Laura Sharman 08 April 2021

Council to review decision to block humanist from religious education committee

Council to review decision to block humanist from religious education committee image

Southampton City Council has agreed to retake a decision to block humanists from becoming full members of the local religious education committee following a threat of legal action.

Humanist Mary Wallbank had applied to become a full member of Southampton’s Standing Advisory Council on RE (SACRE) over two years ago and said the decision not to admit her was a violation of her human rights. However, she has agreed to pause her legal action while the council reviews the decision in November.

Ms Wallbank said: 'I was hugely disappointed that Southampton Council chose to block my bid to become a full member of the committee, particularly given that many of the positions for religious representatives are vacant and have been for some time.'

In the run up to the decision, a Church of England representative said the inclusion would be 'slightly Trotskyist' as humanists are campaigning for the abolition of SACREs.

However, Humanists UK denied this was the case.

Humanists UK education campaigns manager, Dr Ruth Wareham, commented: ‘We have always advocated in the strongest terms for the importance of good quality, inclusive education about religions and humanism. We hope that Southampton Council will drop this wrongheaded, discriminatory position and allow Ms Wallbank to participate as a full member.’

A council spokesperson said: 'Southampton City Council has agreed to complete a thorough review of the application process to sit on Southampton SACRE, as it is some time since one has been carried out.

'Whether any organisation is recommended for membership will depend entirely on the extent to which the organisation is deemed to represent one of the principal religious or belief views held by a number of residents in Southampton and the number of places available on the committee in that regard.'

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Service Director – Development & Regulation

West Berkshire Council
Up to £96,585 per annum
We are looking for a candidate with the passion for place making and a successful track record in leading and developing large multi-service teams.  Newbury, Berkshire
Recuriter: West Berkshire Council

Mayoralty & Business Manager

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£41,292 - £50,034
The Mayoralty & Business Manager will be responsible for maintaining the reputation of both Mayoralties and promoting a positive image of... London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Joint Assistant Director - Communities and Wellbeing

Babergh & Mid Suffolk
Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are at the forefront of joint working and are a progressive award-winning partnership Ipswich, Suffolk
Recuriter: Babergh & Mid Suffolk

Procurement Networking Event

Essex County Council
Procurement Networking EventClosing Date
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Community Support Worker - Mental Health & Wellbeing

Essex County Council
£21057 - £27391 per annum
Community Support Worker - Mental Health & WellbeingFixed Term, Full Time£21,057 - £27,391 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue