The Department for Education (DfE) recently launched a funding scheme which will allow a wave of 100% religiously selective state schools to open in England. These new schools, which are called Voluntary Aided (VA) schools, stand in contrast to all other new DfE-funded schools over the last ten years, which have been Free Schools that are only allowed to prioritise a maximum of 50% of their places on the basis of religion. 100% selection is not only discriminatory, but poses a significant threat to integration and social cohesion.
We’d like as many people as possible to write to their local MPs to speak up against 100% religious selection and prevent these discriminatory new state schools from opening.
We’ve provided a facility through which you can email your MP. This provides a default letter (although we highly recommend you adapt it), and by entering your address the system will automatically identify your MP for you.
Tips on adapting the letter
To assist you in writing your letter/email, we have provided a suggested text (see below). You are strongly encouraged to edit this to make it more personal – we know that MPs are more likely to take notice of personalised emails and queries, and we provide some examples of ways to do so below.
If you are a parent... please say so, and talk about any relevant experiences you have had trying to get your children into a suitable local school. If you live in an area with lots of religious selection, talk about the segregation this causes. If you live in an area classed as being in high need of new school places (you can check this using the maps provided on the DfE’s website) explain why you think it is important that these new places are in fully inclusive, non-partisan schools for the whole community.
If you are a pupil… talk about the importance of being able to access a local school and why having a diverse range of friends and classmates is valuable to you.
If you are a teacher or governor… talk about how your experience has shown you how important it is for schools to be diverse and inclusive.
If your representative is a Liberal Democrat or Green… both parties have policies calling for 100% religiously inclusive admissions in all state-funded schools, so do point this out (for further information, the model text will be adapted to your MP’s political party).