Flintshire County’s proposed changes to it’s school transport policy are “anti-secular”. It’s as simple as that.
The local authority is planning to stop providing free transport for pupils whose admission is not based on faith grounds in faith related schools. The council requires evidence of adherence to the faith of the school (We do have Catholic schools. They have to teach to the Syllabus but they are run by the Church) such as a letter from priests or a certificate of baptism in a policy described (by the County Council) as fair and equitable.
It’s discriminatory against people who are secular, who are not religious and who follow a different religion. It fails in the state’s duty to provide the service to eligible children.
Stephen Evans, campaigns manager at the National Secular Society, said:
This kind of apartheid style home to school transport arrangement is completely unacceptable. It will result in children who live next door to each other, and travel to the same school – being treated unequally, purely on the basis of their parent’s religious beliefs. “Unfortunately, wide exemptions to equality legislation mean discrimination in home to school transport – as with many other areas of education – is somehow deemed acceptable by the Government. The National Secular Society attempted to change this during the passage of the Education Act in 2011, but our arguments fell on deaf ears. “The Government now needs to get a grip on this and outlaw all forms of religious discrimination which is so prominent throughout our state education system. Local authorities should be compelled to have equitable school transport policies, free from religious privilege, and fair to all families.”