Agree:

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Rowan Williams Former Archbishop of Canterbury

The often-forgotten fact that church schools are the main educational presence in some of our most deprived communities means that it simply can't be said that these schools somehow have a policy of sanitising or segregating.
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Tariq Ahmad British Minister of State for the Commonwealth and United Nations

We must educate our children to understand other religions, in the hope that the next generation will be wiser than those that have come before it. And schools can play this role, including faith schools.
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Kenneth Stevenson Former Bishop of Portsmouth

The Church of England supports Muslim and Jewish and other faith schools. Their existence will itself be a powerful sign of the secure place of their adherents in Britain. They should promote self-respect and self-confidence in their pupils, the best antidote to discord and violence.
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David Cameron Former UK Prime Minister

I think faith schools are an important part of our system, I support them and I would like if anything to see them grow. I think faith organisations bring often a sort of culture and ethos to a school that can help it improve and I’m a strong supporter personally and politically.
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Tony Blair Prime Minister of the UK from 1997 to 2007

Does it instil respect and understanding, an open mind, open to inquiry, at ease with diversity, ready to learn more about other faiths? Or does it create a closed mind, a mindset vulnerable to fear, distrust and coercion, a world where “error has no rights”? In short is it good religion or bad religion? I believe the overwhelming number of our faith schools fall into the first category. They p... See More
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Theresa May Prime minister of the United Kingdom

We do believe it is important to enable more faith schools to be set up and more faith schools to expand.
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Justin Welby Archbishop of Canterbury

We live in a country where an overarching story, which is the framework for explaining life, has more or less disappeared. We have a world of unguided and competing narratives, where the only common factor is the inviolability of personal choice, which means that for schools that are not of a religious character, confidence in any personal sense of ultimate values has diminished. Utilitarianism ru... See More
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Church of England We're a Christian presence in every community across England. Follow us to learn more about th

...engagement with children and young people in schools will, in the words of the late Lord Runcie when he was Archbishop of Canterbury, enable the Church to: “Nourish those of the faith; Encourage those of other faiths; Challenge those who have no faith."
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Toby Young British journalist

What parents who complain about being excluded from faith schools don’t understand is that the reason they’re above average — which is why they want to send their children to them in the first place — is precisely because of their religious ethos. To a great extent, that ethos depends upon being able to reserve a majority of their places for children of a particular faith. It follows that if the s... See More
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Benedict Brogan Group Public Affairs Director, Lloyds Banking Group

They [faith schools] feel besieged by a Government that is using its statutory powers to challenge their very reason for being: the right to make faith and a commitment to it the deciding factor in admissions. Cristina Odone had it right...when she argued that to defend the rights of faith schools was to defend the right of parents to a school ethos that matches the one they promote at home.
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Peter Hitchens Author, journalist

And I have little doubt that these schools are generally better than their secular equivalents partly (but not wholly) because they are selective. Selection, alas, is the foundation of authority in schools, and those which have little or none tend to be anarchic, unless they come under the leadership of those rare charismatic heads whose personality is so strong that they could have quelled the Mu... See More
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Vincent Nichols Cardinal Vincent Nichols is Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster @rcwestminster & President of t

A Catholic school is a response to the proper and legitimate expectations that parents can look to the state to help them to educate their children in the faith and way of life which is precious to them. In this way a Catholic school contributes to social cohesion by respecting the rights of parents and by maintaining educational diversity. This parental right is enshrined in European Conventions ... See More
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Catholic Education Service Catholic Bishops' agency for education. We support the work of the 2,222 Catholic schools & HE

The first key reason why Catholic schools are established, then, is to be part of the Church’s mission in education, to place Christ and the teaching of the Catholic Church at the centre of people’s lives.
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Linda Woodhead Professor Lancaster University | culture, religion, values

So long as parents want their children to get the best qualifications, so long as politicians of left and right support parental choice and high academic standards, and so long as faith schools maintain these standards, the debate can rage, but faith schools are not going away.
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Tina Beattie Writer, broadcaster

There’s a difference between religious schools (which teach religion) and faith schools (which teach the national curriculum). I support state funding for the latter. Religious parents pay taxes and are entitled to a reasonable choice in education. Where is the evidence that religious instruction is ‘bad for society’? Secular society must accommodate a genuine plurality of beliefs and values in ed... See More

Disagree:

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Keith Porteous Wood President of the National Secular Society

...faith schools generally have higher standards: broadly because of their unique ability to operate religiously selective admissions policies, which are known to work against children from less affluent backgrounds. Were that privilege to be taken away, the preference for faith schools would soon evaporate.
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Steve Sinnott Former general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, UK

There is a view that the promotion of greater influence of faith groups in running our schools could be detrimental to community cohesion and social cohesion and could promote ethnic segregation.
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Jonathan Romain Rabbi, writer

There is a real danger that the growth in faith schools today will be blamed in 30 years’ time for the social disharmony then. It is not too late to reverse that trend, if we want a society that has diversity within unity, not at the expense of it.
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Margaret Knight Psychologist, humanist

...in a climate of thought that is increasingly unfavourable to these beliefs, it is a mistake to try to impose them on children, and to make them the basis of moral training. The moral education of children is much too important a matter to be built on such foundations.
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Susie Boniface

Faith schools force-feed their pupils in the same way foie gras producers force-feed their geese, except instead of fat livers you get closed minds. Picking one faith to demonise for all that while overlooking the same offences by others is, well, uneducated. We have a system of education which everybody in Britain pays into, but does not have an equal right to access. Faith schools exist purely b... See More
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Richard Dawkins UK biologist & writer. Science, the poetry of reality. Good-humoured ridicule of religions. RT

Children do need to be protected so that they can have a proper education and not be indoctrinated in whatever religion their parents happen to have been brought up in.
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A.C. Grayling Philosopher, Author @NCHLondon

All education should be secular. But failing that, religious indoctrination - which in a free society will occur, because one cannot outlaw religion itself, though one should argue against it vigorously – should happen at the private expense of those who choose to inflict it on their children. It should emphatically not be happening at public expense.
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Afua Hirsch Best-selling Author, Journalist, Broadcaster. Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging is o

The glaring hypocrisy of our integration agenda is that our most important public institutions actively encourage segregation. Faith schools make up one third of all schools in Britain. Our government is proposing that they have even more power to discriminate by selecting more of their places based on religious belief. Public funds are being used to separate children by faith. What could be more ... See More
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National Secular Society National Secular Society. Britain's only national organisation working exclusively towards a s

We oppose faith schools in principle. Parents are entitled to raise their children within a faith tradition, but they are not entitled to enlist the help of the state to do so. The state should not fund proselytisation or allow the schools it funds to inculcate children into a particular religion. There are other reasons why organising children's education around religious identities is a bad idea... See More
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Andrew Copson Chief Executive @Humanists_UK and President @IHEU | Councillor @electoralreform | Prev. @aodth

It remains the case that far too many people are unaware of just how badly some of these schools fail their pupils. All over the country there are children whose education is being severely limited, whose understanding of the world is being fatally undermined, and whose individuality and identity are being constrained.
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Amanda Spielman Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, Ofsted

Admission 100% on faith leads to increased levels of segregation within communities. I am uncomfortable with anything that leads to increased segregation.
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Alice Thomson Columnist and Interviewer on The Times

I have always felt uneasy about fervently religious schools. They seem to teach exactly the opposite of what education should be about — to give pupils all the facts and allow them to discover their beliefs for themselves... it is an anomaly to allow publicly funded schools to choose their intake, overtly or covertly, on religious background only. No other state-funded institution is exempt from t... See More
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Humanists UK Humanist organisation

Religious selection stunts social mobility, discriminates against children on the basis of their assumed religion, and segregates them along religious and ethnic lines too. It is a stain on our education system and the sooner both the Government and the schools themselves realise this, the better.
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Catherine Bennett Journalist

Divisiveness is, after all, the point. Until devout parents decide, as they will not, that their religions are interchangeable, the very existence of a faith school belittles rivals and heathens alike. And even within a church as carefully non-discriminatory as the Church of England, there can be no knowing how individual teachers talk about people who, as a token of devotion, they regard as steep... See More
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