Church of England Dioceses urged to move away from discrimination

March 8, 2018

The Accord Coalition has written to Church of England Diocesan Boards of Education to urge them to support and encourage all local schools in becoming non-discriminatory. Correspondence has been sent to the Directors and Chairs of every Diocesan Education Board and has included a copy of ‘Mixed Signals: The discrepancy between what the Church preaches and what it practises about religious selection at its state-funded schools.

The report was produced by Accord for the Fair Admissions Campaign and published last November. The report found:  

  • national Church of England officials have repeatedly framed their state funded schools as not seeking to serve Christians ahead of other local families
  • many in the Church want their schools to be religiously inclusive, but a very large proportion of them still operate a religiously discriminatory over-subscription policy
  • national and in the vast majority of cases diocesan admissions guidance does not advise schools to refrain from selecting pupils by faith
  • 1 in 4 dioceses advise their schools to reserve some places by faith
  • many schools in even the notionally inclusive dioceses still operate a religiously selective admissions policy

Chair of the Accord Coalition, the Reverend Stephen Terry, said ‘Ultimately Parliament should change the law so the exemptions that allow state funded schools to religiously discriminate are removed. In the meantime however faith schools and their religious authorities can make a major contribution in advancing cultural and attitudinal change regarding the use of faith based admissions.’

‘In regards to the Church of England, national Church authorities must play an important part, but so should dioceses who enjoy a special status when it comes to advising their schools about religious selection in pupil admissions. Our central message to them has been that the Church’s mission and the interests of wider society are entwined in helping Church schools move permanently away from discrimination.’

Accord’s correspondence follows comments from the Archbishop of Canterbury in a House of Lords debate in December that he was opposed to Church Schools selecting pupils by faith. This week a range of public figures have signed an open letter in defence of the current cap which limits faith free schools from not selecting more than half of their pupils. The signatories include several Accord supporters and the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

Leave a 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