Michael Gove is the worst education secretary we’ve had for some time – perhaps all time. I’m not being party political, as I don’t think much of Labour’s record either – specialist schools and academies were their bright ideas, leading to the gradual, now accelerating, destruction of the state system under local authority control. Since Gove took over at the Department for Education, he’s introduced one crazy idea after another,...
Tagged: Faith schools
Further evidence, if any were needed, that Education Secretary Michael Gove is determined to destroy our secular (i.e. comprehensive) education system, a process that began under the last government, and favour faith schools. The Catholic Herald reports that he advises that Catholic schools can avoid “unsympathetic meddling” by secularists if they take up the Government’s offer of academy status.
Today’s Telegraph reports that students at St. Benedict’s in Colchester staged a protest after two were told off for holding hands. The headteacher, John O’Hara, said, “If we see students being overly familiar we always deal with it in an appropriate and tactful way.” Overly familiar? Can’t help wondering if this is about a fear of lesbianism? Girls have always been “familiar” with one another, with hugs and hand-holding. I remember photos of my mum as a teenager, arm in arm with her friends, or with their arms around each other’s shoulders. Displaying affection is normal, Mr O’Hara.
Ekklesia reports on the results of a YouGov poll commissioned by ITV at around the time of the Pope’s visit. They show that a school’s religion doesn’t necessarily come top of their priority list.
Factors such as performance of the school, how easy it is to get into, the area the school is in, curriculum (which may of course have a religious influence), class sizes and facilities all seem to have been more important for parents.
Thank you if you emailed your MP about the Academies Bill in response to an urgent appeal a few days ago, but it doesn’t look as though we’ve had much success. One of our members had an email from his MP, as follows:
Thank you for your email … and I note your concerns.
However, I have a different view to you on this matter and am a great advocate of faith schools.
I think you will find that there are safeguards for a balanced curriculum and I will not be tabling any amendments.
Dr Therese Coffey MP
The Academies Bill is being rushed through Parliament with undue haste to try to get it sorted before the summer recess, which starts on 27 July. Amendments tabled by Dr Julian Huppert MP, vice chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group, would have prevented or restricted religious discrimination in the new Academiesâ€™ admissions policies.
You may have read elsewhere about the shameful way that the House of Commons voted for Ed Balls’ amendment to the Children, Schools and Families Bill, which means that the Catholics are crowing that they’ve won the right to teach a different version of sex education to other schools. Mark Steel (in the Independent) asked,
How can there be so many lunatics opposed to sex education? And apart from anything else, what makes them think a lesson about sex is going to make kids go out and immediately have sex? It’s education about it, not an instruction to get it done before dinner break. Maybe they should demand an end to history lessons as well on the grounds that “I don’t want my fourteen-year-old learning about Napoleon as he’s too young to invade Italy.”
Richard Dawkins famously said that there are no Catholic babies, or Protestant babies, or Muslim babies, or Hindu babies â€“ they are all just babies. In the Observer in December 2001 he wrote,
Where we might have said, â€œKnowing his father, I expect young Cowdrey will take up cricket,â€ we emphatically do not say, â€œWith her devout Catholic parents, I expect young Bernadette will take up Catholicism.â€ Instead we say, without a momentâ€™s hesitation or qualm of misgiving, â€œBernadette is a Catholic.â€ We state it as a simple fact even when she is far too young to have developed a theological opinion of her own.
Education Minister Ed Balls made a speech at the Institute of Directors yesterday. This is some of it:
It is now just over two years since we launched our Faith in the System document at the British Library.
It was a hugely important event.
And it came just a few months after I began this job â€“ in fact, the speech I made then was one of the very first speeches I gave as Secretary of State.
I was very much a novice then.
Iâ€™m now a veteran â€“ in fact, in the next few weeks, Iâ€™ll become the second longest serving Secretary of State since Kenneth Baker.
But I do believe â€“ and I hope you all agree â€“ that Faith in the System was a landmark document.