Breaking: UK Government plans for 100% religious discrimination in all state-funded faith schools

1 May, 2024

Update: This statement, as originally published, just said the change would be for new religious schools. But the Government has announced that the move to 100% discriminatory admissions will be introduced not just for new state faith schools but for existing ones as well. So the statement has been changed to reflect that.

The UK Government has proposed to allow all state-funded faith schools in England to base 100% of pupil admissions on religion. Since 2007, all new Academies (known as Free Schools) with a religious character have been limited to selecting 50% of pupils on the basis of faith. Almost all new state schools are Academies. This so-called ‘50% cap’ will now be lifted for all new Free Schools and all those that have opened since 2007. Humanists UK has condemned this move, and has called for an end to all discrimination in the state school system.

The proposals are subject to a seven-week consultation, which Humanists UK will be encouraging its members and supporters to respond to. The UK Government has also proposed to allow special schools to be designated with a religious character, which has never previously been possible.

Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:

‘The proposal to allow 100% religious discrimination in all state faith schools will increase religious and racial segregation in our schools at a time when integration and cohesion has never been more important.

‘It will further disadvantage poorer families, non-religious families, and families of the “wrong” religion. Rather than expanding religious selection, a government that cared about cohesion would be seeking to create a single admissions system where all state schools are open to children from any background or belief.’


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Kathy Riddick at or phone 07534 248 596.

Read the Government’s announcement.

Read the consultation.

Read more about our work on faith schools.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 120,000 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.