To Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign supporters

As local parents struggle with the battle for school places in the borough, especially at primary level, and we’re all reminded yet again of the unfairness created by faith-based admissions, two items for RISC supporters to think about:

  1. St. Lukes’s CofE Primary in Kingston has set a local precedent. It has decided to drop all faith-based selection from its admissions policy after the local vicar got fed up with parents turning up to be registered as churchgoers only to disappear as soon as their children got a place. Here’s how it was reported in the Daily Telegraph, and you may have heard the vicar, Fr.Martin Hislop, on Radio 4’s “Today” programme. Following the publicity, the Church of England issued this statement making clear their desire for more inclusivity, while leaving the decision in each case to local governing bodies. All the local CofE primaries (except St.Mary’s Hampton) have some degree of faith-based admissions.
    If you’re a school governor of one of them, or know someone who is a governor, or have any other sort of direct interest in the school please use this opportunity to press for a change to fully inclusive admissions. We’d be delighted to help draft a written argument if needed. In any case, do let us know what’s happening.

  2. You may have noticed that we have an election on Thursday 7th May! RISC is non-party political and everyone weighs multiple factors in deciding who to vote for. But we thought you would like to see this summary of the main parties’ positions on religious election in school admissions:
  • Conservatives: Supportive of ‘faith’ schools. The Coalition Government ‘supports inclusive admission arrangements’, but the Conservatives have no plans to reduce the degree of religious selection.  
  • Labour: Supportive of ‘faith’ schools and have not committed to reducing the percentage of places which they are able to select in admissions, but have committed to a review of the admissions system more generally.
  • LibDem: Supportive of ‘faith’ schools but ‘We will ensure all faith schools develop an inclusive admissions policy and end unfair discrimination on grounds of faith when recruiting staff, except for those principally responsible for optional religious instruction.’
  • UKIP: Christian manifesto says ‘UKIP backs faith schools provided they are open to the whole community… [and] do not discriminate against any section of society’. They have also said that employment discrimination ‘should be a matter for the schools and no one else’.
  • Greens: ‘We will phase out public funding of schools run by religious organisations. Schools may teach about religions, but should not encourage adherence to any particular religious beliefs.’