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Sunday, 31 August 2008

In good faith

Good to see people of faith also acknowledging the unfairness of selection of staff on the basis of superstition (well, they wouldn't call it that).

Of course, there have been denials aplenty that so-called "faith" schools (religious sectarian schools, as I prefer to call them) select pupils this way, and claims aplenty that a percentage of them are not selected on religious affiliation.

Secularists have preferred to think otherwise, and the National Secular Society over the years has had a knock at selection in this manner.

Now, a forum of both secularists and religious folk says the British government should step in and stop religious schools from selecting both staff and pupils on the basis of their religion.

The BBC tells us:

Accord, a new coalition of secular and religious figures, wants the government to stop state-funded schools engaging in what they say is "discrimination".

It argues that all children should have equal access to good local schools and that segregating them on religious grounds harms community cohesion.

The government argues faith schools can help boost standards in deprived areas.

There are about 6,850 faith schools in England out of a total of 21,000 schools. The vast majority of these are Roman Catholic or Church of England.

But they also include about 40 Jewish schools and a handful of Muslim, Sikh and Greek Orthodox schools.

The Accord coalition, we are told, is made up of religious leaders, humanists and teachers, says the Beeb, who have come together to call not for an end to, but for a change to, "faith" schools.

But why stop there? OK, you're more likely to get the religious folk on board if you don't go for the kill, but isn't it about time we stopped giving official sanction to cramming into our children's heads ideas about invisible people (except in an educational way, of course, within, say, history and social science lessons)?

Isn't religion something between the kids and their families? Shouldn't education be about – well, about education?

And doesn't keeping kids in separate establishments during a large part of their formative years not build into them a sense of apartness rather than togetherness and community and love?

Thank God some kids grow out of it! (Irony noted!)

2 comments:

George Broadhead said...

It seems that although the British Humanist Association is party to this group, the National Society isn't. This is presumably because the NSS policy is to abolish faith schools, not just reform them.

Baal's Bum said...

I am afraid I agree with the NSS. All faith schools do is increase segregation.
We are continually told we are a multicultural society lets start where we should at childhood with multicultural schooling.