Alf Dubs launches fundraising drive to challenge faith school discrimination

Alf Dubs has today launched a fundraising campaign on behalf of Humanists UK so that it can continue to employ its dedicated campaigner working to challenge discrimination in state-funded faith schools.

Dr Ruth Wareham, who has held the role for two years now, instead works in favour of all schools being equally inclusive of all pupils, regardless of their religious or non-religious background.

With an academic background in faith school research, Ruth is the UK’s leading expert on faith schools and their (often negative) impact. Donations to the fundraiser will allow her work to continue through 2021.

Over a third of all state schools in England and Wales – more than 7,000 – are run by religious groups. In Northern Ireland, the proportion is considerably higher. These schools are legally entitled to discriminate against children on the basis of beliefs they are too young to confidently hold for themselves, which serves to divide communities rather than bring them together.

Shockingly, the UK Government is committed not only to increasing the number of English religious schools, but to establish more that are 100% religiously selective in their admissions, for the first time in over a decade. What’s more, by failing to take a strong line on how religious schools deliver relationships and sex education, it has also permitted the rights of children to be swept aside in favour of the vested interests of religious groups.

Alf Dubs is perhaps best known for his work in recent years to ensure that child refugees can find a safe haven in the UK – having himself been a child refugee, through the Kindertransport.

In launching the appeal, Alf Dubs commented:

‘I’ve been a politician since the 1970s and in that time, children’s rights have always been at the top of my concerns. But sadly, and far too often, I’ve seen policy-makers fail to think about how their decisions will affect young people. There are few more disastrous examples of that, in this country, than the existence of discriminatory, taxpayer-funded faith schools.

‘Already this year, the impact of Ruth’s work has reverberated throughout both Houses of Parliament. She’s helped to introduce a Bill in the Lords to replace compulsory Christian worship with inclusive assemblies, and she’s helped secure the introduction of compulsory relationships and sex education (RSE) for all pupils in England and Wales. If you recognise the importance of this work and don’t want it to stop, we need your support. Please donate today so that this work can continue through 2021.’

Other successes include securing UK Government proposals to shut illegal religious schools in England, and securing provision in the new Welsh curriculum for humanism to be taught on an equal footing with the major religions, with the subject renamed accordingly. Neither of these would be happening without Humanists UK’s Education Campaigns Manager’s efforts.


For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.

Supporters can donate to the fundraiser at Sharing the link with family and friends after you’ve donated will help towards achieving our target.

Read more about Humanists UK’s faith schools work.

Read more about all of Humanists UK’s education work.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 85,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.