Commission proposals another attack on ethos of faith schools

Press Release from the Iona Institute

Commission proposals another attack on ethos of faith schools

November 17, 2016 – A new submission from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in response to the ‘Education (Admissions to Schools) Bill 2016’ amounts to an attack on the rights and ethos of faith schools of all types, The Iona Institute has said today.

Two of the recommendations in particular would undermine the ethos of faith schools. One recommendation would take away the right of faith schools to accommodate children of their community first, which is one of their primary and constituent purposes; to serve the faith community that established them.

The second recommendation, which would dictate how religion is taught in faith schools, is even worse than the first recommendation. The aim of this recommendation (using wording favoured by Atheist Ireland) seems to be to have denominational schools teach their faith in a way that distances the children from it. This is also a violation of the right of religious parents to see their children taught their faith as a living faith that is objectively true.

Commenting on the recommendations, Dr John Murray of The Iona Institute said: “We hope that the Minister for Education will reject these proposals. In the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May wants more Catholic schools to be built because they are so popular. They are allowed to teach religion in their own way and have their own admissions policies.”

He continued: “The answer to the concerns raised by the IHREC is to provide greater choice of schools to parents, and where there is excess demand, more school places so no child is turned away for any reason”.