Com­plaint over BBC faith school de­bate is up­held

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

A DE­BATE over whether par­ents should have a say in their chil­dren at­tend­ing a faith school or not was about reli­gion and not race, the BBC has said.

The Na­tional Secular So­ci­ety has wel­comed the rul­ing from the BBC Trust up­hold­ing its com­plaint over the way in which the BBC framed a story on chil­dren be­ing al­lo­cated places at Khalsa Sec­ondary Academy, a Sikh faith school, as a ‘race is­sue’, rather than re­li­gious free­dom.

The pro­gramme aired by BBC Asian Net­work on April 23, last year looked at chil­dren of non-Sikh par­ents be­ing al­lo­cated places at a Sikh faith school against their par­ents’ wishes. Sev­eral non-Sikh par­ents spoke about their un­hap­pi­ness about their chil­dren be­ing al­lo­cated places at Khalsa Sec­ondary Academy, in Holly­bush Hill, Stoke Po­ges.

In a for­mal com­plaint to the BBC, the NSS ar­gued the re­peated ref­er­ence to “white par­ents” in­sin­u­ated par­ents had racial grounds for ob­ject­ing to their chil­dren at­tend­ing the school, when in fact the is­sue was one of re­li­gious free­dom in ed­u­ca­tion.

Af­ter the ini­tial com­plaint was re­jected and again lost on ap­peal, it has now won an ap­peal to the Ed­i­to­rial Stan­dards Com­mit­tee.

Stephen Evans, NSS cam­paigns manager, said: “The re­peated ref­er­ences to non-Sikh par­ents as ‘white par­ents’ in­ac­cu­rately framed the story as a ‘race is­sue’ and un­fairly in­sin­u­ated that the par­ents had racial – pos­si­bly even racist – rea­sons for their ob­jec­tions to their chil­dren at­tend­ing this school.”

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