Defenders of the faith schools

Andrew Copson. Education Officer, British Humanist Association, London

It was sad to read Madeleine Brettingham's claim that the British Humanist Association campaigns for a "French or American-style secular education system, confining religion to private life".

Over the many decades that the BHA has been involved in RE, we have consistently argued for greater inclusion of non-Christian religions, as well as humanism, within the subject, and our position on faith schools is informed by the same inclusive approach.

We oppose faith schools because we believe it is wrong for any school to discriminate in its admissions and employment policies, and for any school not to be required by law to teach an objective and balanced RE curriculum and not to be required to hold assemblies that are inclusive of all children.

As people with deep and sincere convictions of our own, humanists advocate that inclusive community schools should be accommodating institutions, allowing time for optional religious worship if required and making reasonable adjustments for pupils who require them.

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