Tuesday 6 June 2017

Faith schools

Suppose someone asked you to come up with a way to perpetuate divisions in our society, a way to ensure that people aren't encouraged to to mingle with people who are different and a way to ensure that people continue to misunderstand and dislike other people with different ideas and religions.

Obviously you would start off by aiming at the children. Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man. So - faith schools. Put the children of Protestant parents (wrongly known as Protestant children, because I don't see how a five year old can be *any* religion) into Protestant schools, and likewise for Catholics. That worked *so well* in Northern Ireland!

The school I went to, The Grocers Company School, aka Hackney Downs, was roughly half Jewish, half Christian (or so someone once told me, I don't actually know if that was true). We were vaguely aware that some of us had parents with a different faith, but it really didn't matter to us, and often you neither knew nor cared. My best chum went on to become a Christian minister.

Now imagine a single-faith school. There's no impediment to major propaganda in favour of one faith and against all others. But worse, there's no impediment to teaching the children to hate people subscribing to other faiths. Children are little sponges, soaking up everything they hear, and they hear a lot more than you might think. They also pick up the subtexts, and hear the dog whistles.

In the UK today, we have groups of people who see themselves as very different from other groups, and want to perpetuate that difference. The route to division is to encourage segregation, the route to assimilation is to let the children mingle.

And that's why I'm so opposed to faith schools. If we want Muslim children to grow up knowing and respecting Jewish people (and vice versa), if we want Chistian children to grow up understanding an befriending Sikh children (and vice versa), then we have to give them the opportunity to mingle, and the children will do the rest, because they can *see* that their little friend Topba is a good friend and nice to know, and they won't *care* what her religion is.

Meanwhile, people are talking about whether grammar schools are a good idea or not, (I think they're good) while taking no notice of the major threat from faith schools.

Currently, faith schools aren't allowed to select more than 50% of children from their favourite religion.

Theresa May wants to change that, to allow faith schools to become more monofaith.

What a stupid idea.

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