The Conservative Humanists Association does not advocate for humanists schools, rather it supports inclusive schools that integrate all children from multiple backgrounds.
Our key 2017 campaign is centered on education, addressing the challenges posed by faith schools. Faith schools pose a threat to the freedoms afforded by integrated education, as it discriminates against children on a religious basis. Faith schools enshrine religious privilege and hinders a fair representation of religious and non-religious people in educational institutions across the spectrum of pupils and staff, protecting the rights of people during the admissions and recruitment process. Faith schools also limits access to information for children, whose education is confined to what their parents believe, rather than well-rounded and encompassing education.
The issue of faith schools has broader connotations in British society, which has thrived on its secular values and rule of law. In order for Britain to be a progressive secular state, privilege or discrimination on religious grounds should be phased out and a key aspect of this is within the educational system. Humanism, and the notion of living without religion and without God, requires better understanding in education, which learners should be given the opportunity to explore.
The aim of our campaign is to support reformatory processes that will see state-funded faith schools open up to all children in the vicinity. Our two-fold campaign will challenge the expansion of faith schools, and also support reforms that transform existing faith schools into inclusive schools.
We acknowledge the policies and achievements of the British Humanists Association, campaigning on several fronts, with notable successes including:
- Launching a teach evolution not creationism campaign against pseudoscience
- Triggering a European Commission investigation into employment laws in faith schools
- Contributing to the inclusion of evolution in the new primary education curriculum
- Working with the Accord Coalition to support inclusive learning for children.
- Facilitating the ‘Trojan Horse Scandal’ which affected 5,000 children.The government commissioned police investigation had found that based on thousands of documents and 150 witness interviews, said there had been a “sustained and co-ordinated agenda to impose upon children in a number of Birmingham schools the segregationist attitudes and practices of a hardline and politicised strain of Sunni Islam”. There was “very clear evidence that young people are being encouraged to accept unquestionably a particular hardline strand of Sunni Islam that raises concerns about their vulnerability to radicalisation in the future”. “Left unchecked, it would confine schoolchildren within an intolerant, inward-looking monoculture that would severely inhibit their participation in the life of modern Britain,” the report concluded.