Faith schools: 'Parents have no right to demand state provides religious upbringing', says campaigner

Faith schools: 'Parents have no right to demand state provides religious upbringing', says campaigner

Jay Harman says policies around faith school have a racist effect (Stock image)

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Parents do not have the right to demand the state provides a religious upbringing for their children, according to an anti-faith schools campaigner.

The head of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, is to give a speech warning individuals at some faith schools are using the "pretext of religious belief" to "narrow young people's horizons, to isolate and segregate" and in some cases teach "extremist ideology."

Jay Harman, a faith schools and education expert from non-religious charity Humanists UK, told Mike Graham and Katie Perrior: "Parents in this country have the right to bring up their children in line with their religious belief.

"What they do not have the right to do is demand that the state provides that religious upbringing.

"That’s especially the case when that religious upbringing contradicts equalities legislation or widely held values of tolerance."

He believes "the fact that any religious school has the freedom to influence their education according to their religion makes the education system and the children within it hostage to fortune" and this should be removed "on a legal level."

Harman thinks school inspectors are often finding "a lack of respect for other religions and beliefs" in faith schools, and he believes such bodies should be returned to state control.

The campaigner wants "exemptions in equalities legislation which allows religious schools to select children according to religion, which leads to massive amounts of segregation" to be removed.

"Whilst the policies themselves are not racist and they’re not intended to be racist they do have that effect."

Listen to the full interview above

Comments