Accord wants all schools to be open to children of every background, no matter what their parents’ or their own beliefs, open to all teachers qualified to teach in them, and to ensure that children learn about the beliefs of others, thereby better preparing them for life in an increasingly diverse society.
Many faith schools operate in open and inclusive ways, and where they do we commend them. Sadly however many do not and given the opportunity will discriminate on religious grounds in their staff employment and pupil admissions, as well as provide a narrow education about the range of religious and philosophical beliefs held in society. Where new faith schools are proposed that will look to operate in these exclusive ways then we oppose them, and urge our supporters to do the same.
If there are plans for such a school in your local area then you can help campaign against them in the following ways:
- Find out if anyone else is campaigning against the school. Parents, teachers, local trade union branches and the Anti Academies Alliance are often all involved in local campaign coalitions against controversial new schools.
- Respond to local consultations. It need not be a long or formal response, just an objection on principle, with some local knowledge if possible. The consultation document should be available on the council website, along with contact details for the officials responsible.
- Collect more information, either from Council documents or from the local media about the progress of the proposal and other future proposals.
- Write to the LEA’s Director of Education asking for more information and making objections.
- Write to local councillors and to members of the Education Committee to express concern and to seek their support.
- Contact your MP and make him/her aware of your views, either by letter or at a local surgery.
- Write to local newspapers and radio stations. MPs and councillors pay a great deal of attention to the local press and publicity will also help inform those who don’t know about the proposal or the arguments against it.
- If you live outside the relevant LEA, point out to your councillor or MP that wide catchment areas mean that new schools can affect areas outside the LEA. Neighbouring LEAs should also be consulted.
Accord has also launched a campaign initiative against religious discrimination in pupil admissions in local voluntary controlled faith schools (a particular type of faith school). You can find out more information about this here.