Isle of Man Government urged to not further subsidise discriminatory schools

March 30, 2018

The Accord Coalition for Inclusive Education has urged the Isle of Man Government to renegotiate its current proposal to co-locate a religiously discriminatory Church of England school on the same sight as an inclusive community school in a different area of Douglas, the Island’s capital.

The plan has been justified on the grounds that the community school, Scoill Vallajeelt, has a falling roll, while the religiously selective St Thomas’s Church of England School is located in a cramped site that lacks proper disability access. The proposal has been a source of local controversy, with some residents concerned about having the two schools on one site being divisive. The Accord Coalition has intervened and asked the Government to revisit its school reorganisation plan to ensure that it leaves local schools as more inclusive.

Chair of the Accord Coalition for Inclusive Education, the Reverend Stephen Terry, said ‘It is very important for a school to have proper disability access if it is to be considered as inclusive. However, St Thomas’ Church of England School currently also operates a religiously discriminatory admissions policy, which is a practice increasingly seen as unnecessary and inappropriate.’

‘Rather than simply satisfying the exclusive school with use of new land and buildings funded by the taxpayer, we urge the Government to revisit its plans and negotiate a reorganisation of local schools that increases the number of school places open to local children, regardless of their or their families religion or beliefs. It is bad enough that a Church school should still be being discriminatory, and worse for Government to help facilitate and sustain such practice.’

In December the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, revealed in a debate on education he organised in House of Lords that he opposes schools selecting pupils by faith and wishes Church of England schools to be ‘homes and nurseries of integration’.

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