Sunday, October 06, 2013

Church of England foolishly blames Michael Gove for the parlous state of Religious Education


The education watchdog Ofsted has written, and the Church of England has judged. Witness statements have been adduced from the Religious Education Council for England and the leaders of various teaching unions.

Apparently half of England's schools are failing pupils on Religious Education: 60 per cent are not "realising the subject's full potential". There is widespread "weak teaching, low standards, inept examination, and confusion about the subject's purpose". Mary Bousted of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers said: "Any examination of RE should review the role of academies' and free schools' curriculum freedoms in undermining the role of local Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education, who determine local RE syllabuses."

According to Ofsted, Christian pupils are being "ignored" in a relentless multifaith focus; indeed, the report suggests that other religions are routinely treated more seriously in RE classes: the teaching of Christianity is often "superficial" – Jesus is used simply to explore pupils' personal feelings rather than as a means to extend their understanding of Christian beliefs. In many cases, the study of Jesus is reduced to an unsystematic collection of information about his life, "with limited reference to his theological significance within the faith," the report said.

The shift toward local "flexibility" is having a negative impact, often causing RE to be amalgamated with other lessons. More than 20 per cent of lessons are "inadequate". Rev Janina Ainsworth, the Church of England's Chief Education Officer, said: "Ofsted's findings relating to the teaching of Christianity are of particular concern, suggesting that in too many schools, the faith held by the majority of people in this country is not being properly taught in an in-depth way. Getting to grips with the key teachings of Jesus and other core elements of Christianity are building blocks that will help young people analyse and interpret the society they are growing up in, whether they choose to share that belief or not.

"There is an urgent need for the government to invest in religious education, both in terms of high quality resources and attracting and training specialist teachers.

"Given the role that the report suggests RE has in promoting community cohesion, that investment will pay dividends far beyond the education of individual students."

Ofsted inspectors found that RE was too often taught by non-specialist teachers who had little training. No less a person than the Chief Inspector said: "This report highlights two things, first the need for better support and training for teachers and secondly the need for a reconsideration of the local arrangements for the oversight of RE, so schools can have a clear framework to use which helps them secure better student achievement in the subject."

O hang on.

Silly Cranmer.

This is from the Ofsted Report from 2010.

After 13 years of New Labour.

That the subject is "not being properly taught in an in-depth way" was the conclusion of the CofE's Rev Janina Ainsworth from 2010. The call for "better support and training for teachers" came from the then Chief Inspector of Schools, Christine Gilbert.

So quite why the Church of England is seeking to blame Michael Gove for what is manifestly chronic failure is anyone's guess. He's only been in the job for three years, and he has done more to improve standards in education and inject rigour into the exam system than any Education Secretary since Kenneth (Lord) Baker. But the media are faithfully reporting the Church's derision - it's all over the BBC, the Guardian and the Independent.

The Church of England calls on Mr Gove to work with religious leaders to improve the level of teaching. It would do better asking academic theologians to inject rigour into examining and requiring a higher quality of inspirational teaching instead of leaving it to enthused amateurs and LSAs. The PC multifaith mishmash is not fit for purpose: it does not develop an inquiring mind or improve children's understanding of belief and the world in which we live. And neither does it inculcate character virtues or instil social values: rather it teaches vague spirituality and moral relativism.

Instead of academies and free schools being blamed by the unions for sidelining the local SACRE bodies, they should be applauded for ditching superficial overviews and generic summaries of myths and hagiography.

RE is protected as a core curriculum subject, and Michael Gove has conceded that it has suffered as a result of his belief that the protection it had in the curriculum was sufficient. But, unlike Labour, he fervently supports faith-based education and believes in parents' inalienable right as their children's primary educator. Reports of some schools having "abandoned teaching the subject altogether" is simply not credible: they would be breaking the law.

If the provision of RE is "inadequate", the Church of England would do well to focus on its own "aims and purpose" before attacking Michael Gove. If "many pupils leave school with scant subject knowledge and understanding", it is partly because that's how many adults leave church. If "RE teaching often fails to challenge and extend pupils' ability to explore fundamental questions about human life, religion and belief", the same may be said of the Church. There may be a "weak understanding" of RE, but there is also a weak understanding of the Christian faith throughout the nation.

And you can't blame Michael Gove for that.

85 Comments:

Blogger David Hussell said...

This is a subject that desperately needs airing, so thank you, Your Grace, for putting it up here.

My knowledge of the new schools is insufficient to judge their performance with any precision, but my general impression is that Gove seeks rigour and a solid education for young people of all backgrounds, so although he may make the occasional slip, he still gets my support.

I do know a number of experienced teachers and they all say that the multi-faith mish-mash is worse than useless, for the reasons given here. Christianity is treated , not as the living faith that it is, but as cultural anthropology, to be observed dispassionately from afar, whilst remaining uncommitted to anything, lest it offend the "guests". By learning a little about everything, they learn nothing. They are being "trained" to just sit on the sidelines and observe, uncommitted to anything.

Now whilst Muslim parents keen to promote a love of their faith send their young to evening time schools, so many of the committed Christian parents do nothing. All denominations should get busy organizing and offering modern forms of supplementary, purely Christian education for the young, say one evening a week or on w/ends. The Churches themselves, C of E included should man up and shoulder responsibility for this parlous lack of good Christian education for the young, outside school if the schools are too multi-cut.

An ecumenical approach may work for the basics at least, with add on denominational end bits for the older ones, thus preserving distinctiveness, whilst making best use of scarce resources like gifted teachers, effective with young people. Parents should be able to opt for their children, in state schools, to attend purely Christian classes that teach it as a living faith. This is vital stuff ! Get moving C of E., extract your digits ! No excuses.

6 October 2013 at 11:13  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

YG, my impression, as is yours, is that Mr Gove has done more to restore normality in education than anyone I can think of over the past 25 or so years. I hope he can establish sufficient normality that the next bunch of socialists/communists who come along purporting to govern us, are unable to undo all this good work.

6 October 2013 at 11:54  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

'Religious Education' is a loaded and outmoded expression. By all means we should educate about religion, and never more apposite a call than in the current ideologically febrile environment. We should not however, be spending tax-payers resources on funding Religion-specific schools.

Religious Education or rather Religious Awareness , should be continued to be taught, but must be approached as a subject delivered to an age group with ability to understand it as a component of philosophy, history or current sociology or other connected discipline.

I would hope that it would soon dawn on young minds that all religions are indeed similar, but mainly similar in the sense, that not one of them can be demonstrably sustained as a factual certainty. Whereas, it can safely be demonstrated, that they ALL can be seen to afford and have afforded, ladders to positions and power for the few amongst the many.

But that is not what religious proponents want: they want young subservient minds that can be moulded to conform through promises and threats of fear or reward or eternal damnation.





6 October 2013 at 11:58  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

When I was at school (a comprehensive) years ago, RE even then was a noddy subject. I barely learned anything about any religion, including Christianity. It was neither comparative religious education, nor about the favoured one and the rest. I know about Christianity because of outside activities: Sunday school when I was small, Air Cadets when I was an early teenager, and through books and the internet when I was older. The actual theology of Christianity came much later in life, presumably because it is too bizarre to teach children.

6 October 2013 at 12:24  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

The spiritual basis of the nation’s up and coming generations is of such import, that one hopes the Government and the CoE will take on this man’s solution without further ado.

RE should be taught like a language. That is, you are not taught the basis of all languages, but you actually learn one. Pupils should learn about the religion of their culture – Christianity. Islam or Hinduism for example for the ethnics. No smartarsism by the pupil is to be allowed. No pagan, No Buddhism, No Jedi. If the pupil claims atheism, we’ll put them down for Christianity then.

And the religion should be taught by a priest or minister or whatever the ethnics have – certainly not by the damned teaching staff.


6 October 2013 at 13:34  
Blogger Nick said...

I have no doubt that the dilution of RE teaching on Christianity to the level of a multifaith mish-mash is a combination of apathy and the growing anti-theistic (or at least anti-Christian) culture here.

I have just read that the BBC head of religous affairs is non other than a muslim, Mr Aaqil Ahmed. What kind of message does that send to its audience? It says that Political Correctness trumps religion, or rather, PC IS the new religion.

As YG and David H says, Christians need to get off their backsides and stand up for themselves and their faith, if they don't want to be marginalised. Christian parents always have the option to teach the faith at home; no organ of the state can stop that, thankfully. This could be formal teaching, or, as I tend to do, discuss different issues in a Christian context.

Understanding Christianity is not hard. Most kids will understand that their parents allow certain behaviours but not others. They understand they are the offspring of their parents and their parents care and provide for them. It is not a quantum leap to understand that this parentage ultimately extends back to our Creator who provides everything we have.

As Michael Gove was one of those who supported the destruction of marriage Bill, I cannot say I'm impressed with his commmitment to Christian values, but I agree with YG that it is the responsibility of all Christians to fortify and preserve our Christian culture.

6 October 2013 at 13:48  
Blogger IanCad said...

So, we are dependent upon the state to teach our children religion?

That should be the parents' responsibility if the schools are failing in that regard. Evidently they are.

We are not without options.

Local councils can be very helpful in assisting those who wish to teach their children at home, if those parents are both fortunate and motivated enough to do just that.

Either singly, or in groups, home education is an option that is overlooked by the many who would be able to benefit from that liberty while the option is still available. Note: It is illegal in Germany. That in itself shold be commendation for the practice of it.

In the USA independent minded parents who wish the best for their broods are growing at an astonishing rate.

It is a twofer. Not only do the children receive a far better and more varied education, the parents also benefit by the exercise of their grey matter in attempting to keep ahead of their charges; thus enhancing their own employment prospects when their young leave the nest.

6 October 2013 at 14:16  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Christian parents always have the option to teach the faith at home; no organ of the state can stop that, thankfully."

As I recall, a recent survey showed that the majority people think that's exactly what should happen and that there should be no state-funded faith schools. I must dig out a link.

6 October 2013 at 14:21  
Blogger grumpyoldcl said...

The secularists want to teach religion in the same way as a geography lesson. Religion is only really understood when you see it's ability to shape a whole life. Teaching religion as a geography lesson isn't teaching religion at all

6 October 2013 at 15:37  
Blogger grumpyoldcl said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6 October 2013 at 15:37  
Blogger non mouse said...

Whether or not Britain presently qualifies as a Christian place, our language, our culture - indeed, the fabric of our being and the forms around us - are "underpinned" by Christianity. We cannot expect the young to grasp how the system works if some 'master race' cuts them off at the pass.

Certainly, awareness of alien ideologies is important. One must know one's enemy; but Bible study presents that struggle throughout. The discerning student begins to interpret beside all the other literature about.

As with any other subject, then, successful pedagogy involves engagement of the student mind -- the best Christian RE trains the use of that mind, it opens it up, it invites questioning. In the process, the student has to make connections, to apply empiricism, and to arrive at an individual place in the general search for Truth.


btw -- at what stage do our masters introduce the franco-german claptrap as course work ... other than as the frame containing it?

Oh - and what happens if parents refuse to let their children attend classes about foreign religions?

6 October 2013 at 16:43  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Danjo.
Are you not aware that the state came very late into the game? Many schools, church or not, happen to be built on church land. If the school is sold in many cases the trust set up states that the land must revert to the Church. The taxpayer would then have to pick up the bill for a new school. Those who are very happy for the Church to have initiated,given time to funded, and now to underpin many of the costs of education need to re-examine many of their prejudices and think how much more they would need to pay were that not so. You cannot have it both ways.

Furthermore if children of secularists have their children taught according to the principles of secularist parents why should children of faith not be taught according to the beliefs of theirs? The a priori assumption is that secualrism is superior- or some say neutral. The myth of neutrality has been so many times disassembled as to make it somewhat tedious to reiterate that there is no such thing- we teach what is important equally by what we ignore as in what we include in the curriculum. A child taught by a system which supposes materialism to be the summum bonum will absorb that as much by what they are not taught to consider, as by the attitudes of the teachers in what they are taught.

6 October 2013 at 16:46  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Fair points by IanCad, Danjo and Dreadnaught. I'd rather the state stay out of my kids' religious education, as it can't do a decent job no matter how hard it tries. Secular versions of religious education, including sex ed, environmentalism, ethics and such, should also be kept out; it's sufficient for kids to learn school rules, the laws of the nation and basic manners and social etiquette. I can also see the Inspector's point, up to a point, and so I'd say that in the case of Britain, which has a state religion, the C of E should have a superior status in the system. In this case, the C of E can run religion courses for Anglican students semi-independently, through its own offices, staff and and budgets. Compelling kids with religious backgrounds not approved by the Inspector, e.g., presumably atheists and agnostics, Buddhists, Hindus, neo-Pagans, Wiccans, Satanists, Spaghetti Monster worshippers and others to Christian indoctrination would hardly be cricket in this day and age, though.

Covering religion from an academic approach as Dreadnaught suggests would also be acceptable and could be included as an optional. At the same time, history and social studies courses could cover the subject as well.

That leaves us with the problem of double-paying for schools, unless the American voucher system is adopted. In the Province of Ontario we have a particularly unfair situation where one funds district school boards through property taxes which are still paid even if he withdraws his child from the increasingly dysfunctional, over-crowded and union-ruled public system and moves her to a private school. Also, through a quirk of history, relating to appeasement of the ever-unhappy Province of Quebec and the French-speaking minority, the Catholic school system in Ontario is the only one that is funded publicly. Only Catholic parents can direct their taxes to the Catholic school board, and teachers and children have to be Catholic to be admitted. The downside for the once excellent Catholic school system is that the funding by the Provincial governments justifies ever-increasing intrusions into the Catholic curricula, with flashpoints over teacher certification, required subjects and especially sex ed. This drive will in time compel the tax payer-funded system to hire non-Catholic staff and to admit non-Catholic students who would be exempt from religious studies. This seems to be a back-door approach of ending the special privilege and thus incrementally pushing the Church to eventually set up and self-fund its own private religious schools in the same way Protestants (a majority in Ontario), Jews, Muslims and others do. Complaints by our Catholics over these intrusions by the state are met with a justifiable indifference or hostility by non-Catholics, a situation which is not good for anyone.

As a personal aside, I'd like to point out that exposure to religious education not of one's background is not only survivable, but can even be salubrious. In my own case I went through 3 years of Catholic schools between the ages of eleven and fourteen in Austria and even asked to sit-in at religion classes from which I was exempt; all my buddies attended and had I excused myself, I would have messed-up my team in our ongoing spit-ball war by depriving it of its best "sniper" who was never caught by a teacher. I still remained an atheistic Jew until becoming culturally and politically involved in Jewishness and drifting towards Orthodoxy in my twenties. In the course of my Catholic "exposure," I picked up a smattering of Latin, an appreciation of religious art, a lasting fascination with cathedral architecture, understanding of catechism...and, yes, mea culpa, I did have a blast singing hymns in German and Latin in my school's choir. Well, I'll find out one day what the Almighty thinks about all that stuff, I guess.

6 October 2013 at 16:49  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


DanJ0, As I recall, a recent survey showed that the majority people think that's exactly what should happen and that there should be no state-funded faith schools.

A survey, if it ever happened, which is reminiscent of the way LGBT types were shouting out that ‘surveys’ showed that the majority of people are for SSM. But when this survey is to be proved, as is going to happen in the Irish Republic, beads of sweat started running down their foreheads. But why this sweating, one innocently asks...

6 October 2013 at 16:50  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Didn't see nonmouse's comment. I'd agree that even in Christian countries without a state religion, an understanding of Christianity is indispensable for an understanding of the country's history and culture. One doesn't have to accept the religion or even agree with the historiography, but a citizen should have a general understanding of it, even if only for one's own benefit.

6 October 2013 at 16:58  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6 October 2013 at 17:24  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lucy: "Furthermore if children of secularists have their children taught according to the principles of secularist parents why should children of faith not be taught according to the beliefs of theirs?"

What principles are you actually talking about? We have state schools so that children are socialised primarily to be functional members of society. That is, they should all learn English and mathematics, science, the arts, and so on, and then have the option to learn more specialist subjects if they choose. Indoctrinating kids into their parents' religion should not be a state function as far as I'm concerned.

6 October 2013 at 17:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "A survey, if it ever happened, which is reminiscent of the way LGBT types were shouting out that ‘surveys’ showed that the majority of people are for SSM."

Is there any doubt about the results regarding SSM? Survey after survey showed a similar result. Still, moving away from your usual Sunday obsession again and back to the topic at hand, the survey I recall is this:

http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/news/articles/2013/new-survey-examines-the-faith-school-issue/

Note the quirk about state funding for CofE schools though.

6 October 2013 at 17:31  
Blogger Anglican said...

I have 2 (fairly) young relatives who left school - the same CofE Secondary School - some 15 and 20 years ago respectively. Whether or not they paid attention in their RE lessons I do not know, but they left school knowing zilch about Christianity. But one has told me they learnt more about Islam and mosques than about Christianity.

6 October 2013 at 17:36  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lucy: "A child taught by a system which supposes materialism to be the summum bonum will absorb that as much by what they are not taught to consider, as by the attitudes of the teachers in what they are taught."

Presumably things have moved on since I was at school but I don't recall materialism being taught at school, either directly or indirectly. What topics did you have in mind there?

6 October 2013 at 17:38  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Danjo, if we look at secular education as a promotion of secular beliefs and mores...not an unreasonable position...then Lucy's point has merit. Yes, secular boards should stick to basics only as you and others suggest, except for countries with state religions, which would justifiably sponsor promotion of the majority's religion to its adherents. Otherwise, why not the most equitable option, the voucher system, where one can direct is education taxes to one's private school? The only opposition to this, at least in Canada and the US comes from the school boards, unions and the ideological fans of secular ed.

6 October 2013 at 17:39  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


DanJ0, can’t make the link, but Lancaster University's in house student rag ?

It’s not a “We asked a hundred know it all undergraduates” by any chance ?

Somebody have a word...

{ROLLS EYES...}


6 October 2013 at 17:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi: "Yes, secular boards should stick to basics only as you and others suggest, except for countries with state religions, which would justifiably sponsor promotion of the majority's religion to its adherents."

In the UK, we have a quirky situation where the large majority of the population are not practising Christians, and we have a number of other minority faiths embedded in the population now. The state religion of the UK is the Church of England. There's something like 1 million people who attend a CofE service once a month out of (say) 45 million adults. Yes, we still have a state religion but I daresay that's because it's tightly bound up in our constitution and because the CofE is so institutionally pleasant and inoffensive as a general rule.

