BHA vows to fight on as first Free Schools open their doors

This week sees the initial of the government’s first wave of 24 Free Schools open their doors to pupils, with many opening on Monday, the first day of term for most pupils across England. 11 of these 24 state-funded schools have a religious ethos – something the British Humanist Association (BHA) opposes as discriminatory and divisive.

The 11 schools include two Church of England schools, four other schools with a Christian ethos, two Jewish schools, one Sikh school, one Hindu school and one school that is built around Transcendental Meditation.

BHA Faith Schools Campaigner Richy Thompson commented, ‘Having “freer” schools unfortunately means schools freer to religiously discriminate than was previously possible in the state-funded system: freer to discriminate in admissions, freer to discriminate in employment (including, for the first time, hiring non-qualified teachers), and freer to discriminate in the curriculum (which needs be ‘broad and balanced’, but beyond that is unregulated).

‘All the evidence shows that ‘faith’ schools segregate our communities along ethno-religious and socio-economic lines. When will the Government pay attention to this overwhelming evidence, stop expanding and freeing up ‘faith’ schools, and instead start reducing them in number and absorbing them back into the inclusive schools sector?’

The BHA is supporting an ever-growing number of local campaigns in opposition to proposals to open new ‘faith’ schools, and will continue to strengthen its support for such campaigns as the second wave of Free Schools progress to public consultation.


For further comment or information, please contact Richy Thompson at or on 020 7462 4993.

Read more about the BHA’s campaigns work on ‘faith’ schools: