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EDITIONS
Thursday, 4 April, 2002, 18:31 GMT 19:31 UK
Call for ban on new faith schools
conference hall
Members voted against faith schools
Teachers are calling for a ban on new faith schools and say existing ones should be brought completely under state control.

Members of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) voted in favour of a secular state school system.

The voting was 66,461 to 51,300, a majority of 15,161 in favour of a system like that of the United States, where church schools are privately funded.

The riots in Oldham and Bradford led to increased calls for an end to the expansion of faith schools.

League tables

Faith schools in Britain follow the national curriculum and receive money from the government, as well as a contribution from the church or religious group behind the school.

They are often very popular with parents and score highly in school league tables.

The Church of England plans to build 100 new schools.

The government has said those who open religious schools should include the whole community, suggesting they should admit pupils from outside their religion or make links with others in the area.

'Damascene conversions'

The NASUWT said the philosophies behind faith schools were "exclusive and discriminatory" and deepened social divisions.

The union's general secretary, Eamonn O'Kane, said it was not calling on the churches to be forced to abandon their schools but suggested they could hand them over voluntarily.

He said faith schools often got better academic results because they could select more able, better behaved children.

And he said there were "more Damascene conversions by the minute in England than there ever were in Syria".

NASUWT executive member Dave Battye, a Methodist lay preacher, said: "Leave us to deal with our convictions in our private lives, which is where such things should be dealt with.

"I support this concept of a move away from discriminatory single faith education."

See also:

26 Mar 02 | Education
12 Mar 02 | Education
12 Feb 01 | Education
12 Feb 01 | Education
07 Feb 02 | Education
06 Feb 02 | Education
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