An integration charity has called for a universal cap on religious discrimination for taking on students in faith schools
British Future has openly praised the contribution ethnic mixing in schools makes towards better integration, and has called for faith schools to not be permitted to select more than half of their pupils by religion.
This came in response to a consultation on the government’s recent integration Green Paper; British Future urges that the current cap preventing new faith academies from not selecting more than 50% of their pupils by faith should be extended to every kind of state-funded faith school.
The integration strategy was published in March and cites school segregation as a major challenge standing in the way of improved integration. In May, however. the Department for Education stated it would be providing funding for a new wave of faith schools which can religiously discriminate when selecting up to 100% of their pupils, allowing faith school providers to get around the current academy faith school 50% religious discrimination cap.
Chair of the Accord Coalition, the Reverend Stephen Terry said:
“The government has rightly identified promoting ethnic mixing and avoiding segregation in the school system as a very important way to boost integration. At the same, it is also proposing to help groups exploit routes around its existing measures to inhibit segregation. This is contradictory, self defeating and must be changed.
“The 50% religious discrimination cap at new academy faith schools has worked well and signals schools should at least seek to cater and bring together people from different backgrounds. The 50% cap should be extended to all faith schools in the interests of social cohesion, not evaded so some faith school providers can continue to isolate pupils of their faith from wider society.”
The Accord Coalition also responded to the government’s integration strategy, and its response highlights the broad academic consensus which warns of the dangers of ethnic segregation while promoting the benefits.
Among its recommendations, Accord also urged that the 50% cap be extended to all state funded faith schools and that the legal frameworks around religious education and assemblies be reformed.