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Thousands of faith schools reborn as academies

News | Published in TES Newspaper on 6 May, 2011 | By: David Marley

CofE gets key role in admissions, curriculum and funding as local authority influence withers

Thousands of faith schools are set to become academies in a fundamental shift in the role of the church in state education.

A “domino effect” will mean that up to 70 per cent of the Church of England’s 4,800 schools will convert to academy status within five years, according to the chairman of the church’s board of education, the Rt Rev John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford.

A number of Catholic and minority faith schools are due to follow suit, resulting in considerable new powers for church schools over admissions, curriculum and funding.

The CofE’s influence is also set to grow as it fills the void created by cuts to local authorities. As well as supporting its own schools, the church is likely to provide a range of services to non-faith schools, Bishop Pritchard said.

“In the long run that there will be a major shift to academies because it is what the Government is determined shall be,” he said.

“The local education authority is going to wither on the vine in many cases.

“We will be part of that whole movement but have to make sure there is still a family relationship (between schools) as we go through this process.

“It may be that there are schools that are traditionally outside the church family that say you are providing the kind of thing we need and they would want to relate to us in an affiliated way. It’s all to play for.”

Bishop Pritchard said he expected many CofE schools, particularly smaller primaries, to form joint academy trusts to give them increased economies of scale. New free schools set up by Christian groups might also join these trusts, he added.

The CofE and Catholic Church had both been wary of the offer of converting existing schools into academies. Fears had been raised that giving the schools greater independence could damage the links with their diocese, a cornerstone of church education.

But Bishop Pritchard said a deal had been struck with the Government that will give dioceses powers over appointing governors, enabling them to protect the schools’ Christian character.

Latest government figures reveal that more than 40 CofE schools have now applied for academy status, with hundreds more expected to quickly follow their lead.

A smaller number of Catholic schools have applied, but there is growing interest after the Catholic Education Service withdrew its opposition to conversions. The Archdiocese of Southwark is understood to have identified five schools that will become academies under a pilot scheme.

A number of CofE schools contacted by The TES said there was a strong financial incentive to make the switch. Christopher Bagguley, head of St Michael’s CE High School in Chorley, Lancashire, said: “In our local authority, we are already one of the worst funded schools.”

“We would have nowhere to go when the cuts come and would not be able to develop.”

As previously revealed in The TES, Bishop Pritchard wants CofE schools to limit the number of places given to religious families, saying that just 10 per cent of places should be reserved for practising Anglicans.

He admitted that large-scale conversion to academy status, which would give more schools control over their admissions for the first time, could make that aim more difficult. “One danger is that a school may be held in thrall to particular governors who want to maintain the purity of the school stock,” he said. “I would hope that the advice we give will encourage good honest discussion about what our schools are for.”

Keith Porteous Wood, director of the National Secular Society, said widespread academy status would put too much power in the hands of the church.

“A mass conversion of faith schools into entirely self-governing academies freed from the moderating influence of local authorities will be the churches’ dream and most parents’ nightmare,” he said.

“It is a betrayal of the nation’s children to give the churches virtual control of education, without having to pay a penny, especially while church attendance is in freefall.”

 

Original headline: Thousands of faith schools to be reborn as academies


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Comment (10)

  • The taxpayer should not have to pay for the nonsense known as 'faith'; if the CofE want to have faith-academies then fine let THEM pay fot it.

    The needs of non-faith people are being damaged by the mis-allocation of funding. The Church knows as well as the rest of us that, if it removes its selection criteria, its schools will cease to be “faith schools” in any meaningful sense and the taxpayer-funded resources will have to be shared among us all.

    In Essex as in other ares of the country, primary schools are allocated to children by a formula which leads to many kids getting second and third choices or even a no-choice. Hidden amongst the statistics is the fact that there is a terrible infliction of faith onto non-faith children.

    Many children are allocated a 'christian' or 'faith' school against the wishes of their intelligent parents who have seen through the delusions offered by those of belief. They are, of course, given the option of opting out of christian mind control; but that isn't the point. Despite objections, children of secular people are forced to put there children into the delusional hands of people who worship gods from the Bronze age..............How bad is that? Far worse than any nonsense mentioned so far (above).

