Accord Coalition urges House of Lords to amend Education Bill

June 24, 2011

The Accord Coalition has sent a briefing to Members of the House of the Lords today, urging them to support a range of amendments to the Education Bill.

They include amendments that will retain pre-existing safeguards, such Ofsted’s requirement to inspect how schools promote community cohesion and the freedom of the school adjudicator to reword school’s admission arrangements if it finds them to have breached the School Admissions Code, which the Bill proposes to take away.

Peers have also tabled amendments that seek to tackle issues of religious discrimination in pupil admissions and staff employment in faith schools, as well as ones to reform the curriculum, including making Personal, Health, Health and Economic education compulsory and removing the legal requirement for compulsory daily Christian worship in almost all state funded schools in England.

Chair of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain said ‘The Government does not mean to appear complacent about schools undermining social cohesion. However, by removing Ofsted’s duty to inspect on the promotion of cohesion in schools, parliament will take away the principal means of ensuring that schools actually do try to promote better cohesion. This risks making a school’s own cohesion duty almost meaningless and empowering those who would mitigate against social cohesion in our schools.

‘Peers have also tabled a range of amendments to remove religious discrimination from school admission and employment policies, as well as ensure schools provide an education that better prepares pupils for life in our increasingly diverse society, and we urge Peers to make their views known on these crucially important issues’.

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