Child denied place at a religiously selective school two doors from their home and attended by two siblings

August 12, 2013

An article in today’s South Essex newspaper, The Echo, has highlighted the case of a child who has missed out on a place at a faith school to children from families that the school considers to be more devote. This is despite the child’s family attending Church worship fortnightly, living two doors from the school and already sending two of their children there.

This report has now been added, along with a range of other new entries, to Accord’s collection of personal testimonies and media reports, which draw attention to a wide variety of discriminatory practices at state funded schools. New examples added to the portfolio include:

  • Brazen instruction on a Church’s notice board about how to earn a place at the oversubscribed parish school
  • A non-religious journalist admitting to feigning religious belief and practice so their child could gain entrance to a religiously selective school
  • Several other examples of faith schools dividing families by not admitting younger siblings, including a child denied access to the same school as three siblings after their mother was too ill to regularly attend Church

Accord Coalition Chair, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE, said ‘Although some of the featured case studies are subjective and are not subject to academic scrutiny, they help show that exclusionary practices by schools are not dry or hypothetical, but represent a real issue that negatively impacts many people in the education system.

‘The portfolio also makes for disturbing reading and emphasises the pressing need for reform. The latest tranche of new entries, in particular, pose awkward questions about how corrupting religiously selective policies can be – for those Churches that are more popular because parents are trying to get their child into a school; for families that exploit the system through involvement in Church activities, and for those faith schools whose admission policy ends up dividing families, when supporting family life is core to their beliefs.’

In addition to the portfolio of case studies, Accord  publishes a 60 page databank of contemporary evidence and research from independent academic sources about the implications of current policy on state funded faith schools and their practices. The portfolio of testimonies and reports compliments the databank by providing real life examples.

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