Sentamu - academy2a
Church of England

If Sentamu opposes Free Schools, why is he opening and blessing them?

 

The Archbishop Sentamu Academy in Hull is bucking national trends for schools in deprived areas, and the Ofsted data provides empirical evidence. Five consecutive years of improving GCSE grades, and A-level results which enabled every one of their sixth-form students to go to their university of choice. Very impressive. What a pity, therefore, that Archbishop Sentamu himself lends his name to the NUT-Labour trend for propagating disinformation on the Coalition’s flagship education policy.

In a further Telegraph piece by John Bingham (who seems to be grabbing an awful lot of coffees at Bishopthorpe these days), the Archbishop of York says Free Schools are a “confusion of policy” which benefit only the wealthy middle class (he says those “with means and ability”). They do this, he says, by diverting millions of pounds away from efforts to raise standards in established schools (Bingham says “in the state sector”, but Free Schools are tax-payer funded and so part of that sector). Dr Sentamu’s criticisms echo the opposition rhetoric of the Hon. Tristram Hunt, who dismissed Free Schools as an “ideological experiment”; a “vanity project for yummy mummies”.

This isn’t, of course, the first time the Archbishop of York has aligned himself closely with Labour Party policy. Only last week he cloaked Marxist economics in “the theology of where I am coming from“, and clearly favours the old socialist remedies to address deep-seated social problems. With education, he advocates the very statist solutions which doomed generations of children to illiteracy, innumeracy and a life on the dole. It is not insignificant that Labour shifted its traditional support for local authority control over schools: the chronic failure of many – especially in Labour-controlled inner cities – was manifest and profoundly unjust. Something had to be done. Kenneth Baker started in 1988, establishing Grant Maintained Schools, financed directly from Whitehall. The Blair/Adonis/Blunkett reforms of 2000 established the Academy programme, paving the way for Gove’s 2010 expansion of that policy and the development of Free Schools – all beyond local-authority jurisdiction and oversight. These schools create more choice for parents, the educational objective of which is to drive up standards.

The Archbishop of York’s principal objections to Free Schools are threefold: i) that they are “often operating in direct competition with new state-of-the-art academies”; ii) that they constitute a “failed attempt” to create grammar schools; and iii) that they cater mainly for the children of the middle class and better off.

Competition, of course, provides choice, and that market dimension has been seen to be a powerful impetus for school improvement. No longer are children obliged to attend the local “bog standard” comprehensive: if an established school isn’t bringing home the bacon, new schools are opening that offer creative curricula and different pedagogical approaches to instil academic hope and provide better career prospects for children of all abilities. That is the rationale for injecting a bit of competition into the system, because – let’s be honest – not all “state-of-the-art academies” are performing as well as they ought.

But the Archbishop’s assertion that Free Schools are (re-)creating grammars is very odd, because they are prohibited by statute from selecting their intake by academic ability: admissions are wholly in line with Labour’s Academy programme, which Michael Gove approved and expanded. In fact, any selective private school which converts must adopt the statutory non-selective admissions policy, thereby actively decreasing the number of selective schools. Free Schools are a world away from the academic ethos of the grammar system.

And as for Free Schools benefiting mainly the wealthy middle-class, while the assertion is confronted by the reality these schools aren’t selective and 72% of them are situated in areas of economic and social deprivation, the ‘wealthy/middle-class’ argument has been levelled time and again at what are often called ‘Faith Schools’ (ie schools with a religious foundation, including Church of England schools), which the Archbishop not only supports but vehemently defends against all critics. How can he question the legitimacy of Free Schools on the basis of alleged middle-class privilege while affirming the ethos of Voluntary Controlled and Voluntary Aided schools, which are perceived to benefit that same socio-economic stratum of society?

But the Archbishop is intractable on the immorality of the policy: “I cannot see why in East Hull, for example, when you have now got a fantastic secondary as an academy, achieving now about the national average, you would want to create another free school there,” he sermonises.

Which is curious, not to say bewildering, in light of the fact that the Archbishop Sentamu Academy has itself just established a Free School in that area. It is called the ‘Aspire Academy‘, and aims to educate 150 young people who are considered vulnerable and at-risk. It is the brainchild of the Archbishop Sentamu Academy principal, Andrew Chubb (does the Archbishop ever speak to him?) who says “..there is an urgent need for the Academy, with permanent exclusions rising and the current system for dealing with these children coming to an end”.

This new Academy is, in fact, a Free School: a Free School is simply an Academy without a predecessor state school. Many Free Schools have been set up by highly successful Academy chains such as ARK. Does the Archbishop of York not understand this?

Is Mr Chubb aware that his Patron opposes his own Academy’s strategy for dealing with often ‘unteachable’ children who are most at risk of permanent exclusion? Does he know that his Patron believes the policy to be “confused”? Is he able to rationalise how a Free School aimed at the vulnerable and often lowest-attaining children constitutes an attempt to create a grammar school in Hull?

Further, is Archbishop Sentamu aware that the Diocese of York, which sponsors the Archbishop Sentamu Academy, is also sponsoring this new Free School? Is he aware that he actually opened this new Free School only two days ago? Does he recall receiving a handmade gift from its deeply appreciative pupils? Does he recollect delivering an inspiration aspirational speech at the opening ceremony:

“It has been said you can judge a society by how it treats its most vulnerable members, and Aspire is an academy that seeks to support those most in need in its learning community. I am delighted to be officially opening Aspire and my prayer for students, staff, governors and friends of the academy is that you will have the courage to aspire and transform not only your lives, but the lives of all you meet, for the good of all. Go for it.”

Why is Archbishop Sentamu singing the praises of his own Academy’s new Free School while trashing the rest as the product of “confused policy”? Is that a classic Church of England fudge? Why is he condemning Free Schools in the Telegraph but blessing and praying for the one he just opened? Isn’t that a via media too far? Why is this Free School exhorted to “transform” young lives and succeed in it mission, but the others are dismissed as a “failed attempt” to create grammar schools?

Is it because this new Free School is called the ‘Aspire Academy’, and so the Archbishop didn’t actually realise that it is, in fact, a Free School? Is it that his opposition to the policy is actually purely ideological, but when it comes to the empirical reality he is “delighted” that the freedoms embraced by a free school might indeed “support those most in need in its learning community”?

As for the effectiveness of Free Schools, it may be observed that they are disproportionately located in areas where they are most needed – ie, where there is a shortage of places. More than a third of those most recently approved will be situated in the most deprived communities in England, and those already running are delivering outstanding results. Schools like the Reach Academy in Feltham, which has been rated outstanding by Ofsted, or the London Academy of Excellence in Newham, one of the most deprived areas in the country, which got six of its pupils into Oxbridge this year. It’s no surprise that Free Schools are attracting almost three applications for every place. They are performing better than local authority schools, and are twice is likely to be rated outstanding by Ofsted.

Coming so soon after the launch of the Archbishop of York’s book On Rock or Sand?, it is increasingly difficult to sustain the Archbishop of Canterbury’s assertion that the Church if England is “political; not party political”. Dr Sentamu is actively promoting the Labour Party and its policies. By attacking a specific Conservative policy – indeed, the first Bill introduced by the Coalition and a programme to which the Liberal Democrats committed themselves in their 2010 manifesto – the Archbishop of York has well and truly entered the General Election fray as a ‘non-party campaigner‘. One wonders if the costs of his manifesto book and a portion of his lobbying expenses episcopal salary might not count toward Labour’s General Election campaign spending?

  • Anton

    Archbishop Sentamu, what does the Bible say about a man in two minds?

  • ninfan

    Surely the Archbishops position is fatally flawed by the CofE being the biggest non state owner and provider of education in the country? There are about 4500 schools owned or run by the church, a cynical man might suggest that they were afraid of a little competition!

  • Linus

    I wonder why the Church of England seems incapable of attracting men and women of ability and talent.

    Actually no, I don’t wonder at all. The Church provides a home for mediocrity and gormlessness that no other institution outside the mental health care services can rival. It may even be a necessary evil. Without it, how would all the clueless clergy make a living?

    Perhaps that’s why the government is in no hurry to disestablish the Church. Why swell the ranks of the dole queues when so many of the otherwise unemployable are taken care of by a welfare system that appears in no official statistics? Better to leave them maundering away quietly in their shabby old palaces and vicarages than to do a “Henry VIII” and turn them out on the streets…

    • Anton

      Linus, you are, without realising it, speaking of the liberal faction of the Church of England (which dominates the house of bishops); and describing it better than many Christians.

      King Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries was a classic case of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

      • …. and in the process of doing the “right thing” (i.e. the theft and wanton destruction of church property and maiming and killing that accompanied it) removing the most significant support system available to paupers. Systems, some argue, that were only comprehensively replaced with the dawn of Victorian poor laws and the welfare state.

        • dannybhoy

          The problem there though Jack is we would have continued under an autocratic and closed system blessed with inerrancy….

          🙂

          • Well, the problem there Danny is that you do not know that.

        • Anton

          In the full Christian life prayer informs deeds and deeds inform prayer. Monasticism is therefore an impoverished Christian life, although monkish writings are disproportionately large because they were literate unlike most people. Jesus Christ often withdrew to the desert to be alone with his Father, but He always came back again, to do.

          1601 saw the parishes obliged to take care of the poor (not the 19th century), and they did it rather well. There was chaos only through the later 16th century.

          • “In the full Christian life prayer informs deeds and deeds inform prayer. Monasticism is therefore an impoverished Christian life … “

            Yes, Anton, and you base your asserted dismissal of Monasticism on what exactly? Anyone aware of the history of Christianity will appreciate the importance of monastic missionaries in spreading and sustaining the faith – in word and in deed. And you really believe the motive for closing them was spiritual rather than political and financial?

            The care of the poor transferred from the Church to the State – that’s the point – from Christian charity to State administered benefit.

          • Anton

            Jack,

            Kindly reread my posts and you will find explicit answers to two of the questions you are now putting to me.

            I base my dismissal of monasticism on the fact that Jesus went off into the desert to be alone with his father but always came back, to live out his faith in the world. Prayer and deeds mutually inform, so that a life with only one of the two is an impoverished life. That he founded a community which lived in the world although not of the world; not a community that withdrew from the world.

            “you really believe the motive for closing them was spiritual rather than political and financial?” Of course not. Did I not say that King Henry did the right thing for the wrong reason?

            As for the poor, caring for them is no more part of the Great Commission than the Inquisition was. We are to be generous to the poor wherever we meet them, but ministering to them is not the church’s raison d’etre.

          • Hmmm … why let a prejudice get in the way of fact? Your ‘in principle’ distain for monastic live is misplaced.

            Many monks and nuns did engage with the world. They were missionaries, teachers and charity workers. Indeed, the title “Friar” refers to those monks who engaged in work outside monasteries. The mendicant orders stressed this and included Benedictines, Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, and Carmelites. Western civilization would not be what it is without these orders. The Dominicans in the rise of universities and emphasis on classical learning; the Franciscans in the establishment of hospitals and other works of charity.

            And prayer and Bible study are worthwhile endeavors to commit oneself to. Why not? Your critique is based on the life of Jesus Christ? Your premise that prayer and contemplation are not “real” or as Christian as “practical” activities is an absurd assertion. The monastic ideal and way of life is based on the traditional Christian notion of the “evangelical counsels” whereby one, following a call from God, voluntarily commits himself to a greater obedience (e.g., poverty, chastity, obedience) than is required of all faithful.

            There are biblical models of “separated” servants doing the “work of the Lord,” – the Levitical priests in the Old Testament, Prophets, or John the Baptist in the desert.

            The Bible itself was preserved throughout the years of the “Dark Ages” by monks – many of whom were cloistered in cells copying manuscripts. In those times, separation from rampant paganism was good and the Church survived to rejuvenate European culture.

            Give thanks for the Monks and Nuns. They deserve more than your scorn.

          • Anton

            Jack, again you wantonly misread me. Never did I suggest that “prayer and contemplation are not “real” or as Christian as “practical” activities”. Please either tell me where I did this or retract the assertion. What I did say – and repeat – is that prayer and deeds inform each other in the life of the believer, so that a life of pure prayer and no deeds is an impoverished Christian life. I am aware that not all monks withdrew and ceased to interact with the world, and that some monasteries provided useful services to the wider community. But many didn’t. I scorn the monastic system, not monks or nuns. Had it not existed then the Christian zeal of those people would have been available to act as salt and light within the wider community.

            You suggest that I am wrong to base my critique on the life of Jesus Christ. He’s good enough for me, even if you prefer other models.

      • len

        King Henry VIII’s desire to rid himself from the influence of the Church of Rome is a classic case of God being able bring good out of evil.

        God works in mysterious ways even using atheists to further His aims.(Don`t tell them though)

      • Linus

        Without realizing it? Of course I knew of whom I was writing.

        You seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that I think the liberal wing of the Church marvelous and only reserve my disapproval for traditionalists. Nothing could be further from the truth.

        You’re all obnubilated by your god delusion. The fact that some of you are left-wing, caring, sharing, right-on and groovy (buerk ! Preserve me from toe-curling beardy guitar-strumming clerical “grooviness”!) doesn’t magically transform the fallacy of your arguments into divine truth.

        Sentamu is as much of a dolt as any Christian, and more so than many. I’m glad he and others like him are directing the Church, but only because their mediocrity will hasten the demise of the institution.

        Just look across the Atlantic and see how Welby and Sentamu’s American equivalent (the justly famed, impeccably liberal and functionally Atheist Katherine Jefferts Schori) is doing a splendid job of destroying the Episcopalian Church. With any luck her successor will administer the coup de grâce and when the whole thing implodes, one more barrier to human progress will bite the dust.

        The reactionaries will still be there and they’ll form their splinter churches around which a rump of traditionalists will coalesce. Some few may even flee to Rome. But the damage caused by the hugely symbolic failure of a middle class bastion of Christianity will be lasting and cause many to abandon faith altogether. This will further politicize Christianity and accelerate its sharp swing to the right, thus rendering it an unthinkable choice for most liberals.

        Once religion is expunged from the ruling class, things start to get interesting. If control over most Western governments, virtually all seats of higher education and the better part of the media is in the hands of Atheists, and religionists are reduced to a bitter and largely powerless minority frothing at the mouth on the fringes of society, real advances can be made. Obscurantism can be swept aside. And we can move forwards into the future without having the dead weight of a dying religion dragging us down.

        Of course the Anglican Communion is small potatoes compared to Rome. But what starts over there, comes over here, and so it’s only a matter of time before what’s happening in the US and England reaches into the heart of the Catholic Church too. Indeed many would say the process is already well underway. The conservative stranglehold on the papacy means Catholicism will probably hold out longer than Anglicanism. But we’re patient. A single generation has already seen us make huge strides towards our goal. The momentum carrying us forwards is unstoppable.

        • William Lewis

          It’s good to san Atheist prepared to show that Atheism is just as much religious and political ideology as anything else. The faith in there being no consequences has always been a beguiling allure for the well to do. The veil has fallen. There is no neutral ground. Take your pick.

          • Linus

            Religion is belief based on wishful thinking backed up by nothing. Atheism is belief based on observations backed up by evidential proof. As such, the two have nothing to do with each other. Religion is for children in the same way fairy stories are for children: an entertaining fantasy designed to control. Atheism is for adults in the same way fact-based documentaries are for adults: a dispassionate examination of fact designed to promote understanding.

            You’re right about one thing though. There is no neutral ground. Either you believe in fairy stories, or you accept facts. You can’t have it both ways, as so many Christians try to do.

          • Anton

            Atheism is not a belief system. It says only that there is no god, meaning a powerful volitional spirit being that interacts with humans (and in the West generally understood to meaning the God of the Bible). We all have a belief system of some sort even if we do not acknowledge it, so what do most atheists in our culture actually believe (rather than disbelieve)? The answer is secular humanism, resting ultimately on the claim that man is perfectible by appropriate social engineering rather than by divine cleansing. I suggest that this belief system does not have a very good track record if you look at its most logical outworking, namely communism. How many deaths are Mao and Stalin responsible for?

          • Linus

            Neither Mao nor Stalin were secular humanists. They were both communist dictators, which means they believed in their own right to power before everything else.

            The only régime to be based on the principles of secular humanism is the French Republic. Unfortunately our governments have always been contaminated by the waste products of a dying religion in the form of benighted Catholics, whose varying degrees of success at subverting secular goals mean the system has never worked as efficiently as it should.

            The good news is that as Christianity becomes more and more politicized and Christians find themselves more and more marginalized, it’s becoming harder and harder for them to rise to positions of power and influence within the government.

            The antics of Muslim fanatics and hardline Catholics of the Manif pour tous have hardened public opinion against religion in a way that hasn’t been seen in this country since the anti-clerical movement of the late 19th and early 20th century. Catholics are being squeezed out of positions of responsibility. Expressing religious opinions is the best way to ensure you don’t get elected. So our secular Republic is slowly being purged of the religion that has polluted and hampered it since its inception.

            That’s the reality here in France. I also believe its happening elsewhere and specifically in the UK, although your confused attitudes to the propriety of faith in government will obviously slow the process down.

          • Anton

            Linus, I share your belief that Christianity should not be political in the sense that the church should not seek political power, for politics is about law is about telling people what to do whereas the church is a volunteer organisation. That is why there is not a single verse in the New Testament about how to run a political system, a “Christian country”, etc. (There is no such thing as the latter until Christ returns; the collective of Christians is called the church, not England or the Holy Roman Empire, etc.) In a democracy Christians are entitled to lobby and have their proportionate say about how they think society should be run, of course.

            You wrote, “as Christianity becomes more and more politicized…” Surely you must be aware that Christianity in Europe today is far less political than in mediaeval times?

            The French Revolution degenerated into mass murder and an absolutist dictator. Just like the Russian and Chinese revolutions which led to Stalin and Mao. Some of us are prepared to acknowledge common underlying cause.

          • Linus

            The Revolution was not a statement of secular humanism. It was an uprising designed to bring about the demise of an odious and oppressive form of government.

            The Terror came about because psychopathic personalities were able to take advantage of the chaos caused by the Revolution in order to seize power and exact revenge on their former oppressors. Robespierre was not a secular humanist. He was a deranged tyrant no better than any of the kings and aristocrats who had preceded him.

            History has shown us similar phenomena almost always turn violent revolution into repressive dictatorship. Chaos removes the restraints on the worst and sickest among us and enables them to rise to power in ways that would not be possible if the usual checks and balances of a democratic system were operating.

            You can’t judge secular humanism on the outcome of a revolution. You can judge it on its record once it’s been implemented in a stable and democratic nation.

          • Anton

            I’m not judging it on the outcome of a revolution. I’m judging it according to its fruits. Communist Russia. communist China and Nazi Germany were all essentially secular regimes. (Hitler once said it was a pity that Christianity beat Islam in the Battle of Tours in 732AD because Islam was better suited to the German martial spirit; a man who believes you can choose your religion on pragmatic grounds, and applauded those churches that promoted social order while persecuting those that spoke against him, really is secular.)

          • Linus

            You only see as far as you want to. As far as the negative results of the Revolution, but no further.

            What about the successful secular Republic we have today? That’s a clear fruit of the Revolution. Indeed it’s the only really important one in terms of its longevity and achievements.

            Every Western European nation that ditched its pointless monarchy in favour of democratic government went through a period of unrest and turmoil. All are now stable, model democracies. But you choose to ignore this and concentrate only on the bad.

            All this talk of fruits must be what’s causing you to indulge in such blatant cherry picking.

          • “What about the successful secular Republic we have today? That’s a clear fruit of the Revolution.”

            ROFL …. such an ironic sense of humour.

          • Anton

            Perhaps we are both cherry-picking actually, Linus. But Monarchy-to-Republic is not exactly the same issue as institutional-Christianity-to-secular. The two issues are entangled but I cannot agree that they are identical. Interestingly the English Puritans in the 17th century who dispensed with the head(ship) of King Charles I and then ran England as a republic for a decade quoted the Judges period of ancient Israel, before the monarchy of Saul, David and Solomon, as precedent; Israel had no king at that time.

          • IanCad

            Linus, I don’t agree with a lot of what you say but you fight your corner well.
            Makes the blog more interesting.
            Keep it up.

          • William Lewis

            “Atheism is belief based on observations backed up by evidential proof.”

            There are no observations nor any “evidential proof” for Atheism. Nor can there be. Your Atheist faith has blinded you to reason and logic. Your subsequent claim to be a dispassionate examiner of the facts is clearly suspect and the rest of your comment nothing more than bald assertion.

          • Linus

            The Bible says the world was created by a god over a period of just seven days. It is a theory supported by no evidential proof. Indeed it’s really just an unfounded assertion.

            Science says the world formed over a period of several billion years. It is a theory supported by a vast body of evidential proof so convincing in its nature that few reasonable people now doubt its veracity.

            The religious explanation of creation relies upon a god to make everything happen. The scientific explanation relies entirely upon natural causes. We see natural causes operating around us every day, so we know what they’re capable of. But nobody has ever seen a god, although some claim to have, but cannot back that claim up with any kind of evidential proof.

            We must therefore conclude that if there is a god, he does not intervene in the universe in any way because all processes leave evidence of their workings behind them and we have no evidence of any kind of intervention that can’t be explained by a natural process.

            If offered the choice between hard fact and unsubstantiated and fantastic claim, I always choose hard fact. Show me some hard facts to support the existence of your god and I will be forced to believe in him. Show me, for example, that the world was made in seven days or that Jesus lived and was crucified and rose again, and I will have no choice but to believe.

            You can’t though, can you? Your only “proof” is written down in a book full of contradictions, inaccuracies and clearly fantastic supernatural explanations for natural processes.

          • William Lewis

            “The religious explanation of creation relies upon a god to make everything happen. The scientific explanation relies entirely upon natural causes.”

            There is no scientific explanation for creation. None, not even a soft fact let alone a hard one. How can science explain the creation of space time? The scientific domain does not exist outside of space time (what would you measure?) and the notion of repeatability becomes a nonsense. To say that “scientific explanation relies entirely on natural causes” is a tautology.

            The Christian explanation for creation starts with Jesus Christ who conquered death on the cross and who signals the existence of the creator God. The Biblical description of creation is not a scientific one. It is qualitative and describes the cause and intentions for the universe. One does not have to hold to the days being 24 hour periods for it to hold its meaning, nor even the order of creation though that seems rather correlated. The book wasn’t written in a scientic age. These days Christian understanding can be changed by new scientific theories just as much as scientific understanding. Why shouldn’t it? There is no contradiction between science and religion, unless, of course, science gets elevated to some quasi-religious explanatory ideology.

            “Your only “proof” is written down in a book full of contradictions, inaccuracies and clearly fantastic supernatural explanations for natural processes.”

            That’s not true either and it’s not the only “proof”. There are millions of people who have experienced that the book reveals more and more truth the more they follow it, for instance.

          • “Atheism is belief based on observations backed up by evidential proof.”

            Linus, you are confusing atheism with scientific positivism. Do please focus.

    • dannybhoy

      The Church by and large supports the State, and the State by and large supports the Church.
      This kind of Christianity seems more like a religious version of secular humanism.

    • “The Church provides a home for mediocrity and gormlessness that no other institution outside the mental health care services can rival.”

      Hmmm … interesting that you attack the organisations focussing on morality and mental welfare.

      Well, you would, wouldn’t you?

      Increasingly both organisations you mock and sneer at are offering “theological” and “scientific” “proofs” in support of dismantling Christian morality. Their increasing “mediocrity” and “gormlessness” reflects our modern age, its worship of secular relativism and the proclamation of the gospel of humanist, atheist based “rights”, with political incorrectness being the new heresy.

    • Albert

      The Church provides a home for mediocrity and gormlessness that no other institution outside the mental health care services can rival.

      What is your evidence for this claim?

      • Linus

        My evidence?

        Let’s start with Archbishop Sentamu, shall we?

        I know he’s just anecdotal evidence. But he does embody rather neatly everything that makes the Anglican clergy a laughing stock.

        • Albert

          I know he’s just anecdotal evidence. But he does embody rather neatly everything that makes the Anglican clergy a laughing stock.

          As you say, it’s anecdotal evidence. Now you are not daft enough to infer the mediocrity and gormlessness of the set from only one case. Rather you say “But he does embody rather neatly everything that makes the Anglican clergy a laughing stock.” Thus you imply you already know Anglican clergy are a laughing stock – i.e. without reference to Sentamu. Sentamu, in your claim is just an illustration – it proves nothing.

          So I want to know what evidence you have to think “the Anglican clergy are a laughing stock” or as your original claim put: “mediocre” and “gormless”. Now given that was clearly my original question, it is evident that your answer is (contrary to your first sentence) not a start a at all at answering that question. Which is ironic, given you are casting aspersions.

          Why not pick some kind of measurable standard – say, the education of the Anglican clergy? You could ask how many of them hold degrees, first instance, how many went to universities like Ox ford or Cambridge. How many have higher degrees or more than one degree and so on. There may be other measures you can come up with. And if you can’t come up with something like that, you will either need to withdraw your claims about the Anglican clergy or admit your claims are pure prejudice.

          • Linus

            One of the clearest proofs of the mediocrity of the Anglican priesthood is to be found in its complete failure to fulfill its mission. Church attendance figures fell off a cliff in the 20th century largely due to the inability of the clergy to interest new generations in old fairy stories.

            If churches are full of the best and brightest, why are they so empty?

            Claims of a significant rise in the numbers of church attendees are not backed up by much in the way of firm evidence. Simply claiming that “your church is full every Sunday” is not enough. There is no Christian renaissance happening that any dispassionate analysis of the statistics can discern.

          • Albert

            That’s hardly evidence. After all, success or failure is not measured simply by the quality of the personnel but by the difficulty of the task in hand. Let’s imagine the best physicist in the world trying to explain to the population some very hard physics. He’s going to fail to get large numbers of them to understand it. On your model, that would show the physicist was mediocre. But that’s absurd.

            Secondly, you seem to be assuming that the mission of the Church is to be full. That’s not true. The mission of the Church is to proclaim the faith. If people don’t want it, that is not necessarily a failure of the messenger. On that basis Jesus was a failure because he died on the cross. But according to the Christian understanding, the cross was his victory.

            Or consider this: your mission here is to convince me that the Anglican clergy are mediocre. I’m not an Anglican, and I know plenty of mediocre Anglican clergy, so you ought to be able to convince me. But you haven’t so far. Therefore, on your own terms, you are mediocre and so is your argument, which is the same as saying neither is satisfactory.

          • “Therefore, on your own terms, you are mediocre … “

            *Ouch* – that will have wounded Linus’ pride.

            He excels at mediocrity. But do not forget “gormless”, Albert. You must give his foolishness full recognition.

          • Linus

            I’m here to convince you of nothing. Only your own analysis of the situation can convince you of anything. If you can be swayed by a few clever (or not so clever) words by people whose personal lust for power and prestige push them to set themselves up as oracles and leaders of men, all you’re doing is allowing yourself to be manipulated.

            If you believe the Anglican clergy to be above average rather than mediocre, so be it. I shall continue to view them as mediocre and gormless because this is my experience of them, backed up as it is by their spectacular failure to recruit new converts to their religion.

            I simply state my opinion and then it’s up to you to accept or reject it. I won’t tell you you’re stupid to reject it, but your rejection of it does not change my opinion, which is based on observable phenomena and the incontrovertible fact that the past couple of generations of Anglican clergy have presided over a litany of failure and decline. Every job has its deliverables, and Anglican clergy are quite simply failing to deliver.

          • Albert

            I’m here to convince you of nothing.

            You are at least trying to defend a position or make an argument, and since I have argued, without response, that your argument either proceeds from false premises or proceeds by fallacy, your position is failing.

            If you can be swayed by a few clever (or not so clever) words by people whose personal lust for power and prestige push them to set themselves up as oracles and leaders of men, all you’re doing is allowing yourself to be manipulated.

            I assume you are referring to the Anglican clergy – the very people you are also arguing go into a role in which they don’t gain power over people, and are lacking prestige. I don’t really need to argue with you, you are answering your own position. This is because your position is prejudiced rather than evidential and rational. Your position is more irrational because of course, as I am not an Anglican, I am evidently not swayed by them! I am however convinced that they are not people on the whole who are in the role for lust for power and prestige. What is your evidence for that?

            If you believe the Anglican clergy to be above average rather than mediocre, so be it. I shall continue to view them as mediocre and gormless because this is my experience of them, backed up as it is by their spectacular failure to recruit new converts to their religion.

            I’ve answered your final sentence already. You haven’t responded to that, and so you believe something in the face of the reason to believe the contrary – the very thing you congratulate yourself only silly religious people do. As for their mediocrity – I would point out that the Anglican clergy are overwhelmingly better educated than the rest of the population. You suggested the clergy could not make a living in any other field. Many are non-stipendiary, and do in fact have a living from another job. As for the stipendiary clergy, most of them have already made a living in another field. As they are better educated, there is every reason to think that they would be, as a group, better at doing that, than the average person. Now since the word “mediocrity” refers to being average, it follows your position, that they are mediocre, is falsified by the evidence.

            I won’t tell you you’re stupid to reject it,

            ..no, but you convey that you think we’re stupid by your tone and content – I am after someone who, in your opinion swayed by a few clever (or not so clever) words by people whose personal lust for power and prestige push them to set themselves up as oracles and leaders of men (despite the fact that I had already shown I am not swayed by them).

            but your rejection of it does not change my opinion

            I’m not asking you to change your opinion because I reject your opinion. I am asking you provide reason and evidence to defend your position. And since you cannot do that, and seem unable to answer the reason and evidence against you, I expect you, if you are reasonable, to change your mind.

            which is based on observable phenomena

            None of which seems to be sufficiently observable for you to name.

            and the incontrovertible fact that the past couple of generations of Anglican clergy have presided over a litany of failure and decline.

            A point I have argued (without answer from you) is not relevant (yet you persist in making it).

          • Linus

            The decline of the Anglican Church is a perfectly reasonable criterion to use in order to judge the Anglican clergy.

            It is perfectly reasonable to judge a group by their failure to perform the task they have set themselves. The job of the priesthood is not only to perform the sacraments (or whatever equivalent the Anglicans have) but also to preach the gospel and gain converts to Christianity. This the Anglican priesthood has spectacularly failed to do. It has not evangelized the last couple of generations. Indeed its promotion of a religion based on hatred and exclusion has actively repelled people from the Church.

            The Anglican clergy is, as a group, guilty of dereliction of duty and profound failure. The same set of people could well have succeeded in their mission had they been faced with different social conditions. But you can only judge a group by how they perform at the task they take on. You can’t say if such and such a condition had been different, they would have excelled. The fact remains they didn’t excel, which means that relative to the society around them, they were less successful than their predecessors. In other words, their performance has been mediocre.

            Now you can choose to see a group of failures as talented and above average if you like. But to my way of thinking a group that fails at the task it sets itself can never be thought of as talented and above average. Even if the task was an extremely difficult one, they decided to take it on, so they must be judged in relation to it. As they’ve failed at one key element of that task, i.e. evangelism, then even if they’ve succeeded at another element, i.e. providing whatever it is the Anglican Church provides in place of the Catholic sacraments, describing them as anything more than mediocre is not possible.

            You seem to exist in a world where success and failure mean nothing and we can’t judge anyone by performance but only by your arbitrary idea of what constitutes talent. To my way of thinking, real talent relates directly to an ability to get the job done. So where are all these talented Anglican clergymen who do so well at their jobs that the Church is bursting at the seams with new converts?

          • Albert

            I don’t think you’ve understood a word I’ve said. I’m not talking about whether the Anglican clergy have succeeded or failed. I am talking about whether they are mediocre – at least, that is the issue you raised. I don’t think failure shows someone is mediocre.

            Churchill failed in a task which was central to his job. He lost the 1945 election, by a landslide. He failed to liberate Eastern Europe. He also failed to bring world peace, as he hoped. He failed to hold together the British Empire. That’s a lot of failure. But he wasn’t mediocre. Mozart tried to make a living from his music. He failed. But he wasn’t mediocre.

            But not only do you want to make that sort of move, you have also said that they could not make a living in another field. Your logic is this: the Anglican clergy have failed to convert the country, therefore, they are mediocre, therefore they would not be able to make a living outside of the Church. Now every step of that argument rests of logic that escapes me. It comes as no surprise then, to find that the conclusion has already been falsified.

          • Linus

            The Anglican clergy’s failure illustrates their mediocrity extremely clearly.

            Churchill’s election failure was one reverse in an otherwise long and highly successful career. You can’t judge anyone by one failure. You have to look at the sum total of all their efforts. By any criteria the current generation of Anglican clergy has comprehensively failed to evangelize the British public in an ongoing and consistent manner. They failed yesterday, they’re failing today and everything points to their continued failure in the future. It is therefore perfectly reasonable to set that massive and ongoing failure against any success they may have in performing the other duties and judge them to be mediocre. You certainly can’t do that with Churchill.

            As for failing to liberate Eastern Europe, since when did ensuring the freedom of far distant and totally independent countries become part of the remit of the British prime minister? The presidents and prime ministers of those countries may well be considered to be mediocre if their failure to ensure their own freedom wasn’t offset by other successes over their lifetimes. But you can’t judge a British prime minister on circumstances and events that were not only entirely beyond his control, but also in large part none of his business.

            As for Mozart, again you have to offset his failure in making a living from his music against his extreme success in producing some of the most acclaimed works of art know to Man. The balance is entirely in his favour. But where are the soaring, undeniable successes of the Anglican clergy that offset a lifetime of failure at evangelism?

            The Anglican clergy has failed to convert the country, therefore it is mediocre. That seems clear enough to me. You don’t want to see it because you don’t want to admit that the Church is not fit for purpose and hasn’t been for generations.

          • Albert

            You can’t judge anyone by one failure.

            I gave others. I can still give more: in 1920 a cartoon appeared showing his failures up to that point: Sidney Street, Antwerp, Gallipoli, Russia. Then we could include his (let’s say) unhelpful time as Chancellor, his position on India, his failure to get Britain to wake up to the menace of Hitler, the Norway campaign etc.

            As for failing to liberate Eastern Europe, since when did ensuring the freedom of far distant and totally independent countries become part of the remit of the British prime minister?

            Ahem. Why did Britain go to war in September 1939?

            But you can’t judge a British prime minister on circumstances and events that were not only entirely beyond his control,

            So why can that not apply also to the Anglican clergy.

            but also in large part none of his business

            You do know who was at Yalta and what the summit was about?

            But where are the soaring, undeniable successes of the Anglican clergy that offset a lifetime of failure at evangelism?

            You are judging the CofE by standards which are at least ambiguous for it. You take no account of the difficulties it faces and therefore are entirely blind to its successes in this regard. You also take no account of other measures whether the CofE might be better: providing schools and education, pastoral care, national services, care of a massive proportion of our most ancient buildings, offering worship acceptable to God, working as go-between in ecumenism, providing missionaries for overseas (where they are successful). Not for a moment do I say the CofE has succeeded in all those areas, but you cannot simply exclude them.

            I note that you are not addressing a large tranche of my posts.

            The Anglican clergy has failed to convert the country, therefore it is mediocre.

            How about:

            The Royal Marines failed to keep the Argentinians out of the Falklands in 1982, therefore they are mediocre

            You conclude:

            You don’t want to see it because you don’t want to admit that the Church is not fit for purpose and hasn’t been for generations.

            Which is odd, for I haven’t said that. I’m not sure where I stand on this question. What I took issue with was your original, unpleasant claim:

            The Church provides a home for mediocrity and gormlessness that no other institution outside the mental health care services can rival. It may even be a necessary evil. Without it, how would all the clueless clergy make a living?

            You have argued they have failed to convert the country. Yes, that is true. But you cannot infer that original claim from that fact, and you haven’t argued to that conclusion. You haven’t even brought any evidence to defend the comparison in the Church provides a home for mediocrity and gormlessness that no other institution outside the mental health care services can rival.

            Your argument is an utter failure, by your own standards.

          • Linus

            Within the constraints of this medium it isn’t possible to address all your objections to my statement, many of which are just made up for the sake of having ammunition, any ammunition, to throw at someone who’s attacking what you hold to be important.

            I’ll therefore keep my response reasonably brief.

            I stand by my original statement, as I feel that the Church’s failure to show any success in what must surely be the most important of its objectives can only be the responsibility of the people who run it.

            Blame everything and everyone else if you want to, but when priests are ordained they undertake to evangelize for Christ. Previous generations of priests did it and by and large succeeded. This generation has spectacularly failed. In a way that completely overshadows any successes they may have had in other areas.

            If you want to believe that Anglican clergymen are spectacularly talented because they know how to pay someone to plug up a leak in their church’s roof or engage in pointless talks with other Churches about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, then that is your right and privilege. I suppose you just ignore the sad fact that, if Christian belief is true, thousands if not millions of souls who might have been saved by priests with a bit of gumption are now roasting in hell. Perhaps it’s an English thing. But is a dry church roof such an amazing achievement that it offsets the damnation of millions?

          • Albert

            many of which are just made up for the sake of having ammunition, any ammunition, to throw at someone who’s attacking what you hold to be important.

            I wonder why it is that you think you are able to do that psychology. In fact, this is quite false. As a non-Anglican (indeed someone who often attacks Anglicanism here), this isn’t important to me. Fairness is important to me, though, and you are unfair. I am also responding to your unpleasantness. You have made a nasty post with all the arrogance of an atheist, firmly convinced of your own intellectual superiority. In response I have argued that you have been arguing from premises which are false, using reason that is invalid, towards conclusions which do not support your claims, claims which fly in the evidence. That is why I have picked at your arguments.

            I stand by my original statement, as I feel that the Church’s failure to show any success in what must surely be the most important of its objectives

            but is it though? Jesus said, If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

            So your premise here just seems wrong.

            can only be the responsibility of the people who run it.

            Nothing to do with context then. As I have said, you cannot move from failure to mediocrity to unemployable.

            Blame everything and everyone else if you want to, but when priests are ordained they undertake to evangelize for Christ.

            Yes, and as the cross shows evangelising isn’t the same thing as packing your church or getting lots of followers.

            In a way that completely overshadows any successes they may have had in other areas.

            That all depends on whether I agree with your notion of success and what other things they have done.

            If you want to believe that Anglican clergymen are spectacularly talented because they know how to pay someone to plug up a leak in their church’s roof

            With ancient buildings, that’s harder than you think. The deplorable state of many French churches, which are a shame to your culture, are evidence of that.

            engage in pointless talks with other Churches about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin

            Not of course, anything anyone has ever discussed.

            I suppose you just ignore the sad fact that, if Christian belief is true, thousands if not millions of souls who might have been saved by priests with a bit of gumption are now roasting in hell.

            Are you really that ignorant? Or are you putting it on for effect?

            Perhaps it’s an English thing.

            Perhaps your inability to come up with a valid argument is a French thing. Too much continental philosophy, not enough analytic!

            But is a dry church roof such an amazing achievement that it offsets the damnation of millions?

            You must be winding me up, if you think that’s an argument.

          • Linus

            Yet another turgid post with twenty different arguments, each more dubious than the last, interlarded with the xenophobic abuse that seems to be almost compulsory on this website.

            Not worthy of a response, I’m afraid.

          • Albert

            If I gave twenty arguments, it was because there were that number of errors in your post. Each of my arguments has been defended, almost invariably without valid response from you.

            As for my comment being xenophobic, I cannot see how you can accuse me of that. I made two comments about France, one of which is that your churches are falling down (which is a fact), and that this is a shame to your culture (which entails a compliment about your culture, albeit with the sting that you aren’t looking after it (which can hardly be denied)). The second comment I made was that, in response to your “Perhaps it’s an English thing”, I said “Perhaps it’s a French thing”. The latter was connected with the nature of continental philosophy – being more speculative than the English form, perhaps it lacks logical validity. Your “Perhaps it’s an English thing” was just a gratuitous insult.

            Finally, you are certainly not in any position to try to claim the moral high ground, since your opening post was one designed to cause gratuitous offence against a large number of people. And you haven’t been able to mount a defence of the comments you made there.

          • Anton

            “I’m here to convince you of nothing.”

            Well you’re doing it jolly well!

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Topped up on the bile pills I see, dear Sinus?

  • CliveM

    Seems like the jockeying for the position of the next AofC has already begun.

    • dannybhoy

      Will we notice any difference do you think? The next candidate will have to be vetted and approved by the Government of the day anyway.

      • CliveM

        And who do you think he believes will be in the next Govt?

        My bets, Lab/Lib with the occasional support from the SNP.

  • dannybhoy

    “Why is Archbishop Sentamu singing the praises of his own Academy’s new
    Free School while trashing the rest as the product of “confused policy”?
    Is that a classic Church of England fudge?”

    Possibly, but more likely another demonstration of why the Church should stay within its own remit.
    I welcome the new independent schools as a definite improvement over “state school stodge education”, which in many cases is more concerned with uniformity of failure than opportunities to succeed.
    It seems to me that the State education system is slowly morphing into an auxiliary arm of social services; more concerned with the well being of the child, than their need of an education. Children need both stimulation and inspiration so that their interest in the world around them is developed, and their talents moulded to prepare them for the world of employment..

    • Anton

      Yes, Michael Gove is a hero for taking on the educational establishment (which he called the Blob) and seeking actually to reverse policies which since the 1960s have seen literacy and numeracy levels fall from essentially 100% to the levels of some Third World nations. That shameful statistic is why the vested interests of the teaching profession cannot be left to themselves to deal with it. The resulting micromanagement is a pain if you are a teacher, but the teaching unions and teacher training establishments have brought it upon themselves and in the process let down a generation. Too bad that Gove’s reward was to be demoted to Chief Whip by Blair Lite. Mr Cameron should remember that Francis Urquhart started as a frustrated Chief Whip…

      • dannybhoy

        A further thought: has the expectation of State provision through taxpayer funded benefits for the unemployed impacted on State expectations of our young? Even though we manifestly can’t afford it,
        the Welfare State is now enshrined as a Human Right, so what real need is there to attain?
        Unless you’re a member of those over-privileged middle classes of course…

      • Tubby_Isaacs

        Jeez, what drivel.
        Literacy and numeracy is still essentially 100%.
        And the “falling down league tables” rubbish was knocked on the head by UK Statistics. Nobody in the government says it any more.

        Teaching unions have had virtually no influence on policy for 30 odd years.

        • Anton

          If only!

    • Coniston

      “the Church should stay within its own remit.” The Church’s remit is to speak truth about society, be it politics or education. So why, with a few honourable exceptions, does it not constantly point out the immense damage of the Governments policies on family life, including SSM, its pandering to the victim culture of muslims, its tolerance of censorship in universities and its increasing efforts to stifle Christianity in Church schools, law courts and all in
      public office?

      • dannybhoy

        Answer:
        “The Church by and large supports the State, and the State by and large supports the Church.
        This kind of Christianity seems more like a religious version of secular humanism.”

  • Watchman

    Social engineering is a modern day phenomena brought about by the lurch to the left of political thought and action. Whatever the reason for this phenomena archbishops should be addressing things of eternal significance; things of the spirit; things pertaining to the Kingdom of God; things which are above the machinations and manipulations of mere human philosophy and practice. What is this man doing trying to politic with this worlds fallen systems. Why doesn’t he read his bible more and ask of himself what should be the focus of his thoughts and his relationships. Can he find any biblical edict requiring him to take up the cause of anything but that of God’s Kingdom?

    • Anton

      No, social engineering is just the modern phrase for attempts to mould the thought of the people by setting the law. It’s always been around under one name or another.

      • dannybhoy

        You’re being pedantic!

        • Anton

          One man’s accuracy is another man’s pedantry!

          • dannybhoy

            Not getting at you Anton, but sometimes we lose sight of the point made by insisting on accuracy…
            And yes, perhaps I do it too.

          • Anton

            I didn’t take it as a dig, don’t worry. I might even regard it as a compliment!

          • dannybhoy

            Good.

          • Shadrach Fire

            It wood be nice if we could just pick up a phone! In the office world today, emails are a cop out for actually talking to someone.

          • “It wood be nice …”

            Woodn’t it just, Shadrach. Are you trying to provoke our resident grammer and sintax expert?

          • Anton

            A sin tax would be a very good idea.

          • Hmmm …. hasn’t that already been tried indirectly and found wanting? Nowadays, we’re taxed to support and promote sin.

          • Anton

            Good to agree with you on that one Jack.

          • dannybhoy

            How long’s your cord??

          • Pubcrawler

            I’m leaving it to Linus to say ‘phenomenon not phenomena’ with his customary grace.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Without knowing much about Sentamu I thought he was one of the good guys.
    Seems like I was wrong. He is a freeloading socialist.

    • Old Blowers

      Is there any other kind of bishop be he/she C of E or RC???? The Social Gospel is all they can extract from the Apostles and Matthew, Mark, Luke and John…Anything else described in it reads like Koine Greek to a Chinaman!!! All understanding can be attributed to the Fifth Gospel writer, the Apostate Marx.

      • Anton

        Well has it been said that at the consecration of a new bishop the other bishops gather round him and not only pray for him but remove his spine.

  • Dominic Stockford

    This had me in gales of laughter, which then turned to sighs of despair at the folly these facts evidence.

  • sarky

    Just the latest in a long line of church leaders making fools of themselves and they wonder why people don’t take them seriously.

  • Schoolswot

    1. Since 2010 there has not been an alternative when opening a new school – it has to be either a free school or an academy. It is therefore possible to be against the policy and yet have to accept it as there is no alternative.

    2. New schools with no predecessor aren’t only called free schools but some are deemed to be academies according to the DfE lists. It seems to be entirely random as to what they’re called. In fact ARK opened two schools in 2011 – one designated a free school, the other an academy.

    3. Your statement “They are performing better than local authority schools, and are twice is likely to be rated outstanding by Ofsted.” is unprovable given that since 2010, previously graded Outstanding schools do not need to be inspected unless Ofsted suspect there is something wrong. Even the DfE now accept that they can’t compare on this basis.

    Maybe you ought to read this:

    https://fullfact.org/education/free_school_performance_twice_as_likely_outstanding_ofsted_judgements-35422

    • Dominic Stockford

      Only a complete twit speaks against a policy whilst opening the very things he speaks against, and lauding them to the heavens.

      • Schoolswot

        Only a complete ideologue would deprive children of a school simply because he is against the policy of the day.

        Besides, faith schools have always been outside local authority control so the idea this is somehow different to any other Diocesan school is incorrect.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Why would he, if he really opposes them, turn up and open such a school? It doesn’t deny a school to a child if someone else opens it.
          Why would he, if he really opposes them, laud said school to the heavens? It doesn’t deny a school to a child if he doesn’t do so.

          Are you his bishop’s chaplain by any chance?

          • Schoolswot

            The Diocese already sponsors at least three schools (not one like Hilton says) – what does it matter if a new one gets called a free school – it will operate in exactly the same way under the Diocese as the others do now.

            If the free school programme didn’t exist, the Diocese could have simply opened a new school anyway. Voluntary Aided schools were, as I said, outside LA control anyway.

            The Free School bit to this story is an irrelevance.

          • Anton

            Who is Hilton?

          • Pubcrawler

            Our host’s corporeal form.

          • Tubby_Isaacs

            Because he’d get attacked as doctrinaire and snubbing the schools.

            He’s making a distinction between a bad system for providing schools and the good people who are involved with many schools.

            He can also use his clout to good effect. The school named after him is doing very well with an intake of which 63% receive free school meals. I expect he looks in, and makes the kids sit up, once in a while.

        • dannybhoy

          OI!
          What do you think education’s supposed to do?
          I believe it’s supposed to be a time of learning, equipping and inspiring.
          A large chunk of the State education system doesn’t do this.
          Why not?

          • Tubby_Isaacs

            It’s average for the OECD.
            It has lots of social problems to cope with that other countries don’t, for one thing. Too much ministerial interference and changing things for their own sake is another.

