2018 ‘Faith’ Schools Campaigner Appeal
Humanists UK employs the only campaigner working full-time to oppose the state funding of faith schools and challenge religious discrimination in admissions, employment, and the curriculum. That campaigner is Jay Harman.
He leads Humanists UK’s work to defend the rights of children, parents, carers, and teachers in the education system, by campaigning for: an end to the state funding of faith schools and the state’s endorsement of religious discrimination in school admissions; the eradication of close-minded and narrow religious education and of doctrinaire collective worship; and the introduction of comprehensive relationships and sex education in all schools, inclusive of LGBT pupils and accurate in its provision of information about safe sex and women’s reproductive rights.
To do this, he needs your support, and we need your help in order to continue to employ him through 2018.
Over a third of all state schools in England and Wales – more than 7,000 schools – are already run by religious organisations. And in Northern Ireland, the proportion is much, much higher. These are schools that are legally entitled to discriminate against children on the basis of beliefs they are too young to confidently hold for themselves, and which serve to divide communities rather than bring them together. Shockingly, shamefully, the UK Government seems committed not only to increasing the number of English faith schools, but to extending their powers to divide and discriminate too.
It is hard to remember a Government so intent on subjugating the better interests of children to the vested interests of religion.
We want schools in which children are free to form their own beliefs and find their own sense of meaning and purpose, free from religious influence. We want an education system that reflects our diversity and recognises its strength, celebrating shared human values rather than emphasising how we differ. And we want a society that reaps the benefits of children from different backgrounds learning with, from, and about one another in open and inclusive schools. That, sadly, is not currently the case.
This is why the work of our Faith Schools and Education Campaigner has never been more important than it is now.
Jay works with the Government, Parliament, media, other charities and campaigning organisations, lawyers, local groups, parents, teachers, and pupils themselves to bring about the change we all want to see. A full list of Jay’s successes this year can be found at www.justgiving.com/nofaithschools.
Some of the things he does include:
- Responding to all relevant official consultations, including a Department for Education consultation on religious discrimination in school admissions; a Women and Equalities Committee inquiry on the implications of Brexit, during which we called out widespread religious discrimination by faith schools in their employment practices; a local authority consultation on the existence of illegal, unregistered religious schools; a call for evidence from the Commission on Religious Education; and the Children’s Rights Alliance for England’s annual State of Children’s Rights 2017 consultation.
- Supporting and advising hundreds of parents and carers whose children have been discriminated against in the education system on the grounds of their beliefs.
- Generating significant media attention for Humanists UK campaigns work, including stories in every national newspaper, and coverage on national and local TV and radio stations throughout England and Wales.
- Briefing MPs and peers, particularly members of the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (APPHG), on legislation related to faith schools and education in Parliament, and organising debates in the House of Commons and House of Lords on relevant issues.
- Sitting on the steering groups of the Accord Coalition for Inclusive Education, the Sex Education Forum, and the Fair Admissions Campaign, and working alongside other organisations like the Religious Education Council and the Equality and Human Rights Commission on issues of shared concern.
All donations will go towards employing the Faith Schools and Education Campaigner for another year and funding his campaigning activities. Any money donated over and above our target will go towards boosting Humanists UK’s education campaigns.
Please support us at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nofaithschools to help us continue to work for a more inclusive education system.