Atheist schools are open to application

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Under the government's education reforms, Atheists could soon set up their own schools in the same way as any other "free school" set up by parents, teachers or others.

Education Secretary, Michael Gove, said: "One of the most striking things that I read recently was a thought from Richard Dawkins that he might want to take advantage of our education legislation to open a new school, which was set up on an explicitly atheist basis.

"It wouldn't be my choice of school, but the whole point about our education reforms is that they are, in the broad sense of the word, liberal, that they exist to provide that greater degree of choice."

Mr Gove said he recognised that there are some people who explicitly do not want their children educated in a faith-based setting.

"One of the principles behind our education reforms is to give people the maximum amount of choice so that those people, and they may not themselves necessarily have a very strong religious faith, but who believe that the ethos and values of faith-based education are right for their child, have that choice but others who want a different approach can take it as well.

"If Professor Dawkins wants to set up a school we would be very interested to look at an application."

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