Faith Schools: Introduction

The Education and Inspections Bill 2006 establishes the concept of ‘trust schools’. These are entirely publicly-funded and run by an external governing body which controls admissions, owns the assets and has freedoms to innovate in the National Curriculum. Where the school is deemed to have a ‘religious character’, government admissions policy grants schools the right to give preference to pupils of a particular faith. There already exist a relatively small number of Foundation and ‘Volutary Aided’ schools, which differ on minor details but are very similar to the proposed trust schools. These are collectively known as ‘faith schools’ as the governing body is invariably religious in nature.

This topic was recently discussed on Paul’s blog and generated much discussion in the comments, generally all in favour. I knew little of faith schools and didn’t want to wade in, so have spent the last few days reading up on the concept and the various arguments for and against. I came out firmly against them, but not for reasons I expected. I’m going to split the arguments into various posts, and in the next I’ll discuss what seems to be the primary argument against the establishment of such schools.

The most interesting conclusion is that I see no reason for the religious and non-religious to disagree on this.

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