of the religious lobby – then please do consider donating to this vital fundraiser.’

Humanists UK’s Education Campaigns Manager Dr Ruth Wareham said: ‘Faith schools force children from different backgrounds to be educated separately which is an absolute disaster for the model of inclusive schooling that we should be working towards. I hope you will support me in my work to tackle this important campaign to bring about fair, inclusive schools that all children can attend no matter their family’s background.’

To find out more or donate to our faith schools fundraiser, click here.


For more information contact Humanists UK press manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at or 020 7324 3078.

Read more about our faith schools work.

Read more about all of Humanists UK’s education work.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 85,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

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