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New petition: end discriminatory admissions in state schools!

Humanists UK has today launched a new petition to the UK Secretary of State for Education. The petition calls on Nadhim Zahawi MP to remove the ability of state schools in England to choose their pupils on the basis of religion. The aim is to end these discriminatory admissions processes once and for all.

The petition points out that education is a public service that should be open to all, free from discrimination. Yet faith schools currently make up one third of all state schools. Even in diverse areas such as Liverpool, faith schools make up over half of state secondaries. The consequence of this is that any family who is not religious, or who does not follow the faith of the school, will fail to meet the admissions criteria, and will risk missing out on a school place.

This means children are segregated by religion, and therefore often also by race and family income. It also means parents have to send their children further afield, often at personal cost. As more of these discriminatory faith schools open across the country, more and more parents are being affected.

Humanists UK Education Campaigns Manager Robert Cann said:

‘It’s absurd that state-funded faith schools are legally permitted to discriminate against local residents in this way. Six out of ten parents of today’s school aged children belong to no religion, yet in some areas, non-religious families find it practically impossible to get into a local school without lying about their own religious observance.

‘It need not be like this. We’re calling on the Secretary of State for Education, Nadhim Zahawi MP, to end discriminatory admissions processes, so that all children can have an equal opportunity to attend their local school.’


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.

Read more about our work on faith schools.

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.


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