Thursday, 4 December 2008

Runnymede calls for faith schools to be 'open to all'

. The Runnymede Trust has published a new report today. Entitled 'Right to Divide?' the report argues that:

"Faith schools should be for the benefit of all in society rather than just the few."

Consequentially, it calls for an end to faith-based selection. It is the culmination of a two year study on the impact of faith schooling on community cohesion. Contray to those who argue that faith schools do not create exclusivity it finds;

"Too often, there remains a resistance to learning about other faiths when faith schools are seen as the spaces in which singular faith identities and traditions are transmitted, rather than as spaces in which faith is ‘lived’."

It also calls for children to be given more rights in determining how they are educated;

"If young people are to develop the ability for critical thinking and selfdetermination in opposition to absolutist thought and closed approaches to difference, developing appropriate democratic dialogue within schools is necessary."

Faith schools are also criticised for seeming to "favour the more privileged". As we all know this issue is set to be debated at our Spring conference next year and will doubtless cause alot of controversy. However, a commitment to secularism requires that we take a firm stand against faith schooling as does our commitments to equality of opportunity.

No comments: