Education

Why does the Church of England sneer at grammar schools?

The Church of England is apparently not interested in opening new grammar schools. In an interview with the TES, the CofE’s Chief Education Officer, the Rev’d Nigel Genders, says:

“We’ve been very clear that, because we think every child is important, we want to develop more schools that are meeting the needs of all pupils, irrespective of whether they’ve got high academic ability or not. How do we provide a school where there isn’t currently enough education for the children in the area, and meet the pupils’ needs? That’s our priority. And that means opening schools for the whole community. It’s about serving the needs of the many, not just the few.”

Every child is important, and grammar schools conflict with that belief? The Church of England wants schools that meet the needs of all pupils, and grammar schools have no place in a framework of educational diversity? They’re prioritising schools for the whole community, and grammar schools are elite, aloof and anti-society? They seek to serve the needs of the many, and that necessitates ignoring the needs of the academically-gifted few?

What is wrong with educational provision tailored to the the needs of the few?

Nothing, it seems, if those few are ‘special needs’ or vocationally-inclined. Nigel Genders explains:

..in bidding for new free schools we are putting our emphasis on exploring what more we can do for those who need outstanding special education or alternative provision and those who so often get left behind by society, as well as those who should have access to education which develops their vocational or technical skills..

This is interesting. The Church of England is perfectly content to foster new schools for the few if those few are (say) behaviourally challenged or require intensive learning support, or if their talents are suited to laying bricks, welding pipes or developing designs to improve aviation engineering. New vocational schools – or University Technical Colleges – have moral virtue, it seems, despite manifestly not catering for all. But new grammar schools.. well, they’re a regressive, elitist ‘Tory ideology’, and we can’t be seen to be promoting that, can we? Good Lord, no.

Note how the Bishop of Liverpool, Paul Bayes, punctuates his tweet. He grinds his teeth in contempt with each word: every full stop leaves a fleck of spittle on the face. There could be nothing more socially immoral and educationally regressive than the contemplation of new grammar schools. He doesn’t say what he wants the church to do with those grammar schools it already runs – does he want them closed down? If not, why not? If there is virtue and delight in their existence, what is so repugnant about spreading the provision to other towns and cities, to serve the whole community?

Why is it Christian and moral to select children for a vocational education, but not for an academically rigorous one? “Our vision addresses the challenges our society faces and offers education for wisdom, hope, dignity and community that will lead to the flourishing of every child we serve,” writes Nigel Genders, apparently oblivious to the fact that grammar schools also address some of those challenges, and can offer just as much wisdom, hope, dignity and community as any comprehensive or vocational school. It’s a question of leadership, ethos and culture. But for the Bishop of Liverpool, there is simply no debate or discussion to be had: he just spits on the idea.

The thing is, research by the Sutton Trust tells us that 86 per cent of Church of England bishops were either privately or selectively educated: 50 per cent attended a private school; 36 per cent attended a grammar school. Only 14 per cent were educated at a comprehensive school, and the Bishop of Leeds is evidently proud of the fact that he is one.

Where was Paul Bayes educated? Good question. It doesn’t appear to be in the public domain. Not that the educational preference of one’s parents negates the expression of a contrary opinion. But it is interesting that private and grammar schools manifestly worked for a whopping 86 per cent of bishops, and now, here they are, preaching the superior Christian virtue of “schools that are meeting the needs of all pupils”; of “serving the needs of the many, not just the few”, and these must be state-run comprehensives.

Where do bishops send their own children to be educated? That’s a good question for someone who has rather more time.

It is worth noting that the universal comprehensivisation rolled out in England and Wales since 1965 was accompanied by falling standards and a worsening of results, with thousands upon thousands of children leaving school without even basic levels of numeracy and literacy. Many Local (Education) Authorities were seemingly utterly indifferent to this chronic failure, partly because the word ‘failure’ wasn’t in their educational lexicon. This isn’t a ‘Tory’ perspective, by the way: Jim Callaghan (bravely) ventured a critique as far back as 1976 in what became known as his Ruskin Speech. This set the foundation for the Thatcher/Baker reforms of 1988, and they in turn set the foundation for the Blair/Adonis/Blunkett reforms of the 2000-2, which in turn set the foundation for the Cameron/Gove expansion of academies and the establishment of free schools. Grammar schools are simply a continuation of the proliferation of educational diversity, to give parents more choice, which, it is posited, creates a rising tide to lift all boats.

It has been empirically established that where governments demand equality of outcome over equality of opportunity, and are more intent on social engineering with prescriptive initiatives and micro-management of process, the effects are damaging to generations of schoolchildren and detrimental to society.

In fact, 50 years of mandatory comprehensivisation has succeeded in restoring a privately educated ruling class. Just 7 per cent of the population attend private schools, yet they account for 75 per cent of judges, 70 per cent of finance directors, 50 per cent of top journalists and 33 per cent of MPs (among Conservatives, the figure is closer to 50 per cent). It does not matter how many brown-skinned Brummies become bishops or how many one-legged lesbians are adopted for safe Conservative seats, a disproportionate number will have been privately educated. For he that hath, to him shall be given even more: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken the very means by which he might one day hath haved.

Grammar schools have been the most dynamic and successful motor of social mobility ever conceived. Up until Theresa May’s announcement, every major political party was dedicated either to their constriction or eradication: they were all intent on abolishing the meritocratic principle by which they were defined. The Church of England was happy to support this, while plucking its bishops from the elite.

The rich have always sent their children to private schools, and the not-so-rich have scrimped and saved in traumatic attempts to spare their own children from the inadequacies and deficiencies of a system they half endured. When there was a grammar school in every town, entry was on merit, irrespective of parental income or social class. And the poorest could rise to attain the highest: the sons of miners could become a Nobel prize-winner and the daughters of grocers could become prime minister. Now, of course, entry to the grammars is as restricted as it is for private education: while the latter is dependent on the ability to pay the fees, the former is dependent on the ability to afford a house in the catchment area. Theresa May simply wants to address this manifest inequality.

Social mobility has nothing to do with the egalitarianism of Socialism – economic equality or equality of outcome. Sadly, there will always be those for whom aspiration causes social division and so must be abolished. But social mobility is inherent to meritocracy which is (or ought to be) foundational to Conservatism (though challenging to conservatism) because it is dependent on equality of opportunity. And that opportunity must be available to all. In order for there to be grammar-school boys and girls to compete fairly with the privileged Old Etonians, there simply needs to be more grammar schools to provide the bright working and lower middle class child with opportunities equal to those of private schools.

Why can’t the Church of England forge an educational ethos which praises the achievement of grammar schools? They run three of them, so patently don’t consider selecting by academic ability to be immoral or anti-Christian.

Michael Gove saw the need for a revolution. He understood that the ‘best jobs’ (like bishops) should not be the preserve of the privileged élite (or 86 per cent of them): they should be open to everyone with the ability, irrespective of social class or economic circumstances. The consensus now is toward more competition in the supply of school places, and that leads logically to vouchers which could precipitate a great wave of social mobility – for wisdom, hope, community and dignity.

Comprehensive schools ‘for the many’ can ignore the needs of ‘the few’, especially if those few are victims of the need to focus on raising GCSE grade Ds to Cs, for league-table imperatives. Driving the Bs to As and As to A+s simply becomes less of a priority (or not one at all). Instead of spitting at grammar schools, the Church of England might consider that inequality is the natural order of things. Just as ugly people are barred by nature from beauty competitions, and the tone deaf from joining the choir, so those who are not academically-inclined may be separated from those who are and provided with an education tailored to their needs. It is called ‘personalised learning’. It is not possible to teach excellent bricklayers and outstanding poets at the same pace in the same group of 30, for the lowest common denominator will prevail, and this negates potential. Grammar schools are part of the solution, and Bishops shouldn’t let their visceral anti-Tory ideology impede the provision of an excellent education for every child.

  • ‘We are putting our emphasis on exploring what more we can do for those who need outstanding special education.’ Isn’t that what Grammar Schools are for? Oh sorry, I forgot, special is a euphemism.

    • Sybaseguru

      Obviously hasn’t watched Top Gear

    • Busy Mum

      As I pointed out in a response to the current education funding review consultation, some of my children are bright, they ‘cannot help it’, they are ‘born that way’…and therefore have just as much right to have their ‘special needs’ met as any other child!

      • Manfarang

        Yes one of my roommates at university was very bright, he could speak 5 languages. He just couldn’t help it when it came to stealing things.

        • Busy Mum

          He would qualify as a ‘special need’ today then. Having a ‘behavioural problem’ for which one refuses to take any responsibility elevates one to the status of mental health customer.

          • Manfarang

            In todays world he would still get expelled and not prosecuted because the prestigious school (he went to) wouldn’t want any bad publicity.

  • Anton

    Bishops, eh?

  • Sybaseguru

    Seems he (+Paul Beyes) went to Belle Vue Grammar School Bradford (according to Facebook). Ah another one for pulling up the drawbridge after they’ve crossed over.

  • CliveM

    My son goes to a Comprehensive and streaming is alive and well and kicking. There is no attempt to put future bricklayers and future lawyers in the same, say, English class.

    Neither from my experience is a Tory Government immune from dumbing down expectations of our young folk. A children’s organisation I know of has been threatened with having its funding removed as it concentrates too much on excellence and is therefore ‘elitist ‘.

    If the current Govt has a God, it’s the God of inclusiveness.

    It’s a personal prejudice of mine, but the more second rate the people who run our institutions become, the more they suspect excellence in others. The ‘tall poppy’ syndrome has become an institutional article of faith.

    • IanCad

      Certainly wouldn’t have been right to put that carpenter, Jesus, in a class with future members of the Sanhedrin.

      • CliveM

        I’m happy enough that streaming takes place, not that my son is in the top stream!

        • alternative_perspective

          But what about children in the bottom stream?

          The school is presumably set up to foster academic excellence. So within the context of that school, those children are failures – as defined by their streams.

          Would it not be better to have separate institutions, with movement between each, to cater for the different needs and talents of the children therein?

          Institutions truly dedicated to sports, music, art, academia, mathematical professions, technological application, retail services etc. Allow each child to excel in the context that suits their abilities, rather than forcing failure by someone else’s criteria?

          • CliveM

            I’m not against grammars or private, or academies for that matter. However I do remember in one of the towns I lived which still had the Grammar/Secondary modern system, those who ended in the secondary moderns were very much seen as failures.

            Anything that has winners, has losers. Grammars don’t hide that. I suspect it’s something that has to be lived with.

          • alternative_perspective

            Agreed. This is to be expected where the point of selection is to sift the wheat from the chaff. Where the application though is to identify the most appropriate form of education this would not be the case.

          • CliveM

            Hmmm I think society tends to prejudice against those who are less academically capable, even if they have other skills.

          • Cressida de Nova

            People are meant to believe that can excel in only one thing but not everything.The reason most are not truly educated is because curriculum is not designed to provide a full well rounded education. A person may prefer and have ability in one discipline but this does not mean they cannot achieve success in more than one with application and discipline. Students are not stretched enough. It is easier to be able to slot a person into a pigeon hole.

          • CliveM

            I agree, children are made to specialise too early. I remember a girl at my school who at the start was a bit of a thicky, but by the end had got a scholarship for a prestigious overseas university. People develop at different rates.

    • Arden Forester

      Bricklayers and lawyers reminds me of Peter Cook . “I could have been a judge but I never had the Latin. So I managed to become a miner”.

    • Cressida de Nova

      It is not a question of being suspicious of excellence It is overt discouragement of excellence (sport being the exception) for obvious reasons. The all inclusive hard line conformity thrust has limited scientific and creative developments. Individuality is crippled. We should be more advanced in our discoveries than we are.

      • CliveM

        I did hear a teacher once explain that it was good for social solidarity that the bright and talented be held back in class.

        I bet she was never held back in class.

  • Arden Forester

    I’m not fussed too much about grammar schools in the sense that it isn’t the school that matters, it is the schooling. We now no longer have education as such. We have teaching. Teaching for exams that employers will find useful. The majority of bishops in the CofE have now embraced secular thought with relish. So we get platitudes instead of reason. I can say with all honesty and truthfulness that my wife and son are more clever than I am in respect of exams. Doesn’t make me less than them, but that’s how it is. We are all born equal in the sight of God but we all have unique abilities. Some of us have abilities to lead. Surely a bishop is chosen because he is of “good report without” and is a learned person? Choosing someone from 100 strangers from the streets may provide a worthy choice but flies in the face of reason.

    • CliveM

      I would also add that from my experience, state education is more challenging and rigorous then in my era of the 60’s and 70’s.

      • Busy Mum

        State education in primary school is really impressive. It gets the children almost ready for GCSE so that the next five years can be devoted to indoctrination.

        • CliveM

          I don’t see a lot of indoctrination at my sons school and he is still being pushed on academically.

          More than I was.

          • Busy Mum

            Is he at secondary school yet?

          • CliveM

            Coming up two years.

          • Busy Mum

            Example from one of my recent school newsletters. Some year 10 children apply to become ‘peer mentors’ whereby they can give one-one support to younger children. They have just had their peer mentor training and spent the day out of academic classes ‘exploring various topics such as diversity, bereavement, child protection, confidentiality and bullying’. One of my older daughters used to give one-one help with maths for younger children when she was a sixth former but this is somewhat different!!

    • alternative_perspective

      I agree with everything outside your first sentence.
      I believe context matters and there is ample evidence to demonstrate that positive expectations can really make the difference. So how can a teacher in honesty say to anyone class or year group “you all have the ability to succeed academically” when in fact we are all blessed with different talents. Not only would such a statement be a lie, most pupils know who is the academic highflier, who is a sports success, who is musical, who can re-build a bike engine etc.
      Focus is everything. And we need to give each child the education that best suits them and so the context must cohere with the approach for a school to maintain focus. An unfocussed institution is one that will not achieve its aims.

      • Arden Forester

        Having read that all I can say is I agree. Regarding my first sentence, I was really meaning I am not campaigning for or against grammar schools. I’m quite relaxed if people want them. It’s the political use of schoolchildren by adults that is concerning.

  • David

    Clerics including bishops who preach mainly the social gospel, feel only comfortable with the soft left-liberal view of life, which eschews competition of any type. However like the vast majority of left-liberals they are hypocrites, happy to benefit personally from top quality streamed education whilst denying it to others. Moreover because bishops are selected from this limited pool of talent, they exhibit group-think, with few thinking independently for themselves, or capable of seeing their own hypocrisies.

  • layreader

    This is a discussion that always brings out the huge hypocrisies involved. Pull up the drawbridge, Paul. Obviously a grammar school education has scarred you for life.
    The Wilson cabinet of the 1960s which famously ‘abolished’ grammar schools were all educated at either public or grammar school, neither of which they officially approved of, followed by Oxbridge (even more elitist) which, of course, they did approve of. Strangely the list of left-wing politicians prepared to send their children to the local comprehensive is suspiciously small.

  • john in cheshire

    William Shakespeare was a Grammar School boy and this alone should inspire people to support them.

    • I’m from Barcelona

      As was Margaret Thatcher; further inspiration if any was needed.

      • 1649again

        Might explain the Bishop’s hatred of them. After all if Maggie spoke up in favour of Jesus the Bishop would probably chip in a few good words for Satan.

      • Busy Mum

        I was an ‘assisted place’ pupil at a top girls’ school during Mrs T’s period of office. Not once was she held up as an inspiration to us all. By the time I had left, I had worked out why…..

    • betteroffoutofit

      Trouble is … they no longer like teaching/learning about his work.

  • Manfarang

    The present education system in Finland consists of daycare programmes (for babies and toddlers) and a one-year “pre-school” (or kindergarten for six-year-olds); a nine-year compulsory basic comprehensive school (starting at age seven and ending at the age of sixteen); post-compulsory secondary general academic and vocational education; higher education (University and University of applied sciences); and adult (lifelong, continuing) education. The Finnish strategy for achieving equality and excellence in education has been based on constructing a publicly funded comprehensive school system without selecting, tracking, or streaming students during their common basic education.
    The Education Index, published with the UN’s Human Development Index in 2008, based on data from 2006, lists Finland as 0.993, amongst the highest in the world, tied for first with Denmark, Australia and New Zealand. The Finnish Ministry of Education attributes its success to “the education system (uniform basic education for the whole age group), highly competent teachers, and the autonomy given to schools.”

    • Maalaistollo

      It might be worth checking to see whether the system is still the same. I believe that changes have been or are being made to reflect the worsening economic situation in Finland, about which you will not read much in the UK. In any event, Finnish society is very different to ours, with an unquestioning and conformist approach to many things, so what works for Finns won’t necessarily work elsewhere.

      • Manfarang

        Well just think of the Chinese, Korean, and Japanese respect for education. Which countries are going to get ahead in the future?

    • alternative_perspective

      Much of that success I would wager is built on maintaining a homogeneous society. I am not familiar with the economics of Finland but I doubt the extremes of poverty and wealth are as great there, nor the social ills.
      Both the Bible and experience agree that bad people bring “good” people down. Presently, imposing a homogeneous education on such a diverse country would be an abuse of institutional power on those who don’t conform to the “average” and a sure fire recipe for educational failure.
      Frankly, I think we need more testing and more diversity in our educational system and movement between institutions. Our society is too diverse and “ghettoised” for a one size fits all approach. And since this isn’t going to change we need a system that filters out social effects and this can only be achieved by intelligent selection: to identify the most appropriate forms of education for the individual child – with a multiplicity of paths within the system to permit a child to move according to their development.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Finland, like the rest of Scandinavia, and also Germany and some other countries, has schools called gymnasiums that are similar to British grammar schools. Where the Scandinavian gymnasiums differ from our grammar schools is in the age at entry, typically about 15 or 16 rather than 11 or 12. (I am not sure about the German ones).

  • An Eastender

    Why so defensive Archbishop? Where were you educated?

    The Financial Times, hardly a cheerleader for state-funded education, recently ran a sliderule over the remaining grammar schools in the country and found that they actually did next to nothing to push up results in their area, but did a lot to exacerbate division between the brightest and the least brightest.

    Maybe you should look at London, again highlighted through FT analysis as a league ahead of the rest of England and Wales, where grammars are almost non existent and where the second best results of all 32 boroughs come from Tower Hamlets, where there are barely any paid for schools but lots of outstanding primaries and secondary comprehensives.

    I always think that it is better to try and repeat systems that work – ie comprehensive education in London – rather than try and resurrect a failed and outdated system.

    My criticism of CoE schools is not that there are not enough grammars but that the way they are set up often leads them to becoming Christian cliques, where those who go to church (or fake going to church) cut themselves off from the rest of their communities in an educational holy huddle.

    So much of Jesus’s life was spent loving those who were not in his gang, giving support to the poorest in society, the maligned and the outcasts. My sadness is that CoE schools so often fail to live up to that Biblical principle.

    PS My dad went to public school (on a grammar scholarship), my mum went to a secondary modern (and has struggled with an inferiority complex ever since) and I went to a comprehensive.

    • David

      Whilst not claiming to have deep knowledge of the education system I am aware of the considerable achievements of the state schools in the London area, which is to be welcomed, obviously. But aren’t many of them following something very similar to the grammar school ethos, but without using the banned “g” word ?

    • Dominic Stockford

      The FT’s research is daft. It is based on the current grammar school situation, of which there are few. When there were, and if there were to be again, grammars in every town, then the issues would change dramatically. We would once again see how someone with academic ability could get the best academic teaching regardless of the depth of their pockets, and those without academic ability to the same level would get the right training to enable them to achieve a worthwhile and contributory place in life.

      We were not created with equal intellect, and an academic system that pretends that we were is bound to fail horribly.

      • Manfarang

        “and those without academic ability to the same level would get the right training to enable them to achieve a worthwhile and contributory place in life.”
        It didn’t happen then and today there are still 16-18-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

    • Little Black Censored

      “The Financial Times, hardly a cheerleader for state-funded education…”
      Not so sure about that.

    • Busy Mum

      London schools get twice as much funding per pupil as schools elsewhere, so hardly surprising that results are better.

      Existing grammar schools get the smallest amount per pupil, and are facing even further cuts with the current National Funding Formula review.

    • alternative_perspective

      Christian cliques?
      Have you been to a CoE school? They’re often lucky to have any discernible Christian character at all. The holy huddle does not exist except in the rarest of occasions.
      Personally, I don’t see why the CoE is still opening schools? Providing a Christian orientated education to its parishioners and those who wish to join in was all very well but given current demographics it seems like an enormous waste of church money on a population that barely tolerates the Christian faith.
      Moreover, if the schools are as “Christian” as most of the CoE’s churches then they’re hardly going to be a seed of growth, more like a germ of inoculation.

    • Sybaseguru

      Tower Hamlets? You mean that place between the City and Canary Wharf where all the young bankers live. Is it a surprise that there are one or two good schools there?

  • William Temple defended private education in Christianity and Social Order as an expression of the parental duty laid on those with means. Sounds right to me. All this socialistic hypocrisy runs against human nature.

  • The Explorer

    Anthony Crosland was an Oxford don when he vowed to destroy “every f*****g grammar school in England and Wales if it’s the last thing I do”. You would have thought he must have been a grammar school product himself to hate them so much, but actually he’d been to private school. Interesting that he made his focus for destruction the grammar schools, rather than the independent sector..

    Crosland’s acolytes said that every comprehensive school would be a grammar school: which seems a dubious aspiration when grammar schools were so contemptible. The possibility that every comprehensive might instead become a secondary modern seems not to have received due consideration. In the interaction between the youthful higher intellects and the lower, the higher would raise the lower. The possibility that the lower might bring down the higher through sheer weight of numbers seems not to have been contemplated, but you’d have to have been an Oxford don to be that removed from the way real people are.

    • Anton

      Thanks to the grammar schools, my mother made it from a poor part of a northern industrial town to a Cambridge college which was the world’s oldest higher education establishment for women. 20 years later, Crosland’s hatred of excellence made that almost impossible.

      • Busy Mum

        It’s still possible for women and for the poor, providing those are the criteria for wanting to take part and providing you can show that being a woman and being poor has held you back.
        My daughters were intelligent enough to refuse their schools’ entreaties to help the ‘leavers’ destinations’ look good. They did not want to put themselves in a position where their sex and financial background would be used to patronise them, or else held against them if they refused to use their status as opposed to their brains.

      • The Explorer

        Strange that someone with a hatred of excellence should have taken a post at Oxford. One imagines he’d have been much happier at a poly in some industrial city.

    • David

      Socialist intellectuals hate the working class. They are not interested in liberating them through education and moral improvement, but merely in perpetuating their reliance on the state thus capturing forever their votes. Socialism is essentially about division and growing state control.

      • Manfarang

        With the Conservatives such strong believers in inequality, the young people of Britain don’t have much chance.

        • The Explorer

          ‘The Incredibles’ was a film with a bleak message. If you have a talent, hide it. You can’t be better than anyone else.

          Where there’s a belief in inequality, talent can find its own level.

          • Manfarang

            Some years ago a friend of mine (grammar school educated) studied and passed the pharmacy professional exams . Could he get a job? No. You don’t have a degree he was told. He became a green grocer.

          • The Explorer

            Blair wanted 50% of young people to have a degree. Elitist. Obama wanted 100% of young people ti have a degree. Achieve that, and having a degree ceases to be a basis for employment. You’d have to look at people with two degrees.

          • Anton

            The greater the proportion of the people who are granted degrees, the greater the dumbing down of degree courses – as inevitable as the law of gravity.

          • Busy Mum

            My 20yo is already aiming for at least a Masters, if not a PhD – she said nobody looks at a BA anymore.

            And you do wonder, once everybody has a degree, who is going to condescend to empty the wheelie bins?

          • CliveM

            Depends on the degree and university.

          • Busy Mum

            I would guess that the better the university, and the more genuine the degree, the more likely it is that that person will recognise that certain chores need doing, however ‘qualified’ one may be. It will be the unintelligent who think that they are somehow ‘above’ doing the chores.

          • CliveM

            Apologies I was simply addressing the point of the value of a degree. I was making no comment at all about the importance of doing chores!

          • Busy Mum

            Oh, I see!
            This particular daughter is at a Russell Group university and stills sees her course as worthless. I asked her whether the impression I get of loony-left students is a bit exaggerated and she said no, I cannot begin to understand how crazy it is. A friend of hers was stopped from giving a presentation because the lecturer didn’t like what he was saying. The four chief SU officers are all of one religion. The other SU officers are for ‘protected characteristics’ and only those students of ‘protected charcteristics’ may vote for those officers i.e. my daughter is effectively disenfranchised. I, or rather, she, could go on and on. She says that it is so wearing. She said that if she has children one day, she will never ever encourage them to go to university.

          • CliveM

            Yes it’s time the Government stepped in a threatened funding cuts to specific universities unless this is sorted. As far as the SU is concerned, it’s an irrelevancy. All formal recognition of it should be withdrawn.

          • Busy Mum

            Agree – another daughter says that the SU is given far too much respect and credibility by the govt, because it suits the govt to do so….

          • Tethys

            My daughter also went to a Russell group University and encountered nothing you describe.
            What struck me was the poorly organised and resourced course, despite the massive increase in fees making the UK the most expensive country to study in.

          • Busy Mum

            Maybe this is partly due to the time lag – your daughter ‘went to’ whilst my daughter ‘is at’….

            Agree re high fees v. poor resources. However, it is quite possible to ‘study’ without going to university.

          • Tethys

            Only 2 years ago, and whilst it is indeed possible to ‘study’ and even get a degree without going to University – it’s not in her subject.

          • Busy Mum

            Ah, so that is why she didn’t have the same experiences as my daughter. The sciences (need to be studied at uni) tend to be rather more immune from the politically correct craziness that is wrecking the humanities courses (can be studied alone).

          • magnolia

            Also the year of qualification now!

          • Cressida de Nova

            Refugees.

  • Manfarang

    What are the French school kids going to be taught?
    “Far-right leader Marine Le Pen has denied France was responsible for rounding up more than 13,000 Jews at a Paris cycle track to be sent to Nazi death camps during the Holocaust.”.

    • Anton

      I expect she means that the Nazis did it and is not disputing that it happened. I know a French lady who witnessed it.

      • Manfarang

        Nazi directed but done by the French police.

        • Anton

          As I’d thought, but her words need clarification.

          • Manfarang

            No clarification needed for this man-Maurice Papon 3 September 1910 – 17 February 2007) was a French civil servant during the 1930s and leading the police in major prefectures and in Paris during the Nazi occupation of France and into the 1960s.
            On May 6, 1981 details about his past under Vichy emerged, when Le Canard enchaîné published documents signed by Papon that showed his responsibility in the deportation of 1690 Bordeaux Jews to Drancy internment camp from 1942 to 1944. After a long investigation and protracted legal wranglings, Papon was eventually tried; in 1998 he was convicted of crimes against humanity. He was subsequently released from prison in 2002 on the grounds of ill health.
            There was clear involvement by Vichy France whatever Le Pen says.

  • Maalaistollo

    Note the use of the word ‘flourishing’ in what the Revd Genders wrote. This word is now encountered so often in CofE pronouncements that I suspect its use is, at the very least, encouraged by head office and may soon be mandatory. Still, looking on the bright side, it might give us a rest from ‘vibrant’ and it will be welcomed by players of ecclesiastical bullshit bingo.

    • Anton

      He managed three “meet/serve the needs of” in less than 100 words too, which is an achievement.

      • Maalaistollo

        Well spotted! Bonus point to you. ‘Coming alongside’ seems to have dropped out of fashion (other than with Somali pirates).

  • Anton

    The Army understands that success comes from deploying resources to where it is doing well, not where it is doing badly.

    • Royinsouthwest

      That would depend on whether it is winning or losing the battle. If it is doing well in an action in remote part of the battlefield that does pose a significant threat to the main enemy force but is struggling to prevent the enemy breaking through elsewhere then it is the place where it is doing badly that requires urgent attention.

  • The Explorer

    How many genders is he, I wonder?

  • The Explorer

    The C of E wants to meet the needs of the many, not the few. But sometimes the needs of the many are met by catering to the needs of the few. Think how many benefited from the discoveries of Pasteur.

  • Busy Mum

    Intelligent children are a threat. It’s that simple.

    • alternative_perspective

      Especially intelligent children who have not been pre-programmed by years of institutionalised, government sanctioned opinion.

      • Busy Mum

        Precisely.
        With so many children we have made use of five different secondary schools (two grammar, one 11-18 comp, one 11-16 comp and one 14+ college for sixth form) in order to try and get the ‘best possible fit’ for each child and also to avoid sibling overload and unfair, comparative expectations from staff.
        I can tell you that the grammar schools have been a decade ahead of the comps when it comes to submitting to political correctness. I think this is due to intentional targeting of the intelligent by the government, combined with fear from the grammar schools who are only managing to stay alive by conforming.
        It is no coincidence that the grammar schools are also a decade ahead of the comps with the ‘mental health crisis’.

        • betteroffoutofit

          Another factor is that the upper reaches of the educational system have long been under the control of the Fabians – in the US the “Frankfurt School.” These are Marxist/Communists, and ‘political correctness’ is one of their tools. So, indeed, is the perception of “class” that they’ve used ever since Marx and Engels set up the categorisation – ignoring that for Brits, “class” had evolved from the dispossession imposed by conquerors, most notably the Normans. So … the so-called ‘lower’ classes were not necessarily composed of immoral, illiterate idiots, nor are they still.

          Mediaeval churchmen knew this. Many of them were themselves natives imbued with the Celtic-English tradition, and they continued to preach to, and to teach, the very intelligent natives!

          Today’s commies, though, ah well; they’re the neu elites …… in a sense, perhaps they are neu Normans with knobs on? If so, we need some loyal, educated church’people’ to come back as leaders, and to shepherd us out of this mess. His Grace is one such, I do believe!!!!

    • betteroffoutofit

      Yes. And if they have the misfortune to be good-looking as well ….

    • Cressida de Nova

      Intelligence has always been a threat. Those in charge do not like to be exposed. Emperor’s clothes syndrome. Everyone knows you have to allow the boss to win the golf match.

  • 1649again

    I suspect the disconnect between the higher clergy and the rest of the church is reaching breaking point. As an example in our church it was announced that the Archdeacon or Rural Dean (can’t recall) was conducting a visitation and we were asked if we wanted to meet him. A collective stifled groan arose from the congregation. He won’t be very busy. With statements like that above one can see why.

    • I’m from Barcelona

      I have to travel for !hr 30min to attend a CoE Church; to a person the congregation is sick to the back teeth of the higher clergy to the extent that yesterday was the poorest attendance in 25 years.

      • 1649again

        You’re in Scotland I believe and I’m in Devon. It’s a national problem. The gulf has become so vast it’s as if the higher clergy are a self selecting self replicating alien elite who have no real contact or conceptions of the lives of the people at parish level who fund the whole thing. There is ever less in common.

        • I’m from Barcelona

          I am indeed in the Scottish Borders. I’m in regular contact with churchgoers even though I only make it to church once a fortnight; they feel as I do that the upper echelons view parish level as some form of serfdom, good only for their offertory.

          • CliveM

            Where abouts? Lived in Peebles for a number of years.

          • I’m from Barcelona

            Bit further south in Galashiels.

          • CliveM

            Nice town. Liked the borders, except for the weather!

        • Merchantman

          An oligarchy largely appointed under the influence of Blair, Brown and Cameron. What does one expect?

  • Merchantman

    Q.How come the socialists have got control of the Cof E when most of the funding comes from the evangelical churches?
    A. There is a huge Democratic deficit whereby the People in the Pews (or plastic seating) cannot fire ‘The Board’ (Bishops and central admin).

  • alternative_perspective

    I disliked school very much.

    But had I gone to the local comprehensive school I would have disappeared into the masses; lost amongst the thousands of faceless and forgotten pupils a comprehensive school has to manage. Almost certainly classed and dismissed as “middle of the road” by teachers more concerned with high fliers; those with special educational needs and the disruptive. Interestingly, this was the same classification assigned me by the preparatory school my parents sent me to, the fees for which nearly drove them bankrupt.
    So convinced of my mediocrity were they; that they told my father I could not pass the 13+ entry exam. Oh, how the teachers, who thought they knew me ever-so-well, were astonished to discover my actual score, when moments after their casual dismissal of my chances, they were presented with my actual pass result by my dad.

    Without natural drive or the confidence to succeed one needs a focussed and encouraging environment, one which is grounded in more than mere assertion or hyperbole. This is what a grammar school education, founded on selection offers. This is what any tailored system of education, founded on selection would offer, be it artistic, sporty orf musical. And one, which a comprehensive school, by its universalist nature, can never achieve.

    • Manfarang

      And yet some grammar school boys left at 15 and went to work in factories.

      • Busy Mum

        What’s wrong with that? Education should not be just a means to an end.

        • CliveM

          Indeed.

        • Manfarang

          It’s a waste. No chance to develop skills and gain useful experience.

          • Busy Mum

            A waste of what?

            ‘Gaining skills and useful experience’ and ‘education’ are not mutually exclusive. Though they are not synonymous, either…..

          • Manfarang

            Life and career. A dead end job is no answer to anything.

          • Busy Mum

            But dead end jobs need doing.

      • len

        Factory fodder.Our class system needs them.

      • alternative_perspective

        I agree with busy mum. There is nothing wrong with working in a factory.
        I don’t subscribe to a utilitarian view of education, where its only purpose is to prepare people for the world of work. This dimension exists but I very much see education as a nurturing and formative process and for this reason I would like to see a greater diversity of educational institutions to cater for the growing diversity of our population.

        • len

          There nothing wrong in working in a factory(as long as your’e not doing it?)

          • Manfarang

            That’s right. Many people wouldn’t last a day in a factory.

          • CliveM

            Expert are you?

          • len

            I have worked in a factory.I did every job going in the factory from packing to parts.
            I kept moving about purely from boredom at the tasks I was given.It paid a wage but that was all.Its not the worst job going though, there are worse jobs.I feel sorry for the youth today at the lower end of the job scale and those who cannot get any sort of job at all.

          • CliveM

            There are factories and then there are ‘factories ‘!

            The ones I have experience of, have a highly trained workforce. As you say there are worse jobs.

          • CliveM

            In the UK very few people are. It’s not where most jobs are found.

          • Manfarang

            Millions can’t find a job because of the lack of manufacturing. New hi-tech industries need to be established in the UK.

          • Anton

            Yet while millions are on the dole there are millions of seasonable jobs in fruit and veg picking. Time for our government to match supply and demand a little better…

          • Manfarang

            Summer jobs for students eh?

          • Anton

            Well the long summer hols were historically to help get the harvest in.

          • CliveM

            1.6 million (depending how you count them), so not millions and a large proportion of those I wouldn’t employ if you paid me.
            Total unemployment rate sits at 4.6%, long term at 1.6%. So most are between jobs and actively seeking work.

          • Manfarang

            “economically inactive”

          • Anton

            Their attitude will improve if they are forced to pick fruit and veg to get a roof and pay.

          • alternative_perspective

            Not a bad job for student and recent high school graduates – perhaps this could form a new part of a citizens national service?

          • alternative_perspective

            Have you spent much time in a factory? Other than the chicken factories most are clean, highly automated and very skilled. The guys on the floor earn quite a bit more than I do in the design office. Plus they get to leave their worries at the factory gate, whereas I take mine back with me of an evening. They get overtime, overtime is expected of me as a matter of course.
            Don’t knock manufacturing or tar it with a 1970s brush. Manufacturing nowadays is high tech, high quality and very skilled.

          • len

            Yes ,I did work in a factory(see thread below)
            I found the work un -challenging boring and repetitive.Have you worked on the shop floor?.(If its still called that?)

          • alternative_perspective

            No, I haven’t. Though I have often longed to try. We each get parcelled out to do the jobs that are required of us.

    • CliveM

      I hated school. If you survive it undamages it’s as much as you can hope for.

      Education comes as a bonus.

    • len

      I also hated school.I went to school where ‘caning ‘ was part and parcel of the teachers weapons to use against the pupils.
      I learn everything I know since leaving school.

  • len

    We live in a ‘evolutionist thinking society’ where the youngest, the brightest, and the fittest make it to the top and the rest are relegated to live in the lower orders.Sounds archaic?. That because it is. It is ‘the way of the world and I accept that is the way things are.But I don’t like it personally. We are graded and placed in our boxes like battery chickens eggs.
    We have a Church run by academics who apparently look down upon their[probably not so well educated] parishioners and seem to feel that they need to educated them ‘away’ from the Bible ran than ‘into’ the Word of God?.
    Jesus chose ordinary people to be his disciples rather than those indoctrinated into ‘religion’.Perhaps there are lessons to be learned here?.

    • Manfarang

      Toward the end of his life George Fox wrote a letter for general circulation pointing out that Abel, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses and David were all keepers of sheep or cattle and therefore that a learned education should not be seen as a necessary qualification for ministry.

      • len

        Quite right.
        edit.
        Moses learnt more about God after leaving Egypt and tending sheep.From Prince of Egypt to shepherd in one go.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Once even fishermen were considered to have leadership potential by a good judge. There was also a tent maker who founded some churches.

        • CliveM

          Job opportunities were some what narrower back then.

    • Sarky

      In my experience its less about educational ability and more about the drive of the individual.
      My wife left school with nothing but is now an NHS manager with a degree.
      A crap education is not a block if the individual wants to succeed.

      • len

        Not a block but not a great help either?

        • Sarky

          Depends on the individual.

  • Royinsouthwest

    At the Conservative Party Conference in 1977, Margaret Thatcher said:

    People from my background needed grammar schools to compete with children from privileged homes, like Shirley Williams and Anthony Wedgewood Benn.

    Gordon Brown went to Kirkcaldy High School, in those days a grammar school, and no doubt that helped him to compete with Tony Blair who went to Fettes College which is sometimes described as the Scottish Eton. Theresa May also went to a grammar school, unlike the posh boys, David Cameron, Boris Johnson and George Osborne.

    Cameron and Osborne are, of course, old Etonians, like the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

    • Simon Platt

      I think Osborne had to mingle with the hoi polloi at St Paul’s.

  • len

    I remember being told(not sure how authentic this was? )that some pupils had passed the 11 plus exam but were rejected because the authorities believed the pupils parents could not afford the uniforms etc for the child .Especially difficult for single parent families (then and now) to finance school uniforms , school trips , tutors etc.

    • I’m from Barcelona

      In my day it was hard enough for two parent families to afford school uniforms etc., however, somehow we managed.

  • The Explorer

    In ‘The Closing of the American Mind’ Alan Bloom made the point that the purpose of education had changed: not to impart knowledge, but to socially engineer correct values. Thus America was producing the “most sensitive illiterates” in history.

    There’s an element of that with British secondary education. The priority is not knowledge, as exemplified by the grammar schools, but socially-correct attitudes about race/class/ gender.

