Accord is a wide coalition of organisations which includes religious groups, humanists, teachers, trade unionists, educationalists and civil rights activists, working together for inclusive education. Although Accord’s supporters derive inspiration for their values from different sources, they are united in wanting to ensure that state funded schools are made open and suitable for all children, regardless of their or their parents’ religious or non-religious beliefs.
Accord takes does not take a position on the desirability of having state-funded schools with a religious or philosophical character or ethos, but campaigns for specific proposals for reform, including legislative reform, to promote inclusive education. Since September 2008 Accord has worked, through local and national campaigns, to turn public support for inclusive education into a campaign for reform that government cannot ignore. For Accord, campaigning means:
1. Speaking to the media to ensure that the voices of all those who support our aims get a fair hearing.
2. Working with our supporters across the country to resist the expansion of state funded schools which will operate restrictive and discriminatory admissions and employment practices, or which will provide a narrow education about the beliefs of others.
3. Meeting with political parties, faith school sponsors and other policy makers, to highlight the negative social impact of creating ethnic ghettos and the benefits of promoting the growth of mutual understanding and religious mixing in the education system.
4. Working with allies in Parliament to oppose and amend legislation which gives faith schools special exemptions from equality and human rights legislation, and to reform the school curriculum.
5. Working to foster a constructive public debate about the role of religion and belief in education, and ensuring public opinion remains on our side.
6. Recruiting more members and supporters to make the campaign for reform impossible to ignore.
Accord is focused on education in England and Wales, but takes a keen interest in education issues throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland, and places no limit on where it thinks useful lessons about the role of religion and philosophy in education may be found.