The BHA’s Faith Schools Campaigner is the only person in the UK who campaigns full time on the issue for Faith Schools. Since May 2011, this campaigner has been Richy Thompson, and he’s been working hard to end religious discrimination in admissions, in employment and in the curriculum.
In order to employ Richy in this post for another year, the BHA needs your help. Please donate today.
Religious schools make up over one-third of all state-funded schools – more than 7,000 in total. Most of these schools can select all their staff and pupils based on their or their parents’ religion. They can also teach a skewed curriculum in Religious Education, Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) and Collective Worship.
The result is discrimination based on both religion and socio-economic standing, and pupils being denied a high quality education in, for example, SRE, which would enable them to make informed, responsible decisions later in life.
The BHA works to reform ‘faith’ schools in order to establish an inclusive education system where all children are brought up together, regardless of religion or belief.
Things we have achieved over the last year include:
· Convincing the Government to change the rules governing Free Schools to say that they cannot make provision for the teaching in any subjectof creationism or other pseudoscience
· Helping get evolution added to the primary curriculum – something the BHA has campaigned in favour of for years
· Overturning plans to enable Community schools to convert to ‘faith’ Academies in one step
· Helping expose an anti-abortion group going into schools and telling children that abortion causes breast cancer
· Triggering a legal case with the Government over secrecy around proposed Free Schools, after getting the Information Commissioner to rule in response to a BHA request that the Government must publish a list of Free Schools
· Launching a High Court case against two proposed Catholic schools due to open in Richmond outside of competition, with the Government intervening against us
· Helping save the only school without a religious character in the west of the Isle of Wight from closure – which was threatened simply because the alternative choices were ‘faith’ schools
Further successes include:
· Conducting new research showing that two-thirds of religious schools are opening outside of competition with other school proposals, ‘by the back door’ – compared to under one-sixth of other schools
· Getting the European Commission to investigate whether UK ‘faith’ schools break European employment laws
· Discovering and exposing state-funded Free School, Grindon Hall Christian School’s ‘Creation Policy’ statement, in which they affirm that ‘We will teach creation as a scientific theory’
· Working extensively to amend the Education Act 2011 during its passage through the House of Lords
· Responding to the National Curriculum Review, the PSHE Review, Labour’s Review of the Curriculum and consultation on the ‘middle tier’, the RE Council’s RE Subject Review and Ofsted’s A Level Reform consultation.
· Getting the BHA on the front pages of The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph and on the Today programme
· Supporting parents, teachers and pupils dealing with issues they may experience surrounding admissions, collective worship, RE, sex and relationships education and creationism
· Working closely with the Accord Coalition, an alliance of religious and non-religious groups, trades unions and educationalists working for the reform of ‘faith’ schools, of which the BHA is a founding member
· Representing non-religious and secularist views in meetings with external stakeholders – for example, through the Sex Education Forum and the Religious Education Council
· Increasing the number of Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education (SACRE) with a humanist as a member or applying to join from about half to two-thirds
Donations will be used to ensure we can employ our dedicated campaigns officer for another year and fund his campaigning activities. If any money is donated beyond our target, this will be spent on BHA education campaigns.
If you’re a UK taxpayer, please do also indicate that the BHA can claim Gift Aid on your donation so that we can reclaim 25p tax from HMRC for every £1 you donate.
This work is more important than ever before. Please donate generously to help us continue to fight against the powerful ‘faith’ schools lobby.
Head of Education, British Humanist Association
1 Gower Street, London, WC1E 6HD | 020 7079 3586 | 07795 412765
Do you want your child to grow up with friends of all different backgrounds and beliefs? Then support our campaign at http://www.justgiving.com/nofaithschools
The BHA is a registered charity in England and Wales (no. 285987) and depends on donations and legacies from its members and supporters to carry out its work. You can join or donate or register for our free e-bulletin online.