Sikh school2
Church of England

Non-Christian faith schools are "straining the State educational system to breaking point"

 

In his Lyndwood Lecture delivered to the Ecclesiastical Law Society last December, former Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC MP made a potent case for the continuing Establishment of the Church of England, observing its deep commitment to social action at a local community level, “whether it be voluntary work in a charity shop or serving in a youth organization or helping in a one off community project in a Deanery or Diocese such as those for rough sleepers in winter or to the carefully organized and permanent, such as schools, food banks and counselling services”. He concedes that Establishment “may be seen by some as archaic and irrational”, but asserts that “it is in practice the bedrock of the State’s legitimacy, frequently acted out in ceremonies and oaths up and down the land. In it we recognise that it is the task of every citizen as it is of the Church and of Parliament to enable the monarch to discharge her Coronation oath”.

But most important of all, he avers, is the Church of England’s contribution to education, with 7000 state-funded schools (including 26% of primary schools) being run by the Church. The tradition of education under the aegis of a religious ethos “has facilitated the extension of free schools to include other faiths”, He explains:

It is this unusual and indeed privileged position that has fuelled the arguments of so many secularists against the Church’s established role in our constitution and in our society. This has been most marked in the field of education with calls for the State to abandon support for faith based schools and to move to an entirely secular based model or at least not to promote new ones. This argument has never been accepted by any Government, because the participation of the Church in education has been so successful. I would add that there would also be the most interesting and horrific arguments about property if there was any attempt to abolish church schools. But it would be rash to say that the risk does not exist. One of the key problems I identify is that the need in a multicultural society to accommodate other faiths and offer them an opportunity to participate on equal terms with both the Church of England and other well established Christian churches is straining the State educational system to breaking point.

In my own constituency for example, the decision of the Secretary of State for Education to facilitate the opening a Sikh faith based Free School to serve the needs of both Sikhs in the area wanting faith based education and non-Sikh children needing a local community school has provoked the biggest storm of protest that I have experienced in my time as an MP. In a multicultural area with growing religious and ethnic minorities and a tradition of exceptionally good integration and community cohesion, there has never previously been a problem with faith based education. Indeed my Church of England primary schools have consistently been a magnet for children of all faiths and of none. But in this case, despite, I am sure, the benevolent intentions of the trustees there is no acceptance that this school can deliver a level of inclusivity that will embrace non Sikhs. Furthermore the controversy is causing people to call into question the entire basis of faith based education in the state system. A significant number of those who have contacted me about it argue that the State should have nothing to do with faith based education at all and suggest that its time may now be up. This view is reinforced for them by stories of non-faith based state schools being hijacked as in the case of the Trojan horse scandal in Birmingham, by small religious groups eager to promote their own narrow agendas. That Church of England schools such as Sir John Cass in Whitechapel appear, whatever the reality, to be being converted to the sole promotion of Islam is astonishing to many. And these are responses intimately bound up with one of those fundamental fears I have already identified that reveal themselves in the gloomy outlook that many now have of the possibility of any integration of the diverse cultural and religious groups now settled in our country.

Religious relativism in a context of ethnic pluralism and the statist assertion of an inviolable and absolute equality has given rise to an educational dilemma. In the Conservative tradition, it is for parents to determine how best to educate their children, which the state then facilitates in the hope of individual enlightenment and pursuit of the common good. But what happens when those parents seek out an education for their children which conflicts with the state’s understanding of the common good? Church of England schools have historically been inclusive because education is perceived to be part of the Church’s mission in society. It inculcates values, and those values are seen to be virtuous.

But what of those faith schools whose theological traditions are not so inclusive, and whose notion of virtue is not quite contiguous with Christian values? Are they really ‘equal’ to the extent that the children of (say) Christian parents should be obliged to attend (say) a Sikh school because it is the only school in the area with spare capacity?

This is the very contemporary issue to which Dominic Grieve refers. In his constituency (Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire), a Sikh secondary school has arisen in the quaint village of Stoke Poges, just down the road from the churchyard where Thomas Gray wrote his famous elegy. The Khalsa Secondary Academy currently has 180 pupils, mainly journeying over the county border from Slough, Berkshire. The school is obliged by statutory admissions policy to ensure that 50 per cent of its places are available for non-Sikh students.

But 11-year old Freya Jarvis, a Christian, has been allocated a place at this school, and her mother is “shocked and upset“, to put it mildly. The school’s ethos is, of course, benevolent – brotherhood, honest living, social responsibility, helping those in need – and its values are undoubtedly virtuous. But they are expressed in a language of vision that is alien to Freya and in terms which are foreign to Freya’s culture – Kirat Karna, Naam Japna, Vand Chakna. And further questions arise relating to the curriculum. What will be the focus of the history syllabus as it relates to British culture and the Empire? Will the refectory serve meat at lunchtime? In what sense will the daily act of collective worship be ‘broadly Christian’? Purity of spirit? Meditation? As Dominic Grieve observes, “there is no acceptance that this school can deliver a level of inclusivity that will embrace non Sikhs”.

It is one thing for the State to permit Sikhs the freedom to educate their children in accordance with the benign and benevolent precepts of the Guru Granth Sahib, but it is quite another for the State to impose this alien religious ethos upon its own indigenous Christian children. They may be inculcated with attitudes of tolerance and imbued with notions of karmic charity, but what can they learn of idolatry, sin, salvation or theological truth? How can non-Christian faith schools hope to contribute to the common good if the unhappy children of “shocked and upset” parents begrudge the manifest spiritual coercion and are aggrieved at an unjust educational obligation?

  • sarky

    Totally off topic, but why did the Christian parents in the post name their child after a pagan goddess??
    They can’t really moan about idolatry at a Sikh school can they? ???

    • Royinsouthwest

      They obviously don’t believe in the pagan goddess. What names do you use for the days of the week? Do you believe in the gods and goddesses after which they are named?

      • Uncle Brian

        It’s different here in Brazil. Portuguese has retained the Latin names used in the early Church. Sunday is the Lord’s Day, Saturday is the Sabbath, and the other days are just numbered from second to sixth.

      • sarky

        Of course not, but I didn’t call my children Wednesday or Thursday either! !

    • bluedog

      Did you never read Paul Gallico’s book The Snow Goose, illustrated by the late Peter Scott?

    • Uncle Brian

      Queen Victoria, too, was named after a pagan goddess. It doesn’t seem to have done her, or her country, any harm.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_(deity)

  • Martin

    A young Christian couple I know have decided to educate their children at home because the state system is inescapably biased towards a so-called secular view. The state teaches our children a religion that is at odds with our Christian belief.

    • IanCad

      It’s the only way to go Martin.
      Believe it or not, but the local councils are helpful in this matter.

      • Busy Mum

        The only problem is that the result will be a state education system that educates all children except those from Christian families….and I cannot see anybody in power giving tax rebates to those families.

      • Martin

        Ian

        It does seem that way.

  • Anton

    Systematic education of the young is not advocated anywhere in the New Testament as a task for the church…

    • Royinsouthwest

      There is nothing in the Bible about undertaking scientific research to improve people’s lives by advances in medicine, agriculture, transport, water supply etc. God gave us brains to use.

      Of course that doesn’t mean that the church as an organisation should be involved in education as opposed to Christians acting as individuals, but should churches really be discouraged from involvement in education?

      • The Explorer

        What is implied by, “Subdue the Earth”?

      • Anton

        If the church in England were meeting with success in doing what Jesus Christ DID tell it to do, namely evangelise, then I’d be more sympathetic toward it doing other things as well.

        • chiefofsinners

          Many people are concerned that the state, through schools, is doing the opposite of evangelism. Training the young in the way they ought not to go. Offending the little ones.
          Systematic Christian education of the young is commended in 2 Tim 3.15: “from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

  • Albert

    The idea that faith schools must have a proportion of children not from that faith is serially dim-witted. It is also totally unnecessary. If the school is so in need of that proportion to count as British, it is questionable whether the ethos of the school is appropriate for this country. If on the other hand, it is appropriate for this country, then there is no need for such stipulations.

    • bluedog

      ‘…it is questionable whether the ethos of the school is appropriate for this country.’
      But who judges and on what basis? Multiculturalism means that discrimination is impossible because all ethos is both appropriate and of equal value.

      • Albert

        Precisely. We have thrown out the Christian ethos of the country and replaced it with nothing. You just can’t do that, because it means that our culture is compatible with everything – from Islamic extremism to unintelligent secularism. The irony is that neither of these positions is consistent with historic British values.

  • Malcolm Smith

    As a reader from Australia, may I ask why Freya Jarvis has been “allotted” a place at this school? It is one thing for the state to insist that a faith-based school take pupils from outside the faith, but it is quite another for free-born citizens to be told they have to send them child to a particular school, whether it be Christian, heathen, or what is peculiarly referred to as “secular”. They may have to send their child to school, but why are they not allowed to send her to whichever one they prefer? It seems you have allowed a lot of liberties to have been taken with your liberty.

    • Busy Mum

      When choosing a school place, parents apply to their Local Education Authority, listing their three preferences, having visited as many schools as they like. The LEA then passes the application to the schools, working through the choices in order i.e. if option 1 offers a place, the LEA will not then apply to option 2. If option 1 doesn’t offer a place, the LEA will apply to option 2 and so on. If none of your three choices offer you a place, the LEA will then allocate you a place at the nearest possible school.
      The schools apply their own selection criteria to the applications – most of these are identical as they all copy their policies from LEA guidance!!

  • Busy Mum

    “One of the key problems I identify is that the need in a multicultural society….”

    Until those in power recognise that there is no such thing as a multicultural society, there will be problems. A society, by definition, is monocultural.

    True Britishness (rather than the wishy-washy redefinition currently being imposed in schools) is the original multiculturalism – a supreme set of values which transcended national and racial differences – a set of values which were indisputably Christian.

    • Anton

      And the British people were all Christians?

      • Busy Mum

        Did I say that?!

        • Anton

          No, but I’m asking it as it is clearly relevant.

          • Busy Mum

            The British people were all sinners.

            God made many of them into Christians.

          • alternative_perspective

            Who sinned a bit less and learnt the important lessons of grace.

  • carl jacobs

    The point of a sectarian school is to integrate education and religion into a single package. So why then would you insert children into the school who were not of that faith? This only makes sense in the mind of a bureaucrat who is matching children to resources and doesn’t much care about fit. As a matter of fact, my first thought was that the bureaucracy probably wanted to assign some non-Sikh students as “seed-corn.” Some non-Sikh students need to attend, and the affected parents won’t like it no matter who it is. But someone has to (be made to) bite the bullet, so to speak. Otherwise it becomes an exclusively Sikh school.

    I suspect the religious part of CoE schools is mostly background noise. They don’t proselytize, and so they don’t threaten. They don’t take the Christian religion all that seriously. They are ‘comfortable.’ By contrast, these new schools were created at the behest of parents who want to carve out a religious sanctuary from the broad secular culture. They are intended to reinforce religious belief. So parents whose children are not part of that religion will feel threatened. This is why attendance at the school must be freely chosen. The school offers an integrated religious education, and parents choose the school on that basis.

    The purpose of a sectarian school is to assume the truth of the underlying religion in the educational process. To attend the school is to accept that condition. If you can’t accept that condition, then you shouldn’t be compelled to send your children to that school.

    • alternative_perspective

      “I suspect the religious part of CoE schools is mostly background noise”
      that’s a somewhat sweeping statment. I’m quite certain there are schools like that but I know others that are distinctly Christian. This applies similarly to Catholic schools and inter-church schools up and down the country which are overt in their Christian beliefs and actively attempt to draw those in their charge into the pattern of the faith.

  • Johnny Rottenborough

    Forgive me for laughing but it really is quite comical to watch reality slowly dawning on those who believe it is their Christian duty (a) to welcome Third World immigration and diversity, and (b) to excoriate political parties like the BNP which seek to keep Britain a Christian nation. Please understand that, for its proponents, one of the great attractions of Third World immigration has always been its devastating effect on Christianity.

    • carl jacobs

      JR

      The threat to Christianity is not found in immigration but in the actions of a dominant secular culture that hates and rejects Christianity. Immigration is a threat because secularists have been decidedly unable to convince the population to have kids.

      But I’m confident BNP can turn things around… assuming it can find enough brown cloth to make the uniforms, and a few windows to smash.

      • Oooo …. very ironic last sentence, Carl.

      • Busy Mum

        I think rather than trying to convince people to reproduce,secularists proactively deter them from doing so; girls need to aspire to higher things than boring old motherhood which is well, rather unfulfilling and demeaning and of course, the world has limited resources so one must reproduce ‘responsibly’……

      • Johnny Rottenborough

        @ carl jacobs—The threat to Christianity is not found in immigration but in the actions of a dominant secular culture that hates and rejects Christianity

        I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Christian-haters, both secular and religious, using Muslim and other immigration to erode Christianity.

        I’m confident BNP can turn things around… assuming it can find enough brown cloth to make the uniforms

        If the British continue to fall for the Holocaust ploy, they’ll have only themselves to blame when they lose their country.

        • carl jacobs

          The “Holocaust ploy?” Surely you aren’t giving credence to that buffoon Griffin and his Holocaust denial. No, that can’t be right. Griffin was expelled for bringing the BNP into disrepute. Which in itself is hilarious. Or perhaps amazing. I mean… how could the BNP possibly be made more disreputable?

          • Johnny Rottenborough

            @ carl jacobs—The Holocaust ploy: a device used in Britain to silence opposition to mass immigration. Those who question the wisdom of reducing the British, and Christianity, to minority status are howled down as Nazis, racists, xenophobes, little Englanders, scum, etc. The best effect is achieved when the accuser froths at the mouth with righteous indignation as he spits out the epithets. Try it sometime. Silly me, you already have.

          • carl jacobs

            And all this time I thought it had to do with BNPs anti-Semitism. My mistake, then.

    • Anton

      Really? Our black churches seem to me to be a lot more faithful than many white ones. The problem is, as usual, the Religion of Peace.

      • alternative_perspective

        I’d agree somewhat. The problem lies in secularism which doesn’t really have the means to permit thoughtful discrimination: it demands the somewhat unthinking imposition of homogeneity on all. One then is forced to con-join various theories or beliefs to make such justifications: such as “British Values.”
        If our secular system could differentiate between the faiths and between schools better there wouldn’t be need to imposed this homogeneity and one could say “no” to Islamic schools and “Yes” to Christian one’s without cries of “discrimination”.

  • Scripture isn’t a detailed road map covering every eventuality in life or every development in society. It provides God’s revelations about the nature of man, his purpose and his end. It informs us about educating our young.

    “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
    (Proverbs 22:6)

    “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
    (Deuteronomy 6:7)

    Times change and education is now more complex as society develops and human knowledge grows. It is provided by institutions either run or overseen by the State to ensure minimum standards are met and children are equipped for life.
    Most parents do not have the resources to home school children. There needs to be harmony between what a parent teaches a child about God and living and the values and ethos of a school. One cannot separate education from faith. They complement one another and the worldviews between home and school need to be consistent.
    The State cannot be permitted to impose a faith, worldview and a way of living on a child that directly contradicts that of their parents. In a society that claims to be based on Christian values, even if it is no longer Christian in fact, decisions have to be made about the compatibility between certain faiths and the values of that society – unless these are no longer considered relevant in our multicultural soup.

  • Hi all

    Well to me schools aren’t about reflecting whatever religion you are, but about teaching subjects for pupils to learn, so that they are able to get a job or go on to further study, which suits their ability. This also benefits not only the individual, but the state and society, which is why we fund schools and education through state spending and taxes . Education and schools should not be about promoting a religion as it’s central attraction or “ethos, because the ethos should be about teaching and learning .

    Religious parents and indeed the [whatever faith ] community as a whole should be responsible for bringing up children in whatever tradition they belong to, rather than “outsource ” this to schools. Schools are about teachers teaching subjects (maths, science, English, literature,history, religious education etc) and the pupils learning, rather than doing the job of the parents or religious communities on how to be a Christian, Jew, Sikh etc.

    • Anton

      Maths and science and geography – yes. But you cannot teach history without taking a view of what was good and bad and why, which involves religion. Catholics and protestants still have very different views of European 16th century history. Muslims regard the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 as a good thing, Christians a bad. And so on. it’s unavoidable, so best be honest and admit what viewpoint you are teaching from.

      • Hi Anton

        Geography is a subject all over the place, but I guess you mean physical geography as a subject? Depends on the level you are studying at, we are talking about GCSEs and below: I can remember doung history at school and the focal point wasn’t this is it good or bad about the reformation, but when, how , why and at the higher levels what do different historians say and what is the evidence for this and that event.

        The ethics, e.g. were the inquisition “right”, never came into it. That’d be moral philosophy not history. Besides which differing interpretations of history is what makes history am academic subject. Remember all the times Carl and happy Jack have clashed over the atomic bombs on Japan? There’s been numerous academic books written on that.

        • carl jacobs

          Remember all the times Carl and happy Jack have clashed over the atomic bombs on Japan?

          Clashes? No, I don’t remember clashes. I do remember systematically and methodically dismantling Jack’s arguments on occasion. “Clash” makes it sound like an equal contest.

          😉

          • Grouchy Jack

            Grrrr ……..

          • carl jacobs

            Goal!

          • Do stop provoking Grouchy ….

          • carl jacobs

            But it’s fun to provoke Grumpy…

          • Yeah but you don’t have to life with ‘him’.
            And it’s Grouchy.

          • carl jacobs

            “Grouchy” sounds vaguely dangerous. “Grumpy” has a more benign feel to it.

          • He is slightly dangerous that’s why it’s best not to provoke him.

          • carl jacobs

            He’s a purple blueberry. The most threatening thing he can do is stain your shirt.

          • He’s resting Carl. Leave him be.

          • CliveM

            Now that was funny!

        • Anton

          I don’t remember the happy days of those clashes; who said what? Frankly only the physicists understood what they had unleashed and we tend to look back on Hiroshima today in the light of the Cold War and assume that the politicians knew that they were crossing the Rubicon when the truth was simply that here was a new weapon and there was a war to win. Granted that Japan could have been blockaded into surrender without need to sacrifice millions of American lives by invading the place, but Stalin had opportunistically declared war on Japan days earlier to see what he could pick up in the Far East, and the Japanese surrender induced by the A-bombs put a stop to his nasty little scheme.

          I have heard school geography described as “colouring in”. Yes I meant physical geography.

          You might not have realised it but those “different historians” you mention, who took diverse views, might well have been Catholic or protestant or, nowadays, Muslim, proving my point?

          • See my post to happy Jack, above. It depends on what level you are studying history. But say at A level and above you have to know and understand different views to get the grades, so you’d have to know about historian happy Jack’s Catholic based argument on the reformation and historian Carl Jacobs Calvinist based argument, followed by Marxist view or whatever and provide an argument or analysis of both views .

          • Well Carl takes the traditional view that dropping the bombs saved lives and brought the war to a swifter end. I think happy Jack sees it as a moral and ethical question and thinks the bombs shouldn’t have been dropped. But that’s a topic for another day.

        • History, for example, isn’t neutral. It’s the ordering of ‘facts’ according to a prevailing narrative. Christian denominations, hard as they might try not to, view the Reformation differently. Christianity, Judaism and Islam will see the Inquisition and Crusades differently. there will be different views too about the causes and course of the French Russian Revolutions and the rise of Fascism. It’s the same when one studies literature containing perceptions of reality and philosophical outlook. All these things require discernment and judgement. No one is completely neutral and neither should they be. Then, probably the most contested area currently, human relationships and sexuality and what gives life meaning.
          Education does not exist in a vacuum.

          • Hi happy Jack

            The point being made by me was that the teaching of history , like any other subject, depends on the level you study it what. What you are talking about is at the degree level and above, which has nothing to do with teaching but in the classic phrase “reading” ,not what a child would learn or be expected to know….

            As for sexual ethics, I’m young enough to remember sex education at school. It goes in one ear and out of the other, because most teenagers find it embarrassing and go into “giggly mood” or some kind of false bravado: especially when putting a condom on a banana. But it had absolute no effect on anyone I know.

          • CliveM

            I badly affected someone in my class. He fainted, fell off his stool and cut his head.

            How we laughed! Aren’t children horrible.

          • Busy Mum

            Presumably they now prepare for such disasters by conducting a Risk Assessment prior to the lesson!

          • Busy Mum

            Teaching all children how to use condoms assumes that contraception is universally acceptable. Parents are only ever given this level of detail as to what goes on in school if they ask…and keep on asking.
            I remember the ‘condom lesson’ being delivered because the head of sixth form had swallowed the idea that all the girls in her charge were at high risk of developing AIDS.

          • Mabye, but the point I was making is that it didn’t and clearly doesn’t have any practical effect on how teenagers approach this issue, e.g. teen pregnancy rates. I suspect that those who believe in being a virgin till marriage will hold to that or not, regarded of school teaching.

          • bluedog

            If the happy couple don’t bother with a condom there’s always abortion on demand.

          • Lol …. did they sensitively skin the banana first?
            Jack would have eaten his – the banana, that is – rather than waste it. They dish condoms out to school kids now and advise girls about the ‘morning after pill’. Talk about equipping them for life in the modern age of casual sex and abortion.

          • Anton

            “The point being made by me was that the teaching of history , like any other subject, depends on the level you study. What you are talking about is at the degree level and above, which has nothing to do with the level of teaching at school but at university”

            I’m sorry Hannah but I simply don’t agree. Every schoolboy in Victorian England was taught the English Reformation as a good thing that got us shot of corrupt Rome. Whether that is true or not isn’t my point; I’m taking issue with your claim that differences between historical viewpoints become relevant only at degree level. In fact it’s all about what facts are taught and what facts are left out, and whether those that are taught are taught as being good things or bad things; and this begins with the very first lesson. I have before me a Victorian history textbook comprising a summary of what happened when, and it is very obviously biased towards, during the Dark Ages, the Angles and Saxons who became Christian; then at the Reformation the protestants.

          • Grouchy Jack

            “Every schoolboy in Victorian England was taught the English Reformation as a good thing that got us shot of corrupt Rome.”

            That’s bollox ….. no wonder the country is in such a mess.

          • Anton

            Yes, Victorian England might have been run the wonderful way that the Papal States were.

    • carl jacobs

      Schools are by definition an ideological tool. Children must be taught, and education by definition must teach far more than the basics of knowledge. That is why education is contentious. The dominant culture will always seek to perpetuate its dominance through education, and some parents will resist that process. It is a perpetual struggle over who gets to define the truth that is presumed in education.

      A broad public school system will reflect the dominant religion of the culture. There is a large Catholic school system in the US precisely because 19th century American schools were overtly Protestant. Religious schools flourish today because the school system is aggressively secular. But this doesn’t have to be contentious. Allow parents to pursue alternatives. The broad mass will follow the broad culture. Sectarian parents will pursue other options. So long as no one is compelled, there will be no conflict. They key is facilitating choice.

      But as I said, the dominant culture views education as a tool to perpetuate its dominance. It doesn’t want parents to be able to opt out because it wants access to their children. The problem is the dominant desire to homogenize.

      • Hi Carl

        That’s sounds almost a Marxist analysis of education.

        • That’s because Marxists understand how to dismantle a culture.

          • Hi happy Jack

            I couldn’t ever see you as a Marxist, but i recall that you were one as a student before returning to Catholicism, via Jewish philosophy?

        • carl jacobs

          Hannah

          It’s reality. Why do secularists hate religious schools? Because they want to form the world view of the child in opposition the the intention of the parents. That is what is going on.

          • Hi Carl

            Yes I see the clash on this blog daily. One thing I’ve noted is that secularism attacks all faith schools, but here we have the clash of cultural Christianity attacking non Christian faith schools.

          • CliveM

            Carl

            The USA is a secular state. How is this issue handled in the public school system in the USA?

          • carl jacobs

            The public education system has followed the culture into secularism. It goes to great lengths to keep religion invisible, and the result is a soft Secularist education. The real problem in the US school system however is that it is run by, for, and to benefit of the Education establishment. It is a huge bloated wasteful administrative bureaucracy the purpose of which is to employ as many people as possible. And the people who derive the least benefit are the teachers themselves. That is why the US schools perform so poorly.

          • CliveM

            Well ours aren’t doing much better (if at all). I had assumed as the USA was a secular nation the Schools always excluded religion.

          • carl jacobs

            It’s a recent phenomenon. When I was in grade school in the 60s we did Christmas pagents at school. I remember reading singing Christmas carols. I remember personally painting a picture of the Three Wise men for the classroom window. The change came about because the 60s generation came into power.

            Was there ever a decade as bad as the 60s?

          • CliveM

            What I dislike most about modern secularism, is the petty minded, mean spiritedness of it all, as exemplified by its attitude to Christmas celebrations. We are both of a similar generation and we will both have happy memories of school at Christmas.

            Robbed from our children (unless like mine sent to a church school. But I wonder even at church schools how long it will be allowed)?

          • Grouchy Jack

            Harrumph … did they offer schooling to frontier kids in the 1860’s?

            Then you grew up to be a Cowboy engineer.

          • Touchdown ………

      • “There is a large Catholic school system in the US precisely because 19th century American schools were overtly Protestant.”

        And just look at the rage directed against Archbishop Cordileone’s attempts in San Francisco to retain a Catholic ethos and ethic in these schools coming from the liberal progressive ‘Catholics’ i.e. homosexualists and radical feminists.

        • To be fair, HJ, Archbishop Cordileone has done little to endear himself to a lot of Catholics in San Francisco – I think a far few of the people currently putting the boot in couldn’t care less about the schools, but saw a chance to even a lot of other scores.

          • My sister in law – who lives in San Francisco and knows Abp Cordeleone fairly well describes him as “a complete piece of s***” and given she’s not someone I would call a progressive Catholic, and is someone who rarely says a nasty thing about anyone, I’m forced to think that her opinion probably has some justification.

          • Has she met him personally?

          • I believe a close friend of hers has and it is from this friend’s dealings with the man that she has formed her rather trenchant opinions. I know no more details than that – other than to say again that it is highly unusual for her to say anything nasty about anyone – let alone the above description.

          • From what Jack has gleaned, he is actually quite uncomfortable in meetings but a good public speaker. We all have our weaknesses. You should remind her of Pope Francis’ advice:
            “Feeling shame and blaming oneself, instead of assigning fault to others, judging and condemning them. This is the first step on the path of Christian life which leads us to ask the Lord for the gift of mercy.”

          • My sister in law sent me this link today. If she’s right when she tells me that Cordeleone both knew about this and approved it, then she’s right, the man’s a shit.

            http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2015/03/18/homeless-saint-marys-cathedral-archdiocese-san-francisco-intentionally-drenched-water-sleeping/

          • Jack is aware of this and the glee amongst liber-progressives it is generating and the malign motives attributed to the Church. Some action to remedy the “needles, feces and other dangerous items”lefy lying around was called for.

            This was a mistake and has been acknowledged as such, and is being used to damage the reputation of the Church. However, imagine if a child or adult contracted an infection or injured themselves because the Church did not take reasonable precautions and exercise a duty of care.

            And timing. Why has it taken 2 years for a concerned member of the public to bring this to the notice of the media? Surely not to undermine the Archbishop in the midst of his disagreement over teacher contracts and other contentious matters? No, no, Jack, that is a bad thought.

            And that judgemental and condemnatory comment requires, at the very least, a complete Rosary, Tiberia. In Lent too and after Pope Francis’ calls for mercy too.

            Jack’s surprised at the level of self righteousness evident in some and the haste to judge and impute bad faith.

            “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

          • Please note the “if” in my comment, HJ. I have no objection to a few more decades of the Rosary, as long as you join me in penance for the assumption that the timing of this revelation was directly linked to the Archbishop’s disagreement 🙂 You may well be right – and so may I. Let us both start down the Sorrowful Mysteries and leave it there. 🙂

          • No orthodox Archbishop could do anything that would endear him to a certain very noisy set of protesters in San Francisco. Daniel in the Lion’s Den springs to mind.

          • Granted, HJ, but someone perhaps ought to point out to the man that if you actually want an end result rather than the publicity surrounding it, the “bull in a china shop” tactic rarely achieves the desired result. 🙂

          • Well, Happy Jack’s the one to do it. Do you have happen to have his phone number?

          • 001 415-614-5500

            Do let us know how you get on 🙂

      • Busy Mum

        “….who gets to define the truth….”
        I have recently criticised our CofE schools who no longer operate a policy of supporting children in the ‘search for the truth.’ They now all state in their policies that they wish to encourage children to ‘appreciate truth’. The missing definite article says it all, really.
        I can’t help thinking of Pontius Pilate…’What is truth?’

      • CliveM

        Carl

        I would disagree with the description “by definition an ideological tool”, although I would agree education often is in reality.

        But my experience is that the ideology isn’t uniform and can depend on presentation by the teacher.

    • alternative_perspective

      This wasn’t the traditional role of education and schools in society and since our inherited understanding of education comes from a system that was almost entirely founded by the Christian churches I believe it would be unfair to impose such a narrow, modernist definition of education on the English school system.
      It may be a valid opinion but it isn’t the one that underpinned our educational system.

      • So saying a teacher should teach and a pupil learn a broad set of subjects , whilst the parents and community teach their faith to their children is narrow and modern?

  • Dominic Stockford

    “terms which are foreign to Freya’s culture”

    Or more pertinently, terms that are contrary to her faith…

  • preacher

    Many years ago when I attended school, the ethos was basically Christian. Although R.E was confined to not much more than a brief look at the Bible & a study of the geographic locations of the places mentioned, it was poor but Christian based.
    There were several lads of the Jewish & other faiths, & they were allowed to miss attending morning worship & R.E, but to work on their various projects in vacant classrooms.
    Everything seemed to work well & parents & pupils were all happy.

    Perhaps the weak R.E lessons created a vacuum (It certainly didn’t create many Christian disciples) & lack of direction due to lack of knowledge on the teaching staff, plus a lack of interest from the pupils have promoted the current hybrid that goes under the title ‘Comparative religions’ which in state schools, flounders in the attempt to be relevant to any faith. The result being the confusion & demand for a variety of different faiths to open their own schools.

    Maybe the solution would be to retrace our steps to where we lost our way & make basic Christianity the religion taught in all State schools , as this is the recognised religion of the U.K. & each Monarch receives a Bible at their Coronation in Westminster Abbey.

    Other faiths would be encouraged to be independent & self funding if they felt that a separate school was needed to teach English, Maths etcetera as well as any particular faith.

    But if parents were happy with their children attending State schools, for education apart from religion, the children could then be taught their faiths at home or in their respective places of worship & excused from attending Christian teaching & worship.

  • Owl

    What an interesting discussion.
    We have a (forced) “multiculturism” on top of an (abstract) “equalism” which has created a stew where no one is quite sure who has been hoisted on their own petard.
    We have a mess. Intentional or not.
    Let’s go back a step.
    Multiculti is a relatively new concept that has failed, miserably, to work anywhere.
    Equality is an abstract pie in the sky when we cannot even agree on what it means, never mind how to implement it.
    The only thing that we can be certain of, is that the “New World Order” is the totally non starter that was always suspected.
    Only a strong culture can integrate minority cultures without (serious) friction.
    We are seeing the wolf without the sheep’s clothing, an’ it don’t look good!
    Can some good fellow suggest how we get our feet out of the sh*t?

  • Uncle Brian

    I agree with what both Hannah and Carl have said earlier on this thread. I don’t think there’s all that much difference between what the two of them are saying. I
    recognise that an important purpose, even perhaps the most important purpose,
    of schooling is to inculcate the values of the culture, but then you have to take into account that one of the most cherished values of our present-day culture is the importance of earning your living, and you naturally expect your children’s school to help them on their way to achieving that aim, which means cramming them with the knowledge they need to pass their exams in maths, English, geography, physics, chemistry, and the rest of it.

    Choices have to be made in the teaching of history. For instance, what American textbooks say about the “American Revolution” is never going to be the same ― starting with the name ― that British textbooks say about the “American War of
    Independence”. It doesn’t matter. If a class is being prepared for their SAT’s, they learn it one way, but if they’re being prepared for their GCE’s, they learn it the other way, and that’s that.

    A much more serious difficulty arises when the education authorities themselves ― whether at ministerial level, or within Ofsted, or among teachers ― take it into their
    heads to downgrade the exam-passing function of education, attaching greater
    importance, as Owl says in his comment, to questionable doctrines such as equality
    and multiculti . If that is really what is going on, as it seems to be from what I have read on this thread, then the damage can potentially be very extensive, and not just within the schools.

    • Dominic Stockford

      History is not history if it ignores Jesus Christ.

  • Inspector General

    Completely unacceptable. The indigenous of this country should NOT be obliged to send their children to a school of a faith alien to Christianity. The Inspector does not wish to hear any guff about equality or multiculturalism or respect or any other socialist claptrap bullshit. That is the bottom line.

    He would also wish to point out that our wonderfully diverse country is on the verge of what looks suspiciously like an extremely long period of fear and loathing of certain immigrants living here who wish to take over, and although the Sikhs are not part of this plot, for many in the British community this differentiation is purely academic. To wit, they would not be interested in the minutiae of who is and who isn’t onside. They would see ALL of the coloured immigrants a threat. It is important to state now that racial harmony has to be worked at these days as it can no longer be relied upon to occur ‘in nature’, so to speak, if it ever did.

    To conclude. If we all wish to rub along nicely as best we can in this overcrowded land, we need to take into account the sensibilities of ALL of the peoples resident here, including {GASP!} the English themselves …

    {SNORT!}

    • dannybhoy

      That we have so many different faiths and cultures ‘setting up shop’ in our country can mean only one thing:
      It’s a darned sight better here than where they came from!
      That’s not meant as an insult or a racist comment, it’s factual.
      So the next question has to be, “Why?

      Answer that, shipmates…

      • Inspector General

        Where else in the world can you bring you and yours to in the knowledge that you can spend the rest of your life with a full belly three times a day and not do a stroke of work for it. The Inspector would be very interested in ethnic employment levels. Very interested indeed…

        • dannybhoy

          Yes, but more than that Sir. What else does this nation of ours offer, and what makes it different?

          • Inspector General

            That would be the almost certainty of being able to bring with you and practice your unpleasant ethnic behaviour without the state taking too much notice.

          • dannybhoy

            Also true, but what I was getting at is that this is a nation shaped and moulded by its relationship with Christianity. Education was organised by the Church, Health care and hospitals were organised by the Church. Major social reforms came about through the Church.
            Every single essential institution and organ of State had its origins in the Church.
            So when these immigrants from diverse nations, religions and cultures choose to come here, it is an indirect compliment to the historical influence of and supremacy of the Church and Christianity.
            Even those fervent and extremist Muslims who hate us and everything that is good that we stand for; by their very presence are paying homage to the power of Christianity.

            🙂
            (Positions chinstrap of tin helmet and awaits flak….)

          • Inspector General

            Ah, one sees where you’re coming from. Unfortunately, you have spun one of the most tenuous links ever seen on this site.

            Never mind, and do keep trying …

          • dannybhoy

            Tenuous?
            Why?!

          • Inspector General

            WHAT!

          • dannybhoy

            Tenuous.
            Why?

          • Inspector General

            The Inspector announces his withdrawal from this communication due to a heavy case of being mystified…

          • dannybhoy

            An explanation as to why my statement is tenuous would be preferable even if it were critical…..

          • Inspector General

            Alright. If you must. The church is a wonderful institution, but in its absence man would have come to all of what you stated above in time. Take the Chinese. Anyway, you could make a good case that all our structure comes from a robber baron named William who landed here with his mates 950 years ago…

          • dannybhoy

            “Alright. If you must.”
            Of course you must!#I value your opinion as much as I do that of anyone else here.
            I am not sure it would have come about in time. I think values and laws have to be built on a foundation however imperfectly expressed.
            There are lots of non Christian nations which do not share the same values and therefore do not offer the same benefits.
            We could argue about how badly the Church has manifested Christianity, but by and large Christianity has shaped our nation, and I still say that it is the fruit of the faith which draws people here.

          • Inspector General

            Here’s an example then. When Europeans went to Africa, they found an NHS of sorts. It was based on the ingestion of both ground up ancient ancestral bones and the dried up private parts of recently deceased 10 year old boys. But it was the makings of an African health service.

          • Oh dear …..

          • Inspector General

            Hope you have a pith helmet somewhere, old chap. From when this country ruled an empire the sun never dared to set on.

          • bluedog

            The big problem maybe that the British are thought to speak English. Despite the closure of that long running drama the British Empire, countless millions around the world learn English as their second language. It follows that when they decide to leave the corruption and decay of their native third world hell-hole for a more ordered existence, they naturally select from a menu of English-speaking jurisdictions. The term jurisdictions is used advisedly. One can no longer use the word ‘nations’, for a number of reasons. Anyway, you can see the results every time you leave home.

          • preacher

            Your comments are true dannyboy, but I’m afraid that the men of those days were made of a different material. The Cranmers, Latimers & Ridleys to mention just a few were willing to die for the truth of the gospel. Over the years, many followed in their footsteps, giving, loving & standing strong in their faith, opposing the wrongs of Governments & tyrants, they set the benchmark that we should follow.
            The martyrs of Christianity are all abroad now, except for the likes of men like Andrew White who willingly risks life & limb to Shepherd his flock in Baghdad.

            Pray that God will send a Holy Spirit revival to this land to strengthen us & heal a country ravaged by lack of faith & complacency. With the men of courage to carry it through.

          • It allows them the freedoms to live their lives just like they did at home without having to learn the language or make any effort to fit in. Then to add insult to injury we allow them to bully and dictate to us so that we provide them with all the facilities they need and we even change our laws to suit their backwad cultures too. We are stupid.

          • dannybhoy

            I agree Marie1797 but that is as a result of the influence of secular humanism which has taken hold as Christian influence has waned.

  • A religious education teaching the tenets of one’s faith? Well, if you’re a Catholic parent – do not go to San Francisco.

    Teachers are revolting because they’ve been asked to affirm support for Catholic doctrines. These are some of the issues teachers are being asked not to confuse pupils about: prohibitions of abortion, same-sex marriage, pornography, homosexual relations, masturbation, artificial birth control, “artificial reproductive technology,” women’s ordination and human cloning.

    It’s a Catholic School for goodness sake. What do they expect? And at the vanguard leading the protesting? The homosexual groups. At the latest protest students and parents told “personal stories” about how hurt and pained they were by these statements and especially the phrase “grave evil.”

    One senior pupil said: “The language is offensive and damaging. As a gay student, I understand the severity of this language.” He said his struggle to accept his sexuality” was difficult enough, but had such language been present at his school during that time, “It would have been detrimental to my mental health and self-worth.” Jack wonders where he picked that line up.

    A parent, a lesbian who grew up Catholic, wasn’t sure she wanted her son, whom she’s raised with her partner (now her ‘wife’) of 22 years, to attend a school that’s part of a church she left. “Pope Francis changed all that, I felt called to the Catholic faith for the first time since I came out 33 years ago. It was starting to feel like it was the right time to come back. All this could come to an end.”

    Talk about emotive. Then this.

    A former religious studies teacher (yep, a teacher responsible for imparting knowledge about the Catholic faith) at Catholic schools (any guesses about his sexual choices?) said. “I believe that the archbishop is actually distorting Catholic teaching. If Archbishop Cordileone is calling us, as he says in his proposed document, ‘to conform… hearts, minds and consciences, as well as … public and private behavior, ever more closely to the truths taught by the Catholic Church,’ let us at least be sure we are considering all those Catholic truths, which include and indeed prioritise the demands of justice, the practice of compassion, the avoidance of discrimination and the protection of the vulnerable.” He added that the Catholic church may hold certain beliefs, but its teachings are “not unchangeable. The church no longer teaches that the earth is flat, that slavery is acceptable and that women are inferior to men.”
    Ergo, it can and should now permit active homosexuality, same sex marriage, abortions, women’s ordination, contraception and artificial reproductive technology and human cloning.

    • My understanding of the problem, Jack, is not that Catholic doctrine is not being taught in the schools – it is – but that the Archdiocese wants the right to dismiss a teacher if in their **private life** they fail to live up to Catholic doctrine in some way. To be able to do this, which is illegal in SF law, they attempted to redefine the teachers as “ministers” in their contracts which would have removed the protection of the law from them, and not surprisingly they got a backlash. Heavy handed tactics which most sane people could have told the good Archbishop were going to have predictable results.

      Just as well there wasn’t a similar clause in the Archbishop’s own contract, or the Archdiocese could have fired him when he was convicted of drunk driving not so long ago.

  • The Explorer

    Remember the film ‘Aliens’? The wall with humans built into it to serve as living incubators for future Aliens? Generally the shape of the available wall space did not fit the shape of the human body in question, but the Aliens were equal to the problem. They simply rearranged the shape of the body.

    The Aliens were simply wasted on the planet Acheron, or wherever it was. They should have been LEA bureaucrats. Her’s a school space. Here’s a child who doesn’t fit the space. Just think what the Aliens could have done with an opportunity like that!