Two simple questions:

  • How do you promote social cohesion by segregating children according to their parents' religion?
  • How do young people make a free and informed choice about what to believe if they spend their entire education in schools which promote a single narrow word-view?

Putting it as simply as possible:

  • How does segregation promote harmony?
  • How does ignorance provide freedom of choice?

Our aim:

"To promote inclusive education where pupils from different backgrounds and beliefs are taught together so they can learn with one another and about one another."

 

We believe:

  1. That children in inclusive schools, compared to those in segregated schools, develop better understanding of, and more tolerant attitudes towards, those from different backgrounds and beliefs.
  2. That understanding our common humanity, and tolerance of different beliefs, come from mixing with those different from yourself.
  3. That education should encourage open and enquiring minds.
  4. That good community relations and social cohesion depend on integration, not segregation.
  5. That there are no religious children - only religious parents.
  6. That all children have the right to learn about all of the world's belief systems - religious and non-religious.
  7. That education should equip young people to make a free and informed choice about which beliefs to follow.
  8. That we share a common culture to which we can each contribute depending on the richness of our backgrounds.
  9. That with rights go responsibilities - particularly towards children.
  10. That schools should be subject to the same Human Rights legislation as other organisations.
  11. That schools should not discriminate in pupil selection or staff employment.
  12. That education is a shared social responsibility funded by taxpayers so schools should be accountable to the whole of the local community - not just parents.

"Segregation, albeit self-segregation, is an unacceptable basis for a harmonious community and it will lead to more serious problems if it is not tackled"

Cantle Report into riots in Oldham, 2001


We campaign for:

  1. Top quality local community schools - primary and secondary.
  2. Inclusive schools open to children from all backgrounds and beliefs.
  3. Religious Education that teaches about all the world's religions and beliefs - without promoting one above others.
  4. The use in all schools of the local Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education - as long as that syllabus fairly balances religious and non-religious beliefs.
  5. An end to segregation on grounds of religion, belief or ethnic origin.
  6. An end to employment discrimination based on religious belief.

"I want my children to go to a school where they can sit next to a Christian, play football in the break with a Muslim, do homework with a Hindu and walk back with an atheist - interacting with them and them getting to know what a Jewish child is like. Schools should build bridges, not erect barriers."

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE, chair of the Accord Coalition

 

We support:

  1. Article 14 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Freedom of thought, conscience and religion): "Children have the right to think and believe what they want ...", "the Convention recognizes that as children mature and are able to form their own views, some may question certain religious practices or cultural traditions."
  2. The right of parents to teach their children about their own religion. Note: there is no obligation for society to pay for schools of a religious nature.
  3. Freedom of thought, belief and expression - as long as no harm is caused to anyone else.
  4. The right of people to choose and practise whatever belief system they wish as long as they cause no harm to anyone else and they do not apply undue pressure on others to believe the same.
  5. The right for anyone to criticise any set of beliefs - in a civilised manner.

"Religious organisations, so quick to advocate the principle of 'non-discrimination' in other goods and services, must surely now recognise that only by ending institutional discrimination in schools will we begin to bring about a reduction in the communal enmity and violence that is bred by segregation."

Article in the Guardian by Professor Ted Cantle, 4th December, 2013.

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