Accord Coalition

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The Accord Coalition is a British cross religion and belief and cross Party campaign coalition, launched in 2008,[1][2] which seeks to ensure all state funded schools are made open and suitable for all, regardless of staff, children or their family's religious or non-religious beliefs.[3] The group seeks to prevent religious discrimination and segregation in the school system, and campaigns for schools to provide Religious Education and assemblies that boost the growth of mutual understanding between those of different beliefs, so helping integration and cohesion in society.[4]

Accord maintains a databank of information,[5] which brings together and summarises research about the current policy implications of state funded faith schools and their practices. It runs an annual award[6] to celebrate those schools that do most to promote mutual understanding and improve community cohesion.

Aims and objectives[edit]

Accord does not take a position on the principle of having schools with a religious or philosophical ethos, but wants all state funded schools to be made open and suitable for all regardless of people religious or non-religious beliefs, and for schools to be as diverse as the local area from which they draw their pupils. Accord believes mutual understanding will best grow through a shared civic life, and views mutual understanding as vital to the future wellbeing and happiness of society.

Accord is concerned that rather than acting to foster improved cohesiveness, through legislative freedoms, some schools can help to create environments where mistrust between groups can more readily grow, such as by helping to segregate children and staff on the grounds of religion and through providing a narrow curriculum about the beliefs of others.

Accord has four key campaign objectives:

• To prevent discrimination on the basis of religion and belief in pupil admissions and in recruitment and employment of staff in schools

• To ensure that schools follow an objective and balanced syllabus for education about religious and non-religious beliefs to ensure that children grow up with an understanding of the main religion and belief traditions in society

• To replace the widely flouted laws that demand all state schools provide daily Collective Worship, with requirements to provide inclusive assemblies that focus on shared values

• That RE, Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education and Citizenship are brought under a single inspection regime to help ensure they their provision is thorough, broad and balanced

Members and supporters[edit]

Accord was founded by organisations including the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, the British Humanist Association, Ekklesia,[7] the Hindu Academy[8] and the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. It also includes among its list of member groups the British Muslims for Secular Democracy, The General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches and the race equality think tank The Runnymede Trust.

The Chair of the Accord Coalition is Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE, the minister of Maidenhead Synagogue. Its supporters include academics, clergy, theologians and politicians from the four largest groupings in parliament.[9] Accord co-founder, Jonathan Bartley, was elected joint leader of the Green Party of England and Wales in September 2016.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Testing Faith', 'Guardian editorial, 2 September 2008
  2. ^ Religious Rights and Wrongs, The Economist, 4 September 2008
  3. ^ ""About us", "Accord Coalition, 18 August 2010. Retrieved on 16 September 2016
  4. ^ ""Declaration of Aims", "Accord Coalition, 18 August 2010. Retrieved on 16 September 2016
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2011-04-19. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2011-04-19. 
  7. ^ Accord coalition encourages MPs to back inclusive schooling, Ekklesia website, 29 Jan 2009 [1]
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ Accord website