The National Secular Society awarded its annual Secularist of the Year prize to Educate Together.
The prize was presented to Paul Rowe, Educate Together CEO in London on Saturday 19 March at an event hosted by broadcaster and writer Julia Hartley-Brewer, an honorary associate of the National Secular Society.
Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, commented:
“Educate Together puts secularist principles into action and demonstrates what a 21st century secular education system should look like – children and young people educated together, taught an ethical education curriculum in a school with an inclusive ethos without any imposition of religion.
“Equality of access and esteem to all – that’s what makes them different, and that is what we want to celebrate with our award.
“Faith-based education and imposed worship means religious discrimination against children, parents and teachers is prevalent throughout our education system. Educate Together schools show that a different way is possible, practical and progressive. If all schools in England are to become academies then Educate Together’s model is an excellent blueprint for others to follow.
Paul Rowe, CEO of Educate Together, spoke at the event:
“It is a great honour to accept this award on behalf of the thousands of volunteers, parents, staff and pupils who have been involved in Educate Together over many years. Today, ethical education, and the provision of schools in which children of all backgrounds can learn together in equality and respect are really important. They are the foundations and building blocks for the inclusive, peaceful and sustainable societies that are urgently needed in all parts of the world.
“Educate Together is keen to partner with like-minded educationalists and activists to make this approach more widely available in the UK and in other countries. We are humbled and thankful to the National Secular Society for highlighting our work through this award.”
In the UK it operates Redfield Educate Together Primary Academy in Bristol, its first UK-based school which offers an ethical education curriculum “particularly suited to the education of children for life in today's diverse and globalised world.” It has recently been selected to open two further primary schools in 2017, in Weston-super-Mare and Keynsham.