10 September 2007

Diversity of Faith in Schools

The Government has today pledged its support for faith schools, unveiling a joint declaration with Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh leaders called Faith in the System. Despite objections from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, who believe religious groups should keep out of education, at least Children, Schools and Families Secretary Ed Balls says he recognises that "faith schools are popular with many parents and make a valuable contribution to the way in which this country educates its children."

As I noted some months ago, Church schools are clearly providing something that parents are seeking and it is right that parents should be allowed a continued choice of schools. However, with reports that today's statement offers the prospect of "many more Muslim schools within the state sector," I wonder whether we'll be hearing a repeat of concerns expressed earlier this year when the Muslim Council of Britain's published Towards Greater Understanding – Meeting the Needs of Muslim Pupils in State Schools, its "guidance document" calling for schools to make concessions to Islamic cultural norms. For instance, Jameah Islamiyah Islamic school, which was searched by anti-terrorism officers last summer [Credit: Daily Telegraph]considering the wider debate over the cultural integration of immigrants and warnings that most of our educational institutions have been infiltrated by Islamist groups, would the prospect of more Muslim schools really help "build bridges to greater mutual trust and understanding" and "contribute to a just and cohesive society"?


Sam Wright said...

As this is a christian country we should allow christian schools but not more mulsim ones. But I'm afraid no conservative leader would dare have the courage to say such a thing