Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Number of faith schools to increase under the Tories

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If you're of a mind to vote with your non-belief in the coming General Election, it appears you may struggle to pick between Labour and the Conservatives on the issue of faith schools. Speaking yesterday, the Tory leader David Cameron suggested that his government would encourage an increase in the number of faith schools:
“I think faith schools are an important part of our system, I support them and I would like if anything to see them grow. I think faith organisations bring often a sort of culture and ethos to a school that can help it improve and I’m a strong supporter personally and politically.”
As part of their education policies, the Conservatives have proposed the introduction of "free schools", which would be run by independent organisations, including faith groups.

Meanwhile, a column by Julia Llewllyn on the hypocrisy fostered by the faith schools system appears in the Daily Mail, of all places. I can't say I agree with it all, as she seems to blame the parents as much as the system, but it certainly highlights the bizarre nation of the education system we have in this country, where people who otherwise couldn't care less are sitting in churches every Sunday for the sake of a school place. Imagine trying to explain the situation to an outsider – that what parents do in this country is get up on a Sunday morning and pretend to be Christians for a couple of hours so that when their children reach the ages of four and 11 the local vicar will recommend them for a place in a publicly-funded school. Utterly ridiculous. But something which sadly looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.


mumfie said...

Oh dear. I agree with virtually every word of an article in the Daily Mail. I think I need a lie down.

And therapy.

It is blatant hypocrisy to pretend to believe in a deity in order to send your child to a better school. Mine went to a CE Primary school and we just got in as publicly avowed atheists. Well I am anyway. They're still thinking about it. We certainly wouldn't get in now. And I chose it because it was small, not because it was church.

I did think about going through the whole rigmarole of pretending in the search of better secondary school. Whilst I most definitely want to provide the best I can for my children, I also want to teach them to be honest and trustworthy and have moral values I can be proud of. Lying about faith for the sake of school seems to be giving them a very dodgy foundation to grow up with.

As to private schooling, I'm against that too. I went to one and am not convinced it was worth it.

I certainly think that school segregation based on money or faith is divisive and goes against all attempts at community cohesion.

On a more practical note, as long as politicians can send their children to the 'better' schools, they'll never put in sufficient effort to improve them all and that is where the real harm lies.

Apologies for the rant, but with 4 children, it's difficult to not get angry about the school system.

foolfodder said...

Might be of interest to some: