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'Most' people oppose faith-based admission in schools

Secular campaigners claim school system is out of touch with public opinion

New report published on faith in schools

Secular campaigners claim school system is out of touch with public opinion

Fewer than one-in-six people agree with religious selection in state schools, according to a poll.

The National Secular Society's survey results have been published after education secretary Damian Hinds' recent announcement on the future of new faith schools admissions.

The Department for Education is keeping the 50 per cent faith cap on new free schools – which means they can only select half of their intake on the basis of faith.

However, it has also announced that it is making funding available to build new voluntary aided schools which can select all of their pupils based on their religion.

The Censuswide poll of 2,000 adults found that only one in seven (14 per cent) respondents think state-funded faith schools should be able to teach religious education without being obliged to cover all belief systems – including non-religious beliefs. 

The National Secular Society says the findings raise questions about the role of religion in schools. 

And it showed that the majority of people polled believed that assemblies should be about moral issues rather than religion. Just over a quarter said assemblies should feature religious worship.

National Secular Society chief executive Stephen Evans said: “The poll findings show that our current education system simply does not align with the views of the public when it comes to religion’s role.

"Most people take a much more secular stance and don’t want children to be exposed to overbearing religious influence in their schools.

“It is impossible to imagine a system in which state schools were allowed to select pupils on the basis of whether their parents shared the same political views. That should be the case for religion too.

“We were pleased to see the education secretary decide against lifting the cap on faith school entry recently. However, this does not cover voluntary-aided faith schools and we would urge against any future attempt to increase selection by religion through the back door.”

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