As for vouchers, I haven't really thought about it. However, as a taxpayer my "education taxes" are being used as far as I am concerned to socialise the next generations into being functional members of my society and so I have a say in how the system works too I think. My main concern about faith schools centres on Islamic schools, followed by Roman Catholic ones. I think they create and maintain divisions in society. If we're to challenge Islam in the UK then I think we have to socialise children of Muslim parents into our core social values and ideas, including promoting critical thinking and opn-mindedness, and what better way than to do that through schools?

6 October 2013 at 17:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "DanJ0, can’t make the link, but Lancaster University's in house student rag ? It’s not a “We asked a hundred know it all undergraduates” by any chance ?"

For goodness, you halfwit, why not look it up before you shoot your mouth off about it?

"The survey, designed by Lancaster University’s Professor of the Sociology of Religion Linda Woodhead, was carried out online this summer by YouGov and polled 4018 people."

6 October 2013 at 17:58  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Just to point out what has happened historically, as some seem unaware. From the C of E point of view. Typically a Christian philanthropist left some money and land in a will to set up education "for the poor of the parish". Typically in this will it will be stipulated that should the school ever close the building and land will be sold and the funds revert to the church (occasionally to the philanthropist's heirs).

Thus in order to secularise your local C of E primary or secondary school you would have to sell the land and/or buildings, pay the proceeds to the local church or diocese and then buy a different patch of land and build more buildings, all at the taxpayers' expense.

So not many takers, I would imagine.

6 October 2013 at 17:59  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

RE, by its very nature, will inevitably be taught badly. So why not scrap it altogether and teach philosophy like they do in France?

The 'cultural' apects of Christianity could be taught as an aspect of English Literature, and Buddhism could be taught as an aspect of philosophy. Other religions need not be taught at all, as they have very little intellectual content.

6 October 2013 at 18:03  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

4018 souls who could be arsed to reply or are known to the lady professor, and it was ignored by MSM.

Quel outrage !

You can be such an arrogant blighter all of the time...


6 October 2013 at 18:04  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector, you be better just to back away from the shovel.

6 October 2013 at 18:07  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Lucy,

A fair summary of the position in many cases I'd say. That is why the school, especially in villages, is often near the church and the original priest's house (called a Vicarage,or Parsonage or Rectory, it's all the same, virtually ).
Occasionally one comes across a state school built on Parish Council land or the land of a Charity, itself often bequeathed in the will of local benevolent worthy. Again when the school closes the Parish or the Charity wants the value in the land or the land itself returned, which causes deadlock. It's happening just a few miles from me, as we speak.

So the established Church is, like it or not, inextricably involved in education. As for the Catholic Schools they do an excellent job in my opinion, so that's fine.

Regarding Muslim schools I have no in principle objection providing that what they teach is appropriate, inculcating a sense of being equal, but not superior, to the rest of us, and having a sense of Britishness and social togetherness with the general populace.

6 October 2013 at 18:13  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


DanJ0, are you a complete idiot ? You can’t randomly survey 4018 people or even 10. You have to get the damn e-addresses from somewhere, or didn’t you think that far ?

So, who were they then ? A sociology society’s membership list ???

6 October 2013 at 18:14  
Blogger IanCad said...

Danjo & Avi,

I sort of do agree with you both when you state that neither of you have objections to state funding of schools where there exists an established religion. However, where there is none the state should not support denominational schools.
.
The voucher system in the USA cleared the Supreme Court in 2002 and in effect nullified the First Amendment. America got by just fine for generations without violating the Establishment Clause which this decision most surely did.

Remember; He who pays the piper calls the tune.

Religious schools will have the heavy hand of the state over them.
No bureaucrat can resist legistlating.

Liberty does not issue from the hand of government.

6 October 2013 at 18:18  
Blogger David Hussell said...

It seems to me that the democratic deficit in only having secular state schools, as say in France, is that then you are saying that parents who want a C of E or Catholic orientated education for their children, are being denied that very valid choice, simply because Government unthinkingly allowed the large scale inward migration of peoples with cultures and faiths alien to these shores, and now realizing the problem that it caused, want to squeeze out all faith related education.
So parents and children pay the price for an intemperate decision. Is that right ? Is that fair ? Why shouldn't parents have a Christian angled education for their children ? Who started education off in the first place - the churches !

6 October 2013 at 18:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "So, who were they then ? A sociology society’s membership list ???"

Oh fgs, I despair. It's a YouGov survey, you berk. They use active sampling of people from their own database to try to represent opinions across the country. There's no reason I can see why that wouldn't have happened with this survey given its academic sponsor and the research she is involved in.

6 October 2013 at 18:25  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

@ David Hussell

"Regarding Muslim schools I have no in principle objection providing that what they teach is appropriate, inculcating a sense of being equal, but not superior, to the rest of us, and having a sense of Britishness and social togetherness with the general populace."

