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Religious schools discriminating against atheists

(408 Posts)
MNersanonymous Wed 12-Mar-08 21:30:11

Dh and I are just having a discussion about this. The best state schools in our area are all religious and we, as atheists, feel discriminated against.

Could we take action against our local council under the religious discrimination legislation?!

Just curious really.

LadyOfWaffle Wed 12-Mar-08 21:33:57

Thing is, faith is a way of life, not just 40 mins on a Sunday morning. It's not like they took all the top schools and said "ok, you can be a Catholic one, you can be C of E...", they cannot help the fact they are good schools in that case.

Tinker Wed 12-Mar-08 21:34:00

But if you're an atheist why would you want your child to go to a religious school? Better to use your energy to campaign against religious schools altogether?

LadyOfWaffle Wed 12-Mar-08 21:35:00

Or campain to make your local non denomi-thingy schools better schools.

Quattrocento Wed 12-Mar-08 21:35:34

Blardy faith schools should be banned

CarGirl Wed 12-Mar-08 21:35:52

The faith schools are part funded by the faiths hence relieving the council of paying the full price........

Quattrocento Wed 12-Mar-08 21:37:28

Just because faith schools offer a financial benefit doesn't make them right.

margoandjerry Wed 12-Mar-08 21:38:12

Agree. All the state schools in my area are religious. Can't believe they still can get away with this.

And love hmm the fact that they have to prioritise "other religions" over what is probably one of the most widely held beliefs in the country ("don't believe"). So Catholic Schools have to open their arms to Jews and Protestants and Muslims and vice versa despite the fact that these groups have long histories of hating each other and going to war with each other and just fundamentally don't agree with each other.

I wouldn't mind what people do with their own money but I pay for these sodding schools and for the privilege of seeing me and my daughter at number 10 out in the list of 10 priorities.

harpsichordcarrier Wed 12-Mar-08 21:38:31

no they don't car girl.
the contribution from the church is minimal.

pointydog Wed 12-Mar-08 21:38:34

Agree quattro. Campaign to end them

pointydog Wed 12-Mar-08 21:39:46

Faith schools all around me do not get funding from the faith. They are state funded.

RubberDuck Wed 12-Mar-08 21:39:57

I've always idly wondered why faith schools so doggedly stick to their own ... surely if they were truly interested in outreach, the children of their faith would be the LAST allowed to be admitted...

But I'm atheist too, and there's no way I'd want mine at a faith school... does annoy me how the funding works though. Especially as in our local area you either try for the oversubscribed comp (impossible out of catchment), discover a new found faith or go to a sink secondary in special measures where bullying, violence and poor classroom control are rife...

harpsichordcarrier Wed 12-Mar-08 21:40:02

sorry, I should say they receive 100% of the running costs and 90% of the capital costs, generally.
so they are effectively state funded.

Lilymaid Wed 12-Mar-08 21:40:40

Interesting question. There is protection against discrimination on grounds of religion in the workplace and there is also legislation relating to offences aggravated by religious hatred. Not sure whether there is legislation outside these areas. Anybody know? The local authority will only have a duty to provide schooling.

nametaken Wed 12-Mar-08 21:41:01

MNersanonymous have these schools written to you and told you that your dc cannot go there because your an athiest? In what way have they discriminated against you?

harpsichordcarrier Wed 12-Mar-08 21:42:24

did anyone see in the news today - about faith schools breaching the rules about admissions and discrimination:

from the telegraph

margoandjerry Wed 12-Mar-08 21:43:25

nametaken, all my local schools explicitly say that children of "no faith" are at number 10 in the priority list. There is no number 11. You basically can't get in to any of the desirable schools because the places have all gone to children in categories 1-9.

margoandjerry Wed 12-Mar-08 21:45:41

Should add - this wouldn't matter if there were equivalent number of choices for atheist children. But there are in fact, no choices for atheist children in my borough.

nametaken Wed 12-Mar-08 21:50:16

margo I do appreciate and understand what you are saying but being number 10 on the priority list is not being discriminated against and denied admission. If there were not enough children to fill the school who fit into priority 1-9 then the children of no-faith would be admitted wouldn't they.

It's not discrimination, its over-subscription and it happens to all the best schools, not just faith ones.

margoandjerry Wed 12-Mar-08 21:52:08

well it means other children have a priority listing at every school in my area and my child is a priority in no school. I call that discrimination.

What would make it equal are schools placing atheist children at number one in their priority list. But that ain't ever going to happen (because that would be discriminating against faith and that would never do)

nkf Wed 12-Mar-08 21:52:33

I can see the argument against faith schools but the faith element is often a good reason why they are good schools. And if you change that ethos, that could well be another good school down the drain. And so many schools are terrible, I can't bear to think of many others going south.

margoandjerry Wed 12-Mar-08 21:56:45

well in my area, there are bad faith schools and good faith schools. All the faith thing means is we have no chance of the good ones and will end up in the one faith school in the area which cannot demand that it's clientele fit its criteria (because the good pupils who have the choice because they happen to have religion have all been creamed off elsewhere)

margoandjerry Wed 12-Mar-08 21:57:23


See the whole thing makes me so mad I go apostrophe crazy.

harpsichordcarrier Wed 12-Mar-08 21:58:05

yes, of course it is discrimination, it is just allowed in law for historical and pragmatic reasons.

Spidermama Wed 12-Mar-08 21:59:36

I agree. There are two faith schools a couple of hundred yards from my house which take up massive amounts of parkland as their playground, playing fields, tennis court etc. Then there are the schools my kids will go to about two miles away in an area I don't even know. angry angry

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