Lib Dem Faith Schools
Democracy

LibDems 'do God' by opposing faith schools

 

It’s now coming up to three-and-a-half years since I put fingers to keyboard and began blogging on the relationship between Christianity and politics. Along the way it’s brought me into contact with plenty of people immersed in the political world. Judging by the coverage from the media, I could have expected to find that those who have gone down this route had sold their souls to their parties and had their consciences squeezed dry.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve heard reliable stories of tribalistic, power-hungry individuals who wouldn’t be averse to the odd bit of backstabbing when it suits their ambitions. But the vast majority of political types that I have met have been genuine, friendly and sincere. And of those, some of the nicest of these have been members of the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum (LDCF). This is a bunch of LibDems who are incredibly welcoming, spiritually alive and not afraid to do whatever they can to make sure Christianity gets the attention it deserves within their party. Last year they published Liberal Democrats Do God, which gave Christian LibDem MPs and peers an opportunity to confidently stand tall and express their faith through its pages. The raising of the income tax threshold by this government, which has benefited millions of earners on low incomes, is a direct result of the work of Lizzie Jewkes, an LDCF member, who was inspired by the Bible’s teaching on treating the poor and vulnerable fairly. Her dream of those living on the minimum wage paying no income tax is now in both the 2015 Conservative and LibDem manifestos.

Along with Labour, the LibDems have pledged in their manifesto to appoint an Ambassador for Freedom of Religion or Belief: “We will appoint an Ambassador-level Champion for Freedom of Belief to drive British diplomatic efforts in this field, and we will campaign for the abolition of blasphemy, sedition, apostasy and criminal libel laws worldwide,” they write. This new commitment is, again, down to the campaigning of the LDCF on this specific issue. It is an achievement they should be proud of.

The LibDems, along with most of the other parties, are increasingly using favourable language regarding religious belief and the role of churches and Christian organisations. In a recent interview with Premier Christianity, Nick Clegg explained that he is not as much of an atheist as people might have been led to believe; that the Bishops’ recent criticisms of the government’s approach to social equality were “fantastic”; and he paid tribute to all of the church groups who seek to serve the most vulnerable through their “hugely important” provision of food banks and other support. Cynics might argue that such warm words are due to politicians having woken up to the fact that the Christian vote is of a significant size and worth chasing. Let’s not forget that not so long ago, the LibDem leader was going to deliver a speech which described those opposed to same-sex marriage as ‘bigots’. But even allowing for attempted pre-election charm offensives, there does appear to be some substance here, and, either way, it certainly beats being ignored.

But sadly, these godly overtures from Nick Clegg don’t appear to extend to faith schools, of which 99 per cent are church schools. In a hangover from their 2010 manifesto, the LibDems have not had a change of heart and still want to ensure that all faith schools develop an inclusive admissions policy and end discrimination on grounds of faith when recruiting staff, except for those principally responsible for religious instruction.

At last year’s autumn conference, National Secular Society honorary associates Julian Huppert MP and Dr Evan Harris attempted to bring in a LibDem policy that would ban all faith-based pupil selection, but the motion was defeated after Business Secretary Vince Cable and Justice Minister Simon Hughes urged delegates to reject the amendment saying it risked “really serious harm”. This would appear to imply that there is now no opposition to selection by faith, and yet what is an ‘inclusive admissions policy’ if it does not restrict selection by faith? In 2009 the party approved a policy of no new selective faith schools being established. There is nothing coherent about this. Either faith schools have an important part to play in the make-up of our education system or they don’t. If you believe that they do, as Nick Clegg has demonstrated both through his words and also by sending his children to one, then the implication is that you agree it is critically important that a religious ethos is allowed to flourish. In doing so, these schools are able to maintain their distinctive identity by which all pupils, and especially those with a faith, benefit.

Faith schools, in theory, have the potential to become “silos of segregation“, as Mr Clegg has put it, but in practice the vast majority are broad and inclusive. There has, though, always been a tradition of these schools serving those families who want their children to be educated in an environment which encourages their faith to grow and develop. Nick Clegg and his wife chose the London Oratory for their children because she is Roman Catholic and they wanted their children to be brought up in that faith at school, as well as nurtured at home. If these LibDem policies had been implemented, there is a good chance that their children would not have been offered a place. But even if they had been living within the catchment area and had gained entry, with a school that could have only a couple of teachers who identify as Roman Catholic, there could potentially be a whole host of teachers with no great interest in religion reluctantly propping up the school’s founding values. Would the Cleggs be happy with such a watered-down level of faith being demonstrated to their children week after week?

LibDem policy would effectively neuter faith schools and leave them barely discernible from the local “bog standard” comprehensive school. It would be the de facto end of faith schools as we know them. It needs to be repeated again that apart from secular humanists, there is no appetite among the public for faith schools losing their identity or having their admissions arrangements altered. If schools are forced to change their intakes, it does not improve the quality of the school one bit. All it does is to please a different group of people who can afford to live in an area while upsetting others who cannot.

The LibDems have got some things very right in their manifesto, but this assault on faith schools is not one of them. We already have the Green Party who are keen to see church schools consigned to the dustbin of history. After five years in government (and, it must be observed, supporting Michael Gove’s extension of academisation and Free Schools programme), the LibDems ought to know better by now. They really shouldn’t leave us in a position where, on the one hand, they express full support for these schools, but, on the other, threaten to wreak widespread damage. For a party that has education at the heart of its manifesto, such a policy is neither liberal nor democratic. Nor, in the final analysis, is it necessary.

  • bmudmai

    The Green party also oppose faith schools and would remove all state funding to these schools… Funny none of them brandish these policies about but can only be found if you search deep into their policies. Be careful who you vote for. Particularly if you are Christian.

  • Anton

    There is certainly a problem of principle with “faith schools” in our wonderful multicultural society. For there can now in principle be wiccan, satanist, Zoroastrian, Hindu etc faith schools – and, of course, Islamic.

    Let’s face it, personal faith is to do with the home far more than with school and the practical importance of Christian “faith schools” is that they provide a better overall education.

    • Watchman

      In Jaipur I had a lengthy conversation with a strict Brahman: he lived his faith and it was the most important aspect of his life. He mentioned that he had one son who was the apple of his eye and that he sent this son to a Christian School. I asked if that meant an English school and he replied that although it was an English school it was far more important that it was a Christian school. He left me wondering why a strict Brahman should find a Christian school so appealing apart from the quality of its education. I wish I’d questioned him more……

  • magnolia

    Odd word, that word “inclusive”. Now no one wants to contemplate the poor outsider, banned from the nice warm spot by the fire, or excluded from the party of “cool kids” on the block, or the one boy in the class not invited to the birthday party, or the disabled person avoided by the able-bodied. All these are just unkind, and undesirable things to happen.

    But that is no excuse for the countless absurd policies touted under this word, some of which are for desirable behaviour that is virtually ineradicable, and definitely non-legislatable, and others of which are like this, just not socially desirable at all, because the government takes money off families, and then gives it back in schools, and the parents are still effectively on average the end payer, thus the customer, not the freeloader who can be bullied, as all too often happens.

  • Anton

    “I’ve heard reliable stories of tribalistic, power-hungry individuals who wouldn’t be averse to the odd bit of backstabbing when it suits their ambitions. But the vast majority of political types that I have met have been genuine, friendly and sincere.”

    Yes, but does that remain the case high up in politics, or is there a selection effect such that the higher up the pyramid you look, the more people are in the former category?

  • The Explorer

    You can see how things have changed if you look at the Act of Toleration, 1689. Toleration then meant allowing things you disagreed with. Even so, it was not equally applied. Nonconformists were allowed their own places of worship, but their rights did not apply to Catholics, Unitarians or atheists. Dissenters were barred from political office and universities.

    The sort of minds that produce the Act would have had no truck with modern notions of equality. Because there are Church of England schools does not mean that there can be Muslim schools. End of.

  • The Explorer

    Steroids, when first discovered, were going to be the new antibiotics. Then it was found they had limitations: in destroying what was harmful, they blasted what was benign as well. At least some hostility to faith schools takes the steroid approach.
    Muslim insularity within western societies is now seen to be a problem. Muslim schools potentially exacerbate that problem. But Muslim schools cannot be singled out in a multi-faith society. So get rid of all faith schools, and that will take care of the Muslim ones as well. (With the added bonus that if you focus your attack on Christian schools, you achieve the desired result and are less likely to get yourself killed.)

  • The Explorer

    Since faith, or lack of faith, affects one’s perception of the world, a Christian school a Hindu school and an atheist school, say, would produce three profoundly different types of education. Consider the impact of each on approaches to art, music, language, literature, geography, history, biology and even mathematics: indeed, to the whole purpose of education itself.
    Faith determines one’s world view, and that affects how one sees everything. As an ex atheist, I have found my attitudes changing even towards pets and gardening.

  • Busy Mum

    The question everybody ought to be asking is, why non-Christians are perfectly happy to attend Christian schools whereas, for example, non-Sikhs are not happy to attend Sikh schools.

    http://schoolsimprovement.net/pupils-sent-to-sikh-free-school-amid-place-shortage-2/

    http://schoolsimprovement.net/row-as-atheist-pupils-are-sent-to-vegetarian-sikh-school/

    Can you imagine the rumpus if Muslim families were allocated places at a Jewish free school? If my children were allocated places at ANY school with which I was unhappy, I would home-educate; If all unhappy parents did this – and demanded a tax refund from the government – there might be a chance of sorting this mess out.

    • preacher

      Hi Busy Mum. seems like allocating the antelopes a place with the Lions at the Zoo, as after all they Are all animals & will learn to get along better if they live together. Good comment!.

      • Busy Mum

        Good analogy!
        What nobody wants to admit is that CofE schools, by virtue of their Christian beliefs, are the original ‘inclusive’ schools.
        My experience of CofE schools is that they have lost sight of this and believe the government when they are told they must ‘become more diverse and inclusive’ i.e. they basically have agreed with the government that they were somehow bigoted and exclusive in the past when that is simply not the truth.
        CofE schools are probably now the only ‘faith’ schools that do not teach their own beliefs as the absolute truth; they are even better at teaching comparative religions than secular schools.
        I find the majority of staff and governors at CofE schools are absolutely ignorant of what Christianity is all about and therefore are incapable of ensuring that these schools abide by their trust deeds.

      • Dreadnaught

        Noah tried that – it didn’t sort of work out.

        • Busy Mum

          Yes it did.

  • preacher

    It seems to me that after sitting by the pool for five years sipping chablis & scoffing pheasant & quail’s eggs. The ‘leaders’ of the U.K are suddenly noticing that the ship has developed a noticeable list & are scrambling for a place on the life rafts or at least a life jacket.
    After ignoring the electorate & basking in the soft rays of their own glory, it seems there is about to be an eclipse & they are prepared to offer anything, including their own Grandmas to save their jobs.

    Faith schools without doubt differ in their standards of teaching, but at least they offer a choice of religious education that is superior to the ‘Comparative Religions’, or none at all that is that is churned out by the state schools. All this does is to cause confusion among the pupils & relegate all religions as irrelevant or just a matter of choosing which one suits you as an individual.

    My advice is check out the records of how your M.P voted on key issues that effect you & your beliefs over the last term of office.
    Don’t believe all the mud slinging, smiles & empty promises, but check out what their party line is & what the records show over the last five years.
    Without a doubt, there are some Christian M.P’s, but if they are in a minority & are dragged along behind the party horse, they will be of less use than an ashtray on a motorbike in getting things done.

  • The Explorer

    A faith school is meaningful only if it is allowed to teach all subjects according to the tenets of that faith. But is a C of E school allowed to teach in RE that other religions are false, or must it teach Christianity in a comparative way as on a par with other faiths? Is a C of E school allowed a Christian approach to sexual ethics and marriage?

    Suppose a bunch of Flat Earthers wanted to set up a school to teach Flat Earth Faith. The State would be mad to allow it. The State wouldn’t. The State Inspectors would say you cannot teach scientifically-incorrect facts that damage the pupils/students, and will damage the country if they go out into the world and spread misinformation and confusion.

    You can have your Flat-Earth School provided that you teach what the State says, in the way that the State approves, and don’t teach the things that you happen to believe. In which case, the existence of the school would be totally pointless.

    • Watchman

      Is a Christian school permitted to teach biblical creation or does current and severely limited scientific theory trump everything?

      • Busy Mum

        No, they are not. A major criticism of both the Durham free school and Grindon Hall was that they taught creation in science lessons..

        • sarky

          Creation in science lessons??? You have got to be kidding!!

          • Busy Mum

            How is elevating the theory of evolution to the status of factual science in accordance with the government’s commitment to treating all beliefs equally?
            Either introduce both topics in science, or both in RE.

          • Dreadnaught

            You must be joking. How confusing for minds not mature enough to distinguish between fact and fiction to expect them to learn to question for themselves in later life.
            Believe what you want, but creationism if a fairy tale.

          • Dreadnaught

            Ok you go to a Muslim school and tell them Jesus is the living God and see if you get out with your head in the same location as when you went in – (jest)

          • Busy Mum

            That’s the point; Muslim schools run according to Islam by telling their students that Christian beliefs are invalid/inferior. CofE schools do not run according to Christianity as they tell their students that Muslim and all other religious beliefs are equally valid.

          • The Explorer

            The thing is, in some parts of the world that wouldn’t be a jest, but a statement of fact.

          • sarky

            Or evolution in science and creation in re?

          • Busy Mum

            That is the current set-up; why should one set of beliefs be treated as superior to another?

          • sarky

            Because one is backed up by evidence and the other is a belief.

          • Busy Mum

            Absolutely agree – the Bible is backed up by evidence and has never been disproven. Evolution is a belief which has never been proven.

          • sarky

            Evolution is a ‘theory’ to which many facets ‘have’ been proven.
            The bible has never been disproven? The fact that god created light before the sun ought to be a clue.

          • The Explorer

            Have you noticed the use of parallelism in the ‘Genesis’ account? How 1, 2 and 3 are amplified by 4, 5 and 6? Thus a general statement about light in 1 is dealt with in more detail in 4. Hence, also, the two human creation accounts: the one amplifying the other.
            It may tell us nothing about science, but it tells us a lot about the author’s poetic technique. It also tells us one very important point: that the world is the result of purpose rather than chance. With that big ‘Why?’ question answered, science can fill in the gaps about how: as and when it discovers the data.

          • sarky

            Was never really bothered by the ‘why’ question, always seemed irrelevant.

          • The Explorer

            Why?

          • sarky

            Why we are here has no bearing on my life. I’m here and thats that.
            I just get on with the business of living and doing the best I can.
            If we got here by big bang, god or aliens it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t affect me here and now. Plus I’ve got bigger things to worry about, like do I fancy another coffee!

          • Anna055

            Science trained Christians I know line up on both sides of the creation v evolution debate – probably because the evidence either way isn’t completely clear. On the “light before the sun” question though I recently read an interesting article suggesting that seen from the earth, you would indeed have had light before the sun because of the dust swirling around the newly formed earth.

          • sarky

            That only works if you have a scientific view of the creation of the earth. We are led to believe god made it perfect – therfore no dust!

          • Anna055

            🙂 ……though I’m not sure what’s the matter with dust! I did a biological science degree, so I guess I have a scientific view of the world as part of my faith…..you know the sort of thing: the “exploring God’s creation” approach and all that.

          • Busy Mum

            For those of us who believe the words of Jesus Christ, it is quite simple. “I am the Light of the world”

          • sarky

            Wrong context. Doesn’t explain my point.

          • Busy Mum

            Why wrong context? Jesus Christ was before the creation.

          • sarky

            I dont think it’s talking about actual light!

          • carl jacobs

            Evolution is no science. It cannot be subjected to the scientific method, and it cannot explain the universe as we observe it. Evolution is a dogma that proceeds from the presupposition that the universe is wholly immanent and therefore must be explainable in wholly immanent terms.

          • Dreadnaught

            So how do you explain bacterial development when the antibiotics are overcome?

          • Busy Mum

            Just think of the rapidity with which antibiotics have become ineffective and contrast this very short timescale with the millions of years evolutionists tell us are required for adaptation.

          • carl jacobs

            How do I explain the difference between a Chihuahua and a Hound? Perhaps you could show me the path of viable mutations that would allow a chimpanzee (or whichever simian you prefer) to mutate into a man?

          • Dreadnaught

            I asked first.

          • carl jacobs

            And I answered. The essence of evolution is that like produces unlike. So don’t confront me with bacteria becoming a different type of bacteria. Show me how bacteria becomes a paramecium. That’s considerably easier than showing the transitionals from simian to man. Oh, yes. And explaining all the observational differences between simian and man in terms of DNA.

          • Anna055

            I think I have to be fair on the evolutionists here and say that a (Christian) biologist friend recently told me about a species of fish that has evolved into a different species of fish within a comparatively short time frame. Evolving into totally different genera though is another matter altogether of course.

          • sarky

            Evolution is no science. Think your in a very small minority there Carl.

          • Busy Mum

            That’s because brainwashing is only successful if the majority succumb.

          • sarky

            Thats why christianity is down the pan.

          • Carl is exactly right. Evolution cannot be proved and there is no test that could falsify it. Ergo, it is not science.

          • sarky

            Think you need to do a bit more research! !

          • Anton

            Nonsense Carl. Manifestly both genetic heritance and natural selection occur. The question is whether the combination can explain all biology on earth. A common mistake of anti-evolutionists is to suppose that because scientists today haven’t find an evolutionary pathway from A to B then none such exists. But that is a statement about the limited ingenuity of scientists rather than about biology. Many it-s-impossible arguments assume that a bodily organ (or, at the molecular level, a molecular machine) always has the same function along any putative evolutionary pathway; but that is not true – google “exaptation”.

            Of course evolution could not have occurred in 6000 years, but the word YOM in the Genesis account of the 6 yom of creation has exactly the same ambiguity in Hebrew as its translation “day” in English. It can also mean era, as in “the day of steam power”. Moreover it can only mean era in Job 15:23 and 18:20. And the phrase “after their own kind” in Genesis just mean that the next generation resembles its parents rather than other types of animal; it is silent about whether changes can occur over thousands of generations. Christian anti-evolutionists are making more assumptions than they realise in their readings of Genesis.

      • Dreadnaught

        Yes.

    • Busy Mum

      Cof E schools are signing their own death warrant by not teaching Christianity as the absolute truth. Our primary caved in without firing a shot over teaching evolution as science whilst creation was relegated to stories along with Greek myths etc etc

      • carl jacobs

        Ironic, since evolution is the “secular creation myth.” The nature of the universe that we assume drives our understanding of both origins and existence. The prior question is “Who is the creator?” Once that question is answered, many other conclusions become inevitable.

        • Busy Mum

          Exactly – and belief in evolution is why so many children in schools today behave like animals; the law of the jungle holds sway and therfore schools need rules to force children to be nice to each other and to force them to treat each other as equals, behaviour which would be the status quo if they were taught to acknowledge their Creator. ,

        • Coniston

          There is a false dichotomy between accepting evolution or believing in a Creator God. It is perfectly orthodox to believe in God as the creator and sustainer of the universe, and also to accept that He did so by means of an evolutionary process – which is not to say that Darwinian evolution is totally accurate in all its assumptions.

          • Busy Mum

            An ‘evolutionary process’ is irrelevant to a human being who is going to be on this earth for +/-70 years.
            Is there any current evidence to suggest that the human beings in 2015 are in any way an improvement on the human beings of 1915? 1815? 1715?…… I would dare to say that a walk through any town centre would suggest that if any change has taken place, it has been a degeneration.

          • Coniston

            I do not, and did not, suggest that humans have ‘evolved’ in the last 400 years or so (or the last 4000 years). You are talking about moral or spiritual growth (or its opposite). That is something quite different, and I would probably agree with your comment. Evolution, in its scientific sense, is not applicable to moral or spiritual changes (science, as such, does not encompass such things). The ‘Whig theory of history’, espoused by most liberals today, believes that mankind is progressing, morally and spiritually, ever upwards to an ever more wonderful and ‘progressive’ future. This I regard as delusional. It is emphatically not what is meant by evolution.

          • Busy Mum

            I was referring to the physical attributes of today’s human beings. As far as I can see they are fatter, uglier, slower of movement etc etc than specimens of even only 50 years ago.

          • Anton

            Yes, isn’t the Welfare State wonderful?

          • Coniston

            Very true. But this has nothing to do with ‘evolution’; it is caused by current lifestyles.

          • Anton

            Well said! Most people who criticise the theory of evolution (aka the neo-Darwinian synthesis of natural selection and genetic heritance) can’t even state what it is accurately.

          • Busy Mum

            I do not pretend to great scientific knowledge. But it seems ironic to me that the greater love one has for the process of natural selection, the greater the effort one makes to fight it and embrace all manner of inhibiting characteristics as equally valuable in the struggle for survival.

          • carl jacobs

            “God in the gaps” is not a sustainable position, in my view. But that is a wholly separate argument. It doesn’t address one way or the other the nature of evolutionary theory as science.

          • Coniston

            I certainly do not believe in a ‘God of the gaps’. There are no gaps where God is concerned.

        • Watchman

          If you accept the evolutionary process the fall doesn’t make sense and without the fall there is no need for redemption; the basis of biblical belief is the creation, without it Christianity doesn’t make sense. Why is it so difficult to believe in creation when we belief in an almighty God who exists outside our boundaries of time etc. God says that his word never returns to Him void and if He cannot create through His Word how can we trust Him with anything else?

          • sarky

            “the basis of biblical belief is the creation, without it Christianity doesn’t make sense. ”
            Which explains why so many dismiss it. People tend not to believe fairy stories once they grow up.

          • Watchman

            Well, I’ve grown up and I’m happy to report that my faith has never been stronger! As we grow older we can increase in knowledge and wisdom so long as we keep trying to find the truth for it is the truth that sets us free. I wish you well in increasing in knowledge and wisdom as you mature.

  • Dreadnaught

    The days when Christianity had the stranglehold on knowledge are mercifully over. If ‘faith schools’ had been banned years ago, neither Prods, Catholics, Jews, Muslims or whatever divisive ideology that demanded the right to state funding to brainwash the young minds, we would have a less fractured society today and in recent history.

    • Busy Mum

      If ‘faith’ schools had have been banned years ago, there would have been no schools at all. All schools in the UK were Christian by default- even the Victorian board schools would have been run according to Christian principles.

      • Dreadnaught

        Of course you are merely endorsing the observation I put forward. The fact that this theistic control tool existed, it does not hold true that formal education would not have existed. ‘Tree of the fruits of knowledge’ and all that Tommy-Rot was that catch-all for that little exercise to embed itself in the hierarchical pecking order of mind control methods.

        • Busy Mum

          And our British schools did not demand the right to state funding. The state demanded the right to fund the schools, which went hand in hand with demanding the right to dictate what was taught in those schools.
          ‘Stranglehold’ is a strange word to describe the huge advances made whilst Christianity held sway. Oh, and if you want to see mind control in action visit your local state-run school now.

          • Dreadnaught

            I Take your first point.
            Stranglehold on knowledge that denied the Earth revolves around the sun is more inline with what I was infering.
            I do on occaions visit State Schools; it only the ‘faith’ schools where I have to avoid the subject of creationism.

          • Busy Mum

            Ah, I was forgetting that many atheists lump all Christians together under pre-reformation Roman Catholicism.
            Our CofE schools which are more afraid of OFSTED than of God, do not do creationism. The Christian schools that tried to do it were closed down/criticised.
            If the subject is avoided, how can pupils make an informed judgment?

          • magnolia

            I have described what happened above, but you are sticking with your preconceptions. No one else was out there setting up charitable trusts. Very few people were claiming to be atheists in those days, and clearly enough those that were were not setting up charitable schools. It is as it is. Not a stranglehold on knowledge, but a defining interest in the propagation of learning. No time to go into Galileo here, but the facts of the case differ from an often propagated version.

          • Dreadnaught

            Off the top of my head; University College London was set by 18th Century atheist Jeremy Bentham I believe.
            You seem to have overlooked this. As the Christians were at one time keen on branding (literally) or murdering anyone declaring to be an ‘Atheist’ its hardly surprising they didn’t go all out and found atheist schools is it?

          • magnolia

            One of a thousand shareholders may not quite qualify a 78 year old man as founder of an institution, and I note that he is described as an initiator of ideas which led others to found what is a very late arriver on the scene. 1826 is hardly a pioneering date for a university college.

            The poor man made a very poor choice of not having a proper Christian burial, which would have precluded his head becoming an object of ridicule and student pranks, by the way!

          • Dreadnaught

            So you say; but it hasn’t stopped from becoming a highly rated, world renowned University

          • magnolia

            I agree it is world class. No problems. I just don’t see any need to understate the Christian inheritance we all benefit from. It was Christians who pioneered many charities; just really a matter of accurate record. But they did not just include my ancestors (one or two, anyway) but also your own in all probability as I doubt that you have a long pedigree of pure atheistic ancestors!

          • Anton

            It is not a coincidence that science got going in a continent in which everybody believed the Bible to be true, even if many of them didn’t let God change their hearts very much. you have to believe that the universe is real not a dream; that there is order in it; and that man is capable of comprehending that order. The doctrine of creation by a God who puts order in his creation, and in whose image man is, fulfils all of those.

            When Galileo, a loyal Catholic if inclined to satire, was tried by the Inquisition for advocating that the earth moves round the sun rather than vice-versa, Pope Urban VIII – a man who had birds exterminated from the papal gardens for disturbing his slumbers – intervened to demand that Galileo be interrogated under threat of torture. Aged 69, Galileo recanted.

    • The Explorer

      If all the faith schools didn’t exist, then state schools would have to be built to cater for their clientele. How much funding would be saved?

      • Dreadnaught

        Isnt that what Churches are supposed to be for?

        • magnolia

          Well historically what happened is best seen in many villages, where you see the church, and next to the church, the small village church school, founded by the church; typically the trust deeds will mention “for the poor of the parish” as the rich had tutors, or private schools to go to. The church was first to offer education to the people via these charities. The State came along much later. Hence church school grounds are always held in trust, and sometimes this is the buildings, sometimes some of the buildings, or sometimes the original has gone and new buildings have been put up. The church has buildings officers who are involved, with varying degrees of state involvement in the upkeep of these buildings.

          This is a partial overview only, and many will be better qualified than I to give a proper answer.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Bravo Gillan, but you need to look at the broader scope of the party. To focus on one issue of a manifesto misses the wider picture and when the LibDems are viewed that way they don’t hold up. (Neither do any of them).

    It is important to look at the future policy makers of a party otherwise you end up serving Mammon like Cameron’s Liberal Conservatives. Many Conservatives had to sacrifice their careers by not voting for SSM.

    What is the point of having Christian schools if they don’t teach Christian principles? Our private church school does not ‘cow tail’ to Offsted, they merely present their curriculum in a way that does not reveal the full extent of their faith teaching. Why do they they think they know better than everyone else.

    Where has freedom of choice gone? Government wants to protect us from ourselves it seems. Unlike babies, they are happy to hand them over in adoption to a unnatural upbringing with no consideration for the child, only for the new Gay adoptive parents. Who are they protecting there?

    If faith schools can’t teach all subjects according to the tenets of their faith, they are worse than useless and parents would be wise to home school.

  • The Explorer

    Schools have mission statements outlining their priorities. All schools are faith schools in that they believe in what they are transmitting. What, otherwise, would be the point of them?

    Whether what they are transmitting is ACTUALLY true is another matter, but at least they believe it to be.

    • Busy Mum

      That’s the problem facing CofE schools; they don’t actually know what they believe any more!

      • The Explorer

        They probably believe the same things that state schools believe: making their mission statements indistinguishable from those of their secular neighbours.

        • Busy Mum

          very true – speaking from experience, it’s actually quite difficult being a Christian family at a CofE school. One little girl told me I had a ‘special religion’!

          • The Explorer

            Wait until a bishop tells you the same thing.

  • alternative_perspective

    Why is it Christian MPs only ever seem to comment on redistributive economic policies. Rarely do I see many stand up, like Nadine Norris, for the rights of the unborn child for instance?

    Moreover why do I never hear Christians quote:
    2 Thessalonians 3:
    ” 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” ”
    I feel its because the state church has compromised so comprehensively on matters of social policy: contraception, the role of marriage, divorce and adultery, so much so they’ve got little left to comment about?

    • Shadrach Fire

      Why is it that Christian MP’s vote for ungodly Bills like SSM and abortion?

  • carl jacobs

    A question from the ignorant American. Are these schools managed by the state, or are they private institutions?

    • magnolia

      State funded schools. That is funded in the case of the teachers and pupils. The plant if it is a church school is funded partly by the state and partly by the church, with probably rather a lot of variations. We do complicated. There are many forms of school, in fact only a few people will understand the variety!!

      Our independent schools can be called either “public schools” or “private schools” just to confuse our American friends!!

      • Dreadnaught

        Don’t forget the academies – our education system has never been in such disarray.

        • magnolia

          How many people do you think there are in the country who could fully describe all the varieties, including grammar schools as run by two counties, I believe, and some unitary authorities? It is so complex I reckon there are not as many as 500 people who could fully describe it!

          • bmudmai

            And federations are a fairly modern thing too. As well as specialist schools (which tend to not be theMy workhouse idea would give people freedom. It would just be like a job. Just they get accommodation best in that specialist subject within the local area) etc. It’s all madness I tell you.

          • The Explorer

            And try explaining to a rational foreigner, such as a German, how Oxford University functions. That Christ Church isn’t called a college, even though it is one, and the lecturers (for want of a better word) there are called ‘students’.

          • Busy Mum

            Everyone is a ‘student’ nowadays! – the government is forever promoting ‘lifelong learning’ so that nobody can ever claim to have authority to actually teach anything….and even three year olds are signing home-school agreements promising to restrain from using politically incorrect language.

            http://schoolsimprovement.net/parents-anger-after-children-as-young-as-three-told-to-sign-contract-promising-not-to-use-transphobic-language-at-nursery/

          • IanCad

            Three year olds signing a contract!!??

            “Transphobic Language” – that’s a new one to me.

            This country is stark staring nuts.

          • The Explorer

            The Inspector hasn’t caught up with not using transphobic language yet.

          • IanCad

            And I’d bet he wouldn’t be seen dead in a Hi-Vis jacket and a hard hat.
            For sure, I can’t see him wearing gloves. Nor a seat belt.

          • CliveM

            Wonder what the legal status of said contract is!

            Have to say a lot of 3 year olds I know wouldn’t be able to sign their name.

            My son at the age of 4 said he thought the new boy at school looked like a Gorilla. He wasn’t being deliberately racist, but the kid in question was black (the only one in School)!!

            Needless to say to avoid any future issues I told him that saying that wasn’t right. But it makes me wonder how would it be possible for a 3 year old understand what Transphobic Language is?

          • The Explorer

            if the Inspector can’t understand it, what hope is there for a three year old?

          • Cressida de Nova

            LOL…did you make him write out 100 times
            black people do not look like gorillas?

          • IanCad

            Only you Cressy. Only you.
            Very naughty funny.

          • CliveM

            Frankly I was more worried that I’d have to do some stupid diversity awareness course!!

          • IanCad

            If I understand correctly, lecturers were originally known as “Readers.” For, in those olden days, often there was only one copy of a particular book.
            We may look upon universities as “Where The Books Were”.
            Now that we have ready access to most of the books ever printed, would it not be an opportune time to close down most many institutions of higher learning?
            It’s all out there on the web. Costs next to nothing.
            Think of the money that would be saved.

          • The Explorer

            All Souls still has Readers, just as Magdalen still has Academical Clerks. Just as The Master, The President, The Provost, The Principal or The Warden are all different names for the same thing: the bloke or woman in charge of the college. (If there’s a difference, they’re the only ones who know – or care – what it is.)

          • Shadrach Fire

            But where does the understanding come from?
            The Eunuch in the carriage in Acts 8; 30-31 “Understandest thou what thou readest”? “And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me?”.
            We can learn from books but we need a translator to explain the subtleties of the content.

          • IanCad

            You certainly make a good point. However there is a huge difference between a short chariot ride and the expense of several years education.
            Let’s face it; the market will ensure that the only best lecturers will survive in the cyber education world that is upon us.
            I’m sure the Leftist/Socialist wing of academia will be the first to suggest that North African migrants could be well-housed in those redundant institutions of higher learning that will soon become available.

          • The Explorer

            Unless you’re suggesting that the Leftist/Socialist wing is the academic cream, won’t they be unemployed?

          • IanCad

            Hopefully.

          • carl jacobs

            Ahem!

            So why is your example of a rational foreigner a German?

          • The Explorer

            Because Germans are foreign and rational. And because it reflects a real-life experience I once had.

          • IanCad

            Most Americans are Germans.
            In both countries it is illegal to cross the road except where permitted.

          • The Explorer

            With the Germans, everything is forbidden unless it’s allowed. With us, everything is allowed unless it’s forbidden. The Americans are caught right in the middle.

          • The Explorer

            No wonder Anthony Crosland vowed to, “Shut down every f***ing grammar school!” It would certainly have simplified things: although ideology rather than simplification was his motive. As it was, some remained: making everything more complicated still.
            I love the way Kent used to have grammar schools and comprehensives: making their comprehensives different from anyone else’s. The same, in fact, as sec mods.
            With all the confusion over nomenclature probably mirroring the system as a whole, it’s a wonder anyone learns anything at all. By and large, perhaps, no one does. Still, universal ignorance must be an achieved egalitarian ideal of a sort.

    • Busy Mum

      CofE schools are theoretically run by the Church but in 1944, in order to qualify for money from the state, they agreed to have one local authority governor on the board. As what the local education authority says overrides what the church may say, Cof E schools are therefore run by the state whilst all other ‘faith’ schools are free to run along their own lines – until OFSTED decide otherwise.

    • IanCad

      Thanks for asking that. I don’t understand it either.

    • The Explorer

      Well, they sort of are and they sort of aren’t, after a fashion, in a manner of speaking, and with due consideration for exceptions.

      Hope that clarifies it. Difficult to be any more specific than that: after all, this IS the British education system we’re talking about. (And then, of course, there’s the independent sector: what used to be called the public schools, but less so now because that causes confusion.)

      • IanCad

        Hits the nail on the head.

      • carl jacobs

        Well, they sort of are and they sort of aren’t, after a fashion, in a manner of speaking, and with due consideration for exceptions

        [ Blink Blink ]

        • The Explorer

          Don’t forget we’re in the run up to an election. You wouldn’t expect a statement that told you anything, would you?

    • dannybhoy

      I refer you to
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_education_in_England

      What perhaps you don’t realise is that the Church was for many centuries the ultimate moral and temporal authority in the British Isles.
      The Church did learning, law, charity, apprenticeships and farming. Schools were mostly funded by the Church really until the creation of the Welfare State after ww2.
      Then the State took gradual control of pretty much everything, and in a sense robbed the Church of its role in society.
      So Cof E schools have been incorporated into the State education system, and receive tax payer funding. Once the multicultural/ secular humanist bandwagon got rolling these Cof E schools came under more pressure to preach the gospel of humanism rather than the Christian Gospel.
      They took the king’s shilling you see.

    • Albert

      The buildings are often owned by the Church. The state provides the funding. There are some exceptions to this. For example, the Catholic Church makes a financial contribution to the running of our schools.

      Secularists of course, give nothing in this way and just get free schools through the taxes we all pay. It’s because they contribute so little, and provide such a poorer education that they think they get to tell everyone else what to do.

  • The Explorer

    Church schools are historical accidents: predating state schools and then incorporated into the state system.

    There would be a point to them if they were allowed to teach the faith. Since they are not, they have become indistinguishable from their secular neighbours. They have no function, and by their existence they allow for the proliferation of schools of other faiths. This hinders social integration: especially in the case of one faith that will be nameless.

    Closing them down as faith schools would be one step towards greater uniformity in the chaos of the British school system. Issues such as the private sector, catchment areas determined by affluence and poverty, and what to do about the remaining grammar schools would, of course, remain.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Not quite indistinguishable Explorer. Many would say that the social behavior of the the students is significantly better in a CofE school even if they are not strong on faith issues.

      • The Explorer

        Good point. True in some cases, but not universally so. Where the school is located cannot be ignored as a factor. But if the faith determines the behaviour (as I believe) then as the faith declines so will the behaviour along with it.

  • Albert

    We must never cease to point out that non-faith schools are not neutral. Religion ultimately refers to what is most important for someone. You cannot therefore get rid of religion. Non-faith schools are not without values, it’s just that those values are not always thought through or clear, and the foundations of them are almost always lacking. Why especially should those of us with more robust “value systems” have a less adequate, and educationally less successful value system imposed on our children?

    • Dreadnaught

      So every Comp kid is an uneducated loose moraled failure and would be better buggered by priests than buggered by bigotry?

      • Albert

        No, but if you’re a product of such schools, then it would appear that they are incapable of logic. Fortunately, of course there are other examples of “Comp kids” – I am one myself. Was the reference to “Buggered by bigotry” a reference to your own assumption that kids at faith schools get buggered by priests? The last I checked, child abuse looks pretty widespread to me – and recently probably more so because of the assumption that it is a uniquely Catholic problem.

        • Dreadnaught

          Yeah, kick off ad hom if you wish, but Priests – who’d a credited it?

          • Albert

            The logic of your post was obvious rubbish – you just rushed that off before calming down. It’s not ad hominem to point out that someone’s logic is false, and it is not ad hominem to point out that their evidence is wrong.

          • Dreadnaught

            Always calm lad, always calm.

          • Albert

            Well then your lack of logic, evidence and consistency reflect all the more badly on you.

          • The Explorer

            Example of ad hominem: he’s a priest; so that means he’s a bugger.
            Lots of priests are not buggers, and lots of buggers are not priests.

          • Albert

            In the end, to mention paedophile priests in this context – especially so quickly, is a back handed compliment to faith schools. If there was a serious argument, Dreadnaught could have come up with it.

          • The Explorer

            I’m afraid D’s original comment rather lost me. “Buggered by priests” can be understood literally. But “buggered by bigotry”? I assume he’s then talking metaphorically? And saying that non-church schools are full of bigotry?

          • Albert

            Not exactly his finest hour. But then when you are defending something so irrational…

          • Dreadnaught

            Not Quite but close – pass it on to dunnyboy Mr E.

      • dannybhoy

        How can one be b******* by bigotry??

        • The Explorer

          Don’t ask. Some perv will work out how to do it.

        • sarky

          The inspector has a ‘friend’ called bigotry!! ahem!!!

          • Inspector General

            You’re heading for a carbolic mouthwash…

        • Dreadnaught

          Its a pity you couldn’t have figured it out for yourself but seeing as you need a little help:It’s ‘buggered’ used as a metaphor: a metaphor in this instance, aimed at people who exhibit their bigoted sense of misplaced superiority by making outlandish statements that seek to malign the educational achievements and morality of both educators and students in state education unfettered by religious bias.
          What’s with the prissy asterisks and double question marks? no wait – wait – I think I’ve sussed it out. Got it!

          • dannybhoy

            Thanks for that Dreadnaught.
            I think I was thinking more of the act than the attiude.
            Snobbery is an awful thing. It should have no place amongst Christians. All that we are and all that we have belongs to God, and should be used for His glory.
            I suppose the asterisks do look a bit prissy, but I accept St Paul’s exhortation…
            “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what
            is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may
            benefit those who listen.”

            Ephesians 4:29
            It’s not that I never swear or use old English, but I try not to.
            There’s words like sh** and f*** and sh*** and scr**, but I don’t use those either. 🙂

          • Dreadnaught

            Take heart dannyboy if its any comfort to loosing off the occasional ‘rude’ word, (not that buggery is one as such, context is everything), you would be in good company; and not feel compelled to employ asterisks (found more often than not in the tabloid elements of the media in print or pixelated in vision, in a self appointed Mary Whitehouse way. We can see piles of Holocaust corpses without the need of censorship – but not a dead IS jihadi)

            Asterisks here were seemingly deemed unnecessary:

            But Rab-shakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? Hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?

            (2 Kings 18:27)

            Humour rather offence by me intended btw.

          • dannybhoy

            I too use p*** and d*** with an untroubled co********.

    • dannybhoy

      Well said, Albert.

  • dannybhoy

    There was a time when numerically there was really only one major and one minor religion in this country.
    The minor faith Judaism, whose adherents we didn’t treated too well, (even though our own Saviour was born a Jew..)
    Christianity in the British Isles manifested as Catholic, then Protestant, and saving the best ’til last, non Conformists.
    Education was organised by Christians.
    Universities were set up by Christians.
    Hospitals were set up by Christians.
    Law was mostly shaped by Christian morality.
    Multiculturalism has ignored our heritage and tacitly declared all religions of equal value.
    Which rather begs the question, “Why then have so many people of other religions wanted to come and settle here?”
    The problem our political leadership faces is that they can no longer indulge or recognise (Christian) faith schools without indulging other faith schools whose leaders may be antagonistic to Christianity!
    Politicians can try and dance around this problem as much as they like, but until they grasp the nettle and assert the pre-eminence of our culture and laws, they will be effectively signing their own death warrant.

    • David

      Well put.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Best comment today.

  • Inspector General

    Any Christian that votes for any of the soft Marxist parties should be damn well ashamed of themselves. The Lib Dems are a particularly nauseous example. That they look on enviously at the success that are faith schools that turn out decent Britons and wish to bring them down to the level of mediocrity found elsewhere speaks volumes. They are led by evil people determined to remove choice from parents. That’s a freedom gone, no less, and yet these swine will bore you about other countries hapless inhabitants and their missing freedoms….

    Don’t think by being a member of the Lib Dems you can try and change them, because you won’t. You are just a useful idiot to them. They’ll allow you to think what you like, but so long as you deliver their leaflets for them, they’ll tolerate you…

    We can take comfort though that after 7th May, we are assured, Lib Dem MPs will be as rare in Westminster as Italian blondes. Good job too, what!

  • Inspector General

    …and now for the Greens. A party beyond the left, well into loopy territory. The Green way is a form of Fascism of course. We human wretches, we carbon offenders, will need to watch it if this crowd of incurables ever take control.

    If you think that government enforced vegetarianism of a nation (Oh yes, it’s there, and that’s God’s truth) is scary enough, you should read the human rights they want to attribute to pets. That will turn you as white as a sheet, though the cat might break out into a grin…

  • Inspector General

    For those who have yet to peruse it, the Green Manifesto 2015, crazy thing that it is, is also a source of great amusement. Rather than plough through the blighter, the Inspector recommends searching on key words, such as animals, immigration, asylum, LGBT, defence (on why we don’t need any), emissions, carbon, (wait till you get to ‘Carbon Quota’ – you’ll scream with delight!) and energy (now this one is the best of the lot. Fossil fuels are out, and so is nuclear, so how are we going to make up the shortfall? Any ideas? Anyone? Well, the answer is we’re not! Instead we’re going to use what we can when the wind blows wisely and efficiently. See, your Inspector said it was the best…

    Here’s something not so funny, it’s going to need a whole load of policemen to keep us all in line, as it’s clear that none of us can be trusted to lead a Green life unaided. Just as well 95% of Green supporters are aged 25 and younger, and most likely in full time education, (ie still a bit green themselves, and kept by somebody other than themselves). The other 5% are, apparently, middle aged tree hugging hippy types, and of course, the homosexual crowd of Brighton, out for vindictive revenge on a society that despises their rancid and disease spreading chosen lifestyle. Not that the Greens mind one bit about that. If they vote Green, they’re worthy supporters, is the attitude you’ll find. Why let wholesome principles and decency get in your way, what! Rotten buggers…

    • bmudmai

      On the energy front, I agree with no nuclear! The solution is tidal/wave power. Would provide our island nation with a surplus of power and wouldn’t be too expensive. I just think it is not pursued as it isn’t quantative.

      Well, they are possibly looking at it I think on south Wales if they get permission and it’ll be a great success.

      But you’re right, the greens will lead us into a police state, under full control and no freedom.

      • dannybhoy

        I’m all for alternative energy, but as I understand it they have yet to come up with an energy generating mechanism able to cope with the unpredictable power of the sea.
        I do think that wind turbine power could perhaps be used to power some sort of hydro electric affair as is used in Scotland. A lot of windturbine energy is wasted because it cannot as yet be stored.

        • Anton

          Tidal is predictable unlike wind, but both (and solar) generate energy when the world feels like it yet humans need energy when we feel like it. No way of storing sufficient amounts of energy to buffer between supply and demand is known. Even the best batteries are far from adequate.

          Moreover to provide enough wind power for the UK even when the wind blows you’d have to cover the whole of Wales with turbines. It’s a nonstarter and clearly turbines are going up for the benefit of the boards of turbine manufacturing companies and landowners wishing to host these monstrosities, who are harvesting the subsidies that make our energy bills so high.

          As for tidal, the trouble is that the bay is going to silt up and need permanent dredging, and also totally change the ecosystem of the seashore.

          • dannybhoy

            All good points Anton,
            I was thinking not of batteries but of perhaps bi- level artificial lakes or even better,reservoirs, in which the energy produced by turbines or solar panels pumped water from the lower lake into the upper lake, to be released at night time to drive another turbine which would produce power during the night hours.
            You wouldn’t get back what you put in, but as it’s free anyway it might prove more efficient than batteries.

          • Anton

            It’s already done in some mountainous areas. But you’d need to flood a huge amount of land and construct many enormous dams.

            Really, nuclear fusion is the longterm hope. It’s very different from nuclear fission – and harder technologically to implement – but the fuel won’t ever run out, the byproducts are not remotely as noxious, and if a fusion reactor goes haywire then the ionised gas within it just splatters against the inner wall of the vessel, wrecking it but with no risk of a chain reaction. Until we get to nuclear fusion, let’s frack and use nuclear fission.

          • Shadrach Fire

            I watched part of a documentary about the south Wales tidal scheme and from what I recall, they would create a tidal basin so that they can release the water and thus produce energy on tap, so to speak.

          • Inspector General

            The Inspector is somewhat bemused to find that many wind turbines are put into the off state. The grid can’t use the electricity produced for some reason at times….

          • dannybhoy

            I think it’s because the national grid can’t use all the extra electricity?

        • Inspector General

          Unable to cope with the corrosive effect of the sea on metallic moving parts…

          • dannybhoy

            Sorry to hear that old chap.
            A chiropractor might prove beneficial, Inspector…

          • Inspector General

            Yes, the ladies do comment…

          • dannybhoy

            I don’t know why, but your comment rather reminded of an excerpt from “What Planet Are You From?”
            http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0181151/

      • Inspector General

        One’s personal favourite form of electrical production is by prison treadmill…

        • dannybhoy

          Yessss!
          Throw in a commitment to build a mega work’ouse a year, and you’ve secured my vote…

          • Inspector General

            Very well….

      • Inspector General

        The Greens are nothing more than Stalinists doing the gardening. Bloody awful shower. Surprised they’ve got so far…

        • CliveM

          Never underestimate your fellow mans stupidity. Keep by that rule and you can’t go far wrong.

          • The Explorer

            Really consoling thought when one considers that one’s fellow man will soon be voting. And, worse, running the country.

          • CliveM

            I can supply no false consolation! Democracy doesn’t require an IQ.

        • Royinsouthwest

          Stalinists doing the gardening. You do have an excellent turn of phrase, Inspector. This particular one deserves wide circulation!

          • Inspector General

            That an entire nation is made to go vegetarian by an oppressive regime beats the collectivisation of farms by a long way and more…

      • Mike Stallard

        Have you read christopher Booker on the subject? The cost of the Bristol Channel Barrage is prohibitive, but it is still in the Conservative manifesto.

    • David

      The ratio has been calculated – at one policeman per economically inactive adult. Simples !

  • not a machine

    Occasionally through the media you have some really interesting discussions about either education in schools, pupil behaviour, rising to the surface beyond , terrorised stressed and overworked teachers .I have taught a class of 15yr olds for a day just for one hour a day over 6 weeks , at that time my classes were to with business however the school wanted a basic adult certificate in my subject . On my first day at this school (labour were in government) a phone call came through to the reception desk for the restraint team and duly 4 rather security looking adults hauled into the reception area a tall and highly irritated young lad , he was swearing , he flicked his middle finger to anyone who spoke to him , his mother appeared who was equally adept at swearing whilst listening to his charges which seemed to be about beating up a pupil and smoking .The teacher who I was liaising with was pretty depressed and her class sat with trying to hide phones and ear pieces in hoods or hair and generally a lot of shouting was in use to get pupils to behave .
    I thought back to my school in the early 80s and we had disruptive behaviour then bullying and occasional fights and even the odd trick on a teacher , the few days before end of term at 15/16 yrs was a problem .however by enlarge one did not cheek your teacher and most kids respected teachers requests I never saw a pupil hit a teacher .
    Of course seeing a school as an adult is a different experience if able to think of your little self many thoughts come to you and if you do think about what you see , you perhaps might like to ponder what it is schools are supposed to do and why we have layers of education and age related teaching .
    Unless someone who studies the bible can correct me , I see no mention of schools in Jesus time , I see the law and its teaching and something called wisdom to be attained rather than GSCE.
    We have a way of teaching in the bible that is about character that interacts , highly moral with perhaps trades being subservient to character when we hear terms like “skilled craftsman” we can assume there were apprenticeships and maybe high learning of the temple. I perhaps just for exercise (not to pick on one group but for thought) would imagine someone with a liberal education idea going to the temple and saying that he wished to gather all 7 yr olds and teach them homosexuality as even in the law there was no reason these people should castigated. I don’t know how long the elders of the temple would have debated , but they would have no doubt concluded that our liberal teaching was teaching something that was a sin and bringing something corrupting into the temple that would affect it in being morally right in its ministry. Our liberal avant-garde might be rebuked and silenced via argument ,he might have been stoned to death
    I use this example to perhaps try and explain what an “education ” is , what knowledge do you want your children to “know of” . politicians get rather foaming about education they know that something of what they see good and proper for there own ideology in the future , they tinker , prime teachers with ideas that fall out of favour ,they never improve standards because they cannot agree what standards they should be .Parents arnt too good as they understand very little what goes off in schools . But non the less we put a huge amount of trust that for 3 terms a year and plenty of holidays , that these people in education know what they are doing , because if they don’t children may encounter disfunctionality in real life .
    thanks to our disputed and oft attacked private education system (where mps like to send their children as well as others who see its importance ) we actually have a group of heads, deputy heads , highly skilled teachers and a way of vetting and examining what sort of person does the teaching and its qualities .they also have pupils that come from homes where non swearing English may be thought about as well as hobbies or interests that in themselves may be educational so in way good meets understanding and our private school systems continue to churn out people that should occupy positions by ability (I accept something of the chumocracy argument but I think there education counts more ).
    I can see that some of the leftist arguments about education are more about auditing there problems into something that they don’t feel responsible for in how it doesn’t work in there ideology, streaming ?? they hate it and so the pegging and chaining of pupils thinking is implemented via politics.
    Education has to report and be inspected I am not anti politicians who are both gifted in understanding education and for whom it is a joyous vocation , but if we want well educated children it will only occur when perhaps we start producing good children (in the home with a marriage if possible) and that may include a stance on the bad influences upon children which parents used to be able control before someone worked out you must see children as consumers to have economic growth , because in my view the leftist experiment is over , if its not making good parents or non attentive child parent relationships and rather than little bundles of joy , they have churned out little amoral idealists.
    the other part of the equation has to be teachers , how we produce good teachers is perhaps a mixture of parent experience and confidence and in that area I would only bother listening to what our best heads and teachers have to say in either private committee or thoughtful media and bit less of the child victim to enable education to be political currency shockumentary. Waterloo road was pure ratings for left wing handclappers .
    I appologise for the length your grace hopefully it will be of use

    • Shadrach Fire

      A very thoughtful and interesting comment.
      In the time of Jesus there was no mention of schools because it was such a well known practice that it did not need mention. As I understand it, the children learnt at the feet of the local Elders. Others may expound this.
      Children are mentioned when Jesus says suffer the little ones to come unto me. He then goes on about the millstone round the neck of those who hinder them.
      In the OT we are told that if a rebellious child will persistently not be corrected, it should be taken outside the city walls and stoned. Harsh you might say! but if a rebellious child continues amongst it’s peers, then they will all fall into the trap of rebellion. Something that has happened already in our society. That is why teachers try to exclude the trouble maker.
      I think that the problem rests not with the child but with the parents.

      • not a machine

        Thank you Shadrach fire I perhaps haven’t given much thought to the work parents need to do or indeed how family dynamics and home life shape a child , we cant just say oh we must pay teachers more when we might need to illuminate how much teaching parents do or what they can best do , or even what attending clubs or organizations that offer other proper experiences .
        I just worry that whilst I may be remembering a world before mobile phones that somehow we have opend a pandoras box and cant get the lid back on . if kids, parents ,teachers are normalising the cyber age , I am quite sure they will be emotionally different as the emotions and mental balances my generation thought of as high development of the human experience , will not indwell like in our minds and this could be consequential in creating a generation that forgets , rather than forgives .There is also the way social media isn’t erased as forgiveness might be in memory which might have all sorts of personal development changes . Just not sure how the selfie generation will generate into something to convey love and wisdom for the next generation if people become dimished in the system that runs them …

        • Mike Stallard

          A lot of the trouble is that there is no telos – no point – to the whole expensive and unpleasant exercise.
          Work hard at school – be good – be nice. Where does it get you? Nowhere.
          Add in the perpetual disparagement, the perpetual interference and the total lack of any kind of challenge and – bingo!

          Here are some ideas to help:
          1. Bring back challenge. Yes it is dangerous. Reward the ones who try. Reward the clever ones. Separate the sheep from the goats in streams and in special schools or divide up the huge comprehensive into bits.
          2. Do sport properly. Reward the successful openly. Separate the good from the average. Separate the boys from the girls. Get it done every single day. By as many people as possible.
          3. Separate boys and girls for some subjects. They have very different needs during adolescence.
          4. Use small units. Keep things as small as possible, if necessary within a big organisation. This is how hospitals cope. Sloshing adolescents about in a huge University type building does nobody any good at all. They need to be known by name, and they need to know and trust their teachers. Lots more men teachers, properly protected from malicious slander is vital to this process: men are much better, on the whole, than women with boys. They intro cued challenge.
          5. Dream on!

          • not a machine

            I think there is something of difference of thinking when young , I am not sure if you can improve the mind by upload , but perhaps its more akin to being patient/flexible as they grow. But then there is matter of being grown up , being fit to take responsibility , then perhaps things like being good , work hard etc are good things to teach/preach??
            I know what it is like to be turned down for a job , the sheer lack of response from modern day job application ,but then the problem of relative wealth seems to be a wound and yet another contention arises which the bible warns about in where you put your treasure and what not to store up. I do not deny it affects me also but then I have seen a lot of things change as regards work since the 80s including people turn to drink and die .

          • Mike Stallard

            “fit to take responsibility , then perhaps things like being good , work hard etc are good things to teach/preach??”
            Yup.
            And then what?
            What do you say to a First Class History Graduate?
            “Big Mac and Fries and go easy on the onions.”

        • Busy Mum

          There was a report out yesterday that psychiatrists are having to teach children how to read facial expressions as they only know how to interact with technology.

          • not a machine

            I think it was a mums organisation that first alarmed about children touching glass wanting it to behave like a pad , which says to me they may want to be not bored rather than with mummy which could be problem not only for kids but for mums as well if you think about it.

      • Busy Mum

        The problem,also lies with the system that means teachers treat children as adults and exclude parents.In my experience, schools treat naughty children differently according to their background.

        Teachers work on the assumption that children are inherently good and if children misbehave, it must be the parents’ fault. This works fine if they can see obvious faults in the parents but is a problem if children from ‘good’ backgrounds see ‘disadvantaged’ children getting more support and opportunities than themselves. An intelligent child can see that it pays to be thick, whether that means literally cranially inferior or cranially lazy, and thuggish.
        These children from ‘good’ backgrounds are therefore ‘problem’ children for schools – won’t blame the child, can’t blame the parents – and the child knows it.
        ;
        In days gone by, the school would contact parents the minute there was a serious misdemeanour. In the past, good behaviour was the norm and poor behaviour was punished. Nowadays, bad behaviour is the norm and good behaviour is rewarded. This means schools do not let ‘good’ parents know when their children misbehave until the school has exhausted its flowchart of disciplinary procedures. If the school contacted parents in the first instance and all adults put on a united front, many of these problems would disappear. But there are no common standards – do schools interpret ‘misbehave’ in the way I do, for example? – and schools no longer expect children to obey their parents, especially as many children live with adults who may not be their parents. Because these children have to be treated as autonomous beings, school talks to all children as though they are autonomous beings and parents are largely discounted.
        This is extremely attractive to those children who might find parental authority a little onerous….I know first hand from the teacher’s mouth that my child will be told that the ‘best choice is PROBABLY to follow parental advice’ i.e. the school supports my child in making another ‘choice’, school considers that parents are only in a position to advise, not to command and the school will put my child’s wishes above my own.

      • dannybhoy

        I think it’s both, but more to do with tv, a loss of morality and a general loss of discipline. People are no longer viewed as responsible for their actions but rather ‘victims’ of society. There is a whole industry which has sprung up to reinforce this view. It’s geared up to blame someone or something for failing in their duty of care and taking money from them.
        Society has lost its bearings and the system is breaking down.

        • Busy Mum

          Yes – the ‘problem’ children I have described below are victims of the ‘victim’ culture – they are allowed by schools to blame anyone and anything in the world for their behaviour – except look within and blame themselves!

          • dannybhoy

            But popular culture has destroyed a sense of discipline and respect. I think it started with that Grange Hill and subsequent programmes that started to portray teachers and other authority figures as ineffectual buffoons, and the experience of school as a setting for a soap opera..

          • CliveM

            Started in 1962 with That Was The Week That Was. That declared open season on all authority figures and old fashioned virtues.

          • dannybhoy

            Also.
            That was David Frost wasn’t it, the guy who smirked and smarmed and poked fun at the Establishment – then agreed to being made a Lord by that same Establishment…

          • CliveM

            That’s the one.

          • Busy Mum

            Agree – this culture has so saturated the system that many lessons use film clips etc as teachers know it is the only way they can get the pupils to engage. It’s all film where we would have had books….

          • dannybhoy

            You’re starting to show your age.
            But beautifully….
            😉

          • Busy Mum

            🙂

          • John Moore.

            The phrase ‘parents’ is used here frequently. The fact is that a large percentage of children haven’t got both — perhaps a mother and a succession of stepfathers or not.

          • dannybhoy

            Quite so John Moore.
            If you are new here perhaps you won’t find this boring, but my wife and I worked with looked after abused children for some years. My wife was a very successful (and compassionate) Head of Care..
            Children can only really thrive when they are truly loved and given boundaries with consequences.
            If they don’t get those boundaries from parents who love them they will keep on pushing until someone or some authority stops them.
            But by then it’s often too late.
            Look at Clive.
            Look at the Inspector!

          • CliveM

            Hmmmm……………….. :0(

  • Mike Stallard

    1. Where will all the politicians and members of the NSS send their own children (or grandchildren)? Faith Schools are what they are precisely because of their faith. If you sit everyone down regularly and tell them to be helpful, kind and nice, then some of that will rub off. Especially if you give decent reasons for making the effort, tell people how to do it, and add in tradition, accompanied by singing, beauty and dignity for everyone.
    2. As ever it is the Muslims who are the fly in the ointment. I wanted to start a truly free school. OK. But so did an awful lot of Muslims, Hindus, Jews. Some of them must have had at the back of their mind ghettoising their pupils. And ghettoising Muslims is – let us face it – very dangerous. The other faiths have learned, over the centuries (millennia?) the very hard way what ghettoising brings with it.

  • The Explorer

    As a thumbnail sketch of the differences between then and now, I’d say that education back in the days of the grammar schools was seen as knowledge-based. The primary purpose of education was the future transformation of the world by the application of knowledge.

    Today, by contrast, education is seen as primarily values-based. The primary purpose of education is the transformation of the future world via correct attitudes.
    There were values then, of course, just as there’s knowledge now, but I think there has been an undeniable shift of emphasis as to what education is for.

    • dannybhoy

      I agree with you. I think my own education gave me an abiding curiosity about the world, whereas oftentimes you find that youngsters have very little general knowledge. My wife likes that programme ‘The Chase’ and it is quite noticeable how even young teachers or professionals are often ignorant of anything outside their own field of expertise.

  • David

    I have enjoyed reading the thoughtful ideas and personal experiences below. So thank you to all the contributors.
    Children need to be given a sense of their overarching, continuing destiny if they are going to be imbued with any sense that their actions have continuing consequences. If we institutionalise the idea of secular schools, that we just die and that’s that, as peddled by no hope atheism and humanism, how do parents or teachers or ultimately, the big world of authority, bring anyone up sharply, face to face, with the responsibilities and consequences flowing from their actions, choices and behaviours now ? The role of a parent in this toxic society is truly an onerous one. It is unsurprising that so many have deliberately opted out of carrying full adult responsibility, and choosing to become parents.
    This is especially so at a time when the political system is eagerly undermining the other source of wisdom and stability, the normative nuclear and extended family.
    The destructive secularists are taking society careering along on a blind runaway train ride. But the motive force, the engine, which is often greed, self interest and hedonism, has ineffective brakes or ways of changing course, except through rediscovering the vital role of a belief in God.
    I do believe that the continuing destruction of faith, and cultural Christianity will take generations to rebuild, if ever. As yet there’s no sign that we’ve even reached a turning point towards a rediscovery of faith. But let us retain hope, and faith in our amazing God. The dissipation of the 18th C was followed by the constructive Christian framed energies, achievements and discipline of the 19th C. Christian hope springs eternal !

    • Anton

      “Children need to be given a sense of their overarching, continuing destiny if they are going to be imbued with any sense that their actions have continuing consequences. If we institutionalise the idea of secular schools, that we just die and that’s that, as peddled by no hope atheism and humanism, how do parents or teachers or ultimately, the big world of authority, bring anyone up sharply, face to face, with the responsibilities and consequences flowing from their actions, choices and behaviours now ?”

      Children are never going to get “a sense of their overarching, continuing destiny” from teachers. That is what parents are for, and their greater influence is perfectly obvious judged by pupil behaviour. Today’s modern secular schools are just as insidious as Victorian “public” (ie, private) schools at instilling a worldview when they should restrict themselves to telling pupils what the rainfall is in Australia, Newton’s laws of motion, why Shakespeare is such a genius, Henry VIII’s motivation for dumping his (first) wife, etc.

      • David

        I am all for children being taught the facts and techniques that they need to succeed in life. But faith schools must also be allowed to play their part in supporting the faith based framework that, I agree, parents must principally provide.

  • The Explorer

    I remember a discussion with a friend’s son about ten years ago about who Nelson was. He knew Nelson had lost an arm. He knew that from the bit about amputations in the Royal Navy in the course on the History of Medicine. He did not know why that qualified Nelson to have a statue on top of a pole in London.

    When I mentioned other things about Nelson, he replied, “We aren’t taught stuff like that.”

    • Busy Mum

      On the subject of statues, within the last couple of months a statue of Gandhi has been installed in Parliament Square whilst a statue of Cecil Rhodes has been pulled down in South Africa; both items reported positively in the British press. Don’t we just love those who hate us!

      • The Explorer

        British kids are more likely to know who Gandhi was than who Cecil Rhodes was. Just as they will know more about Nelson Mandela than about Horatio Nelson.

        • Busy Mum

          Too true, sadly.

  • Martin

    The ‘secular’ religion of Atheism is eager only to have children taught its values of woolly thinking and moral laxity. When Christians look for somewhere for their children to be educated are they to search for the least bad option? Even church based schools are pretty dire these days with the absurdity that is the CoE and it’s lack of any spiritual backbone amongst senior clergy.

    A young couple of my acquaintance are home educating their children because of this wilderness. I can’t say I blame them.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    I remember well Nick Clegg’s speech describing opponents of gay “marriage” as “bigots”. It was a very antagonistic and dismissive comment on his part. I presume he meant to include the entire muslim population with that comment since sharia law carries the death penalty just for being homosexual. Whatever, I would not trust the LibDems with the preservation of religious (especially Christian) freedom any more than I’d trust Dracula to guard a blood bank. The LibDems have done nothing to change my opiniion of them as mealy-mouthed and duplicitous.