Children attending faith schools will have to “prove” their religion to qualify for free school buses, under a radical council plan. This is from the Telegraph…
In what is thought to be the first move of its kind in the country, children in Flintshire, north Wales whose parents are non-believers will be denied free transport to school.
Parents and a Roman Catholic priests in the area have united to accuse the council, which is making cuts, of discrimination against people without religious faith.
It comes in stark contrast with controversy elsewhere in the UK where councils have scrapped subsidised travel to faith schools – worth around £500 a year per child – across the board.
In such cases councils have been accused of introducing a “tax on religion” and discriminating against people of faith.
But in Flintshire, the council proposes to single out parents who do not profess without religious faith but want their child to benefit from education in a church school.
Under the proposal, due to come into force next year, children would have to produce a baptism certificate, a letter from a priest or other “suitable evidence of adherence to the faith of the school”.
But the task of working out exactly how parents would prove their child’s religion is to be left to the schools.
One school which would be affected is St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School, in Flint, at which more than half admissions come from non-Catholic primary schools.
One mother with a daughter at the school but who fears she will not be able to send her younger child there said: “My children have not been christened, through my choice not theirs, but the school faith is all they have ever known.
“Just because a child has a baptism certificate it does not mean they are any more active believers than those who haven’t.
“It is prejudiced to ask parents of non-baptised children to pay for their transport.”