Some time ago I wrote a piece on the dangers presented to UK schools by the Academies Bill. In particular, I mentioned that these schools would be able to enforce their own ethos on the school, select students and choose their own board of governors. Aside from the obvious risk of exacerbating a two-tiered schooling system, with levels of education limited by the money parents can afford, there is also the risk of children of non-religious parents being sidelined in the system. It will be a return to the middle ages. Platitudes of ‘non-judgement’ mean nothing when the law and public services are so heavily biased in favour of organised religion and the religious.
“The BHA has condemned the Government’s decision not to protect the inclusive nature of community schools which become Academies, following yesterday’s Report Stage debate on the Academies Bill in the Lords.”
I am glad to see that I am not alone in my concerns but I am also greatly dismayed to see that these issues are being invalidated by those who have a vested interest in the ‘autonomy’ of these schools. Even worse are the criticisms from those who do not see the danger or are convinced by these dismissive attitudes. Schools who select their students on the basis of their parent’s faith, and accept the faith that otherwise nonreligious parents are willing to fake to in order to meet ‘entrance guidelines’, only add to the erosion of public integrity.
“I share her concerns about creationism, but one of the core aims of the [Academies] policy is precisely that the Secretary of State should not dictate to academies what they should teach … I fully accept that if you trust people things do go wrong, but that is the direction that we want to try to go in.” – Lord Hill
Is this the same trust we placed in the banks to act responsibly and not behave in greedy, money-grubbing, and otherwise highly questionable ways? Or the trust we gave our Ps to not fiddle the rules and treat the public purse as their own personal piggy banks? Any trust placed in the church or other religious institution to behave responsibly with the education of our children is misplaced trust! This abdication of government involvement and ‘do-less’ mentality is a façade for a far more sinister and insidious series of events. They’re not only planning on doing less for the country, they are handing the control of our country and our futures to the Church (who already have an interest in the perpetuation of their current privileged status) and to those with the money to invest.
‘It is disgraceful that the Government refuses to protect the inclusive nature of community schools. There is a very real risk that the Bill will lead to a proliferation of new “faith schools” by allowing community schools under religious influence – from religious organisations offering financial support, for example – to take on a religious character after conversion. This would be a hugely retrograde step, extending the discriminatory and divisive effects of “faith schools” to many more areas of the country and removing inclusive schools from local communities. The Academies Bill is supposed to be about freedom and choice, yet it risks removing parents’ freedom to choose an inclusive school for their children.’
The Church in particular has a proven track record of being unreliable with the truth and the fact that we are still uncovering priests that have been moved around rather than being handed to the police for their abuse of children should be enough to tell us that these are definitely NOT the people we should EVER trust let alone want to take charge of our schools. It is bad enough that The Conservative Party is trying to sell off our schools (a clandestine privatisation of the education system in the closest way they can get away with) to make a short-term saving, but to openly give organised religion a free hand in the running of it is wholly unforgivable!
“The Government has admitted that it shares our concerns about the teaching of creationism, for instance, yet it is unwilling to do anything about it. It is simply not good enough to say “things go wrong” – it will be parents, local communities and pupils themselves who will be left picking up the pieces.”