    When I was a kid we had comprehensions where there were right and wrong answers. About ten years ago, I looked at a KS3 SATS paper. “Pick out two phrases you find effective.” How can a candidate go wrong? How does an examiner grade the answer? A GCSE history paper had a question on Boudicaa. Which of these three extracts is most free of bias? You could sit the paper without ever having studied the subject. Feminism, not historical knowledge, was at issue.

    • Manfarang

      How much bias is there in Maths, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology?

      • Sarky

        Just sit back and wait for the creationist nonsense to start.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Probably very little except when teachers try to make them “relevant” by introducing global warming.

      • The Explorer

        Well the Ebonics educational movement in the States wanted ebonic maths for black kids because it didn’t like the bias in white math. Search me. One can accept the idea of bias in history. But bias in Mathematics?

      • Busy Mum

        You would be surprised at how pc a maths paper is. My eldest son said that the favourite activity after an exam was not to discuss the answers – rather, to compare how many foreign names had been spotted!

        Global warming is covered in all three sciences, as well as in Geography.

        • Manfarang

          Pythagoras was a great man. Today’s students have a lot to learn from him.

          • Busy Mum

            Not foreign mathematicians!
            pc questions such as ‘Raheed, Cath and Sam share a packet of 30 sweets. If there are twice as many red sweets as green, what is the probability…. etc etc” or “Neeha is 1.6m tall. For her new sari, she needs a piece of fabric one and a half times her height….etc etc”

        • betteroffoutofit

          How about this lesson from an American Maths. professor? Are they well prepared for Tom Lehrer’s:
          “Analytic and algebraic topology of locally Euclidian metrization of infinitely differentiable Riemannian manifold” —- and all the foreign place-names attached?
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IL4vWJbwmqM

          • Anton

            It’s plural – “manifolds”. This is the mathematics of curved spacetime found in Einstein’s theory of gravity, known as general relativity.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Oh ,,, that old thing! Well they’ll probably know the formula involved – some may even remember what the “c” is 🙂
            As you’ll see this prof. pretends to have learned from a Russian who taught him “to plagiarize” – which I guess should be “plagiarise”!!!

          • Anton

            Always happy to see ‘c’ as I regard so-called natural units as a con. What’s your subject?

          • betteroffoutofit

            Now: Old English …. Lang, and Lit!!!!
            But I did science originally — and Physiotherapy.

            And yours?

          • Anton

            Theoretical physics.

            Never have I regretted it, but if I had my time again I might do history, which bored me at school. Most of my reading today is history and Bible commentaries. Not theology.

      • Simon Platt

        How do you feel about nuclear power?

        • Manfarang

          Speaking as someone who has lived and worked in the Middle East I greatly look forward to the development of fusion power.

          • Simon Platt

            What a boon it would be if we could get fusion to work!

            But that wasn’t my point. My point was to illustrate how much bias there can be in the modern “physics” “science” curriculum.

        • len

          About the same as any unstable explosive…

    • CliveM

      Explorer what’s your experience of current education?

      • The Explorer

        Nil.

    • David

      My son who is now 30 took three ‘A’ levels including Geography. I studied ‘A’ level Geography in ’69 – 71 and was taught far more of the basic principles of the subject than my son was.
      My course was really very good, teaching how the days, seasons, tides and basic weather patterns worked globally, plus knowledge of several regions of the world, like any two of S. America, Australasia or Europe. I was also taught how natural phenomena like deserts, glaciers and coastal areas grow and later weather and erode. It set me up well to study the subject at degree level.

      His syllabus focussed on trendy-lefty topics like climate change, patterns of inequality and social mapping. Forty years on from my A levels I can still analyse climate and weather patterns in any part of the world, with a high level of understanding, plus having a whole range of practical navigation and other skills. Quite what practical skills his course gave him I really don’t see.

      Yes the purposes of education have changed from imparting knowledge and skills to inculcating “correct” views. It is no wonder that the UK is slipping behind in terms of global competitiveness, but I doubt if right-on C of E bishops are concerned with nasty things like us earning a living in the world.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Your son was very lucky to receive an education that was obviously far superior to yours. Not only could he be, if all else fails, a head teacher, but he is also qualified to occupy any of the top jobs in the BBC, Channel 4, the Guardian, etc. and would make an ideal top civil servant, quangocrat, or MP. He could even be the next Archbishop of Canterbury!

        • betteroffoutofit

          Yup. It’s not ‘what you know’ that matters … it’s who, and who likes you. And if that’s “cliche,” well it just perfectly unoriginally correct 🙂

    • Busy Mum

      True. A History teacher told me that as long as a pupil justifies his/her opinion, he/she will get the marks.
      The funny thing is that all these pupils seem to have the same opinion…..

      • Royinsouthwest

        Well, that just shows how good the education system is since they all have the correct opinion – a bit like Chairman Mao’s China.

        I suppose I should apologise for calling him “Chairman Mao” and not “Chairperson Mao.”

        • Busy Mum

          When one of my sons was revising for his Geography GCSE, I suggested some alternative examples of natural disasters etc that he could use instead of the case studies they had done in class. His response was that he ‘wasn’t allowed’ to do that and that he ‘had’ to use the example that he had studied in class for the exam question otherwise he would not get the marks.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Perhaps I am unduly cynical but I suspect the real reason why your son had to use the case studies that had been used in the class was that if he showed any signs of originality the teacher wouldn’t have a clue how to mark his work.

          • Busy Mum

            I think you are partly correct. Though I suspect the main reason is, as usual, working towards the lowest common denominator in the classroom i.e. let’s not confuse the less able children by giving them a choice of examples; let’s just make sure every child in the class knows one good example which they can use off the top of their head in the exam.

            When one of my daughters was studying History in the sixth form, she mentioned the Siege of Malta and General Dobbie during a class discussion. The teacher looked shocked and said, how on earth do you know about that? We don’t teach about that; you don’t need to know about that.

          • Simon Platt

            When one of my sons was doing his Geography GSCE (must be nine years ago, now) and preparing a coursework report on some fieldwork, I noticed how poorly he presented his tables, making the report useless, practically unreadable. We had a chat about it. I even dug out the British Standard on presenting tables in reports. “But I’m supposed to do it this way, Dad. I’ll be marked down if I don’t.” He won. Sadly, he was right.

        • Simon Platt

          I used to teach a lot of Chinese undergraduates. I rather liked them, by and large. Of course, I noticed some general characteristics. One of the things they often used to say, and which neither the British students nor the other foreigners did, was “in my opinion…”. I supposed they were encouraged to “give their opinion” in Chinese education.

      • Cressida de Nova

        LOL

  • Tig

    “Just as ugly people are barred by nature from beauty competitions, and the tone deaf from joining the choir, so those who are not academically-inclined may be separated from those who are and provided with an education tailored to their needs.”

    What an ugly and tone deaf way to phrase it.

    My daughter failed the 11 plus. She is not stupid, and she IS academically inclined but was denied an academic focus by an arbitrary percentage and a flawed test.

    This is an unnecessary and highly old fashioned test that makes children feel bad, different, inferior. If there was a need for a sheep and goats divide then there may be some point to it, but there is none these days.

    This article is based on old fashioned ideas of comprehensive education. Teachers want the best for children and all the teachers I know oppose selective schools. We now have rigorous testing, schools know who high achievers are, and schools are held accountable for results. One look at the DfE performance data (sortable by achievement) shows that many mixed ability schools achieve results as good as grammar schools for high achievers.

    If a divide is not needed, why have a divide?

    My daughter is one of the 22% sorted incorrectly by the 11-plus. She had a rotten secondary modern education because of it. She finally got her academic education at A level, and her last report showed all As. She is doing better than anyone she knows who passed the silly test. But I wish we lived in a comprehensive area where all children have a chance of a good academic school, not just those who pass a test.

    • Busy Mum

      I live in a ‘comprehensive area’. The MP is delighted that all the schools in her constituency are ‘good’.

      It is surprising how many parents in this ‘good’ area send their children to private school.

      And that includes the MP.

    • Royinsouthwest

      I know people who failed the 11 plus and went on to graduate from university later and have successful careers. It looks as if your daughter is going to do well too.

      Eleven might be a bit early to separate children into different types of school unless good provision is made for late developers. Boys are actually more likely to fall into that category than girls.

      • James Bolivar DiGriz

        “unless good provision is made for late developers”
        There is, in the form of the 13+. My grammar school took in boys in the third year on the basis of that.

        I have heard, albeit anecdotally, that teachers who were opposed to the selection system not only did not tell parents about this but even actively tried to talk the parents out of using that route.

      • CliveM

        I think the real scandal is how boys are currently being let down by the education system.

        • Cressida de Nova

          At some stage Clive, you are going to have to realise that girls are smarter than boys !

          • CliveM

            Well certainly harder working and better focused.

            Boys I find tend to have the concentration span of a nat!

          • IanCad

            Or a that of a gnewt.
            Sorry Clive, I realize the hazards of smart-assery and am sure it will come back to bite me. Already shamed myself once on this thread and couldn’t resist the opportunity to get something write.

          • CliveM

            PS I did spot your deliberate mistake!

    • James Bolivar DiGriz

      “My daughter… was denied an academic focus by an arbitrary percentage and a flawed test”
      In what was in the 11+ flawed? Why is have a cut-off figure arbitrary?

      “This is an unnecessary … test”
      How do you suggest that children are allocated to the correct school then?

      “that makes children feel bad, different, inferior”
      No, it is people like you telling you daughter that she failed the 11+ that causes that. It is not a pass/fail test but one designed to select the appropriate school.

      “If there was a need for a sheep and goats divide then there may be some point to it, but there is none these days”
      So you obviously believe that no examination into the sporting, musical, mathematical, technical, etc abilities of children should take place before they are sent to a particular school. How do you propose to deal with over-subscribed schools?

      “Teachers want the best for children”
      Strange then that teachers have (sadly successfully) campaigned against there being sufficient and sufficiently good teachers in schools.

      “all the teachers I know oppose selective schools”
      To use a Guardian CiF comment – The plural of anecdote is not data.

      “My daughter is one of the 22% sorted incorrectly by the 11-plus”
      Evidence?

      “She had a rotten secondary modern education because of it”
      So what happened in the 13+?

    • Inspector General

      …a rotten secondary modern education” ??

      The second level of school after Grammar was Technical High. A great place to go if you showed manual dexterity and some degree of brightness. How come Secondary Modern for your girl ??

      This is an unnecessary and highly old fashioned test that makes children feel bad, different, inferior.

      Ha! Children not suited for a Grammar education don’t have it in them to feel any of that. It’s the parents who feel bad, different, inferior. That’s the way it happens. Perhaps they deserve to. If they had encouraged their progeny to do something else apart from sitting goggled eyed in front of a TV or on a play station for hours on end, like reading books and lots of them, then perhaps the child wouldn’t have ‘shamed’ the family and it might even have made a bit more of an effort at school. But of course, it’s always someone else’s fault, isn’t it? Never you. Educating your child is someone else’s business – you don’t have to lift a finger…

  • len

    I wonder just how much damage is done to impressionable minds by just travelling through our education system?.
    ‘Good schools’ or’ bad schools’ probably all teach the same politically correct agendas to our children.

    Once a child has passed through these ‘Universities of Secularism ‘all conception of a Creation or a Creator has probably been drummed out of them…

    Anyway back to the thread.

    • Sarky

      Thats because schools are there to teach facts.

      • The Explorer

        What planet are you living on?

        • Sarky

          Well….my school taught me it was earth, which is a fact.

          • 1649again

            I fear things have changed somewhat. Feelings now matter more than facts in some subjects.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Right. And as for learning/practicing how to process the facts logically, and how to apply them beneficially, well …

          • Royinsouthwest

            What fact did you learn about the 9th “planet” which, for the best part of a century, was Pluto?

            Do you feel that we should Make Pluto Great Again?

          • Sarky

            Nah, was more of a micky mouse fan.

          • Anton

            Tom and Jerry!

        • Martin

          TE

          He lives on the planet where he is always right.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZDewhEHKD0

          • Sarky

            Thats kind of you to let me live on your planet.

          • 1649again

            You’re made in God’s image too.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            We’re immensly kind to you.

      • IanCad

        What facts? Not yet come across any young person who can recite the dates of the Kings and Queens of England, nor any who can name the counties, county towns and the rivers on which they sit. Ask them to multiply two three digit numbers in their head. Ha! Ha! Ha!
        Draw a rough Mercator map of the world.
        Ask them to tell you all they know about sex. Better bring a sleeping bag.

        • Sarky

          Probably because they learn useful facts that they might actually need.

          • Anton

            School should be to teach difficult facts. Sex is too easy nowadays.

          • Sarky

            Speak for yourself!

          • 1649again

            I think that’s a bit rose-tinted Sarky. One of the great tragedies for me Sarky is seeing degree educated kids having to take call centre jobs in companies I’ve run. I get quite angry about it because they’ve got £30k debt and are doing jobs that they’re suited for because they’re not sharp enough or knowledgeable enough to do what I would consider a proper graduate job. They’re been lied to and wasted three years. Some will never recover. Even worse ever more are therefore doubling down and doing post graduate courses because they can’t get suitable employment with a degree. The education system is a prostituted racket now.

          • Sarky

            Personally, i think that unless you require a degree for a chosen profession, then it’s a waste of time and money.
            I went to work after 6th form and gained the experience to get into the profession I’m in now. Ive since done a degree paid for by my employer, that’s relevant to my work. I’ve told my kids that doing a degree for the sake of it is pointless and will land them with a lifetime of debt.

          • 1649again

            Entirely agree.

          • Anton

            Depends what courses they did where. If they did degree courses in media studies at some jumped-up poly then they knew pretty well that they were going for three years of partying (ie, drinking, smoking dope and sex) involving no significant intellectual effort, and now they must pay the bill. Others deserve the sympathy you refer to, of course.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            What they really need is not facts but the ability to think and thus to work out what is a fact and what is just an opinion. Sadly you never achieved that.

          • Sarky

            Yawn.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Is education too hard a subject for you?

        • betteroffoutofit

          Must say I wonder if any of ’em can manage this creative combination of chemical facts and Victorian/Edwardian art! And the writer didn’t even go to an English grammar school — though he did make it to Harvard!

          • IanCad

            No doubt about it – Tom Lehrer is a genius.

      • Anton

        The great public (ie, private, boarding) schools of the Victorian era existed to provide Empire administrators. Modern State schools exist to provide unthinking Labour voters. In both cases that is what the immediate funders wanted (the upper and upper-middle classes, and the State respectively): he who pays the piper calls the tune. Mathematical and physico-chemical truths are fairly apolitical but other subjects less so.

      • len

        LOL…..Evolution is unprovable…

        • Sarky

          No its not.(do some research)

          God however……

    • IanCad

      We could reduce much of the damage by lowering the leaving age by several years. One year’s work is worth several in the classroom.

  • betteroffoutofit

    Exactly, Your Grace: “And the poorest could rise to attain the highest: the sons of miners could become a Nobel prize-winner and the daughters of grocers could become prime minister.” And that “social mobility” had been with us from the time of the first Christian schools in England (7th century): the system was enabled and developed by the Church.
    So what’s with these anti-Christian religionists? They claim that their pretend forebears were wrong? Couldn’t be that the system’s been infiltrated by Communists/Marxists who’ve taken over and turned it to their own ends, could it?

    It’s also Interesting that, once more, the Puddle is starring in this debate. What’s up? Are they all deifying John Lennon, or something?

  • IanCad

    The entire educational industry needs a complete overhaul to reflect the advances of the computer age. Teaching methods have not changed in any meaningful way for many hundreds of years. Schools and classrooms are, essentially, obsolete. Every home is a library; every child is capable of logging on to any of the increasing number of digital schools ( Khan Academy) and learning at their own pace. Yes! I know, the question of application and discipline must be addressed, but I’m sure there are ways and means.
    There can surely be no more inefficient way of teaching so little, and at such expense, than our current system. Same applies to our universities; most courses could be provided online by only the very best of our professors – there are still some left.
    Most educational buildings should be made redundant, that would free up a tremendous acreage of buildable land.
    Radical reform is needed now.

    • 1649again

      Just privatise the whole lot and give parents vouchers which they can top up if they wish.

      • IanCad

        A good first step. Another idea mooted about a few years ago, and to which I was then vehemently opposed, was the suggestion that we should pay the children according to what they learn. With students being able to study on their own time and in their homes, that revolutionary step now seems worth considering; particularly as the annual cost of education is over 22,000.00 per child.

        • chefofsinners

          Are you going to have to stay in at playtime again?

    • Sarky

      Cant have my kids doing university at home…..where would i put the safe space??

      • 1649again

        Utility room? That way they’d never use it and might have to face the world.

      • IanCad

        Yours or theirs?

    • Royinsouthwest

      One valuable part of university education is being able to ask questions of and discuss things with good professors. If thousands of people are following a course using teaching materials devised by one of those “best professors” nobody is likely to get the chance to ask him/her questions and even if they did the professor would not know them from Adam and therefore would not know how much the student knew already, what his/her strengths and weaknesses were and how best to help them.

      • IanCad

        Email works just fine.

        • Royinsouthwest

          No it doesn’t. If you had every student in the country following a course on the Wars of the Roses by the best professor on the subject then, as I pointed out, he/she would not have the time to answer their questions and would know nothing about their level of understanding.

          • IanCad

            If he was doing a good job there would be few questions. An enterprising student would seek answers from other sources related to the subject.

          • CliveM

            Actually the better the job, the more questions he’s likely to generate. It means the pupils are engaged.

    • bluedog

      Couldn’t disagree more. A key element of education is socialisation, and you can’t do that on a laptop. School is where you learn you are not God’s gift, that incredibly, there really are people who may be brighter, stronger and more amusing that you. Your earlier remarks about staying too long at school are wrong too. After about age16, you really start to extend if you are in the right environment.

      • Anton

        Home-schooled children I encounter seem to interact well to me.

        • bluedog

          Maybe. But is a highly protective environment the best place to learn about the worst in human nature?

          • Inspector General

            Right on, that dog. At one’s school, you came into contact with what can only be described as the children of gentlemen thugs in some cases. They paid for their boy to go there if they hadn’t passed the 11 plus. A few scrapes, but what lad hasn’t gone through that. A learning curve on both sides it was, but when it came to an end, we were all the best of friends. Still in contact with some of them now, four decades on…

          • IanCad

            No need to learn first hand.
            “Experience holds a dear school, but fools will learn from no other”– Ben Franklin
            Besides, most homeschoolers have plenty of social contact.

        • chefofsinners

          Yes, they learn to interact with adults far better than with other children.

          • Anton

            Come and see the ones in our congregation.

          • chefofsinners

            I have seen a large sample size and followed them through to adulthood. The two things that stand out are:
            i) a tendency to false spirituality which crumbles when they become adults and genuinely choose for themselves.
            ii) a complete lack of awareness that they are irritating the pants off the world at large.

          • Anton

            All schooling was home schooling for most people for most of human history.

      • IanCad

        Precious little socialization going on nowadays, except through the i-phone. As to learning about the abilities of others, those lessons would be far faster learned in a working environment where cocky young folks would be mixed in with older and wiser colleagues.

      • chefofsinners

        This is true, but Ian has a point when it comes to content. Stuffing children’s heads with the best of 19th century knowledge and literature is not going to equip them for a future 20 to 100 years hence which we can’t even imagine. We must teach socialisation, creativity, innovation, skills, flexibility, how to think rather than what to think, questioning, self-discipline and moral courage. It is light-on-their-feet learners who will inherit the future.

        • betteroffoutofit

          But … “the best of 19th century knowledge and literature” reflects real life and real human nature, as well as some carefully considered responses to real history! If the young never interact with, process, and reflect upon those facts and thoughts – how can they develop the ideals you list? I don’t advocate ‘stuffing their heads,’ then, so much as providing them (good-quality) material to work with. Our benighted species has been on this planet for a long time, and we have developed very, very, very slowly. We won’t speed things up by encouraging our progeny to be “those who ignore history … .”

          As for our not being able to imagine the short-term future of ‘Homo not-so-very-Sapiens’ — well, let’s not forget how long inhumanity dreamt about being able to fly. So another old aphorism comes to mind. That’s the one about seeing further because, when adequately educated, we can “stand on the shoulders of giants.” Methinks that involves looking in all directions.
          Those who brought us this far built, often painstakingly, on previous knowledge. They didn’t get struck by lightning and suddenly turn “Star Trek” into reality (“virtual” or otherwise).

      • CliveM

        Agreed, you also wouldn’t learn cooperation.

    • Martin

      Ian

      The Internet is a source of an amazing amount of untruth. Adults come a cropper all the time, children would just be lost.

      • IanCad

        So true Martin but there are many reliable and vetted institutions who provide online education.

        • Martin

          Ian

          But how to keep a child to them.

          • IanCad

            Pay ‘Em. As I wrote a few comments down. I know! Shocking! Just Shocking! But it may be worth considering.

  • Inspector General

    Every society has within it, the academically gifted.

    Grammar school for this Inspector was damned hard work. Your mind would be stretched on a daily basis. You were propelled along or dragged along. Yes, it was tough, but worthwhile. We knew we were not being educated so as to lay bricks, bend pipes, wire fuse boxes or drive white vans, and what is wrong with that, one asks. Those who do those tasks are much better suited and would make an infinitely better job of it than we who could appreciate the periodic table.

    A child whose abilities lie in the manually dextrous wouldn’t thank anyone for being placed in a grammar school for reasons above. So why should the academically bright one thank the Church of England for confining him or her to the one size fits all Comprehensive. To become a professional, you have to work hard, and to be frank, grammar schools introduce you to serious learning at an early age. The bright who go through the Comprehensive system are thus disadvantaged to a degree. They had it comparatively easy due to their mental abilities as young teenagers. They will now be shocked to find that if they are going to reach their goal, it’s head down from then on and much study.

    We don’t do any of the children, bright or dextrous, any favours by frowning on grammar schools…

    • IanCad

      “We knew we were not being educated so as to lay bricks, bend pipes, wire fuse boxes or drive white vans”
      And thus you learned to be a most superior person and despise lesser mortals.

      • Inspector General

        Standards, Ian. We must strive for higher standards or we lose what we have, which we have done. No torn jeans or rubbish T shirts for this man. Or tattoos come to that. The mob can have those. Grammar schooling taught the Inspector not to run with the herd…

        • IanCad

          Higher standards should be the goal for all. I see no connection between a Grammar School education and individuality – in fact the very opposite. Keeping a young person in an institution until they are eighteen or so generally produces a conformist, obedient, unimaginative and thoroughly uninteresting adult.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Not in my experience – unless you’re teaching them ‘political correctness’ or other marxist dogma. At my grammar school they expected, nay, required us to do our own thinking.

          • IanCad

            How long ago?

          • betteroffoutofit

            ‘Bout 55-60. Despite that’s being in an extremely socialist area, I didn’t pick up on, or catch on to, the concept of unopposed Marxism. When I later returned to university and saw it at work, the contrast was striking.

      • Royinsouthwest

        In fairness to the Inspector General he did admit that the people who do such tasks are much better at it than he would be. Where I differ from the IG is that I would say that being a bricklayer, say, doesn’t mean that you are bound to be ignorant of history, music, literature, general knowledge etc.

        Winston Churchill was good at bricklaying. He wasn’t too bad at English literature, history, or politics either!

        The other lives of Sir Winston Churchill
        http://www.express.co.uk/expressyourself/234442/The-other-lives-of-Sir-Winston-Churchill

        • Inspector General

          Have a brother who’s a self employed electrician. It’s what he wanted to do from a young age. In his late forties now, and he’s qualified to work on industrial voltage. That starts from 330V. A very unforgiving potential difference if you get it wrong.

          • Anton

            Inspector, I’d have expected you to advocate Darwinism as the way to sort out competent from incompetent electricians monkeying around with large voltages.

          • Inspector General

            Yes, the law of natural selection does apply when it comes to high voltage and messing around it. The young fellow is a good decade junior to the Inspector. No telling him, but he’s marvellously content anyway.

          • Bernard from Bucks

            I think your brother will tell you it is 440 v.
            Three phase Inspector, three phase.

    • chefofsinners

      The academically gifted frequently resemble a car with a V12 engine and bald tyres: Unable to use the power for lack of a grip on the real world. The comprehensive system does them a great favour by gouging out a bit of tread.

      • IanCad

        An excellent analogy! It is my observation that all too often, those academically gifted have a profound lack of commonsense.

      • Anton

        May I remind you of Ecclesiastes 10:2?

        • chefofsinners

          And may I remind you of Ecclesiastes 7:10?

          • Anton

            Good job the Jews didn’t heed that verse in Babylon. Context, Chef, context…

          • chefofsinners

            This evening’s prize for tenuous interpretation must surely go to your application of Eccles 10:2

          • Anton

            Taken as a compliment! NIV translates this verse best.

          • chefofsinners

            It is the secret of a long and happy life: take everything as a compliment.

      • Inspector General

        No, disagree. The academically gifted today have a real idea of how things are.

        • chefofsinners

          Perhaps you disagree because you lack either academic gift, or the ability to apply it.

          • Inspector General

            Probably a subtle mixture of both…

            But for all one’s faults, wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • 1649again

    I’m in the fortunate position to send my sons to a top public school. One of the reasons we took on this eye wateringly costly commitment was not only because of its rigorous academics (although they select from the top 50% at 13) but the strong sporting, arts and pastoral sides, and far from least, a very strong and active Christian ethos. Theology is compulsory until 16 and there are two Christian chaplains full time.

    It’s unbelievably good in terms of teachers, results, all round qualities of the pupils, discipline etc. The frightening thing is if Ian is right and that the total annual cost per pupil in the state sector is £22k, for only another 50% they could go to a top full time boarding school.

    The other interesting feature with which I agree is that they select at 13 not 11, when boys are a bit more mature, and on developing the fuller character, not just results in narrow tests. It’s no accident to me that public school educated people increasingly dominate in terms of sport success, and professional success.

    • Dave

      popping over to GP later mush?

      • 1649again

        No, but thanks for asking Dave. Much appreciated.

        • I’m from Barcelona

          SFB laid it on strong a little earlier. Severe warning to the idiots; you had many supporters.

          • 1649again

            Thanks mate He’s been in touch. I just don’t feel the same about it now – will see how I feel after Holy Week. If you can’ speak up for decency and compassion for the victim I’m not sure a free speech ethos is worth a lot.

          • Snotsicle

            Have a good Easter. Things will have calmed down at the other place by then and the riot act has been well & truly read.

          • 1649again

            Thank you Sir. Much appreciated.

          • I’m from Barcelona

            I’m in 100% agreement with you; take a sabbatical, let Holy Week run its’ course, and don’t be disillusioned by one or two idiots. Your erudition would be sorely missed by many. Keep your chin up mate, it’s often darkest before the dawn.

    • chefofsinners

      My children are also at an eye-wateringly expensive school, for similar reasons. First of all, the Christian foundation, pastoral care, daily chapel services and compulsory RE. Second, the school’s strict discipline and work ethic. Third, the all-round curriculum.
      Although academically selective and highly successful in terms of results, that aspect of the school is a distant also-ran in my reasons for the big spend.

      • 1649again

        Me too. There’s one of the top grammar schools five miles from where we leave and my sister sends her boys there. It’s free but is essentially an academic forced marching ground aimed purely at A level league tables. Massively over subscribed of course but loads of dietary and drugs problems, little achievement in other walks of life, and oddly despite in many years getting the best state A level results I’ve never met an adult from it at the top of any business or profession. I fear the burn out rate post leaving is pretty horrific. Education is a hole lot more than exam results.

        • Royinsouthwest

          Sorry to be a pedant but “Education is a hole lot more than exam results.” No it is not, but it may be a whole lot more than exam results!

          • 1649again

            Just noticed it myself. I’m terrible at spotting my own typos. Pedantry’s fine when it’s done with humour.

    • IanCad

      ” if Ian is right and that the total annual cost per pupil in the state sector is £22k–“
      Ian may not be right and he himself is currently trying to get an accurate figure.

      • chefofsinners

        I would be surprised. State schools are funded at around £6K per pupil.

        • 1649again

          I’m sure it’s more than that, although perhaps if one adds in the bureaucracy, pensions etc it gets to a much higher figure?

          • chefofsinners

            No, that includes everything. It varies wildly by local authority; sometimes more, sometimes considerably less. Unless you want to include the department for education’s spending on teenage advisors, ministerial salaries and revising the curriculum every five minutes.

          • 1649again

            Perhaps Ian can explain his figures?

          • IanCad

            Darn Daily Telegraph tripped me up. Edited the relevant post to explain/excuse/blame

    • Snotsicle

      Just out of interest, does the public school receive a proportion of that £22k which would otherwise have been spent on the child’s education or does it remain in the system?

      • chefofsinners

        No. The money remains in the state system, saving the taxpayer an estimated £3 billion a year.

        • Snotsicle

          Ta. Guessed as much!

      • 1649again

        No. Nothing at all although it’s not subject to VAT and is a charity so thee’s no tax, as it does not run a profit. It’s amazing the number of top people it’s produced – Turing, Chris Martin, film stars, actors, but few politicians!

        The thing that really moves me is the walls of the stairs leading to the chapel – they’re covered with literally hundreds and hundreds of names of ex-pupils who’ve died fighting for Britain since 1900. It’s heart breaking but also a source of sorrowdful pride.

        • Snotsicle

          I heard it mooted that the VAT situation may be changing, unfortunately.
          Those lists of names of people you never knew but were taken too soon in war are always very sad.

        • Anton

          Not sure how much Turing appreciated Sherborne. Andrew Hodges’ biography of him managed a triple meaning in the title of its first edition! (The Enigma of Intelligence.)

          • John Knox’s left foot

            Sherborne isn’t a public school

          • Anton

            I didn’t say it was! It’s where Turing was sent, and Turing’s school was mentioned above.

    • Holger

      I was educated at a Christian school. I have no idea exactly how much money was ploughed into my education because of course my parents never talked about such things. Boasting about how they were impoverishing themselves to give their son the best start in life wasn’t their style. They didn’t feel the need to virtue signal like that.

      If you think a Christian education will ensure your children espouse Christianity, think again. My experience of the blinkered and hypocritical dévots who educated me showed me exactly how empty, futile and self-serving religious faith really is.

      Still, I wouldn’t encourage you to move your children to a state school in order to save money. If Christians want to throw away their income trying to brainwash their children into belief, they should be free to do so. Children generally approach such experiences with a sanguine attitude and only become devotees if they’re naturally inclined toward obsessive/compulsive behaviour, in which case they’ll probably zero in on Christianity as offering endless opportunities for meaningless ritual anyway, regardless of where they’re educated.

      The majority of children at Christian schools share my disgust with the futility of faith, but will outwardly conform to their parents’ and teachers’ expectations until they become adults and can do what they like.

      Well do I remember late night dormitory conversations about the relative demerits of the band of sad old has-beens, wrecks and gibbering obsessives who taught us. The masters we admired were the younger, secular, pragmatic kind. Sadly there were too few of them, but my nephews tell me things have changed since my day and that, gibbering monks being in short supply in the modern world, they were and their children are routinely taught by the kind of master I and my peer group admired so much.

      It’s this contrast between the positive experience provided by secular influences and the sad, embarrassing, one might say cringe-making spectacle of ancient virgins (or so they say) trying (but failing) to persuade young people that godgasms are better than orgasms that makes a Christian education such a counterproductive thing.

      In saying that, I can’t fault the academic excellence of my school. As the religious element is like water off a duck’s back to most children, it probably won’t do them any lasting harm. And if it impoverishes their gibbering Christian parents and channels their income away from the political causes that might otherwise receive a level of support that could be problematic for our secular social settlement, so much the better.

      So go ahead and scrape by to put your kids through a Christian school. The chances are they’ll reject your faith anyway and then you’ll have the satisfaction of being able to berate them as ingrates and sinners as you eke out a penniless existence in your twilight years. A win/win situation: your kids will have received a better than average education and you’ll able to indulge your martyrdom syndrome to the full.

      I do pity them when they have to deal with your final decline though. Let’s hope their good start in life means they’ll earn enough to bundle you away in some grim Christian care home where the pious staff will only too gladly listen to your tale of woe about how you did everything for your kids, but the devil still got them. Endless opportunities for wailing and the tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth. If you still have any…

      • Manfarang

        My wife went to a Christian high school, she follows the teachings of the Buddha.

        • Holger

          Not every O/C personality chooses Christianity as the vehicle of its mania.

          • Manfarang

            Just because she keeps the house clean and tidy does not make her O/C.
            In fact she has a very rationalist outlook.

          • Holger

            Buddhists tend to be a little less gibbering than other religionists. Their energies may be focused on perfecting themselves, which makes them just as egotistical and self-serving as any Christian, but they don’t project that perfected image onto the universe and call it “god”, so they’re less of a problem for the people around them.

            Taken at face value, Buddhism can be viewed as a simple desire to move through life causing as little harm to others as possible. This makes it the least objectionable of the major world religions. Of course it has its gibbering zealots too. When they start ranting on about their dhukka and their dharma and their samsara, they can be every bit as boring as Christians. But on the whole, they seem to approach their faith in a pragmatic way and don’t impose it on others. This makes them relatively harmless as far as religionists go.

            Let’s hope for her sake that your wife has perfected the techniques of meditation and detachment from the material world that would let her cope with having a gibbering, evangelizing Christian for a husband. One would have to be a supremely calm person to put up with the ecstatic and melodramatic nonsense your faith specialises in. I don’t think I could do it, but then religious faith of any kind has always been a deal breaker in my relationships.

            How anyone can fall in love with the “Three Es”: egomania, ego-projection and elitism, has always been beyond me. There’s nothing quite as selfish as a religionist who wraps total self-involvement up in a thin cloak of altruism. It’s deeply unattractive. But each to his (or her, or zer) own, I suppose.

          • Anton

            My karma has run over your dogma.

          • Holger

            I have no dogma for your karma to run over. A position of “I don’t know” is the opposite of dogmatic. It allows for all possibilities while still being lucid enough to assign probability based on evidence.

          • Anton

            Beneath that, you have your faith; you just aren’t making its tenets explicit. But some of them show.

          • Manfarang

            With the exception of the death of Jesus on the cross, and of the Christian doctrine of atonement, the most ancient Buddhist records had similarities with the Christian traditions.
            Late in the 20th century, historian Jerry H. Bentley also wrote of similarities and stated that it is possible “that Buddhism influenced the early development of Christianity” and suggested “attention to many parallels concerning the births, lives, doctrines, and deaths of the Buddha and Jesus”. Some high level Buddhists have drawn analogies between Jesus and Buddhism, e.g. in 2001 the Dalai Lama stated that “Jesus Christ also lived previous lives,” and added that “So, you see, he reached a high state, either as a Bodhisattva, or an enlightened person, through Buddhist practice or something like that”.
            So in that respect I live in a calm and peaceful house.

          • Holger

            Syncretism makes for domestic bliss, does it?

            Whatever rows your boat is fine with me. It’s when you try to sink other people’s that I begin to object.

          • Manfarang

            I am not sinking anyone’s boat.You make your own journey.

          • Holger

            Buddhists tend to be a little less gibbering than other religionists. Their energies may be focused on perfecting themselves, which makes them just as egotistical and self-serving as any Christian, but they don’t project that perfected image onto the universe and call it “god”, so they’re less of a problem for the people around them.

            Taken at face value, Buddhism can be viewed as a simple desire to move through life causing as little harm to others as possible. This makes it the least objectionable of the major world religions. Of course it has its gibbering zealots too. When they start ranting on about their dhukka and their dharma and their samsara, they can be every bit as boring as Christians. But on the whole, they seem to approach their faith in a pragmatic way and don’t impose it on others. This makes them relatively harmless as far as religionists go.

            Let’s hope for her sake that your wife has perfected the techniques of meditation and detachment from the material world that would let her cope with having a gibbering, evangelizing Christian for a husband. One would have to be a supremely calm person to put up with the ecstatic and melodramatic nonsense your faith specialises in. I don’t think I could do it, but then religious faith of any kind has always been a deal breaker in my relationships.

            How anyone can fall in love with the “Three Es”: egomania, ego-projection and elitism, has always been beyond me. There’s nothing quite as selfish as a religionist who wraps total self-involvement up in a thin cloak of altruism. It’s deeply unattractive. But each to his (or her, or zer) own, I suppose.

          • Manfarang

            Well there is a statue of Jao Mae Guam Im in my living room and Phra Sangkajai.

          • Holger

            I have no idea who either of those two persons are, nor do I wish to.

            I have no statues in my living room. Indeed I have no living room. Neither do I have a lounge, nor a front room, nor a kitchenette, nor a toilet, nor a “barfroom”. This is because I’m not a jumped-up lower middle class oik whose low horizons are reflected in the dismal names he gives to the rooms he lives in.

            In my drawing room I have a statue of Zeus. He also stares down at himself from a canvas on the wall, while Hera storms off in a huff and Aphrodite lolls about like an overweight call girl who’s just landed a plum client. This in no way implies my devotion to the Ancient Greek religion. It’s just art. And jolly ugly art too. But my ancestor had it cemented to the wall, so there it must stay until either the wall falls down or I decide to hack it off and donate it to a museum.

            The various deities you plaster your home with may be viewed by future generations more as decorating disasters than expressions of faith.

          • Manfarang

            OK statuettes in my parlour if you feel upstaged.

          • IanCad

            O/C??

      • 1649again

        You really are a hate filled bitter little person, it’s so bad it must be pathological. I recommend you get help. I’ve never responded to your rantings before because I pity you. You are actually an extreme caricature of your proclivities.

        There’s no virtue signalling involved at all. It’s purely a matter of priorities. We put our children’s education first because that’s the one thing no one can ever take away from them. We have never had a foreign holiday etc. It’s about priorities.

        We are fortunate that we have greater choices than most people because although my wife and I started with nothing, went to state schools etc, and so value what we never had.

        As you clearly live a lifestyle of gratuitous self- indulgence and self worship you have no understanding of parental love for children. We cannot compel them to be Christians. They may reject it and then on fuller maturity come back to it. That’s their choice.

        My point was that there are learnings from private education for state education. It’s not just a matter of money. Selection has its place, but perhaps 13 is better, and not just on very narrow academic criteria.

        • CliveM

          Not responding is best. Although that is advice I’ve not necessarily followed myself. ☹️

          • 1649again

            I agree, and it is a policy I have always followed with this individual, but this was a personal attack which needed answering. I will not do so again but will block.

            I respect Sarky’s point of view, indeed it’s one I shared myself once. He generally does not indulge in histrionics and ad homs (unlike another occasional poster on here I see) and one can sometimes reach a measure of agreement with him.

          • CliveM

            Sarky’s basically a decent person.

            Linus however…………….

      • Anton

        While you are wrong about the truth of Christianity, you make some good points about schools. I was raised atheist and hated school prayers, which I reckon significantly delayed my conversion. (The one thing I took from school was a love of the English hymnal, but that is because in those days the music was still good.) I would also never encourage anybody to send their children to a boarding school.

