The case for faith schools?

Under the heading ‘Faith schools can best generate the common purpose that pupils need’, Madeleine Bunting today puts forward her case for faith schools. To illustrate her case she uses the example of Oasis, a charity run by a Baptist Minister called Steve Chalke, which has just opened three new faith academies, and is planning another three shortly.

Her main argument is around ‘ethos’ which she claims is something that will ensure a successful school. Ethos then, is ‘a common set of values articulated by the head and shared by staff, governors, pupils and parents’. If you have this, she says, you will have a well-functioning, ordered school.

Enter Christianity. This, according to Bunting, is a well-known narrative that we can all subscribe to in some form. And as 70% of Britons still describe themselves as Christian we all want our children to grow up with ‘Chrisitan values.’

Case clear: more faith schools equal better, more rounded children with a greater sense of responsibility than others.

What a load of tosh.

Anyone propagating ‘Christian values’ should take a good look at the bible. Wildly homophobic, sexist, intolerant, violent and actively encouraging rape, corporal punishment and genocide, are these really the values that we want our children to grow up with

Having the same ethos in a school, may be well and good, but a religious ethos? The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (you know the one with child marriage in Arizona), certainly have a shared set of values. But no way would I entrust them with a child.

Bunting makes the point that the good thing about Oasis is that it is ‘person-centered and inclusive’. I note that she has to say this, because religious organisations are generally not known for their tolerance of others.

A closer look at the Oasis website reveals what ‘inclusion’ means to them:

Our motif, which we have called our ‘Circle of Inclusion’, reminds us that everyone is included when it comes to God’s love – it’s a visual reminder that Oasis is all about inclusion.

It means ‘God’s love’.

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