Tagged: Education

Multicultural madness


Muriel Gray wrote in the Sunday Herald about Home Secretary John Reid’s recent warning to Muslims to look out for signs that their children were being ‘radicalised’,

“… and should they come home with bags of fertiliser and detonators, they might have a bit of a word with them.”


How ‘fundamental’ do your beliefs have to be to represent a danger to society? As Muriel points out, ‘fundamentalism’ is an accepted part of British life, as long as we encourage faith schools and avoid discouraging the isolation of minority communities who try to keep their children from being influenced by modern secular, liberal values.

A new challenge

SchoolchildrenThrough Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource, I’ve been invited to lead a 20 minute school assembly, followed by a 40 minute class. I’ve done school assemblies before (though not often), but this one will be a first because it’ll be in a primary school. It’s not a church primary school – that would be unusual – but a county primary school. I’ll be talking to children from years 1 to 5, that’s from 5 to 11 years of age.

New challenge over school science

An organisation called Truth in Science has … sent resource packs to all UK secondary school science departments.
It promotes the idea of intelligent design – that there was an intelligence behind the creation of the universe.
Humanists and a Christian think tank want the government to tell teachers to keep “a wholly scientific perspective”.

Link: BBC NEWS | Education | New challenge over school science

They’re persistent, these ‘Intelligent Design’ nuts, but wouldn’t know the truth if they fell over it.

Related link – We’re all monkeys

CAFFEW – Choice & Freedom from Enforced Worship campaign

1930s school assembly

From Martin Henderson, North Yorkshire Humanists Campaign Group:

There have been some developments recently on enforced religious worship in schools, as required by the 1998 School Standards and Framework Act. This has been highlighted by the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee advice to the government in relation to ECHR Section 9. The government seem poised to largely ignore this advice in order to preserve the status quo. See the BHA submission on their website.

Alan Johnson’s making children worship

Alan JohnsonThat’s what his attitude to collective worship in schools amounts to. We wondered whether he’d be a better Education Secretary than Ruth Kelly – that is, whether he’d be less inclined to promote faith schools and religion in general – but no, he won’t.

The National Secular Society reports that Executive Director Keith Porteous Wood wrote to Mr Johnson, having heard that faith leaders were pressing him to enforce collective worship more vigorously. Mr Johnson wrote back that collective worship provides an opportunity for pupils to “worship God”. NSS Newsline (7/7/06) reports,

Thanks from a reader

It’s good to hear that my ‘Thoughts for the Day’ are appreciated. I get feedback from Radio Suffolk listeners and from people I meet in the street, and yesterday I heard from someone who’d found the scripts here, on our website.

She wrote,

Just wanted to say that I’ve spent a very enjoyable evening reading the transcripts of some of your radio Suffolk thought for the days. Haven’t done the washing up as a result but never mind.

Began looking at humanist sites tonight because my eight year old daughter has been under pressure from school friends recently to say that she believes in God, angels and fairies. She has no problem with the fairies but is not convinced by the rest. The little bit of humanist reading I’ve done tonight has given me some ideas for ways of supporting her.

Creationism’s creeping into university syllabuses

Creationism – the belief that the biblical story of creation is scientific fact – is beginning to make inroads into the science curricula of UK universities, The Times Higher can reveal.
Leeds University plans to incorporate one or two compulsory lectures on creationism and intelligent design into its second-year course for zoology and genetics undergraduates next Christmas.
At Leicester University, academics already devote part of a lecture for third-year genetics undergraduates to creationism and intelligent design.

Link: Education news & jobs at the Times Higher Education Supplement

Creationism in British schools

For once, an evolutionary biologist and a creationist agree on something. Professor Steve Jones, the author of an updated version of Darwin’s Origin of Species, and John Mackay, an Australian preacher who believes the book of Genesis constitutes literal truth, are both convinced that creationism is making a comeback in British classrooms.

Link: Independent Online Edition > Schools

Spaghetti monster creates manIt’s difficult to understand how this can happen, but it seems that we need to be vigilant. So far, we haven’t come across creationism in Suffolk schools, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any. In Kansas, they’ve fought creationism and the teaching of ‘intelligent design’ with ridicule. ‘Concerned citizen’ Bobby Henderson has established the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Can we sign you up, brothers and sisters?

Alan Johnson MP – The new Education Secretary

Link: Biography – Alan Johnson MP – Labour MP for Kingston Upon Hull West and Hessle

Having lost nearly 300 local council seats in yesterday’s elections, Blair has shuffled his cabinet and Alan Johnson’s in charge of education. Will he be a better Education Secretary than the very religious Ruth Kelly? Will it make a difference to the faith schools issue? Probably not. Johnson voted against a rebel amendment requiring faith schools to take 25% of their pupils from ‘other backgrounds’, which doesn’t bode well. I can’t find anything online about his personal religious background – can anyone provide any info on this?

Letter to the East Anglian Daily Times

The secular basis of our state education system is being undermined by the increasing involvement of religious organisations in schools. A secular system means that children of all faiths and none are educated together, in the same schools. In Northern Ireland parents set up the Integrated Education Fund to ensure just that, after Catholic and Protestant children had been segregated for decades, resulting in violence and death through religious bigotry. Has the British Government learned nothing from this?

At their Easter conference, NUT members opposed the increase in faith schools and Tony Blair’s appeal for more faith groups to sponsor his academies and become partners in the running of his proposed trust schools. The Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers share these concerns, and so do we. The British Humanist Association and the National Secular Society are campaigning against faith schools, and an increasing number of parents oppose them.