          • dannybhoy

            You mean that thanks to uncontrolled sustained immigration, this previously homogenous society now has to cope with many more problems.
            Diverse languages, cultural differences, health and well being problems that make the process of education so much more complex and difficult?
            In recent years (imv) the emphasis has subtley shifted from academic and physical educational achievement to socialisation and social care.
            So there has been a dumbing down of educational expectations and more of an emphasis on “social work.”
            My wife is a big fan of that quiz programme “The Chase.”
            It is absolutely incredible to note how many of the teachers or those associated with teaching, are ignorant in matters of history, geography, literature and politics. Stuff that we older folks were taught even at secondary modern level.
            (Nice name by the way Tubby. One of my Christian role models had the nickname ‘Tubby.’ He went from a very humble east London background to become company secretary of a large import/export firm in the city…

          • Tubby_Isaacs

            Problem with poor English arriving at primary school. They quickly catch up though it costs money to help them do that. I see the kids every day going to school. Very rarely hear them speaking anything but English to each other.

            Immigration in Germany, Ireland, Netherlands is no lower, and they all do well. London performs very well within the UK.

            Bigger problem is areas with multi-generational poverty and low achievement. Not many immigrants in North East England, yet it’s the worst performing area.

      • Tubby_Isaacs

        I’ll have a go.

        Your area needs school places. Mr Gove has stopped the council opening any. If they can’t extend existing schools (for which they have little money), what do you suggest they do?

        Tell parents “Sorry, we are opposed to free schools and academies. So your children won’t have a school place”?

    • Anton

      OFSTED: Quis custodiet…

      • Tubby_Isaacs

        Ofsted’s flawed but it’s all we have at the moment.
        There are also exam results and SATs too- dreadful exam results and good inspections would be noticed.

        Ofsted’s responsible to Parliament, I think.

  • Schoolswot

    Oh, and I take it you, like that other Free Schools cheerleader Toby Young, won’t be mentioning that free school that was said to be closing because of (i) financial issues and (ii) an utterly dire Ofsted report?

    No, probably not…I wonder what you thought of Durham Free Schools’ tendency to recruit based on their religious credentials rather than their ability to teach?

    http://schoolsweek.co.uk/breaking-durham-free-school-is-to-close-confirms-nicky-morgan/

  • Inspector General

    You’d think that Sentamu, a vicar of Christ no less, would understand that Christ’s kingdom is not of this world, and that Sentamu’s own interfering in this temporal world would be confined to matters spiritual within it and not where people choose to educate their children.

    Apparently not. That he has no right to do what he is doing isn’t enough to stop the blighter. Such arrogance in a man of the cloth, what! Remember this, he may be an archbishop, but he is no greater than any of us mere mortals. Nay sirs, he is a servant of God, here to assist us achieve ever closer union with our creator. Anyway, that’s his job spec, whether he likes it or not. Small wonder then that the Inspector salutes the Roman Catholic episcopacy within the UK. Now there’s dignity for you. Rarely a squeak from them politically. They know that when they do call out, they thunder, whereas the ‘Anglican irrelevance’ irritates. And who can blame anyone for wanting to scratch when the likes of Sentamu gives us his unwanted unwarranted opinion.

    • “Small wonder then that the Inspector salutes the Roman Catholic episcopacy within the UK. Now there’s dignity for you. Rarely a squeak from them politically.”

      Playing the long game, Inspector. Awaiting more opportune circumstances before re-establishing its rightful position in influencing matters of State. Mind you, the Church in England will need more orthodox and faithful Catholic laity and senior clergy before doing so, what !

      • Inspector General

        Certainly looks that way Jack. Even though the Inspector is a cradle catholic, had he been born into the CoE he suspects he would have departed long ago.

        • ” … had he been born into the CoE he suspects he would have departed long ago.”

          What can this mean, Inspector?

          Surely you don’t mean … er … to voluntarily assume room temperature? Rather a drastic step, Sir.

      • Inspector General

        Postscript. Never thought one would abandon the Conservative party over social policy, but there you go, it’s done.

        • As Blackadder once said: “Needs must when the devil vomits into your kettle.”

        • Anton

          No, the Conservative party abandoned you.

          • Inspector General

            Still have pangs of regret Anton. It just shouldn’t have happened the way it did. If queer marriage was inevitable, down to some EU court ruling or whatever, the lesser political parties would have put it into place when they formed a government.

          • Don’t overlook the rot that set in with the E

          • Anton

            The government can hand out pieces of paper to couples declaring that the moon is made of green cheese too, but that doesn’t make it so.

          • Shadrach Fire

            The problem seems to have started with Blair, the fall guy for everything at the moment. Then DC brings his pretty boys into number ten and it’s fait et complet.

          • Don’t underestimate Mandelson’s influence and his little cabal.

          • Old Blowers

            “..Blair, the fall guy for everything at the moment.”

            Dear Shadrach.

            The Blair beast has not fallen nearly far enough for the damage he inflicted on us. It appears he has worked his dark magic yet again with the Chilcott report.

            Utterly sick of seeing his decaying puss continually in the press and media, bleeding heart on display.

            Mind you, me trebles, doubles and bullseyes have improved dramatically since images placed over board. You only need a good target to focus the mind and body. *sniggers*

    • Shadrach Fire

      Good words Inspector and I agree that men in the Church should pursue spiritual and parochial matters as an every day matter. However, those at the top should exercise there position to criticise the Government if it is not acting in a Christian way. There the divisions start as to what is Christian!

  • Tubby_Isaacs

    Hilton has had facts pointed out to him before on Twitter and gone on to say the same nonsense again. So here goes.

    Lots of people who oppose free schools on principle have had to support free schools opening near them. Because, get this, only new academies and free schools are allowed.

    I might look my local LA, where all schools are Good or Outstanding with Michael Wilshaw’s Ofsted, and where the head of Education is a highly respected man who’s advised a Conservative Cabinet Minister and done the same job in another borough, but they aren’t allowed to open another school. So, if I want them to have enough school places, I have to hope a free schooler or academy chain shows up. It it’s a group who are half competent, I’ll probably welcome them.

    Got that? So all that “such and such Labour MP is a hypocrite on free schools” is rubbish.

    And all that about “they meet admissions standards” stuff- ask the School Commissioner. Rocketing complaints about breaches. And that’s without allowing for the tricks that don’t break the code. Your pal Toby did a nice line in putting the less academically able off by talking about “compulsory Latin” and rubbishing computing. Let’s see the ability cohorts.

    I don’t agree with Sentamu about faith schools, because faith often allows a gerry mandered intake. But he’s not abusing the system like that- see his school in Hull. No idea what he thinks about Labour academies- not that they were like free schools, because they were intended to replace schools which had failed for years. Certainly some have been fiddling intakes, but nowhere near on the same scale as now.

    So he’s not a hypocrite, no. And seeing you’re trying to be legalistic and chuck Sentamu’s school in with free schools, it’s a foundation school, which have been around for ages, opened by proven competent religious groups. It’s not very much like the amateur hour and waste that is the free school programme.

    • Old Blowers

      OOOoooooooooooh, Hark at you, O corpulent one. *Giggles*

      Would this be similar to Ms Diane Abbott spouting about the joys of a comprehensive education for we plebs but sending precious young james abbott to the City of London School where he left with 11 a* grades and it’s all going swimmingly for the young chap at Cambridge University.

      The Champagne socialists must never let their offspring “go to the wrong school and get in the wrong crowd”, that is for we proletariat, t’aint it!!. hmm.

      Cheers Chubbs.

      Blowers out

      ps

      “Lots of people who oppose free schools on principle have had to support
      free schools opening near them. Because, get this, only new academies
      and free schools are allowed.” Take it as a given that grammar schools would really stick in the fabian craw if an option then?

      • Hi Ole Blowers – Jack has left you a message in the Archbishop’s lounge.

    • magnolia

      “A gerrymandered intake”. Well, how do you get there? Is it possibly that Christianity gives people a purpose and an identity and a dignity that helps them achieve better? Might those with a Christian faith fare better at the Marshmallow test? I distrust all this emphasis on sheer materialism and this fascination with how much money different parents possess, and social engineering. A revolting idea for adults to try to manipulate who will go up the social ladder, and conversely, who must be pushed down it, for the two must coexist as it is a revoltingly comparative thing. Much better to nurture all our children as being in the image and likeness of God and let the parents and children sort the rest.

  • Tubby_Isaacs

    “By attacking a specific Conservative policy – indeed, the first Bill introduced by the Coalition and a programme to which the Liberal Democrats committed themselves in their 2010 manifesto”

    Hang on, I thought it was the same as Labour’s academies?

    It was indeed brought in very quickly, without proper scrutiny. God knows how many millions could have been saved with that.

    Love the idea that churchmen aren’t supposed to attack policies. Though I guess it was fine when they were all attacking Roy Jenkins.

  • IanCad

    All of this is far too complicated for me to fathom.
    Free Schools, Academies, State Schools, Public Schools.
    It would make far more sense in this internet age – and with the able assistance of Sal Khan – for like minded parents to club together and teach their own children.
    Let the State do what the State does best – produce the least from the most.

    • Inspector General

      Have to agree Ian. There’s Marxism about, but where…

      • IanCad

        Certainly, the subject of this post, Archbishop Sentamu has Marxist leanings.
        A short while ago, during the attempted Scottish insurrection, Gordon Brown also cited Marx – quite successfully it would seem – in his speech against the mutineers.

    • dannybhoy

      “Let the State do what the State does best – produce the least from the most.”

      I like that sentence. Is it an original?

      The problem is that the State interferes too much in too many areas of life. One would like to believe that the State wants what is best for our nation, but that is manifestly untrue. Governments have all sorts of irons in the fire, doing deals with this one and that one, often at the expense of our nation.

      Just another reason why Christians need to be involved.

      • len

        Christianity is need to put the brakes on this madcap experiment called ‘ secular humanism’ before it destroys us all.

        • dannybhoy

          You know there is always a battle between the darkness and the light. It just takes different forms throughout history. Secular humanism is just one of the things we are up against.

          • len

            Secular humanism may be the greatest threat civilization has ever faced. Secular humanism is a religion devised by man not to prove the absence absence of God but in denial of God`s authority.
            Secular Humanism is the’ justification’ of the rebellion of man against God.

