Official Labour Party response on Faith Schools and Religious FreedomMay 1st, 2015
Thank you for contacting me recently regarding Christianity and faith schools.
Christianity has played an incredibly important role in our national and cultural history and I believe it is vital that Christians – and, indeed, people of all faiths – remain able to celebrate their beliefs freely.
I recognise the vital contribution that faith schools make to education in our community and across the country. These schools provide excellent education for children, support local families and provide a vital community hub. A Labour Government will ensure that all schools are at the heart of the community and enable schools to work together and support one another. We believe faith schools can play a vital role in enriching the local family of schools in their area.
In government we will place more power to make decisions on new schools in local hands, so where local parents, communities and diocese who wish to open new faith schools in their community they will be able to bid to do so – ensuring that new schools meet local needs, not central Government preferences.
Labour believes schools should have the freedom to deliver a high standard education that meets the needs of their students. With this freedom must come robust local oversight, to ensure standards stay high in every school, schools deliver a broad and balanced curriculum, and that all schools follow the admissions code.
I have also been concerned by the rising tide of anti-Christian persecution we have seen around the world in recent years.
It is simply wrong for any group or individual to be persecuted because of their faith and I believe the next Government need to show strong leadership on this issue. A Labour Government will appoint a global envoy for religious freedom, reporting directly to the Foreign Secretary, and establish a multi-faith advisory council on religious freedom within the Foreign Office.
Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views. I hope this letter outlines my support for religious freedom and doing more to tackle anti-Christian persecution.