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Power, religion and the education bill stir up concern for staff

22 February 2011

A formal complaint has been made over concerns that non-religious staff at academies could suffer discrimination, contravening EU employment law.

Faith schools controlled by the local authority can currently require 20% of their staff to be religious. However the National Secular Society argues that the Education Bill gives the government the power to raise this limit to 100% for schools transferring to academy status.

The Bill maintains the threshold of 20% but gives the Secretary of State the power to dispense with that threshold for a specific school.

The DfE argues that the Bill protects teachers’ rights when a school converts to academy status. Many will ask why the Secretary of State needs the power to dispense with this threshold if he is not planning on using it.

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