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Faith schools: Catholics and secularists criticise new plans

Faith schools: Catholics and secularists criticise new plans

The Government has abandoned plans to lift the 50 per cap on faith admissions in new free schools in a move that has infuriated Catholics.

Equally angry are secularists, who, while welcoming the retention of the cap, are appalled that the government plans instead to give faith groups extra support and 90 percent of the capital funding needed to open new mainly faith-based voluntary-aided schools.

The Catholic Church, according to this report, sees the move as a betrayal. The Reverend Malcolm McMahon, above, the Archbishop of Liverpool, said:

In their general election manifesto, the Conservative Party made a commitment to the Catholic community that the unfair rule effectively stopping the opening of new Catholic free schools would be lifted.

Today [May 11] the government has broken this promise, dropped the pledge they made to our country’s six million Catholics and ignored the tens of thousands of Catholics who campaigned on this issue.

The National Secular Society, which campaigned equally hard to keep the cap, said the u-turn on the lifting of the admissions cap was “positive news for integration” but called plans to provide funds for local authorities to create more VA faith schools “regressive”.

Stephen Evans, NSS Chief Executive, above, said:

The decision not to scrap the 50 percent cap for faith admissions in free schools is positive – and a victory for the work the National Secular Society and our supporters have done to campaign against it.

However, encouraging more voluntary-aided schools, which are able to select up to 100 percent of pupils on the basis of faith, is a regressive step and a back-door attempt to expand faith school education and increase the number of school places allocated on the basis of faith.

Facilitating more voluntary-aided schools will lead to a negative impact on social cohesion, foster the religious and social segregation of children, and undermine choice and equality.

He added:

Voluntary-aided faith schools are discriminatory, antithetical to British values and harmful not only to cohesion, but also the standard of education and well-being amongst their pupils.

Children from all faith backgrounds should be educated together and allowed to develop their own beliefs independently.

The NSS launched a “No more faith schools” petition earlier this year, and I urge readers to sign it.

It’s reported here that the Department of Education announced that the £270-million committed to its free school budget would now be used to create 110 new schools – both free schools and VA – by 2020.

The Church of England’s Chief Education officer the Rev Nigel Genders welcomed the announcement.

As well as embracing the opportunities of academies and free schools, we have a strong track record of providing 1,700 VA schools and welcome the opportunity to consider developing more of them.

Humanists UK welcomed the decision to retain the faith cap. However, it expressed regret that:

The government still feels obliged to appease the unreasonable demands of a handful of religious organisations by offering alternative routes for opening fully segregated schools.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

13 responses to “Faith schools: Catholics and secularists criticise new plans”

  1. barriejohn says:

    Th religiots are absolutely desperate to retain their schools, as without the opportunity to indoctrinate the next generation they know that they are finished. The following article by Stephen Evans is well worth a read:

    http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/religionglobalsociety/2018/05/an-archaic-settlement-the-national-secular-societys-bid-to-eradicate-faith-schools/

  2. Terry says:

    Give me the child and I will give you the man.

    The only way religions survive is by indoctrination of children.

    Faith schools breed bigotry and hatred and division.
    Go look at the Middle East. Go look at Ireland.

    Faith Schools are poisonous to society.

  3. andym says:

    I’m sure this is just a happy coincidence.And has nothing to do with pushing the idea of getting rid of the cap.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jan/09/concerns-raised-over-churchs-donation-to-new-minister-damian-hinds

    I don’t see what the RCC is moaning for. They’ve been given what they want, just by a different route.

    Hearing Hinds on the radio this morning was strange. It was as if he thought if he said that Faith Schools increase diversity enough times, he’d convince himself it was true.

  4. StephenJP says:

    I am a governor of a VC junior school next door to a VA infants one. It makes eminent sense to merge. But the CofE insists that the merged school be VA – which means they appoint the majority of governors, and can insist that the Head be a practising Christian.

    Separately, the Church is pressing schools to amend their statements of values to stop saying that, for instance, honesty, compassion and trust are ‘shared values’ and say instead that they are ‘Christian values’.

    The CofE is losing adult members hand over fist. So it is mounting a drive to evangelise small children instead. It is frustrating and upsetting, and I think it is deeply immoral. It must stop.

  5. Robster says:

    This is an insidious process, used by the religiously afflicted to perpetuate the affliction, without the under fourteens to indoctrinate, they’re finished, kaput, they know this and it scares them, greatly, even with a god on their side. Their faith seems very shallow. These are desperate times, these are desperate people. Treat with suspicion.

  6. 1859 says:

    To feed a child lies, prejudices and absurd fantasies about a rosy afterlife is – together with child sex abuse – one of the greatest crimes imaginable against a child’s humanity. People with a religious agenda should have nothing to do with the education of children, because they will always have a clandestine and sometimes blatant need to push their ideas down children’s throats. Religious sectarianism is a scourge and a scandal, and that it is still being financed and encouraged by the establishment in 21st century Britain, beggars belief .

  7. Broga says:

    What is now clear is that the government is in chaos and no direction, decisions or considered responses may be expected. Mrs May and her bumbling colleagues are stumbling on hoping that the public will be fooled into thinking that they have some idea of what they are doing.

    The most egregious example, difficult to believe if you didn’t see it, was the panic stricken Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, running from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to avoid being questioned about his refusal to discuss the obesity crisis.

    The government have neither the courage, nor the confidence, to look objectively at faith schools. In their panic they are all Jeremy Hunts.

  8. AgentCormac says:

    I honestly don’t understand why people can’t see the true motivation behind churches wanting to run schools. Either it is a form of sectarianism (which it is), or it’s a way on indoctrinating the innocent (which it is). Either way, it is divisive, unhealthy and undesirable.

    Getting their grubby hands on infants (literally as well as metaphorically) is the only chance religion has of survival. They know it as well as we do. We must do everything we can to stop them.

  9. andym says:

    @AC. You can add that they get to do this while only paying a small proportion of the actual cost-the State funds most of the Faith School budget .

  10. AgentCormac says:

    @andym
    Yes, the fact that we’re financing their indoctrination centres does rather rub salt in the wound, doesn’t it?

  11. Brian Jordan says:

    It is a betrayal – a betrayal of the bulk of the population who want none of this yet have to both suffer it and pay for it.

  12. Brummie says:

    The Catholic primary school opposite my abode has three large signs outside proclaiming “Through Jesus we achieve our very best.” Nothing about education. I resent having no choice in having to fund this through my taxes.

  13. barriejohn says:

    Brummie: It’s piffle. Echoing comments that I made on this site some months ago regarding religious indoctrination in our local schools, I read somewhere recently (can’t remember where now!) that Christians were protesting about a school stating that virtues such as compassion and courage were human values, and wanted them described as “Christian values”. Such arrogance! Many of these schools should be shut down:

    https://schoolsweek.co.uk/on-notice-27-private-schools-warned-by-dfe/