      • IanCad

        Thanks for that Danny. I’m sure someone, somewhere has said it before. The sentiment is universal.
        There is very little opportunity nowadays for true originality.
        Ideas are heard or read and perhaps altered a little to suit a comment. Rarely is a source given.
        I should know.
        There was an astute comment from Carl a couple of years back that summed up blogging protocol rather nicely.
        “–Feel free to steal and to be stolen from—“ Or something along those lines.

  • Phil R

    It seems that free schools do not have any real freedom

    They are bound by the same silly rules on selection and have to be inspected by the one size fits all OFSTED

    If you call them free let them be free, otherwise don’t pretend that they are different in any significant way to other state schools

    Free schools should be just that. Run without interference.

    • sarky

      Without interference? So you were ok with the activities of the so called ‘trojan horse’ schools were you?

      • Martin

        Sarky

        And Islamic society shares with the Atheist religion the desire to control all thought and behaviour.

        • sarky

          Rubbish!! Number 1, atheism is a lack of belief not a religion. Number 2, atheism is a lack of belief it doesn’t wish to control anything.
          With regards to controlling thought and behaviour, are you not against ssm, abortion, right to die? Or is control of thought and behaviour different if it is done in the name of god?

          • TimeForTea

            Atheism is certainly a belief. It’s the belief there is no god and it requires faith to so believe.

            Just like theists wish to tell you there is a god, atheists wish to tell you there isn’t.

            The difference between the two (relation to a Christian faith in the UK) is:

            The education system is a state enforced schooling and exam system which indoctrinates and tests children on principles based on the terribly poor and outdated, atheist, science fiction of the Big Bang theory and the theory of evolution. It is a criminal offence for parents of children not to take part in this.

            And church and religious belief is a voluntary system and you are free to come and go and agreed or disagree on issues based on a foundational text where the ultimate arbiter is God.

            It would be possible therefore to argue that atheism or perhaps vocal atheists do seek to control the very purpose of our lives by telling us there is no point to it and enforcing its doctrine.

            Given also that the foundational principles of atheism are based on woeful science where the observable rules of chemistry and physics are ignored in order to make the Big Bang and the Theory of Evolution you could also call it a religion. It requires significant belief (in nothing) and faith that it’s not there. In fact given the strength of opposition to any form of criticism it would probably be fair to call it a cult.

          • sarky

            Sorry lost the will to live at “science fiction of the big bang theory and the theory of evolution”
            I know lets teach the kids young earth creationism because obviously the observable rules of chemistry and physics are not ignored at all? ???

          • TimeForTea

            That’s ok, you’re not the first. Someone is yet to explain why it’s scientific fact though.

            To believe in creationism is not to ignore the rules of physics and chemistry. It’s to attribute their formation to someone who set those rules and balanced those physical properties and believe that once they’ve been set, they cannot be violated.

            Physicists have been through many iterations of the Big Bang Theory, steady state, oscillating etc.. I believe the current model is the expansion model. It requires anti-gravity forces that have never been observed and only last for the shortest period of time possible (there is a unit of time beyond which it cannot be any smaller) 1×10-37 seconds before disappearing and never being a physical property again. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong. As for the young earth decry you made, what one must understand is that time is a physical property. It is dependent on position, mass, acceleration and gravity which is Einstein’s theory of general relativity. So one has to think about who’s clock you are talking about because time is not a constant, it can be manipulated. Millions of years on one person’s clock can be seconds on another. The twin paradox is a demonstration of this and is provable and measurable.

            The age of the earth though is not the defining factor of Darwinism and evolution. The death of Darwinism should have come with the discovery of DNA. Darwinism can’t explain the origin of life because it can’t explain the origin of information. It’s impossible to have an error correcting code such as DNA and it’s replication without someone to input the information for it to know what to check against. Never mind the fact that nowhere do we get order from disorder (it’s a violation of the entropy laws) which is why we never observe new life being formed out of puddles that form where some amino acids can accumulate.

            Teaching should not be about indoctrinating in relation to science. It should be about giving students to the tool to ask questions. That’s how breakthroughs are made, by questioning the existing. The only barrier to truth is the presumption that we already have it…

          • Dreadnaught

            TimeforTea – more like time for medication.

            If I bait a fishing hook, dangle it in the water I believe that sooner or later I may catch a fish – I believe that, believe me. I also believe that fishing is not a religion (well for any sensible person anyway).

          • TimeForTea

            Yes, but believing you may catch a fish only affects whether you eat fish that evening or gain some pleasure from the fishing trip you are on so no, it’s not a belief system.

            Believing in God or not has an effect on the fundamental questions of the existence of life and the universe: How did I get here? Why am I here? What am I supposed to do now I’m here? Who (if anyone) am I accountable too?

            That affects the way you go about your life and what dictates that outlook forms a belief system. Your beliefs, cultural systems and world views form your religion.

            We all have a religion. For some it’s football, for some it’s fishing, for some it’s the worship of self or the worship or others, for some it’s the worship of the supernatural. An avid fisherman might take offence at saying no sensible person would make fishing his religion. Many through the ages have even worshiped the fish god Dagon.

          • DanJ0

            A-theism is a lack of a belief in a god or gods, at least in the negative sense of the word anyway. I don’t believe there is no god, in the sense of a religious belief, but I believe that the sun will rise tomorrow. That’s the sort of belief I have that there is no god. We usually use the same word but the meaning is philosophically different. You’re equivocating between the two, perhaps not understanding that you are doing so, though I have no doubt some people do it deliberately. A-theism websites typically explain all this quite clearly for those who are genuinely interested in truth.

          • “A-theism is a lack of a belief in a god or gods, at least in the negative sense of the word anyway.”

            Danjo, but if you lack belief in a Creator God then doesn’t it logically follow you believe in a materialist world of physical processes? Or, alternatively, do you just not think about this?

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Except that, since we all know God exists no one is truly an Atheist. We just call you that because you use it of yourself and it is as good a term as any for those who pretend there is no God.

            No one has the right to go outside of what God allows, but we don’t try to stop you, just tell you that you are wrong.

    • Linus

      Do free schools receive state funding?

      If so they should be subject to the same rules and regulations as any other school.

      If they’re totally private and receive no public funds at all, then of course they should be able to teach what they like. But the state has the right to examine the qualifications they dispense and decide whether they meet basic educational standards and will therefore be recognized.

      If you want to send you children to schools where they come out the other end with fancy sounding diplomas that mean nothing in the workplace because they’re not officially recognized, I guess that’s your choice.

      • Doctor Crackles

        I agree about funding if we are able to control those to whom we gladly gift our tax pounds. It works both ways surely.

        Not sure about the state having the right to examine truly independent education. I don’t see the state as such a benign entity.

        • Linus

          If independent schools escape from public control altogether then, as someone has already pointed out, how do you stop extremist Muslims from educating their children to be jihadists?

          You have to have some form of state control or you open the door to every kind of abuse. How would you like it if the curriculum of a nearby radical Islamist free school included classes in “Grenade Deployment 101” and “Decapitation Made Easy”? As long as they didn’t use live ammunition or practice on humans, what would make such lessons illegal? And when it came time for the students of such a school to search for gainful employment, how many jobs would a CV featuring bullet points such as “excellent kuffar extermination skills” and “voted top of the class for unquestioning obedience to the Prophet” get you an interview for?

          • dannybhoy

            “You have to have some form of state control or you open the door to every kind of abuse.”
            Isn’t that a slightly different issue?

          • Phil R

            You know Linus.

            Scare us into a totalitarian society will not work

            Well I hope it won’t work

        • dannybhoy

          I shoulda read wot you wrote before I wrote wot I wrote!

      • dannybhoy

        “But the state has the right to examine the qualifications they dispense
        and decide whether they meet basic educational standards and will
        therefore be recognized.”

        I don’t think so and anyway, what are you a Frenchie doing commenting on British education??
        The State has no money of its own, only what it demands, filches and mugs from tax payers.
        If we could be sure that the State wanted only the highest quality teaching with the best possible outcomes, then yes you have a point.
        But of course the State or rather the government of the day, has other things to consider. Like how to stay in power, how to get more votes, how to hold it all together…
        That’s the problem. We have far too much political interference.
        You as a Frenchman should understand this.

        • Linus

          Like it or not, the state is there and it does “filch” your money and uses some of it to manage and direct education policy.

          In an effort to ensure minimum standards of excellence, it defines a national curriculum based on what it judges are the basic skills needed to keep the economy running and as many people in paid work as possible.

          You may not like it, but there isn’t a great deal you can do about it. As far as I’m aware, not even Ukip is proposing to axe the Department of Education and return to an anarchic free-for-all where each school is totally independent and free to set its own curriculum and standards. To do so would render it virtually impossible for employers to hire qualified staff. How would you know what the diploma a candidate presented to you was worth?

          It seems to me that state control of education is inevitable. Whether or not the state rather than parents should fund schools is debatable, but I don’t think you can remove its responsibility for ensuring uniform standards.

          • dannybhoy

            Reply on its way!

          • CliveM

            DB

            I think Linus puts forward a persuasive case.

          • dannybhoy

          • CliveM

            And your point? :0(………!

          • dannybhoy

            Well I thought I had a point but now I’m not so sure..

          • CliveM

            Lol!

          • dannybhoy

            “In an effort to ensure minimum standards of excellence, it defines a
            national curriculum based on what it judges are the basic skills needed
            to keep the economy running and as many people in paid work as possible.”
            As I said earlier I think the focus has shifted, due in part to the pervasive influence of the Welfare State mentality. Also the fact that Labour Party policy continues to be that of recruiting voters from the ranks of the unambitious, the unmotivated and the unemployed and immigrants.
            So there will be mixed messages there.

            Overall too our sense of national pride and self determination has been seriously weakened. We are more a banking and servicing economy than a producer of goods and machinery.
            This loss of motivation can be seen in sport for example, where rather than find and develop young footballing talent, we import it from across the Channel.

          • IanCad

            “In an effort to ensure minimum standards of excellence,–“
            Yes! Minimum is the goal.

          • CliveM

            Hi DB

            I think their is a strong case to argue that the current oversight is not working (the experience of OFSTED at my sons Primary convinces me if that) but that, to me at least, says the oversight has to be fixed not abandoned. Which I am sure you are not saying.

          • dannybhoy

            That’s right. It is interesting that after the war educational standards were high.I don’t know without researching it how those standards were decided upon, but I assume they used principled educators/academics instead of unprincipled politicians. Michael Gove excepted.
            There is too much interference, too much bureaucracy.
            As Ian said earlier,
            “Let the State do what the State does best – produce the least from the most.”

          • magnolia

            “Minimum standards of excellence.” Can you explain this very strange phrase. What the heck is it? I know that educational parlance often defies logic and experience, sanity and reality, but you French folk are supposed to be hot on philosophy, and this is from the stable of educational emoting and a contradiction in terms.

            I have met very few people who attain any standards of excellence. It is educational exaggeration of the worst kind which teaches people inexact speech, and is therefore anti-educational. Besides which what do you do if you think you are already there? THose who achieve are those who perceive distant uncharted horizons, like the Mathematician determined to solve Fermat’s last theorem, not the ones who think they attained a “minimum standard.. of excellence” at, God help us all, secondary school.

          • dannybhoy

            “”Minimum standards of excellence.”

            I think perhaps Linus meant minimum standards of attainment?

          • magnolia

            Maybe but the “e” word gets splattered everywhere over the British educational system with no discernment or precision whatever, but loads of rather revolting self-congratulation at what is usually of above say 60% in exams calibre.

          • Linus

            I see you have a very laudable, very aspirational, almost romantic attitude to education.

            I wonder how practical it is though.

            Not everyone is born to attain “distant uncharted horizons”. But they are born to participate in society, and to do so they need basic skills like numeracy, a clear grasp of language and some idea of history, science and how the economy works.

            “Minimum standards of excellence” just means where you set the bar of knowledge. It’s what you deem as the absolute minimum a citizen needs to know in order to be able to participate fully in society.

            This is why schools must be accountable to the state. If free schools omit whole sections of the national curriculum, their pupils will be disadvantaged in society, and society will be disadvantaged by being deprived of the skills and contribution that these pupils might otherwise have made had they received an adequate education.

            Also, if schools start to teach subjects that we deem inappropriate or even illegal, such as jihad strategy or how to burn heretics at the stake, society will suffer in other ways.

            It’s only by making all schools accountable to the state that you can ensure a basic level of knowledge for all citizens. If you object to the phrase “minimum standards of excellence” because you think it sounds like jargon, why not say “basic level of knowledge” instead?

          • derekbuxton

            Oh, such young people on here. Back in the old days of Grammar, Intermediate Schools and Technical colleges all were catered for. The School Certificate and its higher version were set and marked by the Universities and the system worked. The Universities in those days could be trusted and were. I would not trust any system set up by government, over the last two administrations far too many big mistakes, mild version, have been perpetrated on our Country…

      • magnolia

        ….”fancy sounding diplomas that mean nothing in the workplace because they’re not officially recognized”….

        Ahh, like the short-lived fashion for the “Bacc.” in some British schools you mean?

        • Linus

          Wasn’t the English version of the baccalauréat an attempt to harmonize your qualifications with the rest of Europe? Or, if you’re a Ukip voter, with Europe (forget “the rest of”, as you soon will if Farage gets his way).

          In a market with free movement of workers, it makes sense to have qualification that can be recognized by employers in all countries. The British system of education, like most things about Britain, differs from Continental models and therefore places British citizens at a disadvantage when seeking employment elsewhere in Europe.

          That being said, if you like your system the way it is, there’s nothing to stop you keeping it that way. I could be wrong, but I’m aware of no EU directive that forces each country to introduce qualifications similar to the baccalauréat.

    • len

      ‘Freedom’ can only exist safely within a Judeo /Christian culture and moral framework we do not have to look too far to see how a secular society copes with threats from without and from within.

      • sarky

        A judeo/christian culture would suffer exactly the same threats. What would you do? Nothing? Then just pray that everything will be ok?

        • len

          Look to history the last Century should be enough.

  • Martin

    It seems strange to me that Sentamu & co should be campaigning against this and not the Counter Terrorism & Security bill which threatens to force Christian Unions to hand over talks to be monitored for ‘extremist ideas’.

    And of course they failed to campaign against so called ‘gay marriage’. Is it any wonder that the CoE is going to the dogs when their clergy are more interested in political campaigning than Christian freedom & morality?

  • Watchman

    Are the archbishop’s pronouncements limited to a promulgation of his leftist leanings or would he like to make his views known of the persecution of two Christian schools: Durham Free School and Grindon Hall School by OFSTED?. One has been placed in special measures and the other closed after withdrawal of its funding by a Christian Sectretary of State. Both schools, it seems, have done no more than be true to the basis of their Christian foundations. Now, archbishop, if you really want to be useful you could kick up a fuss about persecution of Christian education by the state.

    • derekbuxton

      That could be a big ask!

  • Phil R

    It is amusing that many commenters here say that they passionately believe in freedom.

    But then it seems they are not willing to take the risks that freedom brings. So they clamp down and suggest regulation, inspection, accountability.

    Can we not trust the parents? There seems to be an argument that if parents can pay then we don’t need to bother with the said regulation.

    I read the comments and despair. A few rouge schools in Birmingham is enough to make people fearful for the many.

    However, Free schools mean nothing unless they have freedom. I think we are forgetting the meaning of the word in the UK.

    • sarky

      Yes I absolutely believe in freedom, but with regards to education there must be some sort of regulation and accountability or the whole thing falls apart and our children are the ones who ultimately lose out.

      • Phil R

        It is the regulation and accountability that stifles freedom.

        Either they are free or they are not.

        BTW. Why can I have a truly free school for my kids because I can afford to pay for it?

        • sarky

          Think you will find private schools are still inspected by OFSTED.

          • IanCad

            Teach them at home.
            It is still quite legal in this country to do so.
            Either individually or in small groups.
            Rights not exercised tend to disappear.

          • Phil R

            My wife home schooled one of our kids who was not making progress in the local International Primary School near where I worked at the time.

            We made some good friends with the other Home school parents.

            I think in the UK parents of home school children should be able to access the £5k or whatever the state is saving by educating the child at home.

            I also think that UK Private Schools should be able to reclaim the £5k from the state and so reduce fees for UK residents.

          • Phil R

            I think it is a different group. Not that I take much notice!

    • bluedog

      The state will never permit freedom in the school curriculum and cannot be expected to do so. A state only exists as long as the people share common attributes (common purpose?) that binds them together, and school is a transmission mechanism of national culture and values. In the same way, the family is also the incubator of culture and values. While there are possibilities for ‘freedom’ in allowing parents a choice of schooling and allowing schools to compete in the interests of raising standards, as the provider of finance for education the state will always determine the structure of schooling for reasons of accountability.

      You talk about a few ‘rouge’ schools in Birmingham. Isn’t that the very real risk? What if an external power that promotes values antithetical to those of the UK is allowed unfettered freedom to educate a significant and ultimately hostile demographic within the UK? That is a freedom of which one should be rightly afraid.

      • Phil R

        Then you are surrendering Freedom to paranoia

        Do you really think that a few Ofsted Inspectors with the tick boxes on clipboards, will solve this problem?

        If that is the case then we can do away with MI5

        • bluedog

          ‘Then you are surrendering Freedom to paranoia’

          No, you are using judicious risk management to minimise the threats to our Freedom.

          Be thankful if you haven’t yet realised a certain demographic presents an overt threat to the current societal model of the UK, you are of course entirely free to remain hopelessly naïve. But don’t expect electoral support for your extreme libertarian position.

          • Phil R

            Risk management. ………

            China in particular is rather good at that sort of risk management.

            Not so free though…..

      • derekbuxton

        Our Country once shared common attributes, until 1945 when the rot started. I would also doubt that a “state” could govern the Schools in a proper manner, it finds it difficult to do anything properly these days..

    • dannybhoy

      I don’t have a problem with the State ensuring that society is benevolently ordered, stable, compassionate with opportunity for all.
      I just don’t think it’s the State’s role to arrange all these things because inevitably the State is manipulated by political parties.
      If for example education was the responsibility of academics and educationalists with a passion for teaching and getting the best ot our children, fine.
      If the organisation and running of the NHS was the responsibility of ethical doctors, surgeons, senior nurses working with accountants, fine.
      But in both examples politicians step in and interfere.
      We really need people of integrity committed to excellence, efficiency and economy and as free of political dogma as possible to run these agencies.

      Hit and miss political placemen and careerists playing ping pong with our nation is not the answer.

  • Shadrach Fire

    In England, our children are ours (unlike in Scotland where they are the named person’s) and it is our responsibility to educate them. We should be able to have them educated in the manner that best suites us as parents.
    But no, it seems that the Government wants to intervene and ensure that they are educated according to their understanding of equality and diversity. Who is the Government representing? It is not the people.
    We saw that with SSM. The vast majority of parliamentarians supported it but the statistics of the public’s antagonism were manipulated by the Government to conceal the public’s opinion. Now we have the same. Parliamentarians decide what is right or wrong no matter what the public think.
    When will we be rid of these arrogant self opinionated tossers.

  • magnolia

    Ah, tssk, I was reading Yahoo Finance, the .com one which says a post-PC era is upon us. For a moment hope flamed up within. And then I realised that they were writing merely of personal computers!!

    • Phil R

      In people’s hearts I believe we’ve been post PC for many years. If we ever really were.

      Most people are PC only because they are scared for their future to be otherwise.