Archive for August, 2007

South Wye residents reject C of E faith school

August 14, 2007

Marches Secularists conducted an unbiased poll of South Wye residents asking them whether they wanted Wyebridge Sports College to become a faith school.

Their most significant finding is just how few people in the catchment area of Wyebridge Sports College (formally Haywood High School) know anything about the Church’s scheme to take control of the college; fewer still know how far advanced along the process the Church is.

Could it be that the Church is just poor at communicating, or they are trying to do this by stealth before residents realise what is going on?

It would not be surprising if the church wanted to keep quiet about its activities, as most people are not in favour of divisive faith schools. They have seen the tragedy that sectarian faith schools caused in Northern Ireland.

Indeed, Marches Secularists received one letter from a Christian, presumably Catholic, which said “May the Great Spirit guide you. Head [sic] the true words of the philosophies of Jesus of Nazareth” and described the C of E as “an utter fraud” and a “fake religious organisation”. This enmity between faiths will only be exacerbated with more faith schools.

National Polls by Guardian/ICM, NOP, YouGov, and New Statesman have all shown that at least 60% of the population are against the increase in faith schools.

The local poll in South Wye produced a similar result, even though some in favour of the CofE takeover voted in man-and-wife teams, and in one case wanted to vote on behalf of their daughter and son-in-law as well. Despite this, the poll produced 62% against the college becoming a faith school with only 38% agreeing with the Church scheme. More poll results will be placed on our website, http://www.MarchesSecularists.org over the next few days.

Marches Secularists would welcome a more extensive poll conducted by an
independent pollster, using equally unbiased questions.

Additional poll information

64% are against the increase in the number of religious schools,agreeing that “the government should not be funding faith schools of any kind” according to a Guardian/ICM poll.

79% say that separating children according to religious belief is as wrong as separating them according to colour or accent, according to an NOP poll.

80% oppose the expansion of faith schools according to a YouGov poll.

96% or respondents to BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Programme on-line poll thought that “faith schools breed segregation”

In Leicester, a city with great ethnic diversity, 81% were opposed to the increase in the number of faith schools in a poll by the Leicester Mercury.

96% thought “Tony Blair should end his support for faith schools” in a poll by the
New Statesman.

Faith schools risk break-up of social cohesion

Barry Sheerman, chairman of the Commons education select committee, has warned that religious schools pose a threat to the cohesion of multicultural communities “Schools play a crucial role in integrating different communities and the growth of faith schools poses a real threat to this.”

The Ark research body of Northern Ireland’s two universities and academics from the Australian National University carried out studies between 1989 and 2003 in state schools, integrated schools and Roman Catholic schools.

The evidence indicated that faith schools reinforce sectarianism rather than promoting integration.

The in-depth study supports the view that faith schools in Northern Ireland were a major contributing factor in ‘The Troubles’ that caused thousands of deaths and untold fear in Northern Ireland. Something we hope to avoid on the UK mainland.

Earlier this year the Chief Inspector of Schools, David Bell, criticised Islamic schools, saying they posed a challenge to the
coherence of British society “traditional Islamic education does not entirely fit pupils for their lives as Muslims in modern Britain”.

CofE wants to Discriminate

The Church of England requested the removal of employment protection of non-religious head teachers and non-teaching staff in various types of “faith schools”.

The Government has complied with this request, which is now enacted in Section 37 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006.

This puts at risk the careers of tens of thousands of hard working and committed non-religious staff.

August meeting

August 1, 2007

The next meeting of the Marches Secularists will be held on the evening of Monday, August 6th at the Game Cock Inn, Holme Lacy Road, Hereford. It will start at 7.45pm for 8pm; all are welcome.