In other words you want them to cease teaching Islam, which thrives on hostile polarities such as Ummah versus Kuffar, Dar al-Islam versus Dar al-Harb, and is totally obsessed with denigrating non-Muslims?

Remember the Gharqad tree.

6 October 2013 at 18:30  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Danjo, church attendance and definitions of what a "practicing Christian" may be, or the presence of other religious minorities are irrelevant to the situation where it's the majority's decision to maintain a state religion. A similar situation exists in Israel, where a hefty majority is secular and socially liberal, but barring some issues over the "ultra-Orthodox" and some of their privileges...prefers Orthodox Judaism as a state religion.

As for socialization, covering the basics, such as school rules, the laws of the land and essentials of civilized conduct, including manners and etiquette should be enough. Our children need not be brow-beaten into "celebrating" other cultures, beliefs and lifestyles. It doesn't work anyway, at least not here in Canada, where PC run amok and teachers boring and brow-beating their students with equity propaganda have done little to curb bullying, racial self-segregation and all sorts of intolerance.

6 October 2013 at 18:30  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grce,
It seems that the CofE has such a left bias that they can't objectively look at anything Conservative. The 'Ugly Vicar' in his blog wrote that no Evangelical Bishop had been ordained since the late 1990's. It's concern for the promotion of the Gospel is clearly relegated to it's interest in 'Religeous' education and Social issues as aposed to faith building.
'Religion' can be thought as an academic subject and a broad understanding of world religions can be useful in understanding world affairs. Faith however can not be tought, it can only be imparted. In my neck of the woods we have a voluntary organisation that works with the local schools to bring to the kids a faith inspired presentation of the Gospel, something that an academic trained teacher can not do.
To conclude, let the state teach all religions to all pupils without spiritual input. Then let faith based groups bring flesh onto the bones. The CofE management is dead men's bones in whited sepulchers.

6 October 2013 at 18:33  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


DanJ0, so you need to be on a PC to take part, if you were lucky enough to be approached, the odds of which are akin to those you’d need for a substantial lottery win.

Look son, instead of relying on some obscure survey which suits your nefarious agenda, here’s something better to go by. A majority of Christians live in this country - 33 million. (Source, 2011 census – and NO LESS !)


6 October 2013 at 18:37  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi: "Danjo, church attendance and definitions of what a "practicing Christian" may be, or the presence of other religious minorities are irrelevant to the situation where it's the majority's decision to maintain a state religion."

That's a fair comment as it stands. However, I'm not sure there's much of a decision to maintain a state religion as to maintain a nominally working status quo. Also, one could have a state religion as far as the constitition is concerned without it dripping down to what religion is actively promoted in state-funded schools.

"Our children need not be brow-beaten into "celebrating" other cultures, beliefs and lifestyles."

That's rather more than I was expecting. As far as I know, our British values include the notions of tolerance, equality before the law, and a right to freedom of religion. I'm not sure they're explicitly secular values but we at least pay lip service to them. If some Christians or radical right-wingers want to throw away the right to freedom of religion then they should be aware that there may be unintended consequences there for Christians too.

6 October 2013 at 18:40  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Seansrobville, that may look like an insurmountable problem, but I still think that a universal requirement to cover rules, laws, etiquette as part of a child's education ...the common civil society stuff... would cover things, even in the case of Muslims. I'm not familiar with Islam, and due to its hostility to Jews and others, the Koran is as contemptible to me and unwelcome in my home as Mein Kampf is, but does Islam mimic Judaism's religious law of dinah malkhuta dinah, "the law of the land is the law"?

6 October 2013 at 18:47  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


DanJ0, in answer to a point made by Avi...That's a fair comment as it stands. However...

And yes, there is ‘however’. Anyway, the Inspector has had his fill of you tonight and is going to switch his contraption off. Because he knows your MO and where you are inevitably leading. The only Christians that count are those that turn up to church every week. This of course being in direct contrast to militant LGBT groups who campaign on behalf of ALL homosexuals, including those who want nothing to do with them.


6 October 2013 at 18:56  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

...and atheist groups too !

6 October 2013 at 18:57  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

If we're to challenge Islam in the UK then I think we have to socialise children of Muslim parents into our core social values and ideas...

Step back and view the historic growth of Islam and since conception and you will see it has no room for compromise. We Europeans have allowed it to settle in our midst and thrive through our reluctance to recognise it, not simply as a quirky foreign no account religion but as an historically seasoned cultural enemy still fighting the longest war in history.

Islam/Muslims is not some poor down-trodden immigrant group seeking refuge like the Jews of the 1930s. Islam as an entity has been pushing Christianity back step by step for over a thousand years and we should not be under any illusion that its core objective has suddenly changed.

It took Christian armies and lots of spilt blood to drive it out of Spain and push it to a halt in the Balkans.
Once those armies ceased to defend the borders of Christendom - they began to weevil their way way forward again. We left the door open now they are moving in and bringing their furniture with them. Serbs were out-bred in Bosnia and Kosovo but fought back no differently than the Spanish and Austrians except that now we can see on TV what that entails and have no stomach for the fight.

We have grown soft on almost 70 years of relative peace and prosperity and any European religion/culture without the dedicated will to employ a hard-line policy to ensure its own viability is stuffed.

This I suggest, is what should be being taught to our children in RE, rather than the present liberal Christian sponsored multi-faith accommodations that have thus far resulted in undermining our traditional way of life and drained our national finances.





6 October 2013 at 19:03  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Danjo,

You say, ...one could have a state religion as far as the constitition is concerned without it dripping down to what religion is actively promoted in state-funded schools. Well, there wouldn't be much point in having a state religion if the state cannot give it space in the public arena or teach and promote in schools...all within decent limits, of course. The important bit is to allow those of different or no faith, or those who dissent, to excuse themselves, without prejudice and penalty, from the education or celebration process.

" As far as I know, our British values include the notions of tolerance, equality before the law, and a right to freedom of religion. I'm not sure they're explicitly secular values but we at least pay lip service to them." I wouldn't say these are necessarily secular or even new values. Hostility to other ways of thinking and other religions is, I'm compelled to admit, a blight of the "Abrahamic faiths" and their secular offshoots such as Communism, Fascism and to some degree what goes for "Liberalism" nowadays. Some, not all (e.g., Greek and Roman) Pagan and Animist religions, Hinduism and Buddhism have a far greater...albeit not perfect...tolerancre for the "other." In any case, covering the basics, which do address these values, I mentioned should suffice.

6 October 2013 at 19:03  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi: "The important bit is to allow those of different or no faith, or those who dissent, to excuse themselves, without prejudice and penalty, from the education or celebration process."

Well, that's all very well but what if the rest of us aren't that keen to have a minority religion, albeit one integrated with the current constitution, promoting and propagating itself using special privilege granted by the State? Why should the rest of us, especially those with competing religious beliefs, pay for that sort of stuff? I think I'd be much happier removing religion from the State in practical terms [1] so that our other citizens, in particular the Muslim ones, don't piggyback onto the notion of state funding to promote their own along side ... as they are doing. The same is happening in law where the non-CofE religious are demanding special privileges on the basis that they deserve equal treatmeant.

6 October 2013 at 19:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

[1] Such as stopping state-funding of faith schools.

6 October 2013 at 19:27  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dreadnaught: "Step back and view the historic growth of Islam and since conception and you will see it has no room for compromise."

That's Islam as an ideology. I'm suggesting we undermine the damned thing by offering the temptation of freedom and quality of life to the next generations so that they ditch the cultural bits that have been brought over and the religious adherence is watered down. Pretty much what has happened to Christianity as it goes.

6 October 2013 at 19:32  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Danjo, no problem with defunding religious schools, other than in cases where there is a state religion accepted by democratic majority, but I would still prefer a voucher system where one can voluntarily direct one's taxes earmarked for education to a school or school board of one's choice. A state-run, supposedly universal or secular system is not acceptable to all, as it's nearly impossible to achieve such a presumed and ideal neutrality.

6 October 2013 at 19:45  
Blogger Mike Stallard said...

What is needed is a free for all in religion. Why not have daily worship? All different religions can be catered for in a large Comprehensive. Christians prayers, Muslim prayers (separate room) Hindu Prayers with shrines (separate room) Jewish Shema (separate room). And the people who want to can have the usual "please do not drop litter.." type of assembly in the hall.

Why not?

6 October 2013 at 19:53  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

To be honest, I'd accept with state-funding of just CofE schools and no others. I think that could be defended in some way on the basis of the constitution. Of course, we'd still potentially have private Islamic schools and all the divisiveness that they imply and the reduced opportunity to undermine the religion with alternative lifestyles.

6 October 2013 at 19:55  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Mr Integrity,

You are right, unfortunately,that at present the C of E is predominantly left wing in its thinking, but it was not always so, and it will not be that way for ever.
At one time, say 30 years and before ago the C of E was right wing, Conservative, very Lord of the Manor stuff and insufficiently concerned with the working class. Then like the Universities etc it was captured by the left.
However now, in the mainstream liberal churches, the vast majority the congregations are aging and shrinking, rapidly. But the more urban churches that are growing, fairly quickly, planting new ones, and full of young families, often quite large families as Evangelicals tend to have larger families, by the current small standards, and they will continue, as the UK future of the Church of England, when all the old , trendy, heterodox priests are gone. These young, vibrant, very Protestant churches, often male led churches are generally, well right of centre and traditional in their thinking.
They are the future of an admittedly slimmed down but committed, vibrant Protestant C of E. So don't judge the future by the present. Within the C of E things are changing. And all the pressures ( yipee !) from the burgeoning global south are in exactly the same direction.
Basically as Christianity becomes unpopular and counter cultural only the strong and the committed will continue. The wishy washy liberals will disappear like the morning mist. I suspect that the same processes are at work in other mainstream Churches as well, but I will leave it to my friends from those Churches to comment on that suggestion. Have no fear, authentic Christianity, in all its forms, will not be leaving these islands where it has been in place for most of the Christian era.

