I was horrified to read in the paper that the Church of England is to take over thousands of state schools in the UK. (Outside the UK called Public Schools) (i) Quite rightly this decision has provoked outrage.
I happen to be something of an authority in this area, having worked as a supply teacher (“substitute teacher” in Marge Simpson’s parlance) in most of North London’s faith schools. Simply as a result of having worked in them, I don’t find them good schools at all. Before I went into them I had no strong feelings one way or the other, though Dawkins had sensitised me to potential problems (ii) (I’ll do a blog full of my anecdotal evidence another time).
In short they have lower academic standards than state schools (whatever Ofsted may say to the contrary); they are breeding grounds for intolerance: -anti other denominations, anti-gay, and anti-other races (how many asians would you expect to meet in a catholic school?) and anti-atheist; and their staff professional and ethical standards are lower than what you find in state schools.
One faith school I worked in has just been closed by the authorities (not by the church) as being unfit for purpose, and as doing its pupils a disservice. Good riddance! They’re quite right!
The Bishop of Oxford let the cat out of the bag when he said “Dioceses have the privilege and opportunity to put local school and church in the same box, as it were, and say that’s where the mission of the church lies.”
Bishops will be given power to appoint governors at the schools, in a change to academies policy negotiated by church leaders. The decision will almost certainly extend religious influence over state schools hugely and irreversibly. It will be almost impossible to bring them back under community control. It will lead to the further alienation of school children who are from non-religious backgrounds.
I ACCUSE the C.of E. of being sneaky, of using surreptitious, back door methods to bring the british education system under church control. I wonder if they’ll allow women to be head-teachers!? The only positive outcome might be that the constant drip drip of religion might innoculate kids against it completely!
The Times, 4/7/13, p.1
Dawkins, R. “The God delusion”