Complaint over BBC faith school debate is upheld
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.”