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, LEAVE OUR KIDS ALONE............GET RID OF FAITH SCHOOLS & JUST TEACH EVIDENCE BASED KNOWLEDGE!!!!!

    If hospitals were allowed to admit only people of ONE faith or if a doctor could reject a patient because of his/her faith the country would be up-in-arms why do our politicians allow faith to do the same to our STATE$-education system?

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    10:42
    9 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • The Editorial published in TES Cymru on 22 April, 2011 | By: Gerard Kelly says it all.................

    Quote: 'Taxpayer-funded piety for the few? No, even the godless have a right to faith education...............The vast majority of faith school funding is provided by taxpayers, who come in two varieties - the religious and the non-religious. Whatever the precise proportions, it is generally accepted that services paid for by taxpayers should be available to all. Except when it comes to faith schools. Here, believing taxpayers often take precedence over non-believing ones. One hundred per cent discrimination for the remarkably cheap price of a 10 per cent contribution to building costs.......................This is patently unjust. Church leaders may retort that non-believing taxpayers have access to the 80 per cent of schools that are non-faith. But that isn't the point. Can you imagine a non-faith school refusing to admit a church-going pupil because there was a school for her sort locally? The Bishop of Oxford has taken a principled stand. But it is time the state was equally brave and told faith schools to open their doors.'

    Nuff said.........http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6078853

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    12:15
    9 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • I absolutely agree with the above comments, even though I call myself a Christian. (Brooke Bond seems to be an atheist.) The idea of faith schools, paid for by the taxpayer, seems to me to be against the teaching of the Bible. Jesus said, "Allow the little children to come to Me and do not hinder them." He did not say anything about first checking to make sure that their parents are practising Anglicans! If anyone does not like the education provided by the State, then of course they should have the right to set up their own school, provided that there are some safeguards. But it is unreasonable to expect the Great Britsh Taxpayer to pay for schools that promote or favour a particular religion or denomination.

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    7:30
    10 May, 2011

    the hippo

  • Yes, the hippo, Brooke Bond is a rational thinking logical person whose knowledge is built on evidence and theory; an atheist as you say.

    Quote: 'The idea of faith schools, paid for by the taxpayer, seems to me to be against the teaching of the Bible.'

    Please don't use the bible to justify ANYTHING moral. If you use THAT argument it is worth noting that the bible supports selling your daughter as a sex slave: 'When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT). I take it in using the bible as your guide to life you miss out the really mad bits!

    Quote: 'Jesus said, "Allow the little children to come to Me and do not hinder them." He did not say anything about first checking to make sure that their parents are practising Anglicans!'

    Actually not one tiny bit of evidence, outside the bible, exists to indicate that a man called Jesus ever existed as a person, let alone spoke, let alone said that, let alone had anyone around to note it and transcribe it. Your bible is an edited collection of stories, not based in any contemporary evidence, put together by the Roman Constantine as he imposed christianity onto the Roman empire in the 4th century. Incidently Constantine wasn't aware of 'Anglicans' because they weren't invented until well after he'd got his new religion started so jesus wouldn't have had an opinion on that.

    Quote: 'If anyone does not like the education provided by the State, then of course they should have the right to set up their own school, provided that there are some safeguards.'

    Like they're not raving loonies, child abusers or members of any church, or (as often is the case) any combination!

    Quote: 'But it is unreasonable to expect the Great Britsh Taxpayer to pay for schools that promote or favour a particular religion or denomination.'

    Well said, there is 'reason' in at least the last bit of your post. I have to agree with THAT bit.

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    9:06
    10 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • Brooke Bond, your post shows little of the logic or rationality you are claiming to possess. I'm not sure that ranting about Christianity is a particularly useful contribution to this debate. Let's talk about your logical fallacies:
    I don't see how one quotation justifies your view that the Bible contributes nothing of moral worth, particularly when most Christians follow the New Testamement and the teachings of Jesus who was clear on equality between men and women and in fact all people.

    The idea that "not one tiny bit of evidence, outside the bible, exists to indicate that a man called Jesus ever existed as a person" is basically just wrong - there in no proof of course, but there certainly is evidence.

    Suggesting three categories of people who shouldn't be able to set up their own schools - "raving loonies, child abusers or members of any church" - is a pretty shocking prejudice. Why do you hate Christians so much? I'm not Christian, but I have on average found them to be at least as decent and helpful and goo as any other collection of people.

    Faith schools are wrong in my opinion, but you are confusing the issue. They are wrong because they are unfair, not because religion is wrong.

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    14:01
    11 May, 2011

    lee hussain

  • Clearly molari you have no idea what logic or rationality ARE! I did give an excellent clear example of how 'bad' the bible is; I presume you just ignored that bit.

    Quote: 'I don't see how one quotation justifies your view that the Bible contributes nothing of moral worth, particularly when most Christians follow the New Testamement and the teachings of Jesus who was clear on equality between men and women and in fact all people.'

    Equality between men and women? Without spending too much time listing the vast quantity of evidence which contradicts your nonsense just consider these two words 'women bishops' or even in catholic churches THESE two words 'women priests'. As for the New Testament & the 'teachings' of the mythical character jesus try this one..............."I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword" (Gospel of Matthew 10:34) is one of the more rather controversial statements reported of Jesus in the Bible. The saying has been interpreted in several ways. Its main significance is that it is often offered as evidence that Jesus advocated violence; nso much for the man of peace eh?

    Quote: 'The idea that "not one tiny bit of evidence, outside the bible, exists to indicate that a man called Jesus ever existed as a person" is basically just wrong - there in no proof of course, but there certainly is evidence.'

    Just wrong? Was that an argument with supporting evidence? If there is evidence please feel free to list it. You have 'faith' & 'belief' about christianity & your jesus fella BECAUSE there is no evidence. If christians HAD any evidence they wouldn't NEED 'faith' & 'belief' about christianity & your jesus fella.................simples?

    Quotye: 'Suggesting three categories of people who shouldn't be able to set up their own schools - "raving loonies, child abusers or members of any church" - is a pretty shocking prejudice. Why do you hate Christians so much? I'm not Christian, but I have on average found them to be at least as decent and helpful and goo as any other collection of people.'

    I would say there is sufficient evidence to mark you out as a christian. Did I say I hated anyone? Did I say I hated christians? Did I say I hated raving loonies? Did I say I hated child abusers? Did I say I hated members of any church? The fact that you immediately went into the old 'percecution complex' accusing me of hating christians because I don't want them running schools actually marks you out as a christian. So in answer to your question: Why do I hate Christians so much? The answer is I don't 'hate' anyone, except for a guy with the initials SCR (he'll know who he is!) who had better fear my hate, but that's a different story.

    Quote: 'Faith schools are wrong in my opinion, but you are confusing the issue. They are wrong because they are unfair, not because religion is wrong.'

    No. Faith schools are wrong on sooooo many levels:
    1. Faith schools ARE wrong because of their segregation. The whole worls opposed thye South Africa Apartheid system because it was racist, but our country supports Apartheid by faith. Look at Northern Ireland; do we wnat our kids segregated by faith?
    2. Faith & Belief are anti-academic in nature and flow entirely against the idea of 'education'. Faith & Belief support indoctrination, oppose evidence based knowledge and build in a blind acceptance of nonsense while ridiculing doubt.
    3. Religions are political organisations by nature craving power. If any Political party opened a school to indoctrinate children into ONE political view we would be protesting on the streets within the day. We blindly accept churches doing this.
    4. There is no evidence of a god, a man called jesus & no supporting evidence for the nonsense in the bible. It is a waste of public resources presenting any religion to any group of children.

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    9:35
    12 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • Brooke Bond, you seem to be confusing two separate issues. The first question is this: should faith schools be subsidised by the taxpayer? If Jews or Muslims or Christians want to set up a school that has a particularly Jewish or Islamic or Christian ethos, then my feeling is that they should be allowed to do so. There is, after all, something called parental choice. However, it seems unreasonable and unfair to expect people who do not share those religious beliefs to subsidise those schools. In a liberal democracy, we have to learn to be tolerant of the beliefs (or non-beliefs) of others, but that does not mean that we should pay for them.

    The second question that you have raised, Brooke Bond, goes something like this: is Christianity a load of rubbish? Is the Bible a load of silly old myths that should be abandoned? I cannot agree with this.

    "Roses when their rotten smell worse than weeds", according to Shakespeare. I absolutely agree with you, Brooke Bond, that some pretty awful crimes have been done in the name of Jesus. For example, just before he died Martin Luther wrote the most appalling essay about "The Jews and Their Lies", calling on all Germans to murder the Jews whenever they got the chance. Of course, this was seized upon by the Nazis and provided justification for their mass murder of the Jews. Does this then prove that Christianity is nonsense and that the Bible is garbage? No, I do not see how this proves anything of the kind. The Bible clearly teaches that we are all fallible human beings who all stand in need of a Saviour.

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    13:00
    12 May, 2011

    the hippo

  • I don't want an irrelevent argument - what would be the point? Your theory that I must secretly be a Christian is particularly hilarious though.

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    13:55
    12 May, 2011

    lee hussain

  • the hippo,

    Quote: 'Brooke Bond, you seem to be confusing two separate issues. The first question is this: should faith schools be subsidised by the taxpayer? If Jews or Muslims or Christians want to set up a school that has a particularly Jewish or Islamic or Christian ethos, then my feeling is that they should be allowed to do so. There is, after all, something called parental choice.'

    Choice in EDUCATION is about choosing which school your child goes to based on EDUCATION not indoctrination. Every one faith school in an area lowers the EDUCATIONAL choice for all parents not of that particular variety by one.If someone turned up at a taxpayer funded Hospital & was told to go away because they weren't a muslim I think we would all be up-in-arms about that; why accept descrimination in education?

    Quote: 'However, it seems unreasonable and unfair to expect people who do not share those religious beliefs to subsidise those schools. In a liberal democracy, we have to learn to be tolerant of the beliefs (or non-beliefs) of others, but that does not mean that we should pay for them.'

    True, but my argument is far more powerful than one based on cost. My argument is based on a rational view of the world. I would point out that EVERY child born into this world is born without any faith; we are all athiests at birth. Non-belief is the default option in this world and in order to show any level of tolerance a liberal democracy can only ever act in a secular way.

    Let's leave that as a sort of agreement. OK?

    Quote: 'The second question that you have raised, Brooke Bond, goes something like this: is Christianity a load of rubbish? Is the Bible a load of silly old myths that should be abandoned? I cannot agree with this.'

    Fine, don't agree with me but you can only take that position by adopting a deluded view of the world and ignoring all evidence which shows:
    1. Christianity was a small death-cult religion based on a mythical christ character who was never himself considered as a 'god'. The christ figure's life story was lifted directly from the Egyptian Sun-god Horus & reinvented as a son-of-god by a corrupt Roman leader.........It can be demonstrated by evidence that christianity as you know it is nonsense.
    2. I am happy to provide evidence that the bible was constructed in the 4th century and is full of stories, myths & legends most of which can be found in earlier cultures..........It can be demonstrated by evidence that the bible as you know it is nonsense.

    Quote: 'I absolutely agree with you, Brooke Bond, that some pretty awful crimes have been done in the name of Jesus. For example, just before he died Martin Luther wrote the most appalling essay about "The Jews and Their Lies", calling on all Germans to murder the Jews whenever they got the chance. Of course, this was seized upon by the Nazis and provided justification for their mass murder of the Jews. Does this then prove that Christianity is nonsense and that the Bible is garbage? No, I do not see how this proves anything of the kind. The Bible clearly teaches that we are all fallible human beings who all stand in need of a Saviour.'

    The fact that major christian figures of the past have used the bible and the so-called teachings of christianity to kill people & commit crimes of considerable horror is just one reason that I feel the bible should be consigned to history as a strange bronze aged view of humanity; just like we consigned the 'Egyptian Book of the Dead' to history.

    You say: 'The Bible clearly teaches that we are all fallible human beings who all stand in need of a Saviour.' But I can go through that same book and show not only that is treats women as second/third class citizens but is also supports rape, slavery, selling your daughter, murder, incest etc etc In fact you really have to search & search to find anything which would be socially acceptable to a rational, logical, tolerant, liberal minded secularist person.

    You have 'faith' and 'belief' which insulate you from logic and reason and you have ideology, dogma and delusion to protect you from evidence based knowledge. I cannot see one advantage, what-so-ever, to a rational, logical, tolerant, liberal minded secular society of funding any school which calls itself a 'faith' school.

    The religious nutters of this world are using the right wing market rhetoric of a corrupt government under a moronic minister to exploit free-schools and academies in a land-grab of our education system without ever demonstrating that religious schools are anything other than a very bad idea.

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    14:34
    12 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

  • Having re-read the comment: 'Of course, this was seized upon by the Nazis and provided justification for their mass murder of the Jews.'..........I do hope you aren't falling for the papal lie that Hitler & the Nazi's weren't christians or are you supporting the latest popes view that Hitler & the Nazi's were athiests (as his Glasgow address claimed last September)?

    I like EVIDENCE so just for the record Hitler & the Nazi's were born & died as christians, they were financed & supported by christians and elected by christians:

    a) Hitler was baptized as Roman Catholic during infancy in Austria.

    b) As Hitler approached boyhood he attended a monastery school. (On his way to school young Adolf daily observed a stone arch which was carved with the monastery’s coat of arms bearing a swastika.)

    c) Hitler was a communicant and an altar boy in the Catholic Church.

    d) As a young man Hitler was confirmed as a “soldier of Christ.” His most ardent goal at the time was to become a priest. Hitler writes of his love for the church and clergy: “I had excellent opportunity to intoxicate myself with the solemn splendor of the brilliant church festivals. As was only natural, the abbot seemed to me, as the village priest had once seemed to my father, the highest and most desirable ideal.” -Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

    e) Hitler was NEVER excommunicated nor condemned by his church. Matter of fact the Church felt he was JUST and “avenging for God” in attacking the Jews for they deemed the Semites the killers of Jesus.

    f) Hitler, Franco and Mussolini were given VETO power over whom the pope could appoint as a bishop in Germany, Spain and Italy. In turn they surtaxed the Catholics and gave the money to the Vatican. Hitler wrote a speech in which he talks about this alliance, this is an excerpt: “The fact that the Vatican is concluding a treaty with the new Germany means the acknowledgement of the National Socialist state by the Catholic Church. This treaty shows the whole world clearly and unequivocally that the assertion that National Socialism [Nazism] is hostile to religion is a lie.” Adolf Hitler, 22 July 1933, writing to the Nazi Party

    g) Hitler worked CLOSELY with Pope Pius in converting Germanic society and supporting the church. The Church absorbed Nazi ideals and preached them as part of their sermons in turn Hitler placed Catholic teachings in public education.

    h) Due to Hitler’s involvement with the Church he began enacting doctrines of the Church as law. He outlawed all abortion, raged a death war on all homosexuals, and demanded corporal punishment in schools and home. Many times Hitler addressed the church and promised that Germany would implement its teachings: “The National Socialist State professes its allegiance to positive Christianity. It will be its honest endeavor to protect both the great Christian Confessions in their rights, to secure them from interference with their doctrines (Lehren), and in their duties to constitute a harmony with the views and the exigencies of the State of today.” –Adolf Hitler, on 26 June 1934, to Catholic bishops to assure them that he would take action against the new pagan propaganda “Providence has caused me to be Catholic, and I know therefore how to handle this Church.” -Adolf Hitler, reportedly to have said in Berlin in 1936 on the enmity of the Catholic Church to National Socialism.

    I always find it hard to see christians distance themselves from Hitler or openly lie about his religion.

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    14:47
    12 May, 2011

    Brooke Bond

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