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House of Lords committee criticises move towards ‘greater social segregation within faith schools’

A House of Lords committee has expressed concern that Government proposals to lift the cap on faith-based admissions ‘could cause greater social segregation within faith schools’. In a report, published by the Citizenship and Civic Engagement Committee, the peers also praise Ofsted for ‘sanction[ing] schools which fail to teach about LGBT people’, voices support for […]

Government scraps plans to regulate part-time religious schools following religious lobbying

Following intensive lobbying by religious organisations, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Government has decided to scrap plans to regulate out-of-settings such as madrassas and yeshivas. The announcement comes in the Department for Education’s formal response to a consultation held on the proposals in 2015/16, and states that ‘a voluntary code of practice’ for out-of-school […]

Government warns private faith schools about teaching creationism as fact

Proposed Government guidance on meeting the Independent School Standards states that private schools in England should not teach creationism as fact, or present it ‘as having a similar or superior evidence base to scientific theories’. The new guidance, which was published for consultation as part of the Government Integrated Communities Strategy, is non-statutory, meaning that […]

Private faith schools

In addition to the faith schools that make up a third of all state-funded schools in England and Wales, there are a significant number of private religious schools too. Indeed, the majority of private schools in England and Wales have a religious character of some kind. Private schools are not required to meet the same […]

Illegal faith schools

A significant number of unregistered, illegal schools are operating through England, many of which are religious. Such settings serve a variety of different religious communities, including Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities – all of which in some respect tend to be fundamentalist, extreme, or isolationist in their outlook. It is for this reason that these […]

Liberal Democrats vote for action on unregistered schools

The Liberal Democrats have passed new party policy aimed at tackling unregistered schools, many of which are religious. The policy, which was approved at the party’s Spring Conference, sets out to ‘strengthen the hand of local authorities (LAs) to deal with unregistered schools, including by reviewing the legislation’, and requires LAs to check up on […]

Swedish Government to end faith schools if re-elected

Sweden’s senior governing party, the Social Democrats, has pledged to abolish faith schools if re-elected at the next general election in September 2018. This move was prompted by a series of scandals in the religious free schools sector very similar to ones seen in the UK. In 2010, the UK Government introduced its free schools […]

Concerns expressed over wellbeing of trans pupils in Catholic schools following Cardinal’s comments

At a meeting of Catholic school headteachers in London, Cardinal Vincent Nichols has warned against the promotion of trans identities, it has been reported. Cardinal Nichols, Britain’s most senior Catholic official, reportedly stated that if children are questioning their gender identity, schools should stress that ‘there are “givens” which come with birth’. Humanists UK has […]

Intolerant teaching at private and unregistered faith schools ‘as bad as it has ever been’, says Ofsted Chief Inspector

Intolerant and extremist teaching in both private and unregistered faith schools is ‘as bad as it has ever been and is deteriorating rather than improving’, Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman has told the Education Select Committee. Reporting on the ’poor education, squalid conditions, and very worrying teaching materials’ found by Ofsted inspectors at unregistered schools […]

Chair of House of Commons Education Committee backs action on illegal schools

The Chair of the House of Commons Education Select Committee, Robert Halfon MP, has called for a tightening of the law around unregistered schools. Stating that he has ‘huge concerns about unregistered schools and the lack of regulation and inspection’, Mr Halfon argued that ‘any school of any kind shouldn’t be unregistered’ and stressed that […]

Joint BBC/Humanists UK investigation: abuse at illegal religious schools

An investigation conducted by the BBC in conjunction with Humanists UK has identified more than 50 reports of abuse and neglect in unregistered schools since 2014. Footage taken by the BBC at one particular unregistered Charedi Jewish school in Essex appears to show a teacher striking and manhandling a child. Humanists UK was responsible for […]

Catholic Church already preparing to open new fully segregated state schools

A number of new, 100% religiously selective Catholic state schools in England have already been planned by the Catholic Church, despite the fact that no official decision has been made by the Government on the future of the 50% cap on religious selection. Humanists UK, which leads the national campaign against proposals to remove the […]

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