Damning new evidence that faith schools are siphoning off middle-class pupils can be revealed today, as research shows they are failing to take children from the poorest backgrounds nationwide.
Even when they are situated in deprived inner-city areas, religious schools have fewer poor children than local authority secondary schools.
We’ve tended to post items about biology on this site, because of our opposition to children being taught that Creationism or Intelligent Design explain the origin of life, rather than evolution, but there are some fascinating things going on in physics too. Maybe the physicists don’t attract as much attention, particularly from religious people why deny science, because their work is so mind-boggling that few people understand it. There are two stories that have caught my attention over the last week.
On Tuesday, the Florida Board of Education was going to discuss whether or not children should learn about evolution. We might point a finger and giggle at such silliness, if it weren’t for the fact that a vocal minority over here think that British children shouldn’t learn about evolution either.
The Government has responded to the following e-petition on faith schools, signed by many secularists and humanists:
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Abolish all faith schools and prohibit the teaching of creationism and other religious mythology in all UK schools.”
You can either watch the 60 minute video online or download it from the Teachers’ TV website. The synopsis is as follows:
Jonathan Dimbleby and a panel of experts come together to debate the controversial subject of religion in Britain’s schools.
The UK government is planning to review the law on ‘collective worship’ in state schools. It is compulsory – indeed more compulsory in the letter than in the usual practice; and teachers must, however wearily, devise a ‘broadly Christian’ message for the whole school.
Within the same week, two people have asked me if we have Humanist Sunday Schools in the UK. One drew my attention to this article from Time magazine about an American Humanist Sunday School. I think we’ll have to get our ourselves organised.
On Sunday mornings, most parents who don’t believe in the Christian God, or any god at all, are probably making brunch or cheering at their kids’ soccer game, or running errands or, with luck, sleeping in. Without religion, there’s no need for church, right?
Dr Jacqueline Watson of the School of Education at the University of East Anglia researched the situation regarding Humanism in RE, including in Suffolk. You can read the results here (PDF). This is from the report on the BHA website:
New research published today (11/11/07) has suggested that Government policy on including ‘secular worldviews such as Humanism’ in school RE is not being effectively implemented. The British Humanist Association, which commissioned the research, has expressed its disappointment with the findings, and called for Government action and legislative change to address this failure.
Available now from the NSS shop, “Did Christians steal Christmas?”. A stocking filler for only £2.99. Give it to a skeptical friend or relative.
Where did Christmas come from? Is it rooted in prophecy or paganism? And why did it take centuries for most Christians to agree on a date for Jesus’s birth?