Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Schools of Thought

Ah doesn't this piece demonstrate *exactly* why faith schools are a dreadful idea? Turns out that every religion has it's own interpretations of what constitutes a member of their faith... So Jewish schools claim the child's mother must be Jewish, Catholic ones claim it's about being Christened in a Catholic church while very young and when I went o a Church of England school when I was a kid it was pretty clear that my parents flimsy last-minute flurry of attendance at the local church had much less of an effect than my good grades and behaviour record. If you look at faith groups it's pretty clear that they divide up along heavily ethnic lines. So faith schools allow some schools to quietly carry on being selective and turns others merely act to divide children up to be educated along lines of race. Add to this the implications to science and reason from allowing religious leaders to be involved in the selection of teaching staff and I really don't see what possible reason there can be for the government to continue funding them.



I too see no reason whatsoever why central government should have to fund religious schools - because this is what they are - not faith schools.

Yes we have had independent schools which are either affiliated or funded by religious denominations but not until recently was funding from central government.

Education should be secular and not about 'religion.' If a person wishes to send their child to a religious affiliated school - fine but we shouldn't expect society to fund these schools.

Religion should be kept out of mainstream education and it was not until busy body Blair decided to fund religious schools in the name of multi culturalism but which has had the opposite effect wherein 'religion becomes a 'public' not a 'private matter.'

Witness increased calls for sharia law to be adopted here in the UK which if accepted, inevitably will lead to calls for other religious laws to be adopted. Sharia law is all about religion not justice or human rights, which is why religion should be a private issue not a public one.

Henry VIII separated from the Roman Catholic church because the Pope thought he had the right to force Henry to submit to his demands. Now, religion is quietly making a comeback and attempting to replace secularism. As I said before religion should be a private issue not a public one which is incorporated into law and public institutions.

Amy said...

Kate, I absolutely agree with you about faith schools. PFI (i.e. the Academy system) is exacerbating this situation too. An example:

My dad was a headteacher at a (state) non-denominational secondary school. He fought hard for it to become an Academy as he wanted to improve the reputation of the school (it was in a rough area). Unfortunately, the sponsors of the new Academy are devout Christians, and the Church of England itself now has a controlling stake in the school. The school's name has now changed to a saint's name and is now a CofE school (in a multi-cultural, multi-faith area).

That's not the worst bit though. Becoming an Academy means that the school gets renovated and loads of cash gets pumped into it - you would think that cash comes from the sponsor. Not so - most of it comes from the government. In fact, the sponsors get to control the school and the curriculum *and get to keep all the school's assets such as buildings and land* for a tiny fraction of the price of the renovation. In the example of my dad's ex-school, becoming an Academy was to cost millions. The govt paid most of it, the sponsor paid a small amount, and the Church of England only paid a tiny fraction - this to have a controlling stake in a secondary school, be able to shape the curriculum, and to have joint ownership of its assets.

Furthermore the usual rule of Academy sponsorship which says that a sponsor can only sponsor one school does not apply to the Church.

Now this new Academy probably wouldn't come onto the radar as a 'faith school' as such but it is controlled by the CofE and devout Christian sponsors, who can shape the curriculum as they see fit (I'm not sure what the rules are about selection, though). The government has essentially paid for this to happen. They are basically giving more money and power to the Church, and taxpayers foot the bill.

My dad is quite gutted. He is an atheist, and is worried about the future of the school. I'm just outraged that the CofE can give out what is to them small change and get the government to hand them a school on a plate.

Amy said...

Just to add to my previous comment: of course, the local people were not consulted as to whether they'd like their school to become CofE. Don't want to send your child to a Christian school? Tough shit, you've got no say in the matter and what's more, you've paid for it via your taxes. Ker-ching!

And the Church has the nerve to say that there is discrimination against Christianity in this country!