Accord Chair Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain has welcomed the publication of a report by the Runnymede Trust into faith schools and community cohesion today. Right to Divide? is the culmination of two year’s research and consultations with over a thousand people about what faith schools must do in order to promote community cohesion.
Speaking at the launch Jonathan said:
“We are witnessing a major change in attitude towards faith schools: previously flavour of the month, they are now being seriously questioned – both in the way they operate and whether they serve the public good. It is a debate that is long overdue and may save much heartache later.”
Right to Divide? concludes that faith schools should:
- End selection on the basis of faith
- Give children a greater say in how the school is run
- Make broad-based RE lessons part of the national curriculum
- Do better at serving the most disadvantaged
- Stop privileging religious identity over those of gender, ethnicity, age, ability or sexual orientation
As one of the speakers at the launch of the report Jonathan praised the way that Dr Rob Berkeley, who wrote the report, has put the current way that faith schools operate within its political and social context and not shied away from making policy recommendations.
In seeking to start a new debate about reforming the legislation on faith schools without resorting to sterile rhetoric, the Runnymede Trust has much in common with Accord.