Humanists launch whistleblowing site for faith school pupils

A new whistleblowing website opens today to allow pupils to report issues at faith schools.

The Faith Schoolers Anonymous site, created by the British Humanist Association (BHA), is aimed at young people who attend faith schools, including those at illegal or unregistered schools.

The BHA said it wanted to “provoke a much greater” public awareness of problems, such as “indoctrination, misinformation, discrimination, neglect, and abuse” within such schools.

The government and Ofsted have cracked down on practices at private religious schools over the past year.

Last month, chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw wrote to education secretary Nicky Morgan about an independent Muslim school in Luton found to be “actively undermining” fundamental British values.

Inspectors found that school leaders at Rabia Girls’ and Boys’ school insisted on segregating male and female staff. The school, while making some improvements elsewhere, remained inadequate.

In November, four religious independent schools formerly inspected by a discredited inspection service received visits from state inspectorate Ofsted and were rated inadequate or requires improvement.

Ofsted is expected to publish a further letter from Wilshaw today about the suspected illegal schools.

A consultation from the Department for Education into the registration and inspection of “out of school” settings, such as Madrassas and Sunday schools, was launched after the prime minister pledged to “clampdown” on segregation.

The new BHA website features testimony from former pupils at private Muslim schools, illegal Jewish yeshivas, and fundamentalist Christian schools.

Pavan Dhaliwal, director of public affairs and policy at the BHA, said: “We acknowledge, of course, that there are plenty of “faith” schools out there in which problems of the kind described in some of the blogs do not arise, or do not arise to the same extent, but it remains the case that there are a huge number of people out there who have experienced indoctrination, misinformation, discrimination, neglect, and abuse during their childhoods as a result of the extensive freedoms and pervasive lack of oversight that “faith” schools of all kinds enjoy.

“For the sake of the children still experiencing these problems, and for those who have all of this ahead of them, these stories need to be told, and we would encourage anyone who has had experiences of this kind to get in touch.”

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  1. ale bord

    When I was at school I was regularly punished for not praying or singing in chapel. I definitely would have loved to be able to report the school (Rugby School) for being not respecting my own religious views.

  2. Ivabradine

    I don’t think that the British Humanist Association has any status with regard to this matter. Certainly there may be practices in religious, and perhaps other, schools which are incompatible with our society values but this should be left to the authorities, or at least to those who have no axe to grind.

    • Sarah

      And who are these people with no axe to grind? Don’t we want all children to receive an education which is as free from the influences of vested interests as possible? That might be political or religious views. Personally I would like to see a state education system which doesn’t care what religious or cultural background children come from, it just educates them for life in 21st Century Britain.

  3. Liberal Thinker.

    Typical muck raking of the intolerant BHA. What evidence do they have of this being needed. It is time BHA realised that we are in 21st Century and that they must tolerate the views of others.

  4. Margaret Gellatly

    I am very grateful that we live in a FREE country where parents can hopefully still choose the type of school they want for their children. My parents chose to send me to a Roman Catholic school and I have nothing but praise for the education I received both academically and about my faith as well as the faiths of others. I do not know what the purpose is for this “whistleblowing website” but note that they are only interested in FAITH schools when the majority of pupils attend other state schools. This certainly gives me some concern!