26 May 2010


Religious Privilege in School Transport

It is entirely at the discretion of Local Education Authorities whether they pay for ‘home to faith school transport’ by providing a special subsidy to help children with parents of certain religions get to a school that inculcates their religion rather than attend their local school. Currently, 40% of all English Local Education Authorities (including Leicestershire) pay for such transport incurring a cost of more than £20M (2008/09) met by the Council Tax payer.

Ninety out of one hundred and fifty-two Local Education Authorities (i.e. 60%) do not provide such transport.

The subsidy isn’t available for all children from a religious background travelling to ‘faith’ schools, nor to those of no faith, but only to a select few, whose parents follow a privileged religion and have “chosen” to send their children to a school other than their nearest allocated one.

The scheme defies logic.

How can it be right to provide transport to sectarian ‘faith schools’ but not to other schools? The County Council should not be funding/promoting any religion.

What possible justification can there be for granting privileges to just certain religious groups, who control religious schools, and discriminating against parents/children from other religious and non-religious backgrounds. Surely such a "religious preference" is essentially discriminatory and may well contravene both UK and European Law.

Removing this funding would not only save the council money, but would be treating everybody equally regardless of personally held beliefs.

If a parent decides they want their child to be introduced to the dogma of a particular religion, which requires that child to travel to a school outside their catchment area, then the responsibility for getting them to that school should lie solely with the parent. This is the case for parents who choose an alternative community school for their children for whatever reason.

It would appear that funding of this nature is a relic of a bygone era that has no place in today’s multi-cultural, multi-faith and increasingly no-faith society.

Let there be an immediate end to it.

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We shouldn't be surprised that those of strong religious persuasion find it very easy to 'defy logic' when there's a bit of public cash available to subsidise indoctrination. They've been doing it for thousands of years.
As the recession begins to bite, and local authorities look around desperately for ways to make ends meet, the scandal of free school transport to “faith schools” is increasingly coming under scrutiny.

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