I’m asking for donations so Humanists UK can keep up its dedicated campaign against faith schools. At the moment, Humanists UK employs the only campaigner in the UK dedicated to working exclusively for the rights of families and against the rise of discriminatory faith schools and the growth of religious bias, evangelism, and partisanship in our education system.
What we want to see is a fair and equal education for everyone, free from discrimination
What we want to see is a fair and equal education for everyone, free from discriminatory practices, religious biases, and in some cases, outright illegality. Our work this year has included everything from pushing for a legal ban on unregistered religious abuse factories posing as schools, right through to combating the growing influence of religious evangelism in our education system.
Just this year, we’ve proven our effectiveness, winning a landmark court judgment that improves recognition for non-religious families and their values in Religious Education. We’ve also gone to court in Northern Ireland to uphold the rights of the non-religious in the context of a deeply sectarian education system.
In England and in Wales, we’ve exposed the growing influence of Christian evangelism in schools – including ghoulish American outfits exploiting national tragedies in an attempt to convert children, as well as creepy singalongs about ‘Jesus dying for our sins’ organised for hundreds of state school children in England.
We’ve also worked to bring together all the research which shows in aching detail how faith schools discriminate against racial minorities, poorer families, and children with disabilities and special needs – as well as families belonging to the non-religious majority.
But with so much institutional support for faith schools from the major parties, our challenge ahead is to promote these facts and achieve greater salience for them in the months leading up to the next election. Will you help us?
But we are making real strides.
To summarise just a fraction of our work this year:
• National attention: Our investigations and advocacy have shed light on the challenges within the education system, gaining media coverage and sparking crucial conversations.
• Holding governments to account: We are relentlessly pushing for education reform to be a top priority for all political parties. We will take on on strategic legal cases and political battles to help advance a better education system.
• Legal milestones: Our legal case in Kent this year marked a significant victory for the non-religious in education, with the law now unambiguously stating that humanists across England should have a full say in how local RE committees determine the curriculum – bringing England in line with how it works in Wales.
• Global recognition: Our efforts have prompted the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to critique the UK for its faith-based school policies and practices.
• Developing effective policy: In response to an incident where an autistic child received death threats over a perceived schoolyard offence to Islam, we came up with a policy formulation to protect free speech and stop schools getting this so dangerously wrong – which was adopted by the Home Office the next day and implemented a week later through binding legal guidelines for police.
Advice and guidance: We've published comprehensive guides for parents and influenced major government reports, aiming to reshape the approach to religion in schools.
Your support is vital – essential – to helping this work continue next year.
You can help us to:
Respond rapidly: We're committed to exposing harmful educational practices and biased policies in the media, keeping these issues at the forefront.
• Help non-religious families: Your contributions enable us to connect with more communities, support more families, and influence more decision-makers.
• Shape public debate: The issues around faith schools can be politically awkward for some MPs to deal with, but more than that, most people just aren’t very aware of how bad the situation really is. It’s a major focus for us to improve the reach and impact of the cold, hard facts about faith schools.
• Reform RE: We want to make sure every child in every part of the UK gets to learn about all the world religions, plus humanism and non-religious approaches to life, in an unbiased way.
• End compulsory worship: In most of the UK, Christian worship is compulsory in assemblies in state schools – not just faith schools, but all ‘community’ schools too. The UN has called for this to end, and we’re pushing to see it happen.
• End the postcode lottery for non-religious families: In some areas, most schools are faith schools, even if most parents are non-religious – Liverpool is just one example. Discriminatory admissions policies mean sometimes parents have to drive miles to get to a school. Other times, they’re forced to attend a faith school.
• Stop the gaslighting of parents: Many parents are forced to attend a religious school against their wishes. Once there, any attempt to address absurdities in those schools, including homophobic or anti-choice education, is met with ‘Well, you chose to send your child there.’ We need root and branch reform.
We want to see a high-quality education system where no child, no parent, and no teacher faces discrimination due to their religion or belief, and where everyone receives the same standard of unbiased education. Please, help us secure that today. Donate generously to our campaign so it can continue.