Research on religion and schools

May 30, 2011

Public debate regarding religion and belief in the school system often suffers from people arguing from fixed positions. So as to help give the debate greater focus, the Accord Coalition has put together two resources of information below which it hopes will help journalists, researchers, campaigners and members of the public find out about the consequences of current policies and practices.


Databank of Independent Evidence on Faith Schools

The first resource is a databank that brings together and summarises a wide range of information from a host of reliable sources, providing both objective facts and findings based on high quality research. As the research reveals, there are major issues of concern regarding practices within the state funded faith school sector. Consequently, the databank very largely focuses on state funded faith schools, though it also addresses issues around religious and ethnic inclusion at other state funded schools.

Almost all the evidence in the report is gathered from sources independent of Accord and its members. The evidence is also recent – all of it dates from 2001 or later and the majority has been produced in the last four years.

Topics covered in the databank are as follows:

  1. Faith schools’ impact upon social and community cohesion
  2. Standards and attainment in faith schools
  3. Discrimination in admissions
  4. Discrimination in employment
  5. Homophobia and LGBT equality
  6. The curriculum (Religious Education, Collective Worship, Sex and Relationships Education)
  7. Other groups’ stances on faith schools and issues of religion in education
  8. Opinion polls
  9. Other statistical and general information on faith schools

You can download the report here. The databank is regularly updated with new information. If you have any feedback or are aware of new research that could be incorporated then please let us know.


Personal Testimonies and Media Reports of Discriminatory and Exclusive Practices by Schools

The second resource of information Accord has assembled is a portfolio of testimonies and news reports of discriminatory and exclusive practices by state funded schools, almost all of which relates to faith schools. Accord has brought this information together as it provides real life examples of how current education policy negatively affects many people throughout the education system, but has kept it separate from the databank, as this information is far more subjective and not subject to academic scrutiny.

Topics covered in the portfolio are grouped into the following sections:

  1. Discrimination in pupil admissions
  2. Discrimination in staff employment
  3. Inappropriate, narrow or exclusive school practices or teaching
  4. Unwanted faith schools, unwanted faith school places and narrow religious influence over schools

You can download the portfolio here. The portfolio will be updated with new information over time and if you discover a news report or would like to tell us about your own first hand experiences that you think Accord might be interested in then please let us know.

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