RC Bishop attacks faith school plans
The alternative to secular multi-culturalism is not an enforced integration, such as we see in France. What is required is a proper and mutually respectful co-operation between religious faith and public authorities.
Dr Vincent Nichols says Catholic schools are doing a good job – well, he would, wouldn’t he? – and that the idea of making a quarter of places in faith schools available to pupils of other faiths or none won’t work.
I’d have to agree with the bishop that the 25% policy hasn’t been clearly thought out. It’s the Government’s answer to those who say that faith schools are incompatible with their aim of social cohesion (as we do). What they mean is that Muslim schools (and possibly those of other minority faiths) aren’t committed to social integration.
How many non-Muslim parents are likely to want to send their kids to a Muslim school, particularly if the girls’ uniform is a hijab or even a burqa?
We differ with the bishop by saying the answer isn’t just to scrap the 25% plan; it’s to scrap all public funding for faith schools, and concentrate on providing a secular education for children of all faiths or none.