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Say no to further religious segregation in schools

The Accord Coalition wrote an excellent open letter to the Prime Minister, which was signed by prominent religious leaders, humanists, and other public figures, calling on Theresa May to abandon her plans for 100% religiously selective schools in England.

The Government’s own data showed that its move to increase religious segregation in schools would be greatly detrimental to integration in our communities. With polls showing that 72% of people in the UK opposed the idea of religious selection in schools, we worked to bring even more of us together and voice our opposition to yet more segregation in schools.

We urged all people of goodwill, whatever their beliefs and whatever their politics, to come together in support of the open letter.

See open letter and signatories

Accord Coalition’s open letter

Dear Prime Minister,

We represent a wide range of political, religious, academic, educational and other areas of British life, but are all of one mind in urging you not to proceed with the proposal to abolish the limit which prevents faith-based free schools selecting more than 50% of pupils on religious grounds.

The educational system should not just be about learning facts but also teaching values and citizenship, which includes forging understanding amongst young people from different backgrounds. Though the 50% cap still permits discrimination, it sends a clear signal that new faith schools can have both religious roots and a sense of openness to others. This will benefit both the children who attend them and, ultimately, the society which they will one day help shape. In contrast, removing the 50% cap will send out a green light to those who wish to segregate children on faith grounds through the state funded education system.

In a country that is becoming increasingly diverse, this is exactly the wrong time to give faith schools even more power to divide and segregate children. Religion and belief should not and need not be at odds with integration, which is why the cap to religious selection should be maintained.

Yours sincerely,

Signatories

Professor Jim Al-Khalili OBE
Graham Allen MP
Jonathan Bartley
Melissa Benn
Revd Richard Bentley
Baroness Tessa Blackstone
Crispin Blunt MP
Dr Mary Bousted
Baroness Lorely Burt
Professor Ted Cantle CBE
Revd Jeremy Chadd
Kevin Courtney
Dr Amanullah De Sondy
Lord Meghnad Desai
Revd Maria Dove
Graeme Duncan
Baroness Shreela Flather
Professor Becky Francis
Lord Glentoran CBE DL
Roger Godsiff MP
Rabbi Dr David Goldberg OBE
Professor Anthony Grayling
Lord Alan Haworth
Baroness Angela Harris
Baroness Dianne Hayter
Savitri Hensman
Dr Theo Hobson
Russell Hobby
The Rt Revd Professor Richard Holloway
Baroness Beverley Hughes
Lord Robert Hughes
Sunny Hundal
Virginia Isaac
Rabbi Dr Margaret Jacobi
Revd Richard C B Jones
Professor Steve Jones
Lord Frank Judd
Tom Kibasi
Lord Neil Kinnock
Baroness Glenys Kinnock
Rev Richard Kirker
Lord Jim Knight
Reverend Una Kroll
Jay Lakhani
Naomi Long MLA
Dr Caroline Lucas MP
Lord Brian MacKenzie
Lord John Maxton
Derek McAuley
Rev Iain McDonald
Kerry McCarthy MP
Baroness Molly Meacher
Loic Menzies
Fiona Millar
Fiyaz Mughal OBE
Baroness Elaine Murphy
Lord Martin O’Neill
Dr Farid Panjwani
Brian Pearce
Haras Rafiq
Revd Professor Michael Reiss
Rev Professor Chris Rowland
Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE
Barry Sheerman MP
Jeff Smith MP
Lord Clive Soley
Professor Lord Trevor Smith
Lord Simon Tanlaw
Baroness Ann Taylor
Revd Stephen Terry
Polly Toynbee
Professor Keith Ward FBA
Reverend Simon Wilson
Rev Cllr Dick Wolff
Dr Sarah Wollaston MP
Baroness Janet Whitaker

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