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University of East Anglia Research

In 2005, Nicholas Hancox completed his LLM research degree at Norwich Law School in the University of East Anglia. The title of his 40,000-word degree thesis was:

The Selective Funding of Faith Schools:

A Legitimate Exercise of State Power?

Here is a summary:

The relationship between religion and the state is at the heart of this thesis and the power of faith groups in state schools and the power of the state in faith schools are areas in which few academic lawyers have recently been engaged on research

The state in England and Wales currently [figures correct in 2005] funds 32% of its schools through faith groups; they educate 22% of the school population. The majority of state-funded schooling is in secular institutions, albeit with, wholly or mainly broadly Christian assemblies and worship provided.

This thesis finds that three of the major faith groups (the Anglicans, the Roman Catholics and the Muslims) have very different reasons for participating in the system of state education and very different success rates, especially when measured against their own objectives.

The European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998 allow the state to decide on the quality, type and funding of whatever education is provided. The individual human rights of parents are protected by section 71 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, which gives parents the right to withdraw their children from religious education and collective worship in every maintained school (whether religious or secular). The human rights of children are, however, compromised; children's rights under local and international law remain subordinated to their parents.

The mixed economy of faith and secular schools in England and Wales is widely accepted and only locally controversial. The legitimacy of the government's policy is evidenced by recent and repeated new legislation in Parliament, confirming and enhancing the provision of maintained faith schools.

The power of religion is something that governments cannot control and the best way for the government (any UK government) to obtain and retain a broad consensus across the innate conflicts between religion and state is to reach a compromise which keeps all of the relevant forces content. That is the essence of social inclusion and modern multiculturalism.

For all these reasons, in a multi-faith and no-faith society, the selective funding of faith schools is a legitimate exercise of state power.

Contents List:

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Legitimacy: the State, the Citizen and Religion

The State and the Citizen ~ Religion and the State ~ Religion and the Citizen

Chapter 3: Human Rights

Education and Religious Freedom ~ Children's Rights ~ Human Rights for Religious Minorities etc ~ Begum v Denbigh School 2004 and 2005 ~ Sahin v Turkey 1998 - 2004

Chapter 4: Faith Schools and the State: History

The Early Years of Education: the Established Church and the State ~ The Beginnings of Education for Non-Anglicans ~ Lawful Discrimination in Schools Having a Religious Character ~ Religious Adherence and Religious Education

Chapter 5: Religious Education and State Schools: The Current Law

The Common Law ~ The Education Acts ~ The Right to Withdraw ~ Funding of Maintained Faith Schools ~ Independent Faith Schools and Faith Academies ~ Separating Faith and State

Chapter 6: School Transport and Faith Schools

The Law ~ The Draft School Transport Bill 2004 ~ The Education and Skills Select Committee ~ The Joint Committee on Human Rights

Chapter 7 Faith Schools; The Development of Current Policy

The Swann Report and the Cantle Report ~ The DfES Green Paper and White Paper: 2001 ~ The Humanist View

Chapter 8: Anglican, Roman Catholic and Islamic Faith Schools

Church of England Schools ~ The Durham Report ~ The Dearing Report ~ Church of England School Admissions Policies

Roman Catholic Schools: International Roman Catholicism ~ The Roman Catholic Mission

Islamic Schools ~ The Dutch Experience ~ Campaigning for Islamic Schools in England ~ Islamic and Western-Liberal Education

Chapter 9 Conclusions

Legitimacy and Consent Theory ~ Human Rights ~ Politics and Law

Copies of this Thesis are available: £45 each, including p & p.