Letter published in Church Times 21/03/09
I was surprised to see the report in last week's edition in which Jan Ainsworth accused the Liberal Democrats of adopting a "confusing" policy on faith schools.
The party's spring conference in Harrogate saw a detailed and informed debate over education policy, which included discussion of faith schools and their place in the development of cohesive communities. Conference overwhelmingly rejected calls to close faith schools, instead affirming the quality of teaching and the positive ethos which make them so popular and effective and calling for improvements in terms of inclusivity and openness which will enable more pupils, parents, teachers and communities to benefit from them. The new policy has been welcomed by the respected Christian think-tank Ekklesia as a crucial development in the public debate about how to make faith schools better and by Accord as the first political party policy to put the national good above sectarian interests
The Liberal Democrats are proud to be the only major party who trust their members to make policy and whether on conference floor or at fringe meetings, many people from a range of religious faith perspectives or none were able to contribute to this important debate and make policy that is relevant and realistic.
Revd Simon Wilson
Chaplain and Press Officer
Liberal Democrat Christian Forum