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DATE: Monday 20 May
TIME: 7 pm
VENUE: Large Common Room, William Goodenough House, WC1N 2AB
ADMISSION: FREE (pre-registration required)

The debate around faith schools is a very real one for many people, but especially humanists and those of faith. The Central London Debating Society is therefore delighted to be joining forces once more with public engagement forum, Global Net 21, to offer a platform to you, our members, to share your thoughts on this sensitive topic.

A panel of four speakers, selected from the respective memberships of both clubs, will debate the motion, two arguing that faith schools help diversity, and two arguing that they hinder it. The floor will the be opened to you to put your questions and comments to the speakers, before casting your vote at the end.

Please send us a quick message to central.debating@gmail.com if you would like to attend. Admission is free and you are welcome to bring a friend too, but places are limited, so please do let us know as soon as possible.


Professor AC.Grayling, a leading academic and atheist who led Time for Reflection at the Scottish Parliament, has outraged the Catholic Church with his comments on the contribution he believes faith schooling makes to bigotry.

Speaking at a meeting in Holyrood for a group of secularists and humanists, the academic said of religious-based education: “The argument against faith-based schools can be summed up in two words – Northern Ireland. Or perhaps one word – Glasgow.”

However, high-performing Catholic schools are now to be given considerable influence over the running and performance of struggling secular schools under plans being drawn up by the Church and government. The plan follows a similar ambition outlined more than a year ago by the Church of England, which also wanted to offer partnerships and advice to non-Church schools.

In 2008, an exhaustive report by the Runnymede Trust, a race equality think tank, concluded that faith schools should play a central role in the education system, but selection on the basis of faith should be abolished.   

Do faith schools have a continued and valuable contribution to make to the British education system or do they only serve to sew the seeds of sectarian rivalry and undermine tolerance of those who do not share their values?

You decide.