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Religious selection in state-funded schools.

(21 Posts)
varian Tue 09-May-17 15:31:33

The Liberal Democrats have adopted new policy calling for religious selection in pupil admissions at state funded faith schools in England to be phased out completely.

The Liberal Democrats new policy was welcomed by the Chair of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, who said ‘Political leaders of all colours should recognise that religious discrimination is out of step with mainstream values, and that schools are one of the very worst places where it should be tolerated. If we want a society that is integrated and where people are free from discrimination then we must ensure that our schools build bridges, not barriers, and treat people fairly.’

Accord is a wide coalition of organisations which includes religious groups, humanists, teachers, trade unionists, educationalists and civil rights activists, working together for inclusive education. Although Accord’s supporters derive inspiration for their values from different sources, they are united in wanting to ensure that state funded schools are made open and suitable for all children, regardless of their or their parents’ religious or non-religious beliefs.

Anniebach Tue 09-May-17 15:43:04

Then the Libs should do as some of the Jewish faith do, run their own schools for children of the Jewish faith

varian Tue 09-May-17 15:47:21

That is exactly the opposite of this policy, Annie. The Accord Coalition campaigns for inclusive education. Their chairman, Rabbi Dr Jonathon Romain, who could have sent his children to a Jewish school, chose not to do so as he wanted his children to be integrated and understand those from other faiths and none.

daphnedill Tue 09-May-17 15:50:48


Many Jewish schools teach little but the Torah. They should be banned.

Religion is used by some state schools as a means of selection.

varian Tue 09-May-17 16:07:45

It is concerning that religious schools (Euphemistically termed "faith schools") have a different approach to religious education, in effect treating it as religious instruction (indoctrination) but it is even more worrying that the segregation of children according to their parents religion does not make for a cohesive society.

One only has to think of the situation in Northern Ireland, where many parents would like to send their children to integrated schools, but do not have that opportunity. Religious apartheid in schools is a factor in dividing, not unifying communities.

Religious parents will, of course, ensure that their children learn about their particular beliefs, but this is best done at Sunday school, church, synagogue, temple, mosque or other places of worship. The school RE curriculum should range across religions, beliefs and ethics in an age-appropriate way without requiring a child to affirm any doctrine.

TriciaF Tue 09-May-17 16:19:24

In what way are these Jewish schools illegal?
If they apply for and get state funding they have to teach a secular curriculum up to the accepted standard ie public exams. Alongside the religious studies.
If they decide against this the parents pay the full fees.

Welshwife Tue 09-May-17 16:26:27

I think maybe it depends on the particular faith of the schools. I have taught in Anglican primary schools and there was no extra RE lessons etc but Christian festivals were recognised. Other faiths were also taught and similarities and difference shown. One school in particular was just considered to be the village school - the children did sometimes walk to the. Church for a service but rarely. All the parents of whatever faith seemed quite happy and were also happy to see their children in Nativity plays etc.
My GC went to an Anglican Secondary school and a similar ethos was followed. There was a communion service once a week which the children could attend if they wished. There was a percentage of places for Anglican children and also one for local children. It was a popular school as considered good by the parents and many appreciated the ethos.
I also did quite a lot of supply teaching in a RC school - they had a religious assembly each day and a weekly service in the church but the rest of the curriculum was exactly the same as any state school.

Cherrytree59 Tue 09-May-17 16:34:31

Schools should be a place of learning.
Not indoctrination.
I have no problem with any religion each to his own,
but it should be left behind at the school gates.

vampirequeen Tue 09-May-17 19:09:15

I taught in an RC school for many years. At the time I was a supporter of faith schools. Since then I've come to realise that we not only indoctrinated the children but constantly re-indoctrinated each other.

Religion has no place running places of learning. There should be no faith schools.

SueDonim Tue 09-May-17 19:32:52

I agree with Varian that there should be no faith schools, or rather no state faith schools. If people wish to pay for a religious education, that's up to them.

It's simply illogical to me that a child's chance of being admitted to a faith school depends on something outwith their control, their parents' religious habits.

Jalima1108 Tue 09-May-17 20:36:25

Many Jewish schools teach little but the Torah. They should be banned.
If they are illegal shouldn't they be shut down?

Luckygirl Tue 09-May-17 22:33:27

The separation of church and state is an absolute necessity in a democracy.

The end of selection on religious grounds is a tiny step in the right direction, but state-funded church schools need to go.

Eloethan Wed 10-May-17 00:05:58

Does this proposal mean phasing out state-funded religious schools or preventing religious schools giving preferential access to children who are from a family which practice the that school's particular religion?

daphnedill Wed 10-May-17 00:58:22

Jalima Yes, they should be shut down and Michael Wilshaw (the former head of Ofsted) was on the case, but the government was reluctant to follow up.

It appears that Labour turned a blind eye to them too. When Corbyn became Labour leader, the Chief Rabbi asked him to guarantee the freedom of Jewish schools, but Corbyn refused. I've always wondered if this was one of the factors in the accusations of anti-semiticism in the Labour Party.

I would like to see all faith schools abolished, but I bet it won't happen in my lifetime. There are too many vested interests.

daphnedill Wed 10-May-17 00:59:24

I think it means not allowing them to give preferential access.

vampirequeen Thu 11-May-17 10:50:55

There should be no religious schools or religious assemblies unless they are to teach about a specific time of year i.e. why some of the children may be fasting/why Christmas is special to Christians. The rest of the time they should be secular. Schools should teach about religion in the same way they teach all the other subjects. If parents want their child to grow up in a specific faith then it's their responsibility to take them to Church/Synagogue/Mosque/Gurdwara/any other place of worship and teach them about the faith.

TriciaF Thu 11-May-17 11:37:21

If these schools ARE illegal, and I still can't see why they are, they represent a very small minority of Jewish schools.
They're privately funded so the facilities might be below standard.
After I retired I worked part-time as a special need teacher's aide in 3 Jewish schools in another town and they were completely legal - had Ofsted inspections etc. Taught secular subjects and qualified for state aid, which they first applied for when I was there. The teachers had to undergo re-training, which most of them did.
The parents still had to pay some of the tuition fees.

gillybob Thu 11-May-17 11:42:27

I think all state funded schools should be for all children. There should be no selection process based on religion, ability etc.

I would also add that children living closest to a given school should always get priority to go to that school (although I appreciate that I have a personal interest in this) before any remaining places are threw out to the wider communities.

daphnedill Thu 11-May-17 12:34:13

I agree with you totally gillybob.

daphnedill Thu 11-May-17 12:36:09

These schools are illegal, because they're not registered and fail standards which are applicable to all schools. These particular schools in North London don't even teach English or any secular subjects.

TriciaF Thu 11-May-17 14:21:19

They probably speak Yiddish and teach in Yiddish: