Trinity Christian School
Civil Liberties

Ofsted go on the offensive against faith schools

 

If there is one thing that will strike fear in the heart of all teachers, it is those two little words ‘Ofsted inspection’. There’s good reason for this. Even if a teacher is completely up-to-date with all of the correct paperwork in place and their lessons thoroughly prepared, there is still a real risk that it can sabotaged just a the wrong moment. All it takes is for the Ofsted inspector to walk into the room to observe your lesson, just as one of your least compliant students decides to kick off, to severely impact your chances of being assessed as a competent – let alone outstanding – classroom practitioner.

Quite how anyone can judge the quality of a teacher’s professional ability based on a 10-minute snapshot continues to be a mystery. But once Mr or Mrs Ofsted Inspector have made their decision, that’s it: you’ve been graded, and it sticks. And the same goes for an entire school.

There are two common grievances with Ofsted which repeatedly come up in staffroom discussions. Firstly is the assumption that they know best how any school should be run; and secondly, that despite this unquestionable omniscience, they are quite at liberty to move the goalposts and decide that what was previously acceptable is no longer so.

Until recently there were four grades for schools: Outstanding, Good, Satisfactory and Inadequate. Then in 2012 ‘Satisfactory’ became ‘Requires Improvement’. However you look at it, these two terms do not mean the same thing. As a result, all those satisfactory schools, without changing anything, suddenly became less than satisfactory.

Now, you could argue that this is just an issue of semantics. But for the schools which all of a sudden find themselves on the wrong side of Ofsted’s wandering dividing lines, the impact can be considerable.

The ability of Ofsted to pull the rug from beneath the feet of schools has reared its ugly head again following the decision to tighten up rules on the teaching of religion and cultural values, following the ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal in Birmingham earlier this year. Thanks to the attempts of hard-line Muslims to take over and control schools there, the Government is rushing through changes to the requirements that schools are expected to meet in order to make sure that those ‘British values’ which have been implicitly part of our education system for decades are now stated explicitly. to leave no one in any doubt of what should be expected.

Except that rather than bringing clarity, we now have confusion. And the consequences are, frankly, very disturbing. The new regulations only came into force for independent schools on 29th September, with state schools to follow. But Ofsted are wasting no time in making sure these are being thoroughly applied even before the ink has been allowed to dry.

The most severe example so far came to light this past weekend, and involves the case of Trinity Christian School in Reading. This tiny independent primary school (with a single class) has been looking to increase its intake, and consequently Ofsted paid them a visit three weeks ago. As far as the school was aware, the inspection was purely to determine whether it should be permitted to take children older than its current age range. What happened, though, was a full-blown interrogation to establish whether the school could demonstrate evidence of their meeting the revised standards relating to children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. This was despite the fact that, following their previous Ofsted inspection 11 months previously, the report stated:

“The provision for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is excellent. Every care is taken to provide pupils with plentiful opportunities to enhance their spiritual understanding and development through the biblically-based curriculum and daily Christian assemblies that are in keeping with the ethos of the school. As a result, pupils develop good levels of self-esteem and self-confidence. They learn well from biblical stories. They celebrate Christian festival days such as harvest thanksgiving and learn about different cultures and appreciate diversity, for example, through their close links with a school in Zambia and contacts in the local community. They are currently preparing for a concert in a local care home. Pupils are well prepared for life in modern, multicultural, democratic British society through the teaching of the Christian principle to ‘love thy neighbour’ as found for example in the teaching of the biblical story of the Good Samaritan. Pupils gain a practical understanding of public institutions and democracy though educational visits, for example to Windsor and through visits from the local fire brigade and local community nurses. They are making good progress in their personal development and in their behaviour.”

The Independent School Standards had previously required schools to promote principles that “enable pupils to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the law” and “assist pupils to acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures in a way that promotes tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions”. These have now been expanded and altered to include “actively promotes the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs” and “ensures that principles are actively promoted which encourage respect for other people, paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010”.

According to a letter from the school to the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, despite not having changed their working practices, they were told they were now failing in this provision. Furthermore, various points were made by the inspector in the hearing of the Headteacher and deputy headteachers which alarmed them, regarding the future of the school. In expressing doubt over the school’s continuing existence, the Inspector stated:

  • That representatives of other faiths should be invited to lead assemblies and lessons in order for the school to demonstrate compliance with the Standards;
  • That evidence needed to be provided, including within the curriculum, that the school “actively promoted other faiths”;
  • That the school should actively promote the principles of the Equality Act 2010, that pupils must learn about people with protected characteristics and that the school must not give a viewpoint that certain lifestyles are wrong. Nor should the school promote a particular lifestyle; and
  • That the promotion of a principle, namely the Christian principle that all people are equal before God and have inherent dignity as human beings, was not enough to demonstrate sufficient  respect for other people, as set out in the Equality Act 2010.

Whatever the truth of these allegations, at least the school can rest assured that Ofsted has no powers to close it. But they are perfectly capable of making life very difficult for them in the immediate future.

Looking at this rationally and reasonably, one might ask if it is possible for a school to go from ‘excellent’ to ‘failing’ in less than a year, without doing anything differently? The only explanation is either that our British values have so drastically transformed over that time, such that we are now living in a newly-created cultural paradigm that bears little resemblance to the one we thought we knew; or that this Ofsted inspector has interpreted the new standards in an appallingly insensitive way.  Common sense suggests it is the latter.

If so, the question this raises is whether this inspector was incompetent, or whether they were following instructions in accordance with the wishes of their superiors.

Another regular gripe from schools regarding Ofsted is the inconsistency between different inspectors from one visit to the next. If this particular inspector has overstepped the mark, then one would hope, given the media interest generated, that Ofsted would intervene to allay any fears. However, scratching beneath the surface reveals evidence to suggest something more fundamental has shifted at Ofsted.

Earlier this month the National Association of Jewish Orthodox Schools issued a press release claiming that Ofsted inspectors had asked highly inappropriate questions and bullied pupils into answering insensitive and anti-religious questions during a number of visits.

Also, in the last few days, a Roman Catholic school has been downgraded from its ‘Good’ rating because “the younger students show less awareness of the dangers of extremism and radicalisation” and “it is not made clear how all students are prepared for life and work in modern Britain”.

Having had this many cases over the last month, how many more should we expect over the coming years? In the summer, the Independent Schools Council, which represents over 1200 schools in this country, voiced its concerns over how the new requirements would be assessed and they did so with good reason.

If the Department for Education does not act fast, there is a real chance that the nature of faith schools will be irreversibly damaged, and for no obvious benefit. This is not setting out the promotion of British values at all: it is bloody-minded, religiously-illiterate and insensitive bureaucrats forcing their ideas of how religion should bend to the will of an intolerant form of equality upon schools, the vast majority of which do an outstanding job of teaching their pupils to respect all people irrespective of race or beliefs.

To tell a designated faith school that it should be actively promoting other faiths and that it is not acceptable to promote a particular lifestyle is bewildering to say the least. How can any school maintain its ethos under the pressure of such an assault? If Ofsted really is carrying out the will of the Department for Education, it has become a tragic and disturbing case of the state losing its bearings and over-reacting in response to the real but limited failure of a few schools (academies and local authority) in Birmingham. The real danger is that the response to a failure in one area will produce a crisis that engulfs schools across the whole country. For the sake of the hundreds of thousands of children who will be the ones who ultimately suffer, we cannot allow this to happen.

—-

With thanks to fellow blogger Adrian Warnock, who has provided much of the research behind this post. He has written more on these cases here and here.

  • Jane McQueen

    Faith schools shouldn’t be a thing in this modern day and age, they are divisive and exclusionary in their very nature. Religion should be a thing for homes and places of worship not in schools.

    • Malcolm Smith

      On the contrary, you cannot be a Christian if you leave your faith behind when you walk out of your home or church. And a government is not fit to govern if it does not see to it that the word of God is promoted wherever possible. And this should be drummed into the inspectors of Ofsted. It is about time we all stood up to these little tin Hitlers.

      • sarky

        So the word of god should be promoted wherever possible. Why?? Why should a small minority dictate how the majority is educated? The truth is the majority dont want it and find it an irrelevance. I have to agree, god should be for the home and church.

        • carl jacobs

          sarky

          The truth is the majority dont want it and find it an irrelevance.

          So then logically, if the majority did want it, and did find it quite relevant, you would have no problem if the gov’t did promote it. Correct?

          No, I didn’t think so. Can we get on to your real complaint now? Which is that you think metaphysical account A (which you reject) should be replaced by metaphysical account B (which you accept). To the eventual end that metaphysical account A is ghettoized and isolated and (hopefully) eventually eradicated so that you don’t have to deal with it Just say what you mean, please.

          • sarky

            Ok then. NO religion should be taught as truth in schools. Facts not myths should be taught to children (and please dont give me the old evolution is a myth chestnut, that idea has been discredited in the minds of the majority)
            Teaching religion highlights differences and does nothing for social cohesion. Teach kids whay they need to get on, thats it.
            And no, I wouldnt lose any sleep if metaphysical account A was eradicated.

          • CliveM

            What right have you to promote your view of social cohesion?

          • sarky

            Its called living in a democracy, everyone has a right to an opinion!!!!!

          • Martin

            Sarky

            So why shouldn’t parents send their children to a school that suits the parents? If necessary, religious.

          • sarky

            Because not all children of religious parents are religious themselves and school should be a place to broaden their minds.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            All children come into this world with the knowledge that God exists. It is the duty of those parents to nurture that knowledge. If they don’t, they fail.

            As for broadening minds, there’s none so narrow minded as the Atheist.

          • sarky

            No Martin, children come into the world atheists and are indoctrinated into the faith of their parents. In my experience its the religious who are narrow minded, dismissing out of hand anything that doesnt fit their world view.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            No, children come into the world knowing God exists, just as you do but pretend you don’t.

            I’m afraid your view of life as an Atheist does not enable you to see what is truly broad minded. Remember, you dismiss out of hand, Go, the Bible and the faith in God that Christians have. Those things that don’t fit your world view.

          • sarky

            Martin, I was raised a christian and took many years to throw off the shackles of christianity. So no, I have not dismissed out of hand god and the bible. However, now I have taken off my god glasses I can see it for what it is, a collection of bronze age allegories and stories that are irrelevant in the modern world.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            You may have been raised by Christians but you weren’t raised a Christian. The only way you become a Christian is by a sovereign act of God.

            You are, however, born with knowledge of God, a knowledge that you dismiss out of hand and having never had faith in God you dismiss that out of hand. The Bible you find to be opposed to your sin so you sneeringly reject that as well. The Bible is what this modern world desperately needs with it’s sordid sexual mores that destroy what God has deemed good.

          • sarky

            Really?? For sordid sexual mores, just look to the old testament. The story of lots daughters is a fine tale of sexual morality!!!

          • Martin

            Sarky

            And the story of Lot is a cautionary tale, nowhere is it presented as other than that. The Bible tells us of sin as it is, sordid and harmful, unlike the modern view which tell us that no harm will come of sexual sin.

          • carl jacobs

            Interesting that “broadening the mind” is effectively equated with adopting the narrow presuppositions of materialism. This is an assertion that schools are responsible to evangelize children into a materialist worldview. This is also the beginning of an argument to prohibit parents from teaching their children anything about God.

            And thus we understand what this is really about. Especially among the inhabitants of the chattering classes who are too lazy, too selfish, and too self-absorbed to assume the responsibility of raising children themselves.

          • sarky

            Wow, now whos narrow minded!!!!

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            I just calls ’em like I sees ’em.

            carl

            Editor’s Note: That’s a baseball reference, for you culturally impoverished Brits.

          • CliveM

            Actually what you are proposing is to deliberately narrow their minds and remove from the school curriculum a major element of human existence.

          • CliveM

            Cop out. If you want to have your opinion imposed on others give is a justification for it. If you want to homogenise and pasteurise society, tell us why you should be listened to. Social cohesion is one of those glib, meaningless statements, much bandied about (particularly by politicians on the make) as an accepted good, but no one says why. Give us a reason why you should be listened to.

          • SidneyDeane

            It’s not her view, is the point Clive. It’s the objective view. See my post above.

          • Martin

            Sidney

            Do not imagine you are objective. You are an Atheist, fleeing from the knowledge that God exists.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Atheism is a religion as much as any and while an idea may be ‘discredited in the minds of the majority’ it may still be true. The majority has never had the monopoly on truth, indeed they are rarely right.

            Teaching religion properly allows understanding, sadly religion has not been taught properly in England for at least 45 years. With understanding comes acceptance of differences, which you certainly don’t get from the Ignorarti of Atheism.

          • Coniston

            To accept any ‘fact’ (of science) is to assume that the universe is rational, and that humans have the ability to think rationally. As has been pointed out earlier, this is a
            metaphysical assumption. And If ‘facts’ alone exist there can be no morality; ‘ought’ cannot be derived from ‘is’. To widen the argument, one can read Alasdair MacIntyre’s ‘After Virtue’. This is a complex book; a more accessible one, explaining
            MacIntyre’s thinking more clearly, is Christopher Stephen Lutz’s ‘Reading Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue’.

          • carl jacobs

            Sarky

            You see? Was that so hard? No fake liberalism. No ersatz displays of tolerance and diversity. No pro forma genuflection in the direction of democracy. Just bared fangs and extended claws. You want to establish your concepts of metaphysics in law and cuture and society because you (limited finite irrelevant transient meaningless piece of dust that you claim to be) on your own authority (as if you had any) have declared your metaphysics to be true beyond dispute, and that all must be brought under its dominion.

            It’s cathartic when you stop hiding your true intentions behind a veil, isn’t it.

          • Beverly

            “…that idea has been discredited in the minds of the majority”.
            Huh! In MY mind I have discredited many things because I don’t understand them – doesn’t mean that they aren’t true.
            Also…if this discrediting is in people’s minds, how does anyone know how many people have discredited the ‘old evolution myth’? Just asking,

          • avi barzel

            Attaboy! The truth shall make you free, eh, Sarky? And Carl got you to jump up, holler out your confession, goose-step and whatever while he was probably watching the Yankees and the Redskins and munching on a hot dog or some horrid American snack or another.

          • SidneyDeane

            You just always get so subjective, Carl.
            Your post infers that metaphysical accounts A and B are equally plausible – depending on your personal viewpoint.
            The point is, science tells us they are not. Science is objective. We have to use objective measures for education or else you would get every nutter with a different view demanding that his view get equal air time in schools as others.
            Science is our objective measure. If science tells us that Judaism is the best explanation for life on earth and evolution is a bogus theory myself and, dare I say, sarky would push for Judaism to be taught in schools.
            Myself and Sarky may disagree and still be evolutionists however we understand that our subjective opinions are worthless next to objective scientific measures.

          • Martin

            Sidney

            So when do you use science? And where is the objective evidence for Evolution? Remember, the fossils show that something lived and died and say nothing of who their antecedents or descendants were.

            Fact is, all Atheists know God exists and hence by the objective measure He made all things and His account should be accepted.

          • sarky

            All atheists know god exists????? Even christians dont know god exists. They have faith that he does, but they dont know!!!

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Everybody knows God exists. Those who claim there is no God just lie to themselves and others.

          • sarky

            And by the same token I think you are just an atheist with a good imagination!!!

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Hardly the same token. We both know I am right.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Entirely not the same token.

          • carl jacobs

            Sidney

            You argue as if “objective” science isn’t laced with its own unprovable presuppositions. You want specific? Tell me the initial system state of the universe. That is a question beyond scientific investigation. Yet your materialism will drive one very specific answer to that question. All of your subsequent arguments will depend upon it. Your argument reduces to “Assuming materialism is true, I can prove materialism is true.” That ain’t no big trick.

            This is why I made reference to metaphysics and not physics in my argument. You make metaphysical assumptions. You build your scientific case upon them. And then you say materialism is true because science says so. You are just sneaking your (ir)religious concepts in through the back door

          • Graham Wood

            Sidney. (also Sarky and Jane) You say: “Science is our objective measure. ”
            I think Carl, Martin, and Marprelate have more than answered your theory of evolution. The stubborn fact remains it has never been proved, and equally important cannot be subject to any empirical proof or the scientific method can it, for whatever your theory of origins it happened in the past – not the present!
            How can a philosophical theory of origins or an ideology which exists only in the speculative minds and thoughts of be provable? There is actually nothing to prove, do you not see that?
            Material organisms (let alone the existence of intelligence in humans and many life forms) cannot arise from non intelligence – that stand to reason and logic alone.
            The “microbes to man” theory is really a completed outdated vestigial organ of Victorian Darwinianism without a shred of basis in real science. Countless real scientists, Christian and non Christian, know this very well.
            As said above, you know very well that there is a God, and only the Christian God of the Bible can possibly be responsible for the created order we see all around us.

          • Graham Wood

            Sidney. “Science is our objective” In which case, can you give ONE single fact of science which will allow the theory of evolution to morph from theory into scientific “fact” please.

        • Martin

          Sarky

          Simple answer, the word of God should be promoted because it is true. You do approve of truth I assume.

          • sarky

            Yes, except your truth is a matter of opinion.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            No, truth is truth & God and His word are very much a matter of truth.

          • sarky

            No, they are a matter of faith!!!

          • Martin

            Sarky

            It isn’t a matter of faith, you know God exists, just as I do, so all you differently is pretend.

          • sarky

            See my comment below

          • Martin

            And see my reply to your comment. You know God exists.

      • Shadrach Fire

        Our Government is not fit to govern because it does not believe in God.

    • carl jacobs

      Yes, in the name of diversity and tolerance, all schools should teach a monochromatic homogenized form of materialism. Because it’s Tuesday. And because the metaphysical assumptions of materialism don’t count as religion because we say so. After all, religion should be unseen and not heard. Except for the non-theistic stuff we believe – which, as we said, isn’t a religion.

      It’s all quite clear.

    • Martin

      Jane

      All schools are faith schools. If a school excludes ‘religion’ then it has espoused the religion of ‘Atheism’, if it teaches Evolution it is teaching the Atheists creation myth.

      As Carl has said, wherever a Christian goes they take their religion with them.

      • SidneyDeane

        “if it teaches Evolution it is teaching the Atheists creation myth”
        hahaha. oh god ignore it Jane youre dealing with an imbecile. “Evolution is a myth” haha christ ive heard everything.

        • Martin

          Sidney

          If you can demonstrate the descent of all life form an original form you can claim Evolution as science, otherwise it is myth.

          • Pasteur’s Law, never refuted.
            ‘All life comes from pre-existing life.’
            All Jane or Sidney have to do is to explain scientifically how life comes from inanimate objects, and reproduce their theories in a laboratory, and they can pass off their evolutionary creation myth as science.
            After all, what did Louis Pasteur ever do for science?

          • Jane McQueen

            Ahh you are getting abiogenesis and evolution confused there, both are separate things. But at the same time you are also displaying a lack of scientific knowledge, as if you kept up to date with developments you would know about the research that has been done at the university of Cambridge on this very subject.

            http://mic.com/articles/88441/cambridge-study-reveals-how-life-could-have-started-from-nothing

          • Martin

            Jane

            If you are going to claim Evolution is true you must also explain the origin of life. Given your preconceptions abiogenesis is the only game in town. So please, don’t be so dishonest.

            As for the work at Cambridge, it is so surrounded with ifs and buts you may as well argue the moon is made of green cheese.

          • Jane McQueen

            The biblical creation myth and your concept of a god is full of more holes than swiss cheese

          • Martin

            Jane

            Pity you can’t find them then.

          • Jane McQueen

            Well lets start at the beginning then, the average creationist who pedals the line that everything that exists must have a creator therefore we exist so god must exist. Fails to explain where their god, who they claim to exist comes from and what created it.

          • magnolia

            Errrr….this is embarassing. If God is the first cause of course he is not caused by another first cause!!

            Just because you cannot get your head around the immensity of the Creator does not prove no Creator. But if you could get your head around Him he would be paltry and not worthwhile. So we thank God that you cannot.

            There is no way you should feel that you can disprove the existence of a Creator, agnosticism is a respectable position (though an uncomfortable and dissatisfying one) but atheism is an absurd leap of judgement.

          • Jane McQueen

            No it’s not, rejecting a claim without evidence is the most logical thing a person can do. There is no evidence to substantiate your claim that a god made the universe, therefore to reject such an unfounded claim based on the evidence and/or lack there of is the logical thing to do.

            To accept a position on faith (an unfounded belief) is an illogical position to take. And a position that not only become illogical but downright insane if you think that there is some being that cares about what you do and who you do it with and that the universe and it’s immense inhospitable self was created just for humans.

          • Martin

            Jane

            Again, what do you not understand about “you know God exists”?

            Of course you are quite happy to believe that all life descended from an original form despite a total lack of evidence for such a process. But you happily accept an unfounded belief because it makes it easier in your mind to pretend there is no God.

            And actually the part of the Universe we are in is remarkably hospitable when compared to the rest. Perhaps God is trying to point out something to you.

          • SidneyDeane

            haha some of these comments are just beyond parody.
            you lot are good for a laugh i tell you. Just as long as you dont get in a position of power you keep on keeping on with your hilarity.
            It will be a shame, in a way, when christianity dies out in the UK.

          • Martin

            Sidney

            You should remember, God is in absolute control. That means that Christianity will continue until the end of time.

            I note, however, that you are unable to provide a demonstration of the descent of all life from an original form. Sad that.

          • magnolia

            First, I see you don’t take issue with the fact that you cannot precede first, and that a first cause is just that.

            Secondly, you define the word “faith” in a very odd, biased and outlying fashion. Anything based on “unfounded” belief is a decidedly shaky proposition by definition. It is like a foolish man building his house upon the sand, as Jesus warned us against.

            We do not believe our Faith is built upon sand. Far from it. We believe it is based upon the Rock. It is everything else that will wash away.

            This is not because we are goons, but because of our experience of living this way. “For the wisdom of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God”. (1 Cor, 1.18).

            You would have more hope of convincing people of your position if you had a background in philosophy and understood the arguments: St Augustine, Aquinas, Plato, & Aristotle would be a start. At the moment many of your arguments ignore centuries of thought and present arguments- that were countered centuries ago- as fresh 21st Century insight. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, especially ancient versions of it that are long superseded in wheel-making circles!

          • Martin

            Jane

            So you would rather have the intellectual suicide of an infinity of causes than a God who had no beginning and no cause?

          • SidneyDeane

            We should pick an answer just cos it suits us?

          • Martin

            Truth is a good reason for choosing.

          • ‘Who made God.’
            This is the very question that I asked my mother when I was 3 years old. I give you the answer she gave me. No one made God. He has always been.
            There must by necessity be an infinite first cause. May I commend to you the Julie Andrews School of Cosmology?
            ‘Nothing comes of nothing,
            Nothing ever could…..’

            There is, I think, a law of Physics that states that a body at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. If all the material in the Universe was contracted into a single ‘particularity,’ and presumably stayed like that throughout countless ages, what was the outside force that acted upon it?

          • Jane,
            Your article in fenced about with ‘maybe’s and ‘could have’s. More particularly there is this little sentence in the article in Science:
            ‘There is one big problem, however. “For origins of life, it is important to understand where the source molecules come from,” Powner says. No one has yet shown that such substances could form spontaneously in the early oceans.’
            No doubt you have faith that the necessary evidence will be found, but that is your belief system. Richard Dawkins’ belief system led him a few years ago to declare that 80% of all human DNA was ‘junk.’ He’s gone strangely quiet on that recently.

      • Jane McQueen

        Atheism is as much of a religion as off is a TV channel

        • Martin

          Jane

          Since all know God exists, none are truly Atheist, just pretend ones.

          What you actually worship is self.

          • Jane McQueen

            Well if you know he exists you wont have any issue providing empirical evidence for the existence of your deity then.

          • Martin

            Jane

            What do you not understand about ‘you know’?

        • Atheism may or may not be a religion depending on how we define words, but it evidently is a belief and in some cases one that is highly intolerant of dissent.

        • Gerhard

          Atheists like you hold the position that atheism is just the rejection of the existence of God or gods. The statement is designed to shift the burden of proof to theists to make the positive case for the existence of such an entity. Atheists then declare that their job is done and then leave it to the theists to prove. Fair point from an Atheist point of view and one which I agree to.

          But now I have to ask you, do you believe in spirits, magic, fairies and all things unseen (still logically consistent with atheism as these aren’t attributed to being God)?

          You see, if you reject these too, you are by definition a Naturalist.

          Naturalists believe that all there is, is matter. And it is in this ‘belief’ where where you put your faith in..

    • Shadrach Fire

      There are those of us parents that do not want our home and churches teaching and guidance overruled by mindless atheists who believe they know better. Christians started the education system in this country and we should be allowed to continue teaching our children how we believe.

    • DrCrackles

      Jane for your vision to work requires enforcement by agencies such as OFSTED. So, you are a big state fetishist as well as being anti-faith and anti parental choice.

      Other countries have suffered from being the authoritarian utopia you desire. You would think it a good thing if free Britain went the same way as Soviet Russia. God help us.

      • CliveM

        She doesn’t have a vision, simply a prejudice. Let’s not flatter her opinions.

    • mbtimoney

      On the logic of banning things on the basis of being divisive and exclusionary, should that also extend to sports teams, which are by their very nature exclusionary (you can’t play for both Saracens and Bath at the same time after all), and often divisive. To think that banning faith school will in any way contribute to the elimination of division and exclusion in society in at the very best naively optimistic. I also think that you are making the very classic mistake of assuming that faith is private, when in fact it is personal, which is a subtle but very important difference. Allowing faith schools is arguably crucial to the ability of young people to develop a sense of personal conviction in their lives, and guards against what Vaclav Havel described as the relegation of “[p]ersonal conscience and consciousness to the bathroom, as something so private that it is no one’s business.”

    • dannybhoy

      Many things are divisive Jane.
      People who have a better paid job than me simply because they are more intelligent..
      That young fella who earns thousands a week just because he can kick a football..
      That baby boy who gets to be called Prince just because his mother married one..

    • Owl

      Why should faith schools not be a “thing” in this modern day and age?
      Is it because you said so?
      I went to a “faith” grammar school and am very glad that I had the opportunity. It makes me sad that our children have had this taken away from them.

  • DrCrackles

    OFSTED is a disgrace and should have been shut down years ago. It is more about social-engineering and cultural-conformity than excellence in education. In fact I believe that OFSTED has little to do with education at all. Schools are marked down for being too white, too middle class and too Christian. OFSTED might as well close down schools for being British.

    • Coniston

      I presume that OFSTED will be as harsh in demanding that Muslim schools must bring in speakers from other faiths to address their assemblies.

  • IanCad

    A very disturbing post Gillan.

    So, religious liberty is under attack yet again.

    We have the terrible Nicky Morgan as our new Education Secretary/Inquisitor.

    No relief can be expected under her watch. The screws will only tighten.

    OK! OK! I know, I keep harping on about it but we still do have the option of educating our children at home – even in groups. Why more concerned parents do not avail themselves of this remedy is something that I can’t understand. Maybe they don’t really care.

    • DrCrackles

      Ah yes, but even after the defeat of Badman home-education is still very much on the radar:

      http://www.nspcc.org.uk/globalassets/documents/information-service/case-reviews-home-education.pdf

      What we have a here is a combined assault on our liberty from the charity-institutional complex. This complex is fully funded through taxation pounds.

      • Martin

        One wonders why it is so bad that children become invisible to the ‘authorities’, seeing how poorly the ‘authorities’ have been seen to care for children.

        Could it be that the ‘authorities’ want complete control over our lives?

        • DrCrackles

          Yes, I noticed that. Paranoid would be the term I’d use to describe their mindset.

        • IanCad

          Martin,
          “Control over our lives”
          Well, they certainly have that and with the blessing of the ruled.
          Posit the statement: “The purpose of the law is to protect us from our own foolishness” and I bet eight out of ten would concur.
          Ian

      • Martin

        DC

        Oh dear “There is, however, a risk that home-educated children can become invisible to the authorities.” which would be a terrible thing, seeing how the authorities ‘care’ for children. The recent case where parents were imprisoned for trying to get better medical treatment for their child that the hospital was prepared to provide. I’m not sure I trust the NSPCC at the best of times.

        As to Ian’s question, perhaps a good reason is mortgages.

      • IanCad

        Thanks for the link Dr. C. “The Charity Industrial Complex”
        Must remember that.
        Badman will provide me with a little bedtime reading.
        Never heard of it before.

        Ian

        • DrCrackles

          charity-institutional complex 🙂

          • IanCad

            Oh Dear! Quite.

    • Martin

      Ian

      Why don’t more parents home school? Perhaps because both husband and wife must work to pay for the mortgage.

      • IanCad

        Of course you’re right Martin; but, nevertheless there could be perhaps 5% who are not so financially straitened, and could manage quite handily. Probably even a few more who would be prepared to make the sacrifice in conjunction with other parents who wish the best for their children.
        Many are just not aware that in this highly regulated land where generations have learned that all good things come only from the state, quite how easy it is to extract their broods from the maw of the education industry.
        There is a ton of help out there.

        • Martin

          Ian

          And I think you are right there. A couple in our church with 2 daughters & a son are home educating, most of which falls on the mother of course.

          Given other parents in the church doing the same (we have teachers in the congregation) could provide a very good basis for co-operation.

      • DrCrackles

        Martin, correct upstream choices need to be made in line with biblical principles. Christian men need to be men, and be prepared to provide for their wives and families, with the express view on producing and correctly raising sons and daughters in the faith.

      • DanJ0

        Apparently, that’s both wrong and selfish if I recall correctly. People just need to lower their expectations, and have equal numbers or more children than our Muslim citizens.

        • Martin

          DanJ0

          So you are saying that indulging in behaviour which fails to lead to procreation is wrong and selfish.

          • DanJ0

            Huh?

      • CliveM

        It also doesn’t allow for the fact some of us would be lousy teachers. Me for example. Also as a parent of an only child I want him to have friends and develop socially. Home schooling isn’t a panacea.

        • IanCad

          True, it’s not a cure-all Clive, just an option for those who are able and so inclined.
          The idea that homeschoolers are somehow deprived of social activities has been thoroughly refuted. Particularly as most are taught in small groups.
          Also neglected by the critics are the immense benefits to those who teach. They get a second education and are thus well qualified to re-enter the workplace when their birds have flown.

          • CliveM

            I have nothing against it in principle. But as a response to the threat faith schools are under, it doesn’t help us who don’t have that option. Indeed it is arguable that it makes it worse. If most Christians removed and home taught, what would be the justification for faith schools for those of us left? 🙂

          • IanCad

            Clive,
            Faith schools are at a point of crisis. To the degree it could be argued that they survive in name only.
            The Christian path is strewn with thorns. In this age, shallow, vicarious, comfortable and conformist, it is a particular struggle for those parents, like you, who want their children educated in the faith of their fathers..
            We were not promised otherwise as you well know.
            Agitate, write your MP – well; I don’t have to tell you that.
            Truly, you have my sympathies.
            Ian.

  • len

    Surely the most awesome giant (perhaps ogre would be a better word?) amongst the faith schools who threatens to crush all other faiths(except Islam who it dares not touch) is of course ‘ the Church of Atheism’. Its got is own bible (the theory of evolution) its own high priest ( Dawkin`s the most prominent of late ) and its ‘Churches'(our entire education system) are overflowing with faith filled evolutionist acolytes.

    This new religion preaches tolerance but is the most intolerant religion ever devised by man.

    • DanJ0

      But there are loads of Christians, including some around here, who accept the likelihood of the theory of evolution by natural selection. In fact, I daresay most Christians do.

      • SidneyDeane

        You won’t see any admit it in here though.
        And don’t say likelihood when you mean fact.

        • Phil Rowlands

          Natural Selection = observable fact

          Evolution (by that I mean species change) = still theory, despite huge numbers of attempts to “prove” its existence.

          The two are most likely not linked

        • CliveM

          You clearly can’t be bothered to read what people say, simply rely on prejudice. I have read several people on this site say they believe in evolution. Indeed as DanJo says the majority of Christians I know do.

  • Hi Gillan,

    I could understand the secular argument against them, if religious schools in the UK simply taught the theology of whatever religion you belong to, something which I oppose in my own faith, but as far as I’m aware almost every state funded school is obligated to teach a secular curriculum (e.g. maths, English, science, sports etc), alongside the ethos of the religion or the teaching of the religion the schools are connected with. Incidentally, my mother went to religious schools. Christian as it happens, like Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and neither stopped being observant Jews. There was a joke my mother made (in her diary) about the crucified Jew in the classrooms which helped her work hard at her studies (: Incidentally, I’m sure that religious schools do really well in the league tables, so if academically they’re doing okay , it seems they are being attacked for nothing other than crude ideological reasons?

    PS- being religious doesn’t seem to downgrade one’s intelligence or prospects for life. Most of the commentators who post here seem to be educated to degree level or above (or equivalent)/ and or are in good paid jobs.

    • James60498 .

      Indeed Hannah, it doesn’t.

      The Director of the Human Genome Project (Francis S Collins) is a Christian as are various professors. There is a discussion programme on one of the Christian TV channels between three Oxford University professors all of whom are Christian too.

      Of course, in the UK for anyone to be well known, they have to appear on the BBC, and the BBC aren’t exactly in the habit of admitting that there are God believing scientists.

      • dannybhoy

        Being devout and uncontroversial does not make for exciting television.
        Hence the need for soap operas..
        We Christians don’t have all the answers, but we get stick for pointing out that neither do the evolutionists.. 😉

      • David

        It is a atheist and humanist myth, much propagated by the BBC and MS media, that science and faith are enemies. We both know that this is a simplistic distortion of the far more interesting truth. Indeed the truth regarding the fascinating relationship between faith and science is the subject of study of the excellent Faraday Institute for the Study of Science and Religion, based in Cambridge. I recommend their website. I shall be attending one of the free lectures tomorrow as it happens. Just thought that might assist you.

        • James60498 .

          Thanks David

          I have just “bookmarked” that and will be having a look sometime soon.

        • DanJ0

          Stick around, you’ll find it’s also a theist myth.

    • Jane McQueen

      The reason they do well in academic tables, is not because they teach better. But because they have a selective admission process, meaning that they can filter out those who may not do so well academically, which means they get dumped in the local comprehensive.

      • Hi Jane,

        But, the criteria for religious schools is ostensibly whatever religion you are , not how academic you may be…. (?).

        • dannybhoy

          Exactly. Our nearby CofE school is full of all sorts of abilities. What people like about these schools is that they actually have boundaries and expectations of the children. The children are taught to be polite and considerate, and for the most part they are.

        • avi barzel

          Ouch, another obvious point missed by Miss McQueen (dunce cap tomorrow as well)…maybe she is a graduate of one your disadvantaged comprehensives, whatever they are, and we should start ignoring such stumbles in the name of proletarian egalitarianism and social equity…whatever those are.

          • dannybhoy

            Life experience teaches us that people have different gifts and abilities. Some people get a lot of talents, others only a few.
            Yet others seem to have been at the back of the queue and came away with unwanted remnants.
            But that’s not the whole picture. Some people go on to achieve great things with the little they received, others simply squander their talents (something vaguely familiar about this HJ…..).
            What education is supposed to do is give all children the basics needed to cope in life; reading, writing an’ ‘rithmetic. The basics of geography, history and science and literature.
            The system also needs to discover whether the child is more academic or practical and develop those talents. And of course you need a good post educational system to cater for the ambitious and late developers.

            Or you could just dump them in the nearest comprehensive…..

      • dannybhoy

        “Dumped in the local comprehensive…..!”
        A vote of confidence in the State system if ever I heard one!

        • Lol …. got her there, Dannybuoy.

          And, not only she is an atheist she appears to be a Liverpool fan. She’s choosing to walk alone without hope in her heart.

        • avi barzel

          Pfffft! Zing! Take a gold star sticker, Dannybhoy, and Miss McQueen gets to wear the dunce hat for the day.

          • Please, Avi. How insensitive. It’s Ms McQueen.

          • avi barzel

            My bad. Does anyone still use Mizz? How vintage. I thought that’s only for government forms. Anyway, with all that gender confusion apparently going on, they’ll have to start a registry for new honorifics.

          • Muzz … it’s all the rage with Mc-Queens.

          • dannybhoy

            Thank you Avi.

      • James60498 .

        That’s just another secular lie. Of course like most lies it has some basis in the truth and there are possibly a small number of schools where it is the case which no doubt you will share with us.
        However the vast majority of faith schools have to have their admissions policy approved, and in some places (including my area) if not all administered by the LEA and this prevents any opportunity for selecting based on academic achievement.

        • CliveM

          Why let facts get in the way of a good prejudice! Much more fun to be bigoted.

      • William Lewis

        Queen Jane (approximately)

        Secularists seem to believe they can have the fruits of Christianity without engaging with the metaphysics. Indeed without even attributing them to their rightful provenance. Twas ever thus.

  • fred

    You clearly are not up to date with Ofsted guidance. Inspectors DO NOT grade teachers or their teaching

    • Owl

      er, what do they do then Fred?

    • Departments do get graded and that includes quality of teaching.

  • DanJ0

    From the legislation:

    “(vii) encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic process, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England;”

    I wonder what the legislators think the basis is.

    • David

      EU style humanism – it’s rapidly becoming the default “neutral” secular faith – scary isn’t it ?

  • All ‘faith’ systems are equal – there is no Truth.
    All lifestyles are equal – there is no perversion.
    What a wicked, wicked generation we really are.

  • James Bolivar DiGriz

    “Until recently there were four grades for schools: Outstanding, Good, Satisfactory and Inadequate. Then in 2012 ‘Satisfactory’
    became ‘Requires Improvement’. However you look at it, these two terms
    do not mean the same thing. As a result, all those satisfactory schools,
    without changing anything, suddenly became less than satisfactory.”

    Until recently my wife was chairman of governors at a school and so I know a little bit about this. Prior to 2012 there were no ‘satisfactory schools’ (well the only ones were those rated Good or Outstanding).

    There were however a lot of schools that needed to improve quite a bit and so had been marked at position 3 on the four position scale. There would be a number of areas of improvement identified by the inspectors and the school would be obliged to produce plans & timetables to address those areas.

    The mistake was that position 3 had the label ‘Satisfactory’ attached to it. That was always known to be wrong, when my wife first explained the system to me I immediately said that a school meeting those criteria was clearly not ‘satisfactory’ and she agreed with me.

    However having the label ‘Satisfactory’ almost certainly misled parents and may well have engendered a sense of complacency in teachers.

    Now the same school is still in position 3 and all that has changed is the label, to ‘Requires Improvement’.

    • Phil Rowlands

      “Requires Improvement” can and often is just another term to ensure conformity. It may have nothing to do with exam results. It may be a fantastic school with excellent results and a lovely atmosphere for learning , students staff and parents know it is a fantastic school, but Ofsted think otherwise because it does not fit their Stalinist one size fits all view of education.

      • James Bolivar DiGriz

        Firstly, your comment has no relationship to mine and so it should not have been posted as a reply.

        Secondly, can you please supply objective evidence of multiple schools that are “fantastic … with excellent results and a lovely atmosphere for learning”, which have been rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ by Ofsted.

        Pupils (school children are not students), staff and parents regarding somewhere as good does not count as objective. You would have been able to get glowing feedback from the Trojan Horse schools but I don’t think most people would rate them very highly.

        • Phil R

          “parents regarding somewhere as good does not count as objective”

          But it should be the main criteria. “Trojan Horse” you say, I say one size fits all is not a price worth paying. The secularists love it as it is another nail in te coffin of (genuine) Christian Schools.

          What we have with Ofsted is a giant exercise in uniformity that allows the State to legitimately stifle anything that the state does not approve of.

          Even if you are not a Christian you must see that creativity at least, must be one of the first casualties in this Stalinist inspection system

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            ‘ “Trojan Horse” you say, I say one size fits all … ‘

            Rather than saying anything about the Trojan Horse schools what you are actually saying is “I’m going to ignore what you are saying”.

            By your ‘reasoning’, a Gaza style ‘school’ training suicide bombers would be okay as the parents there are happy with that.

          • Phil R

            “Gaza style ‘school’ training suicide bombers”

            So in order to avoid the hypothetical/unlikely extreme scenario you describe, we clamp down on creativity and freedom wherever we find it and impose a grey middle ground?

            Stalin would be proud of you. Also I hope that your wife did not share your obvious distaste for Muslims when she was a School Governor. BTW it might surprise you to learn that parents of Muslim also love their children.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            You are just being silly so this will be my last post.

            “So in order to avoid the hypothetical/unlikely extreme scenario you describe …”
            You said that that “parents regarding somewhere as good … should be the main criteria” and I was just showing that the parents can approve of things that the vast majority of people would think of a simply wrong.

            Using an extreme example is a common way of demonstrating that a line of thinking is flawed, or at the very least extremely limited.

            BTW, ‘criteria’ is plural, so it should have been ‘main criterion’.

            “your obvious distaste for Muslims”
            Which is so obvious as to be invisible, because it is non-existent. I could have picked other examples but the Trojan Horse schools and the schooling in Gaza have been well reported in the media, so they were ones that I could expect most readers to know about.

            “parents of Muslim also love their children”
            True, but from the sex-selective abortions and the Trojan Horse schools (and sharia wills, and many other examples) we see that, under the yoke of Islam, they seem to love their boys quite a lot more than they love their girls.

            Muslims are people and as such are loved by God, Christ died for each and every one and I am commanded to love each one and I try (as much as is possible for a sinner-saved-by-Grace) to do so.

            Islam on the other hand is a totally different matter.

          • Phil R

            My point was…

            Uniformity, regulation, stagnation and further state control are a price not worth paying.

            We are sacrificing our freedom because of our cowardice and fearfulness.

  • David

    Big State encroaches upon us daily. Behind Big State is of course, bigger EU Empire, which continues to pour its, now compulsory it appears, Humanism based intolerance of real faiths, especially the arch-villian of all faiths, Christianity, into our country via its “equalities” laws and through much else besides. Ukip is of course the only political party that supports our Judaeo-Christian heritage, especially free speech. That fact is another reason why messrs Cameron and his relativist cronies and multiculturalists hate Ukip, as it believes in something, and supports Christianity.

    Yesterday as part of a teaching session to our church on different translations of the Bible, which involved holding aloft our 1601 version of the Bible, normally kept locked up in the vestry safe, we rediscovered our well preserved copy of the compulsory Homilies that parish Ministers were required to read out, for the instruction of their flock, during the reign of Elizabeth 1st. The refusal to allow perfectly able parish ministers to write their own sermons, a control of free speech, reflected the turmoil of the times when there was no common agreement amongst English people as to how Catholic or Protestant we should all be. Establishing a resource of compulsory sermons, removing free speech, was the government’s attempt to quell dissent and disorder. This top down approach is being repeated it seems, but now, due to the deliberate destabilising of the country through importing foreign, alien beliefs, indeed militant alien beliefs at that. I ask myself, wryly, has not the wheel gone full circle, and are loyal, patriotic, Christian, English folk simply going to accept it all passively, as our government attempts to tell us what to believe, and what is now its latest “thoughts”, dictats regarding right and wrong. The day we look to Whitehall and Brussels to give us our morality, and not to Holy Scripture is upon us, it seems. Well to Hades with all that, I say ! This gives me yet another reason to support our only freedom supporting party. The political establishment must be replaced before we are all enslaved, that must now be abundantly clear to all but the most deliberately blind. Our government is the problem, not the solution.

    • Peter Burdge

      I recently bought a copy of the Book of Homilies (actually a reprint containing all the sermons set out in the original two books). I agree that among the 70+ sermons it does contain a number that admonish the flock against rebelliousness, but mostly they set out the essentials of the reformed faith in a very robust and direct manner – something that I have hardly ever heard in 30 years’ attendance at an Anglican church. I am only part way through it but have already learned a great deal and had a number of doctrinal queries answered. The hand of Cranmer is evident in a number of the homilies and I think that 10 mins spent listening to one of these on a Sunday would be time better spent than listening to the stuff that is generally on offer.

      • David

        I haven’t yet read through our two originals, but I will soon. It will indeed be instructive for me I am sure. As a Lay Reader, since my retirement, and very much of the orthodox, reformed persuasion, and therefore classically anglican, I may think about if I could use them, employing updated language for ease of communication. It would certainly constitute authentic anglicanism ! My estimation of Cranmer and Hooker continues to rise. Finding those two volumes in such excellent condition was quite a thing, a direct physical and spiritual connection with my forebears, in the reformed faith, and in one of our benefice churches as well. Thank you for responding.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Goodness! Well, these grey-clad clip-boarded eugenicists will not cross the threshold of Dr. Wortle’s School, let me assure you! My Lord the Bishop has devised (with my help, naturally) a robustly Christian-soldiers sort of curriculum with no-nonsense from Mr Darwin’s lot. Here, children play conkers during the autumn morning breaks, not centrifugal-bumblepuppy, and each day ends with a passage from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and a hobnob. Barchester remains a bastion of Broad Church-ism with an Evangelical frosting, and all’s well with the world.

  • Royinsouthwest

    Since when has the concept of “protected characteristics” been part of British values? Who decided what characteristics are protected ones? Why should OFSTED assume that the values of a bunch of Guardian reading Islington lefties are synonymous with “British” values?

    • Martin

      Roy

      I think the term you are seeking is Guardianista.

  • avi barzel

    And a gold star sticker for you as well, Gillan. That’s a sharp, hard-hitting editorial.

  • Happy Jack is not happy. Something has to be done – and UKIP isn’t the answer.

    The Church, in its Vatican II widest sense, and especially our Established Church, must start fighting this combined secular and deist onslaught. Where the hell is it? Why is it caving in to relative, ecumenical religious ‘truth’ and to relative secular morals? Truth and morality do not evolve or change.

    Are we still Christians? If we are to be defeated then, in God’s name, let’s go down with a fight and not on our knees before the ‘Culte de la Raison’.

    Do not go gentle into that good night,Old
    age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    • CliveM

      Happy Jack

      I agree. The costs of action won’t be great, but if we let our children down, how can we claim our faith has any worth, if we don’t at least try?

    • Patricia

      I’m not sure that we were ever a truly Christian nation given our ruthless exploitation of our overseas Colonies, our support of slavery and then of indentured labour, the class system, treatment of the rural and urban poor by local gentry and factory owners, etc, etc. The upper classes, including the royal family, and the working classes have rarely followed God’s revealed moral order and the middle classes did so in Victorian times largely for self interest ,

      • The just imagine what it might be like should we abandon God altogether.

  • avi barzel

    Avi is not happy either. He hasn’t seen the Inspector around. He makes your dreaded OFSTED sound mellow in comparison to his inspection reports.

    • Hi,

      Yes I’m worried about Mr Inspector too ! What’s happened to him?

  • sarky

    Just read this morning that pope francis has come down on the side of the big bang and evolution. This is excellent news. Lets hope he takes the next logical step and removes god from the equation!!!

    • Martin

      Sarky

      Popes have never been that interested in the authority of Scripture, their own authority is far more important to them.

      • sarky

        But luckily they are very influential!!!!

        • Martin

          Sarky

          So that matters more than what is true?

          • sarky

            What do you define as true???

          • Martin

            Sarky

            I don’t define something as true, either it is true or it isn’t. That’s all there is to it.

          • sarky

            truth is a perspective!!!

          • Martin

            Sarky

            No, truth is truth.

          • Gerhard

            Sarky, is it true that truth is a perspective?

    • Gerhard

      Everything that begins to exist has a cause. The universe began to exist, therefore the universe has a cause. This cause must be timeless, spaceless, immaterial, uncaused and unimaginatively powerful.. Sounds a lot like God, doesn’t it?

      • sarky

        No!

      • SidneyDeane

        “Everything that begins to exist has a cause”
        You dont know that.

        • Gerhard

          Alright we have some options before us:

          a) The universe is eternal with no beginning and therefore uncaused.
          b) The universe began to exist from nothing without a cause.
          c) The universe began to exist from nothing with God being the uncaused first cause.

          Your preferences will likely be a or b I assume?

          Option A falls because of the mathematical impossibility of an infinite past and of course all the indicative evidence for the big bang.

          Option B, potentially jumping ahead of you here by pointing out that quantum mechanics show that stuff can apparently come from nothing without a cause. Well a ‘quantum vacuum’ or a ‘sea of energy’ is not nothing. Which then means you need to demonstrate that something can come out of nothing (by nothing, I mean not anything) uncaused.

          Option C, I don’t think that it has been demonstrated that something can come from nothing uncaused, unless you can of course. Remember Alpha particles are not ‘nothing’ and to evoke Laurence Krause’ nothing is something because it can be defined doesn’t work either.

          Therefore I think it is pretty reasonable to accept that God is the uncaused first cause.

      • dannybhoy

        It seems to me that what we know of the true God, He revealed.
        What we know from what He has revealed is that He is incorruptible, totally just, and full of love for what He has created, especially man; whom He made in His own image.
        Even writing this just blows my mind. I suspect that as created beings we will NEVER fully comprehend the wonder of the Almighty..

        Exodus 33: (Moses’ Intercession.)

        12 Moses said to the Lord,
        “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me
        know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’
        13Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight.
        Consider too that this nation is your people.”
        14And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
        15And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.16For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people?Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”

        17And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”

        18Moses said, “Please show me your glory.”
        1
        9And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”
        21And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”
        Isn’t that beautiful?

        God will cover Moses with His hand until He has passed by…
        And whom do we have to thank for this information?
        Of course, the Jewish people. 🙂

        • Gerhard

          Absolutely!

    • Graham Goldsmith

      Yep Big bang theory and the theory of evolution are the best scientific theories that we have but no scientist has yet been able to fully explain the origin of matter in the universe. Along with many other things. TOE remain elusive.

    • Martin

      The bishops of Rome have been wrong for a good number of years. Francis is continuing the tradition.

  • michaelkx

    my I bring in a small point, if a Christian faith school has to have a Muslim preach in there school, that is ok, AS LONG AS a Christian preacher can preach in there schools. pig will fly first……

    • Patricia

      I think it’s their not there

  • Christopher Whitmey

    Thank you Gillian. As a former chair of governors I was concerned about the way the consultations for the new regulations were carried out. See: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/proposed_new_independent_school#outgoing-377014

  • saintmark

    If I were at this school I think I might promote the fact that I didn’t have any Muslim preachers coming to talk or give assemblies, maybe emblazon it across my newsletters and front display board.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Boko Haram….didn’t they sing ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ back in the 60s?

  • Busy Mum

    When my oldest child started school, promotion of homosexuality was forbidden.

    In 2003, Section 28 was abolished and promotion of homosexuality was allowed.

    In 2014, promotion of homosexuality is compulsory.

    My youngest children are still at primary school.

    11 years is a long time in parenting.

    • James60498 .

      Cameron, the heir to Blair.

    • DanJ0

      What’s the point of promoting something that isn’t a choice? How weird. Perhaps they should just make teenagers aware of that some people are homosexual and what that means instead.

      • Busy Mum

        Pre 2003, Stonewall couldn’t talk to my children about homosexuality and I wouldn’t.

        After 2003, Stonewall could talk to them about it and they did.

        In 2014, Stonewall will talk to them about it and is exerting every sinew to ensure I cannot talk to them about it. If I do, the government expects school to challenge me as an extremist parent.

        Despite the much vaunted slogan to be found in all schools – ‘every child matters’ – children are the little pawns as the state fights parents for control of their children’s minds, bodies and souls.