No to discriminatory school selection

Every year, thousands of parents across England face a dilemma that should belong in the history books – whether to lie about their beliefs and send their child to a faith school that they really don’t agree with, or to accept that their child will not get a place in their local school.

A third of state-funded schools in the UK are faith-based. They can, and many do, determine their pupil and staff intake based on religion. We think this is wrong.

This year, enough is enough. State schools should be open to everyone. Please sign our petition to tell the Education Secretary that your taxes should not be spent on discrimination. 

Stop religious division in state schools

This unfair selection system is not only making life difficult for thousands of families, but it deepens rifts in already divided communities. By segregating communities, we promote division instead of celebrating what we have in common.


‘I can’t understand how we can have three schools 0.4 miles away but due to religious discrimination we are unable to get in any. I now won’t be able to return to work as I can’t get my son to his school and me into work.’

– Mother, Surrey



‘The school is dividing the community.  Most middle class white, English parents “play the game” and send their children to the church school, while everyone else attends the non-church school, depriving children at both schools of a balanced mix of friends.’

– Father, Hounslow




‘My son who is now 5 has missed out on a placement at all the schools in our catchment area. I am a single working mum and am struggling to cope with getting him to a school miles away.’

– Mother, Liverpool


Sign the petition and tell the Secretary of State for Education:

The right to education should not depend on the faith or beliefs of a child’s family.

Every year thousands of children are either not able to attend the most convenient or suitable school for them because of schools that select or prioritise staff and pupils based on religion. And if the school is oversubscribed, the religious requirements for entry just get stricter.

We already accept that discrimination is wrong in every other area of life. Schools wouldn’t dream of selecting pupils on the basis of sexual orientation, race, or disability. So why is it allowed for religion?

At a time when the Census shows most young parents don’t have a religion, religious exemptions to equality laws are hurting families. We ask that this Government make it illegal for state schools to select based on religion.

Help us make sure that a fair school selection system is in place. Sign our petition today.

Quotations are from parents who came to Humanists UK for support. Their identities have been protected.