Lack of faith in church schools;Letter

18th June 1999 at 01:00
IT WOULD be a retrograde step if Surrey (or any other local education authority) were to hand over more county schools to churches (TES, June 4).

Religious schools can select on the grounds of parental belief; consequently those of other faiths, or none, may be denied a place in their local school (which will still be largely funded by their taxes).

Yet more parents will feel they have to pretend to be church-goers in order to get their child into the local school, a dishonesty that cannot set a good example to children.

If accepted, non-Anglican pupils may feel alienated by the culture, and particularly by the narrow version of religious education often offered. Parents can withdraw their children from RE and collective worship, but this denies them opportunities to participate fully in the life of the school or to learn from a rich RE syllabus.

Religious minorities in areas taken over by church schools may well begin to demand their own schools, leading to ethnic and sectarian segregation. Surely this cannot be what we want for education in the 21st century?

Marilyn Mason

Education officer

British Humanist Association

47 Theobalds Road, London WC1X

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