Green Party joins campaign for fair admissions to religious schools

The Green Party has today joined the Fair Admissions Campaign, which aims to open up all state-funded schools to all children, without regard to religion. The move has been welcomed by the Campaign as demonstrating the growing consensus for the need for reform around this area.

Announcing the party’s support for the Campaign, Stuart Jeffery, Policy Coordinator for the Green Party, commented, ‘In line with our commitment to an inclusive society and to local schools that serve communities, we are proud to be able to formally back the Fair Admissions Campaign.

‘State schools should not be able to block entry on any grounds, they are there to serve local communities, so we welcome the Fair Admissions Campaign as it drives to end state funded schools being able to select pupils on religious grounds.

‘Discrimination on religious grounds is simply wrong and divides communities. Allowing state funded schools to continue with this practice is morally wrong and is not supported by the public. Just last year a survey by the Accord Coalition and Com Res found that three quarters of the public opposed religious selection for schools.

‘It is time to end this divisive and outdated practice and to make local schools the heart of communities for all children.’

Caroline Lucas MP has also agreed to become an individual supporter of the Campaign. Other supporters include the Socialist Educational Association, which is affiliated to the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrat Education Association, Liberal Youth, and 13 other educational, religious, non-religious, equality, human rights and community cohesion groups.

The Accord Coalition co-founded the Fair Admissions Campaign. Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, Chair of Accord, commented on behalf of the Campaign, ‘We are witnessing a groundswell of opinion in favour of fairness in our education system; perhaps this is not surprising in that most people are committed to the values of inclusivity and equality, but what is extraordinary is that so many of those responsible for school admissions – be it politicians or governors – are still wedded to policies of discrimination and segregation. They need to start listening to the call for Fair Admissions.’

Notes

For further comment please contact Accord Coalition Coordinator Paul Pettinger on 020 7324 3071 or email info@fairadmissions.org.uk.

Visit the Fair Admissions Campaign website at http://fairadmissions.org.uk/

The Fair Admissions Campaign wants all state-funded schools in England and Wales to be open equally to all children, without regard to religion or belief. The Campaign is supported by a wide coalition of individuals and national and local organisations. We hold diverse views on whether or not the state should fund faith schools. But we all believe that faith-based discrimination in access to schools that are funded by the taxpayer is wrong in principle and a cause of religious, ethnic, and socio-economic segregation, all of which are harmful to community cohesion. It is time it stopped.

Supporters of the campaign include the Accord Coalition, the British Humanist Association, Professor Ted Cantle and the iCoCo Foundation, the Association of Teachers and LecturersBritish Muslims for Secular Democracy, the Campaign for State Education, the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education, the Christian think tank Ekklesia, the Hindu Academy, the Green Party, the Liberal Democrat Education AssociationLiberal Youth, the Local Schools NetworkRichmond Inclusive Schools Campaign, the Runnymede Trust, the Socialist Educational Association, and the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches.