48.7% of London state schools, excluding grammar schools, are either faith- or gender-selective (DfE 2010). Friends of mine have girl-boy twins and wish them to attend a non-faith school, together. They have just slightly more than half the school choices of others. In some areas it would be less than half.
This is deeply unfair.
Is social segregation by faith a good thing for a tolerant, multicultural society? No, it is not. Is segregation by gender positive for young people? Again, no. Exam results may be better (by some statistical analysis, there may be no causal link), but shouldn’t we really be teaching young people how to get along, respect each other and work well together in a mixed and equal society? If boys learn less well when girls are present, is gender segregation tackling the root cause, or avoiding it?
Discrimination by faith or gender is illegal in every area of life outside of school gates. How on earth is it allowed to continue within? If this damaging discrimination can’t be entirely eradicated, it provides a strong reason to create more mixed, non-faith Free Schools.
Source: DfE 2010: http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SBU/b000951/b02-2010.pdf