C of E turning blind eye to faith based discrimination and division in school system

July 11, 2016

The Accord Coalition has criticised Church of England authorities for failing to prepare their schools for operating in a mixed belief society following an announcement that the Church intends to open another 125 Free Schools by 2020 and the publication of a new Church report regarding its participation in state funded schooling, entitled ‘Church of England Vision for Education‘.

Chair of the Accord Coalition for Inclusive Education, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE, said ‘Despite saying they wish to serve the wider community at large, they are using the Free School route which enables schools to select 50% of pupils by faith, or, to put it another way, to exclude the same number of local children on the grounds of faith. This both lacks generosity of spirit and endorses discrimination.

‘State funded faith schools are a major source of division in society. Not only are they validating a wider culture in the school system that says it is okay for schools to be seen as belonging to and serving certain groups, but the many faith schools that religiously discriminate incentivise religious cheating, further disadvantage the poor, and lead to even greater segregation.

‘Despite borrowing rhetoric from integration campaigners, the Church’s new report fails to address the need for schools to better promote ethnic mixing and the growth of mutual understanding. Church leaders should be guiding their schools towards operating in ways that are more appropriate and helpful in an increasingly diverse society, but they instead seem focused on growing their already considerable influence in the state funded sector. This is very disappointing for those who wish for faith schools to serve the whole community and bring people together.’



‘Church of England Vision for Education’, which was presented to a meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod on Saturday (July 9) can be found at https://www.churchofengland.org/media/2532968/gs_2039_-_church_of_england_vision_for_education.pdf.

Last summer the Accord Coalition assisted a group of 20 Anglicans gain coverage for an open letter urging that Church of England schools be steered away from selecting pupils by faith.

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