      • bluedog

        Ampleforth or Downside, which is to blame?

        • Anton

          Stonyhurst?

          • bluedog

            Certainly another possibility. However, the lack of a withering response to the earlier speculation may suggest that one or the other is correct.

      • len

        Obviously the venom you feel towards Christians is a result of incompatibility with your own lifestyle choices.Fair enough, walk away from Christianity …job done. But why keep returning to express your hate for Christians?.Obviously an issue you cannot deal with?.
        Is it just Christianity or do you have the same issues with Islam?.
        I do not agree with the lifestyle choices of Peter Tatchell but he defends his beliefs against all religions under his own name.I respect him for that.
        Would you do the same?.

        • Holger

          O the stylised vocabulary of the Christian Right!

          “Lifestyle choices” is a meaningless phrase. I live my life according to who I am. I can’t “choose” to be anyone else.

          My reasons for stating another point of view on this blog are well documented and need not be repeated. Call them hatred if you like. Contempt and pity certainly inform them, but hate plays no role.

          To hate you have first to have loved. And how can you love those who only love themselves? Narcissism is the defining Christian characteristic. You have no need of my love. You get everything you need from yourself.

          • len

            Your ‘answer’ is no answer at all.
            Pity you could not be honest about this?

      • chefofsinners

        Since you have no children, you have no stake in the future of society or in education. All this bluster about your schooling and other people’s futures is entirely for your own enjoyment, self-centred like every aspect of your pitiful life, deriving joy from insulting and deriding others. Who will look after you when you are old? When you are dribbling, will strangers care that your parents were too refined to mention the cost of your schooling? All you have to look forward to is the pain of slowly losing everything you value.
        Christians have this: the sure and certain hope of everlasting life. Is it so awful that your parents wanted to give you the same?

        • Holger

          I’ll be looked after by those I pay to look after me. Only the penurious and indigent rely on the charity of strangers. Either that or they burden their children with their care.

          What those who rise from the mud to relative prosperity fail to realise is that a relationship of mutual respect and even affection can develop between a considerate employer and his staff. I’ll be far better taken care of by loyal long-term employees than you will be by your resentful and overburdened children. “Mad Old Dad the God Botherer” they’ll call you, if they stick around to call you anything at all.

          Blood of your blood and flesh of your flesh won’t shield you from a bitter and lonely old age. You may have selfishly brought children into the world in order to assure yourself of care in your dotage, but the days when elderly parents ruled their progeniture with a rod of iron are long gone. Prepare yourself for a card at Christmas and a quarterly phone call. That’s what family support means nowadays. Millions of parents can attest to that fact. How sure are you that you won’t be one of them?

          • chefofsinners

            Rise from the mud? I have very little French ancestry. Nothing much in the paternal line since Louis XII.
            It is not your employees who wil rob you of joy, comfort and dignity. It is decay and death, enemies which only Christ can defeat.

      • Inspector General

        There’s a thing!

        The Inspector had it in his mind that you were schooled by drug addicts, bestials and pederasts in some filthy Paris commune. Sleeping in a somewhat damp and sticky and smelly gay sauna at night.

        How could he have got it so wrong!

        Perhaps it’s the way you turned out…

  • chefofsinners

    I have an intimate knowledge of one of the CoE’s three existing grammar schools. Parents send their children to the local private schools if they can’t get them into the grammar. Other state schools in the area contain no wealthy and no academic pupils; low ability and low aspirations. As you might imagine, it’s a tricky clientele. Tricky to recruit and retain the best teachers- guess where they all want to teach? Tricky to get a decent Ofsted grade when the league tables compare you with schools that have a more advantaged intake. Tricky to motivate teenagers who know they’re already at the bottom of the pile.

  • 1649again

    Grammar school boy.

    • Cressida de Nova

      Another fantasy !

  • Anton

    Re the costs of State education, raised in discussion below, I quote from chapter 14 of Dominic Frisby’s book “Life After the State”:

    in 2012 the total UK government spending on education (excluding tertiary) was about 90 billion pounds [based on HM Treasury data]. There are currently more than 9.6 million pupils in pre-primary, primary and secondary education, of which about 620,000 attend private school [DoE data]. If you divide the 90 billion pounds by the 9 million pupils in State education, you arrive at 10,000 pounds per year per child. According to Independent School Fees Advice, the average cost of private school fees in the UK is 10,200pa. The Independent Schools Council 2012 Census has it a little higher at around 11,000 pounds.In other words, for almost the same money it spends, the government could send every child in the UK to private school…

    …which, given how much better private education is, shows that money isn’t the problem, contrary to what everybody in State education grumbles.

    • 1649again

      Thanks. They’re more the numbers I recalled. I say again privatise the lot and give parents vouchers.

      • I’m from Barcelona

        There’s too many parents that would find a way to trade off vouchers for booze, drugs, or cigarettes. Still, the whole system needs root and branch reform.

      • Anton

        Obviously the best way to go. So sensible that the DoE will never do it.

      • chefofsinners

        This would add £3bn to the bill by giving vouchers to the likes of you and me, who are currently paying twice for our children’s education.

        • I’m from Barcelona

          Perhaps the shortfall could be made up by not giving any monies to immigrants that haven’t put a penny into the pot?

          • Inspector General

            No more ‘migrants’. It was the idle politicians way of sparing our benefit coasters from having to work. Now, after Brexit, they’ve run out of luck. They build railway too!

          • chefofsinners

            So children of immigrants would roam the streets?

          • 1649again

            In Lahore or Mogadishu hopefully.

        • 1649again

          You could let people leave at 15/16 and save a lot, as would reducing the proportion going into further education to a most 20%. That would save more than £3 bn I would think.

          • chefofsinners

            Or at twelve and save a lot more. Or go down the mines at six?

          • 1649again

            That’s not worthy of you Chef. For many decades it was 15, then 16, now higher. A lot of children simply don’t want to go on further in full time education and it can become counter productive. 16 would be fine, especially if they went into jobs with training. I know loads of people who did that and now have their own successful businesses. It’s a case of horses for courses.

          • chefofsinners

            Let me explain. For many decades the school leaving age was 12. Before that there was no school. People in those eras also founded successful businesses. Over time the leaving age has risen because of the increasing levels of knowledge and skills which the economy requires for workers to be productive. Some children have lost interest by the age of seven. What is good for them is not necessarily what they want.

          • Anton

            Untrue. Over time the school leaving age has risen to keep the unemployment figures down and to give them longer exposure to leftwing drivel.

          • chefofsinners

            If true this conspiracy must have been replicated in every developed economy. It makes little sense when the same governments are also raising the retirement age, drawing in foreign workers and encouraging women to join the workforce.

          • Anton

            It has been! Retirement age is about saving money too; foreign workers have fewer rights; and women join the workforce of their own volition for private not public reasons.

          • chefofsinners

            What? Your statements are riddled with inconsistencies. If the govt is conspiring to keep unemployment down, raising the retirement age has the opposite effect. So you say it’s about saving money. If it was that, then the school leaving age would be reduced.
            The govt actively encourages women to join the workforce by paying for childcare.
            EU migrants have the same rights as UK workers.

          • Anton

            The government is not trying to keep unemployment down, it is trying to keep unemployment *statistics* down; and keep unemployment benefits down. Not the same thing at all.

            Your Polish plumber prefers cash and no rights, doesn’t he?

          • CliveM

            Preferring cash isn’t limited to immigrant plumbers and self employed workers of all types rarely talk about rights.

          • chefofsinners

            Your English plumber is equally partial to cash in hand. It has nothing to do with employment rights. It is tax avoidance.

          • 1649again

            Since when has government ever had an integrated consistent policy? You’ll be saying they know what they’re doing next.

            It’s not unique to the UK, it’s common to every western democracy. For instance Moneyweek is just reporting the western economy debt figures. After the last financial explosion engineered by short termist oliticians one might have thought they’d learnt the lesson and had real austerity to reduce leverage in the itenrational economy?

            Er, no. Debt has increased by $70 trillion since the last peak in 2007/08 and average debt including private is now over 360% of GDP.

            So yes, it’s entirely credible, and indeed what one would expect of them.

          • chefofsinners

            So, to summarise, you think that successive governments – Labour, coalition and Conservative, have choosen to spend £11,000 a year keeping seventeen year-olds in school in order to save spending £5000 a year on job seeker’ allowance. This is because they are irrational.

            No doubt you are rational and will be saving yourself a small fortune by insisting that your own children leave school at 16.

          • 1649again

            Oh come on, that’s not what I’m saying at all. It’s a case of the left hand not caring what the right’s doing. Joined up government – don’t make me laugh!

          • 1649again

            Have you seen the European unemployment figures Chef?

            Encouraging huge numbers to people to study fake subjects like Media Studies at jumped up colleges and end up with debts of £30k is not education. It’s mis-selling and misrepresentation.

          • 1649again

            On the basis of argument you could argue for 21, 25 etc. My observation based on employing people is that many get little discernible benefit after 16. Some do but they’re the ones who want to do it.

          • chefofsinners

            21 is the normal leaving age, but 25 is about when a doctor will qualify. It just depends on the level of expertise required.

          • CliveM

            I think it’s true, if formal education has failed by 16, another two years isn’t likely to help much.

            However I think we need to ensure we don’t confuse education and training.

      • David Hawk

        Very sorry to read of your exile (self imposed?) from Going Postal. Still don’t understand the reason, I have only time to read a couple of dozen comments per day at the moment so am not sure what occasioned it. All best wishes anyway and hope you will come back soon.

        • 1649again

          Very kind of you David. I’m thinking it over during Holy Week but will not tolerate foul abuse or bullying. SFB and others have been in touch and they know my reasons – I have given SFB to share them with others if they want to understand.

          • I’m from Barcelona

            There’s an outpouring of support for you on GP today mate.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Good news…take him back there !

          • Cressida de Nova

            It is incongruous that you of all people could even have a concept of what Holy Week means. Perhaps you should refrain from abuse and bullying yourself if you don’t like being on the receiving end. Please return to the other site and spend as much time there as possible.Your bragging , whining and attention seeking behaviour is not welcome here.

          • Anton

            You are speaking without authority on behalf of others. I welcome his contributions.

    • chefofsinners

      Download the government’s own funding figures here. https://consult.education.gov.uk/funding-policy-unit/schools-national-funding-formula2/supporting_documents/Impact%20of%20the%20proposed%20schools%20NFF_20161220.xlsm

      Look up your local school and divide the figure by the number of pupils. The resulting sum will be between £3500 and £7000, depending whether you’re in a rural shire or inner London.

      • Anton

        That is obviously for 2016 rather than 2012, but I am deeply sceptical that the real figures declined by 50% in four years under Cameron (even before inflation) and I strongly suspect that the figures on the site you quote are accounted for differently from those from the Treasury from which Frisby did his calculation.

        • chefofsinners

          Yes, the DfE spends vast amounts at a departmental level, making very little difference to children.

          • Anton

            Well that’s its fault. It doesn’t have to.

      • Busy Mum

        When one considers that local councils spend between £2500 and £5000 per week on every child in their ‘care’, the annual education spending per pupil in this country looks rather miserly.

        • chefofsinners

          It is increasingly miserly. About a third to a quarter of what a good private school charges. Grammar schools are a cynical attempt to distract Tory voters from this fact. Judging by the comments on this site it’s working. Meanwhile, education spending is being cut and ordinary children are losing out.

          • Busy Mum

            As I said on a ‘grammar school’ thread at The Conservative Woman the other day, I take May’s ‘support’ for ‘grammar schools’ with a pinch of salt. The government’s current review of the National Funding Formula is taking even more money away from the existing grammar schools, which already receive less per pupil than non-grammars.

    • IanCad

      Thanks for that Anton. it goes some way toward wiping the egg from my face deposited thereon for my wildly inaccurate earlier figures. If we add in the costs of infrastructure, the sixteen hundred pounds per year it costs parents to provide uniforms, transportation etc. I would not be surprised if the true cost would be around 15k per student.
      Online Education Now!!!

      • Sarky

        What if the parents work?? (Which most have to these days) who would look after the kids?
        I know, we could put them all in a big building and have appropriate adults look after them……we could call it a school.

        • IanCad

          Groups of like-minded parents get together and can generally figure something out. Take it in turns to host and direct. Of course, for some parents without time or money, it is difficult. But, then again, instruction/supervision is not restricted to normal daytime school hours.

          • Sarky

            Hmmm still sounds like a school.

  • The Explorer

    “The needs of the many, not the few”. This is posited as a self-evident good, and what the Christian faith is all about. Christianity is not elitist.

    • Holger

      “Christianity is not elitist.”

      ROFL!

      Christianity is as elitist as it gets. From god’s chosen people to the idea of dividing humanity into the saved and unsaved to predestination to god’s elect, notions of elitism form the very basis of the belief system.

      The Christian elite may not be the same as other elites, but it’s no less of an elite for that.

      • The Explorer

        We seem to have crossed wires here.

        In the first paragraph I was focusing on the C of E view of the many. In the second paragraph, I was focusing on the biblical emphasis on the few.

