Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Keeping the faith schools

Alice Miles in the Times:
"The argument over grammar schools is an argument about fairness, about equal access to education, and nothing could be more important than that. It is a row we do not have nearly as often or as loudly enough.

The grammar schools are the least of the problem. There are 164 of them in the country. Compare that with an astonishing 6,848 faith schools, about a third of all the schools in England. More than 6,000 of these are primary schools, overwhelmingly Church of England or Catholic, with a smattering of Jewish (37), Methodist (26), Muslim (8) and Sikh (2). And these are used ruthlessly by the middle classes as a barely covert form of social and academic selection. This is where the campaign for a fairer education system should be focusing."
Because the situation in Scotland's rather different, I've overlooked an obvious point Alice Miles makes in this piece. The proportion of faith schools far outweighs the number of people in England who are actually religious. This means an astonishingly high proportion of parents who send their children to faith schools are pretending to be religious.

Some things are just beyond my comprehension and this is one of them. Why would people do this to themselves? Attend church faithlessly, have their children baptised: have they no shame?

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