on 7 March 2014
In recent years UK governments have expanded the number of state-supported faith schools,even as the population has become less religious. Currently, about one third of British schools have a religious character and the Church of England intends to open more. If this comes about the Church of England could become the largest educational supplier in the UK.
This book, from the Humanist Philosophers Group (an organ of the British Humanist Association) puts the case against faith schools. In fact, it's clear that what parents want is good schools, and faith schools tend to be better than average in terms of academic acheivement.
The schools claim that their 'faith ethos' is responsible for their better performance, but the academic evidence shows clearly that their freedom to pick their pupils is responsible for the difference. Faith schools tend to have fewer pupils who are eligible for free school meals, fewer with Special Educational Needs and fewer where English is their second language.
The philosophers argue that segregating pupils by the faith of their parents is inherently a bad idea in a diverse culture like ours. In a faith schools pupils are more likely to receive Religious Instruction (where the point of view of one religion is taught as fact) rather than Religious Education (where pupils are taught *about* the ideas of various belief systems, and the views of those who have none, such as humanists). They argue that Religious Education is desirable but Religious Instruction does not qualify as education and should not be taught in state schools at the taxpayers' expense.