After persistent lobbying from Accord over the last few months, the Liberal Democrats have passed a policy aimed at challenging discrimination in faith school admissions, employment practices and religious education lessons.
Under the policy, new faith schools will not be able to use religious criteria to choose pupils and existing faith will have five years to prove that they are inclusive in order to retain state funding.
The vote was hailed as a ‘breakthrough moment’ by Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, the Chair of Accord:
“The political tide is turning. It is a recognition that it is not in the best interest of children or society at large for faith schools to use pupil selection and staff employment practices that are discriminatory and divisive. While we have concerns about the vagueness of the requirement for schools to have “inclusive” admissions, this policy is a clear signal that the Lib Dems recognise there is a problem.”
“It is vital for the social harmony of Britain that schools build bridges between different faith communities, not isolate them from each other.”
“Accord welcomes the bravery of the Liberal Democrats in being the first political party to put the national good above sectarian interests.”
“We urge Labour and the Conservatives to rethink their current faith schools policy which amounts to a system of religious segregation and which the next generation will have cause to regret” said Rabbi Romain.