Accord Coalition meets with Tristram Hunt

June 13, 2014

On Wednesday the Accord Coalition met with the Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Tristram Hunt MP.

Accord set out its fear of how schools that segregate on religious grounds or provide a narrow education about the range of religious and non religious beliefs in society undermine community cohesion and narrow children’s horizons. Accord also highlighted the unsustainability of the current education system, whereby a third of state funded schools are faith schools and have the ability to act in narrow and discriminatory ways, almost all of which are Christian.

Accord set out a range of further problems of faith schools selecting pupils by faith, including how it leads to faith schools becoming even socio-economically exclusive and undermines arguments around choice, enabling schools to choose children, rather than families choose schools. It also set out a range of concerns about the current arrangements for RE, including that many schools were reducing their provision on the subject.

Mr Hunt spoke of his concern about schools not adhering to the School Admissions Code and the need for them to provide a broad and balanced curriculum. He made clear that he wanted schools to provide Sex and Relationships Education.

Chair of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain said: ‘We are very grateful to Tristram Hunt for meeting with us and taking on board our wide range of concerns. We look forward to sharing ideas with him to ensure that, rather than entrenching social division, we leave future generations with an education system that is fair and promotes the growth of mutual understanding.’

One Response to Accord Coalition meets with Tristram Hunt

  1. John grant on August 16, 2014 at 9:53 am

    As a humanist — and therefore an uncommitted “non-believer” from the religious viewpoint, may I suggest that an essential element in the faith schooling debate is the fact that there is dichotomy between what might be termed “religious matters” and ” factual (science-based)” subjects: religion is a “belief system” which should be taught to children as such, whereas most other science-based subjects are “factual”, and are taught on the basis of rational data which can be verified as “evidence-based material”.
    This is a clumsy way of putting it, but my point is that a balanced syllabus — the stated objective of the Accord project — should place religious instruction in the same category as factual subjects, leaving aside religious dogma which tends to be taught in faith schools as specific to their faith, and approaching religion as a historic cultural phenomenon which has its roots in the attempts of primitive man to explain natural events — thunder, lightning, and so on — and led to man “inventing” numerous gods in his efforts to atone for imagined actions which were presumed to have prompted the weather events. Seen from the impartial non- religious perspective, religion should be taught as a broad- based phenomenon, which has evolved into the complex mix of religions which now exist, each with its own beliefs and practices, without any deliberate bias towards persuading children to accept any one faith as the one they should believe to be true.

    It should be central to any education system that certain philosophical concepts, such as religious belief, are outside the scope of basic schooling, and should be left for more mature consideration — and decision! — once the students are able to form their own ideas. If such an approach could be introduced, much harm and conflict in the world would be avoided, since religious extremism has its origins in religious myths and misconceived indoctrination of children at a young age.

Leave a Reply to John grant Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Accord depends on your support

Please give.

Sign up

find us on Facebook

News history