The National Secular Society recently held an online conference on inclusive education in Northern Ireland. Here, Alastair Lichten shares the videos from the conference and thoughts on the speakers’ key messages.
The Church of England’s emerging plans to expand their role in sixth form and further education colleges, accompanied by empire building and evangelism, may undermine the secularity and inclusivity of this sector, argues Alastair Lichten.
The government’s new proposals for education reform in England could see increased discrimination, and most non-faith schools placed in faith-based academy trusts. Alastair Lichten explores the threat to secular education posed by the ‘Opportunity for all’ white paper.
Ending religious discrimination in faith school admissions is an important first step; but it will not undo all the harms caused by faith schools, says Alastair Lichten.
Faith-based selection forces families’ religiosity to be assessed, compels conformity, and undermines everyone’s freedom of belief, says Alastair Lichten.
A case in Leicestershire shows the mess faith groups make of admissions and why secular accountability is necessary, argues Alastair Lichten.
State funding of faith schools means many families are left without suitable schools. The narrative that faith schools are justified on the grounds of choice should be confronted, says Alastair Lichten.
The Department for Education’s protections for the secular community ethos of non-faith academies are inadequate. This enables a consolidation of religious control and undermines accountability, argues Alastair Lichten.
Comments from Ofsted’s chief inspector highlight the need to help schools resist efforts to shut down teaching which reactionary religious groups deem controversial, says Alastair Lichten.
A review has highlighted significant problems with the way RE is taught. Alastair Lichten argues that it shows the need to ask fundamental questions about the purpose of education about religion.