Lib Dems back proposals to end compulsory worship and faith school discrimination against teachers

Oct 13, 2014

By National Secular Society

Liberal Democrats have voted in support of a motion to abolish compulsory worship in schools and to end religious discrimination against teachers in faith schools. Conference delegates however rejected an amendment to ban faith schools from selecting children on the basis of faith.

The votes took place in the conference debate on Expanding Opportunity, Unlocking Potential – the party’s main equality policy paper. National Secular Society honorary associates Julian Huppert MP and Dr Evan Harris spoke in support of the amendments.

The proposal to ban faith-based pupil selection was defeated after Business Secretary Vince Cable and Justice Minister Simon Hughes urged delegates to reject the amendment saying it risked “really serious harm”.

Julian Huppert, himself a former governor of a faith school, sought to correct the ‘misconception’ that the amendment was about ‘closing down’ faith schools.


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4 comments on “Lib Dems back proposals to end compulsory worship and faith school discrimination against teachers

  • “Conference delegates however rejected an amendment to ban faith schools from selecting children on the basis of faith.”

    …and how will they do that, ask the children?

    For education to deserve that name it must distinguish between truth and falsity, factual instruction and indoctrination; a distinction no political party has the courage to make.

    Children and Society will continue to be harmed by this cowardice.



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  • @OP – Liberal Democrats have voted in support of a motion to abolish compulsory worship in schools

    These are separate issues. This is to welcomed if it happens as an up-date to laws. It already happens in many UK state schools which ignore antiquated laws.

    and to end religious discrimination against teachers in faith schools.

    This would be difficult to enforce (although blatant discrimination would be obvious).

    Conference delegates however rejected an amendment to ban faith schools from selecting children on the basis of faith.

    These are matters of details of admissions policies – about which I have seen considerable legal incompetence in faith-school selection processes in the past.



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  • The proposal to ban faith-based pupil selection was defeated after Business Secretary Vince Cable and Justice Minister Simon Hughes urged delegates to reject the amendment saying it risked “really serious harm”.

    He is probably right. Where children are having to accept places in “faith-schools” due to shortages of places elsewhere, or a dislike of neglected run-down underfunded LEA schools, non-religious children are subjected to the serious harm of proselytising in such establishments.

    Faith-based pupils selection is however divisive and culturally damaging, so the whole concept of segregated ” faith schooling”, is a bad idea.

    Subjecting “faith-free”, or “other faith”, children, to such establishments to achieve a cultural mix, is not the answer!



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