A conference organised by the Faith Schooling project
at the University of Warwick, funded by the Spencer Foundation.
Scarman Conference Centre, University of Warwick
10 November 2015
10am—3.30pm (lunch will be provided)
Paul Barber (Director of the Catholic Education Service)
Tim Brighouse (Honorary Fellow, Department of Education, University of Oxford; Schools Commissioner for London, 2002-2007)
Ashfaque Chowdhury (Chair of the Association of Muslim Schools)
Charles Clarke (Visiting Professor at UEA and the University of Lancaster; Secretary of State for Education and Skills, 2002-2004)
Simon Goulden (Educational consultant to the Jewish Community)
Marilyn Mason (formerly Education Officer, The British Humanist Association)
This conference brings together educationalists and spokespeople from various public bodies to discuss the present state of the regulation of schools with a religious character in England and Wales. Recent governments have attempted to increase diversity by introducing academies and free schools, with greater emphasis on the variety of school 'providers' and more scope for parental choice. This new institutional landscape offers opportunities to those who value schooling with a distinctively religious character, but it also prompts worries about social cohesion and alarms those who fear that faith-based schooling threatens children's autonomy.
Who should be allowed to open a free school or sponsor an academy? What governance and employment arrangements should apply to schools with a distinctively religious character? How much discretion should faith-based schools—whether publicly funded or independent—have over the curriculum? How should admissions be regulated? The conference reflects on the current situation with the help of speakers from a variety of religious and non-religious perspectives and explores ways in which it might realistically be improved.