• Islamic ‘inspired’ stabbing; government approves 25 faith schools; exclusivist policies abound

    So a British soldier was stabbed to death in public, the atrocity being caught and shared on social media. They stayed around to be arrested, not afraid of the consequences, and this is the scary thing, the idea bveing that no space is safe or sacred. Now there is a widespread Muslim backlash. To make matters worse, the government has admitted that “thousands are at risk of radicalisation” in the UK.

    So what do we do to unite society? What do we do to make it more inclusive and less exclusive? How do we break the in-group / out-group psychology which fuels the fires of societal discontent and fear? How to we pull down the walls of separation of ‘us’ and ‘them’?

    I’ll tell you how, we give permission for and fund faith schools in the free school debacle that the present idiotic UK government education ministers are lauding. 25  new schools to drive an ideological wedge into our children’s lives and between our children, families and cultural sections of society.

    It’s a disgrace. A poorly thought-out disgrace which will in no way help the current situation. Does anyone honestly, I mean bloody honestly, think that the way to solve the problem of Muslim disaffection and feeling of being out-group is to set up schools for our children which fosters a feeling of in/out-group, which celebrates separation from society, which otherises mainstream secular society? Is this what they did to break down sectarian violence in Northern Ireland?

    No, Northern Ireland recognised that this was part of the problem. For crying out loud, are people that stupid? I am so angry.

    Here is what the British Humanist Association have to say:


    Government approves 25 new religious Free Schools

    The Department for Education (DfE) has today announced the approval of 102 new Free Schools due to open from September 2014. This includes 25 new religious schools, as well as one Steiner school. The British Humanist Association (BHA) has expressed regret at the continuing increase in the number of ‘faith’ schools.

    The 25 new schools include 15 schools formally designated with a religious character and ten schools with a ‘faith ethos’. The DfE are yet to publish the details of each proposal’s religion, or any details about rejected proposals – it intends to publish this information at the end of June (although the BHA is currently fightingfor earlier release in the future).

    However, the BHA believes it has been able to identify the religion of 23 of the 25 schools. These are listed below.

    BHA Faith Schools Campaigner Richy Thompson commented, ‘We are deeply concerned to see the number of state-funded religious schools in England continue to rise. These schools are allowed to select all their teachers and up to half their pupils in the basis of their faith. They are also free to set their own curriculum, teaching from an unshared, narrow perspective that is inappropriate to some pupils.

    ‘Every school should be equally inclusive to all pupils and staff, regardless of religion or belief. We will continue to campaign to make this ideal the reality.’

    The full list of schools:

    Church of England (2):

    Roman Catholic (2):

    Christian (10):

    Muslim (6):

    • Bolton Free School, a secondary school
    • Coventry Leadership Academy for Girls, a secondary school
    • Slough Girls’ Leadership Academy, a secondary school
    • The Birmingham Free School, a secondary school
    • The Preston Free School, a secondary school
    • Waltham Forest Leadership Academy for Girls, a secondary school

    Sikh (3):

    In addition, the DfE have also approved Steiner Academy Bristol, an all-through proposal. Finally, therecently announced London Design and Engineering University Technical College in Newham will be co-sponsored by the Diocese of Chelmsford, making it the first with religious sponsorship.

    The BHA cannot fully guarantee the accuracy of this list but believes it to be accurate at time of writing.


    For further comment or information, please contact Richy Thompson on 020 7324 3072.

    Read the Government’s announcement: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/more-than-100-free-schools-applications-approved

    See the full list of proposals:http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/typesofschools/freeschools/b00222077/pre-opening

    The BHA has campaigned for a full list of Free School proposals to be published, including unsuccessful proposals, along with their faith. This information was ultimately published in February for the first three years of the programme: http://humanism.org.uk/2013/03/22/majority-of-identifiable-free-school-proposals-from-2011-13-were-religious/ and will be published for the latest proposals towards the end of June.

    Read more about the BHA’s campaigns work on ‘faith’ schools:http://www.humanism.org.uk/campaigns/religion-and-schools/faith-schools

    View the BHA’s table of types of school with a religious character: http://www.humanism.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/schools-with-a-religious-character.pdf

    The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

    Category: EducationPsychologyReligion and Society


    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce