About one third of all state-funded primary schools in England are so-called “Faith Schools”. Such schools are sponsored by faith-based organizations, which would be mostly Church of England, Roman Catholic, Methodist, and Jewish, with a small number of Muslim or Evangelical institutions. Atheists in Britain object to these schools. The British Humanist Association is currently running a campaign, which seeks to abolish faith schools.
Readers in the United States, who are used to the traditional, though incorrect, interpretation of the Constitutional separation of church and state, might wonder how such faith schools could have occurred. The truth is that it is the secular schools which are the “newcomers”! Free education in Britain only came about historically because of the actions of the faith groups that started them. As a word of caution, my children have attended faith schools operated by the Church of England, and they are not necessarily entirely Christian in character. Nevertheless, concepts of prayer and study of the Bible is not only permitted in such schools, but often encouraged.
The UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper is featuring a report today, showing that faith-based primary schools comprise two-thirds of the top performing primary schools in England. The BHA suggest that this is due to Church of England schools being in more middle-class areas, but this hypothesis is not supported by the facts. Having spent 20 years in education in England and Wales, I can testify that Anglican schools are actually situated in as wide a variety of neighborhoods and take in as great a diversity of ethnic groups as secular schools. Could it be that a Christian ethos, even in a frequently watered-down and liberal form, will tend to produce a higher standard of education than its absence? I would suggest that it does. And if that is the case, then it means that British atheists are seeking a form of education, which adheres to their own fundamentalist dogmatic purity, even though that will produce a demonstrably poorer education for our children.
 < https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/schools-and-education/faith-schools/ >, accessed December 12th 2013
 < http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/leaguetables/10513261/Primary-school-league-tables-2013-faith-schools-dominate-official-rankings.html >, accessed December 12th 2013