Against faith schools

There is much in current education policy that I do not like. My list would include selection at eleven, academies, the scrapping of support via the EMA. Perhaps highest on my list would be segregation by faith.

Schooling is not just about exam results, it should also be about equipping students for life. An important part of this must be the ability to rub along with your fellow man (or woman) regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, politics, or faith.

I realise that faith schools rarely cater for one faith and that a masquerade is perpetrated by parents keen to see their progeny enjoying what they see as a superior education. However, faith schools are designed as a barrier to inclusion, and fortress against those of other creeds (and non-creeds).

Sticking to one’s own faith for company does much to hinder inquiry and is designed to keep the faithful strong in the faith of choice. However, it has the miserable side-effect of promoting xenophobia. When not exposed to the cornucopia of ideas that exist in the real world there must develop a most weird worldview, a sort of Truman Show.

Schools should be a mirror of the community that they inhabit, and yes this means including those with unsatisfactory behaviour patterns. This does not mean that bad behaviour should not be challenged, nor does it mean that those of ability should be held back by those less skilled. It also does not mean that the faiths should not be taught and explored.

The Accord Coalition also believes in children learning together. They challenge the creation of state funded religious schools, an endeavour I am pleased to support; you can too.