        The C of E view owes far more to socialism than it does to the Bible. That Christianity is elitist (in a spiritual sense) was exactly my point. Apart from attributing to me an attitude that I do not hold, you have grasped the intention of the post perfectly.

        • CliveM

          Crossed wires? Kindly put. Deliberate and malicious misunderstanding more like.

          • The Explorer

            Malicious? Linus?

          • CliveM

            I’m going by previous experience.

          • bluedog

            ‘The C of E view owes far more to socialism than it does to the Bible.’

            Did you see the scattergrams in the Telegraph the other day, on well-known individuals, both living and dead, correlating nationalism/internationalism with socialistic and capitalistic economic attitudes? It was based on a survey with a high sample. Pride of place for an internationalist with socialist characteristics went to one Justin Welby. Out-ranking even, as one recalls, Marx and Lenin. Top nationalist/capitalist was Nigel Farage, who outranked both Thatcher and Churchill.

          • CliveM

            I think you meant to address this to Explorer.

          • bluedog

            Sorry, Clive. Yes, it was for him.

      • Anton

        But it’s an elite that anybody can join.

        • Holger

          Really? So can I join Christianity as someone who openly disavows all notions of god, messiahs and salvation?

          Who would baptise me in the name of deoxyribonucleic acid, the electromagnetic force and random chance?

          Christians constitute an elite (in their own minds – everyone else thinks you’re nutters) whose badge of belonging is a formalised set of beliefs. You don’t believe, you can’t be a member of the club.

          That’s the very definition of an elite.

          • Anton

            You can believe it if you wish. Do not speak as if your beliefs are determined for you. That raises other questions which I’m sure you can see…

          • Jon of GSG

            The definition of an elite is a group of people who share certain beliefs?
            I think you’ll struggle to find any dictionary that agrees with you. (And even if that were the case, you seem to have been reduced here to arguing that sharing certain beliefs with a minority of people is a bad thing, which isn’t very convincing…)

          • Holger

            No, the definition of elite is a group of people who share a set of beliefs and set themselves apart from society, claiming special privileges or favourable treatment.

            That’s about as accurate a description of Christianity as you can get.

            Christians claim to be a saved elite. You claim to be “not of this world”, while doing your level best to make the world play by your rules. You claim a special place for yourselves in a perfect paradise while the rest of us are to be consigned to hell unless we bow to your demands.

            That you think of yourselves as an elite is clear. The rest of the world regards you as a mere minority – and a querelous and unpleasant one at that. But in your own eyes you’re special people who should rule the world and tell the rest of us how to behave.

            This you will of course deny. It doesn’t suit your purposes to be seen for what you are. You want to project an image of humility when in reality there isn’t an ounce of humility in your inflated self-image. You know best, don’t you? You are right, everyone else is wrong.

            That’s the attitude of an elite. Privilege is yours by divine right, right?

            Wrong!

          • Jon of GSG

            I can’t find any dictionary, English or French, which agrees with your definition. Can you?

            And to say what you do say, well… The only person I’ve ever met who had such a low view of Christians which came from such wilful ignorance was also French. Coincidence maybe.

      • Inspector General

        It’s a funny old world, Holger.

        Over in the State of a Oklahoma, crowd of young LGBT types went to the capitol to agitate for queer rights. No surprise there, then. However, a member of staff took it upon herself to send out an e-mail warning “There are cross-dressers in the building”.

        A politico saw it, and was absolutely horrified. One can imagine his face draining of blood in an instant. He immediately distanced himself from the message, denounced it, and ordered an inquiry. He won’t forget that day in a hurry, what! Neither will one Pickles Lee, campaigner, 18, who said: “Never have I felt so unsupported… This email sort of escalated everything.”

        We feel your pain, son. We feel your pain.

        Now, there’s a word for such morbid fear like that exhibited, but the Inspector just can’t think of it at the moment. Can you help?

        http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/04/11/lgbt-students-trip-to-oklahoma-capitol-sparks-cross-dresser-warning-email/

  • michaelkx

    An idea put forward by the Lefty loves? There idea
    is that all children should be at the same level, you are on level 4
    you must be able to read the labour manifesto, and know a bout
    homosexuality. All children learn at a differing speed, some are
    late starters, like myself, but I was to catch up, and pass my
    old class mates. If children are held back so their class mates can
    catch up, it will lead to that child being bored and disruptive. The
    opposite will lead to the same result bored child equals disruptive
    child.

  • len

    I suppose we are all the results of ‘natural selection’ because we are the results of that one sperm that fertilised that egg.Unless of course you believe in ‘fate’.
    So is ‘the race to the swift and the weakest to go to the wall?’ And is that the attitude we should encourage and live by?.Hitler believed in natural selection and tried to put this philosophy into effect with the resultant tragedies for humanity.
    And is natural selection a philosophy (taken to its logical conclusion) that Christians should pursue?

    • Sarky

      natural selection
      noun
      the process by which forms of life having traits that better enable them to adapt to specific environmental pressures, as predators, changes in climate, or competition for food or mates, will tend to survive and reproduce in greater numbers than others of their kind, thus ensuring the perpetuation of those favorable traits in succeeding generations.

      Please tell me how what hitler did, has anything to do with the above.

      • len

        Eugenics.

        ‘The term was first proposed in 1883 by Charles Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton, and consists of a combination of two Greek words; eu (good) and genet (birth). Put together, the word implies “well-born,” or “genetic soundness.” In contrast to its linguistic meaning, however, far from connoting good, this concept leads to savage cruelty’.

        http://www.naturalselectionanddarwinism.com/eugenics.htm

        Also;

        https://www.trueorigin.org/holocaust.php

        • Sarky

          Which is what i was saying. It is not the same as natural selection.

          • len

            The two are mutually inclusive.

          • Sarky

            Dont be ignorant.

    • Anton

      Natural selection is not a philosophy. It is how genes get preferentially selected when, for example, a virus passes through and kills those who do not have the gene for immunity. To adopt it as a philosophy (as Hitler did) instantly makes it Unnatural selection.

      • carl jacobs

        Hitler’s contention was that all life was simply a struggle for resources. We live. We struggle. We die. This is basically the life story of animals who have no past and no future but only the Kampf of the present. We are just animals, you see. Sophisticated animals but animals nonetheless. Everything else is illusion.

        And what does evolution teach us about the fundamental nature of man?

        • Anton

          Very little; evolution tells us almost nothing about the soul and plenty about the body.

          Hitler was talking nonsense, of course. Most people don’t die of famine or lack of other resources, and that has always been true. Throughout history most people have died in wars or of diseases.

          • carl jacobs

            You are missing the philosophical point. It’s not about famine and war. Its about the central purpose of man’s existence – the never ending struggle for dominance. That’s all animals do. That is all evolution can produce as a purpose.

            And where does evolution even try to explain the concept of a soul? It asserts that man is at his essence a sophisticated chemical reaction become self-aware. What need has evolution for a soul?

          • Sarky

            Where is the evidence that there even is a soul?
            To me is just another man made construct.

          • carl jacobs

            Where is the evidence that life is simply a chemical reaction? Do you have any? No, because you don’t even know what life is. You can only recognize its attributes. And yet you are content to say “I am really no different from a ring of benzene.” If true – and evolution demands that this be true – then the murderer is no different from he who tears apart hydrocarbon chains.

            You won’t find scientific evidence for a soul, sarky. Just like you won’t find scientific evidence for Good. Now if you had the courage of your convictions, you would embrace that reality and live accordingly. But you don’t.

          • Jon of GSG

            And thank the Lord for that!

          • IanCad

            You hold man in far too high regard. Dust and the Breath of Life from God makes a living soul.

          • Sarky

            Not really evidence is it?

          • IanCad

            Not as you view it Sarky, but I’m sure you’ve heard this before:

            “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

          • chefofsinners

            Who gets to decide what constitutes evidence?

          • Sarky

            Id take scientific method over personal testimony any day.

          • chefofsinners

            That is an act of faith. Faith that nothing exists which cannot be proved using the scientific method. Where is the proof that this is true?

          • carl jacobs

            Precisely. Why is life nothing but chemistry? Because chemistry is all that can be observed. Therefore life must be chemistry because that which cannot be observed does not exist.

            But wait. What scientific evidence exists for “good”? Well, none. The concept of “good” is not observable since it has no manifestation in the physical universe. The scientific method requires observability. Therefore “good” does not exist. Ahhh, but we can pretend that it exists even though we know it doesn’t.

            You just have to love the consistency of it all. “Yes, I know Nietzsche was right, but, no, I won’t go there.”

          • Jon of GSG

            A very generous way to phrase it – “chemistry is all that can be observed”. By “observed” we really mean “observed directly in the same way by more than one person”. That discards a lot of valid observation – for example the “blessed assurance” that some Christians have of God’s love for them, which can’t be directly observed by anyone else but gives certainty to the, er, experiencer as much as any observation through the senses does.
            The type of evidence we call “scientific” is ever such a narrow subset of evidence in general .

          • Sarky

            Where is the proof that it isnt?

          • chefofsinners

            Now you have abandoned your scientific method. Where is the proof that God and the soul don’t exist?
            If you can’t hold onto the scientific method through a few short exchanges with an idiot like me, are you really intending to rest on it as you swing out into eternity?

          • Sarky

            Yep!

          • chefofsinners

            The line between bravery and stupidity is so thin that you don’t know you’ve crossed it until you’re dead.

          • Sarky

            I won’t know anything, I’ll be dead!

          • Anton

            Evolution does not have anything to say about the soul. That is why it is a scientific theory and should be evaluated as such. Evolution does *not* rule out the soul; it is simply silent about it.

          • carl jacobs

            Precisely. We agree. Evolution has nothing to say about a soul because evolution has no need of a soul. It cannot produce that which is immaterial. So why then do you resist the idea that theistic evolution is simply God grafted into a materialist dogma?

          • Anton

            You seem to agree that evolution can get us from chemicals, the “dust of the ground”, to monkeys. We agree that God blew into a primate body the “Neshamah of life” to make man. Where then do you consider we disagree?

          • carl jacobs

            I reject the entire idea of like begetting unlike as a Materialist creation myth. So we don’t agree that evolution can form a credible basis for the existence of man – not even man’s body.

            What I assert is this: If Christianity is true, then evolution as an explanatory mechanism for the existence of man is false. However, a materialist can develop an internally consistent view of existence that obviates the need for God. You lay the immatetial onto the material. He asserts that everything you call immaterial is completely explained by immanent cause. He therefore has no need of God, and consequently feels no compulsion to worship God as a result of viewing creation.

          • Anton

            The involvement of philosophers in the biological sciences has brought confusion, just as it has in physics. They think they understand more deeply when in fact the opposite is true. These subjects might have grown out of what was once called Philosophy, but today philosophers are parasitic on the sciences.

            That’s background, not a personal attack on you. I have a simple question: when God says that he made Adam’s body “from the dust of the ground” in Genesis 2, and decreed that the earth would bring forth living creatures after their own kinds in Genesis 1, *how* do you think these processes took place; what would a videocamera have recorded?

          • carl jacobs

            I would never presume to say. What I will say – emphatically – is that the means employed would not involve the mechanism of death to bring about the desired result.

          • Anton

            Humans, even pre-fall, were preserved from death by being granted access to the tree of life.

          • chefofsinners

            You are right.

  • Mike Stallard

    Our local Comp:
    6 heads in five years.
    Lousy exam results.
    Nearly all women teachers, some of them completely untrained. No list of staff on the website.
    Complete uniform policy imposed but now getting abandoned under new head.
    New head – good at meetings, and at “turning round failing schools” but her academic record is not on the school’s website.
    Appalling name locally among ordinary people. Many immigrants are simply shocked at how little their children learn.
    Local Grammar School (indep) fees £12000 p.a. Super University record. Sports encouraged. Many out of school activities recorded in local paper. Produces people who are a pleasure to be with.

    • Inspector General

      There’s a compo in Cheltenham, Arle. Local paper celebrating a headmistress on her leaving after around 5 years some time back. They showed a picture of the enthusiast young thing on her first day, and next to it, the same but older broken woman on her last. How blondes suffer the most in stress….

      • Mike Stallard

        In all fairness our last Headmistress came back to school after having had a mastectomy almost without any sick leave at all. She was sacked for bad exam results.

    • chefofsinners

      Your local grammar contains entirely children of parents who are a) wealthy and b) care greatly about their children’s education. It has twice the funding per pupil of your local comp and attracts the best teachers through higher salaries and better working conditions. Hence the super university record.

      Your comp clearly cannot even recruit a good headteacher. Surprising that there has been such a steady stream of people willing to destroy their career.

      • Jon of GSG

        This may not be true now, but when I was a teenager (20 years ago-ish) I remember my parents discovering that private school teachers were almost without exception paid less than the equivalent state school teachers.

        • Mike Stallard

          At the local Grammar School, the staff are friends. They meet regularly and do exciting things together. They like each other. This rubs off on the pupils too. It is much smaller – a third the size – and part of a network of public schools where staff know the ropes and transfer to suit their career.
          I know nothing about the local Comp apart from what I see and hear. And that is exactly how they like it…