Chalk Talk: How our faith schools are changing
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Wednesday 29 January 2014
Some of the myths that have developed over the years is that faith schools are exclusive, do little to counter homophobic bullying and are exacerbating a kind of unofficial segregation in their communities.
It can happen, true, but the latest inclusivity award from the Accord Coalition – the organisation set up to promote the idea that all state schools, religious and non-religious, should be open to all-comers – disproves the theory.
The winner in its secondary-school category this year is the Stockport Academy, a Christian faith school that chooses not to select pupils by faith, challenges homophobia and includes a range of beliefs in its religious-education syllabus. "This year's winning school provides a model for other faith schools," said Rabbi Jonathan Romain, who is the chairman of the Accord Coalition. "It is a rebuke to those who argue that a faith school will lose its character if it opens its doors to the wider community."
The winner in the primary sector – Newbury Park Primary School in Ilford – promotes a similar perspective. It invites volunteers from local sixth forms into the school to make presentations about their own beliefs and the importance of them to their lives.
Dr Romain said he hoped that the Newbury Park scheme would inspire other primary schools to follow suit. "RE can suffer from too great a focus on facts and understanding faiths through the eyes of religious authorities."
An awards ceremony like this, as one says, is pour encourager les autres.
Education has always been famous for the vast number of acronyms it is responsible for – the latest is "Macs".
No, it's not a reference to hamburgers or computer technology; it means "multi-academy chains".
Most academies now use the services of multi-academy chains. Paradoxically, they perform some of the functions that come under the jurisdiction of local-education authorities.
Some give their schools freedom to run their own affairs but some apparently have a stricter central control than the local authorities used to have.
Plus ça change!
Oxford is the least affordable city in the UK, where houses cost 11 times local salaries
Wellcome Image Awards: The most striking images from the world of science, including breast cancer cells under chemical attack and a photographer’s own kidney stone
Space debris orbiting Earth to be destroyed with giant lasers fired from Australia
Oscar Pistorius murder trial: Athlete repeatedly sick as court hears 'graphic details' of Reeva Steenkamp's post-mortem
How climate change helped Genghis Khan: Scientists believe a sudden period of warmer weather allowed the Mongols to invade with such success
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
- 1 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 2 Pakistan vs Paul Smith: Sandal-wearers bemused by famed British designer's attempts to sell traditional Peshawari chappal-style shoes for the distinctly untraditional sum of £300
- 3 North Korea elections: Kim Jong-un wins 100% of the vote
- 4 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 5 Sharknado 2: Former WWE wrestler Kurt Angle to fight second wave of flying sharks
£21000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 3 Primary Teacher - ...
£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Bristol: Qualified nursery nurses and exp...
£45 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Teaching assistants required fo...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: Salary - ?100- ?140 a dayStart date...