Humanists UK has launched a fresh appeal to fund its dedicated campaign against state-funded religious schools through 2022.
In an email sent to members and supporters over the weekend, Humanists UK President Professor Alice Roberts outlined some of the enormous achievements of the charity’s dedicated Faith Schools Campaigner, Dr Ruth Wareham. These include the development of a Private Member’s Bill to replace compulsory Christian worship in schools with inclusive assemblies; successful work to overhaul the RE curriculum in Wales; ongoing work towards a fully integrated education system in Northern Ireland; significant efforts to expose and close abusive illegal schools; and persistent local challenges to faith schools being undemocratically imposed on communities across the country. As well as this and other lobbying and campaigning work, Humanists UK provides support and advice for parents and families affected by faith schools.
In her email, Professor Roberts also drew attention to Humanists UK’s recent hard-hitting report Careless or uncaring?, which exposed the sheer extent to which faith schools discriminate against the most vulnerable children in our education system – those in care.
Humanists UK looks after the leading campaign to end state-funded religious schools and replace them with inclusive community schools that welcome and accept children from all backgrounds equally. A full account of the campaign’s achievements in the last 12 months is given on the crowdfunding page, ‘Say no to faith schools’. It is a campaign entirely funded by members of the public through donations.
Although many don’t realise this, the UK stands almost alone in the democratic world in having fully state-funded schools that are run by religious organisations. This is the case for a third of schools. These schools can discriminate in admissions, employment, and the curriculum. Due to their over-provision, parents may have no choice but to send their children to a local faith school. Once there, they have little influence when they run into problems with the school’s non-inclusive ethos, its approach to Relationships and Sex Education, or one-sided teaching about religions.
Since launching the appeal at the weekend, Humanists UK has raised half of its £40,000 target to employ and resource a dedicated campaigner throughout 2022. Humanists UK is urging members to donate generously so that this work can be guaranteed for another year.
Appealing to Humanists UK’s members and supporters, Professor Alice Roberts wrote:
‘If you believe, as I do, that every child should have a chance to decide for themselves what they believe about religion, and learn alongside children from different beliefs and backgrounds, then we desperately need your support today to fund this campaign for another year.
‘Already one third of schools in the UK are faith schools, with the legal power to discriminate against children by religion and to teach a biased curriculum, and they have runaway support from the UK Government and powerful, wealthy religious lobby groups.
‘Your support is absolutely essential to promoting the facts about so-called faith schools – and winning a secular, inclusive education system for everyone. Please, donate generously today so we can continue this vital work in 2022.’
If you support Humanists UK’s work to challenge faith schools and promote an inclusive education system for all, and want it to continue into 2022, please, donate to the appeal at www.justgiving.com/nofaithschools.
For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at email@example.com or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.
Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.
In 2021, Humanists UK is celebrating its 125th anniversary with a renewed focus on its history. The new website Humanist Heritage is a rich new web resource that uncovers the untold story of humanism in the UK – a story of people, groups, objects, places, movements, publications, and ideas.