2017 ‘Faith’ Schools Campaigner Appeal
The British Humanist Association employs the only campaigner working full-time to oppose the state funding of ‘faith’ schools and religious discrimination in admissions, employment and the curriculum. That campaigner is Jay Harman. He leads the BHA’s efforts to end the state funding of ‘faith’ schools, to eradicate the divisive practice of selection by religion, to rid the classroom of creationist teaching in favour of evolution, to repeal the discriminatory and anachronistic requirement for collective worship in schools, to ensure that all children receive the high-quality sex and relationships education they need to stay safe, and to make religious education objective, balanced, and inclusive, particularly of the non-religious.
To do this, he needs your support, and we need your help in order to continue to employ him through 2017.
Over a third of all state schools in England and Wales – more than 7,000 schools – are already religious schools, and that figure is rising fast. 2016 saw the Church of England announce that it will seek to open more than 100 new schools in just the next four years, and the Catholic Church has followed suit, unveiling plans for the largest increase in the number of its schools in decades. These are state-funded schools designed to exclude the vast majority of the families who pay for them, and more and more of them are coming to a town near you.
This is wrong, it is discriminatory, and the state should have no part in funding them.
We believe that our children deserve an education system that’s better than this, that’s inclusive of everyone, regardless of their religious or non-religious worldviews, and that allows children from a range of different religious and non-religious backgrounds to learn with, from, and about one another in open and integrated schools.
Unfortunately, this is not the case in the far too many schools where it continues to be assumed that children should be defined and then divided by beliefs they are too young to confidently hold for themselves.
That is why the work of the Faith Schools and Education Campaigner is so important, perhaps now so more than ever.
Jay works with the Government, media, other charities and campaigning organisations, local groups, parents, teachers, and pupils themselves in order 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 Department for Education consultations on religious out-of-school settings; Department of Education in Northern Ireland consultations on religious education and on integrated schools; the British Institute of Human Rights submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child; calls for evidence from the House of Commons Education Select Committee on the purpose and quality of education, the rise of religious multi-academy trusts, and sex and relationships education; the Casey Review into integration and social cohesion in Britain; and an inquiry by Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights into the Government’s record on upholding children’s rights.
- Supporting hundreds of parents and carers whose children have been refused admission to their local school because of their beliefs, or whose beliefs have been marginalised.
- Generating significant media attention for the BHA’s campaigns work and policy areas, including an exposé of illegal religious schools on BBC Newsnight, stories in every major national newspaper, and coverage on national and local 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.
- Ensuring that Humanism is included on local syllabuses and in schools by making sure we have a well-supported humanist representative on as many Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education (SACREs) as possible throughout England and Wales.
- Working alongside other organisations like the Accord Coalition, Sex Education Forum and the Religious Education Council , as well as supporters of the Fair Admissions Campaign 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 the BHA’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.