Accord has expressed its thanks to the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams AM, for meeting with the Coalition in Cardiff yesterday. She agreed with Accord’s contention that Wales should avoid going down the route that England has found itself in, with a school system that has become increasingly divided, both religiously and socio-economically.
Accord set out a range of its concerns about the ability of state funded faith schools to operate in narrow and religiously discriminatory ways, and the risks this presented to fairness and integration in society, especially given the increasing religious and ethnic diversity that Wales is expected to experience over the coming decades. Accord also discussed areas of the school curriculum where it believed issues of inclusivity mattered most, such as Religious Education, assemblies and Sex and Relationships Education.
The Minister agreed with the importance of inclusivity underpinning the new Welsh National Curriculum that is currently being formulated, and particularly within Sex and Relationships Education. The Minister valued the extent to which most state funded schools in Wales currently admitted children from across their respective local community and expressed concern about the existence of unregistered schools, many of which are believed to be faith based. She stressed the need for public authorities to be able to take action if and when schools caused concern and a need for education policy to be informed by evidence.
Chair of the Accord Coalition for Inclusive Education, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, said ‘Accord is grateful to the Minister for meeting with us. We were very pleased to learn of the importance that the Government considers evidence and inclusivity in underpinning schools policy, and the desire it has for all schools to operate within a robust regulatory framework.
‘We look forward with interest to the development of the new Curriculum. It presents a great opportunity for schools in Wales to follow a curriculum that is more relevant for citizenship in an increasingly diverse country, and which could serve to inspire positive curriculum reforms elsewhere.’