6 October 2013 at 20:13  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Mike, mostly because it would be an expensive, time-consuming, logistical nightmare to accommodate everyone's prayer times. My kids can fit in their sh'ma and morning prayers at home by getting their lazy butts up a little earlier. They're all past 12 years of age, so the responsibility is on their shoulders now; if I don't monitor or assist their devotionals, neither should the state.

Danjo, I'd be fine with state funding just for C of E schools were I to live in the UK as well. Generations of Jews have gone to Christian state schools and survived, as I did. However, my community has he wherewithal and funds to maintain its own quality systems, even whilst paying taxes for state education as well, while other minorities may no be so fortunate and might grumble having to sing praises to our host, His Grace here and in the end will somehow blame it all on us Jews again.

6 October 2013 at 20:23  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Dave Hussell, good point. The laws of evolution through natural selection, and even a Sorcial Darwinist "survival of the fittest" mechanism are confirmed in the lives of religions! :) Similar patterns are happening in Judaism, which sees us Orthodox "fossils" growing in numbers and strength, while the modernizing, liberal, "socially relevant" guitar-strumming, kumbayah sects can't seem to cover their heating bills and rent space for whatever goes as their weekend services from schools, of all places.

6 October 2013 at 20:31  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Hey, Mike Stallard, just saw your blog; nice art there, Mister! Did three years of weekly life drawing sessions myself with nude male and female models and could never achieve that casual fluency and impressionistic colouring you have. As for your wish to revolutionize Church art, ha! Go ahead and try, but I suspect that clouds of rosy, chubby Rubinesque buttocks would float in a church as well as a lead balloon nowadays.

6 October 2013 at 21:05  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

PS, should add that since becoming observant, I don't paint nudes anymore, especially from live models. Some more enthusiastic coreligionists would say I shouldn't paint even women's portraits...or paint at all, but a man can tolerate religious enthusiasm only so much.

6 October 2013 at 21:08  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

The Inspector back again...

...only because this is one of the most bizarre threads he’s every come across on Cranmer.

And the villain of the piece is a proud arrogant homosexual man, albeit closeted, who dares to ride the back of Islam to further his own agenda for the systematic dismantling of everything Christian in the UK. And that without one idea of what will fill the spiritual void, which for all that we know, may eventually be submission to Allah.

That, gentlemen, is nothing short of macabre...

6 October 2013 at 21:34  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr David Hussell @ 18.13 says, 'Regarding Muslim schools I have no in principle objection providing that what they teach is appropriate, inculcating a sense of being equal, but not superior, to the rest of us, and having a sense of Britishness and social togetherness with the general populace.'

Is a school that is almost certainly financed in part by generous grants from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia going to promote 'Britishness', whatever that means? No is the answer. As seanrobsville points out, Islam remains a particularly intolerant and arrogant religion. It follows that Muslim schools are teaching a range of anti-social behaviours at the behest of a foreign government.

There is only one question; why are Muslim schools permitted at all?

6 October 2013 at 21:50  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Schools need to ask not how intelligent a child is but how is the child intelligent?

School need to removed from fatuous indicators like league tables

Stalinist Ofsted needs to be disbanded.

We need to bin GCSES A levels and teach IBs instead. (IBs are about learning rather than teaching and instruction)

Society needs to trust teachers and trust schools

My views? No just an article written recently by a Headmaster of a leading independent school

Mr Grove? Ideas? Progress? Lol!

Christian teaching.....is surely safe in his hands!

6 October 2013 at 21:58  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Avi Barzel @ 20.13 says,'The laws of evolution through natural selection, and even a Sorcial Darwinist "survival of the fittest" mechanism are confirmed in the lives of religions! :)'

Just one lesson you should never forget where the survival of the fittest is concerned; don't take a knife to a gun fight. Christianity and Judaism aren't going so well in majority Muslim countries. We can expect to see Muslim majority areas in the UK behaving exactly like Muslim majority countries in due course. It's part of their modus operandi. If you want proof in a physical sense, just look at the fate of pubs in areas over-run by Islam. Put it down to 'community pressure'.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/8570506/Police-covered-up-violent-campaign-to-turn-London-area-Islamic.html

6 October 2013 at 22:03  
Blogger uk Fred said...

There is a need for a radical re=think about schooling in the UK. What should the role of the state be? I contend thatgf it should set the syllabuses and provide vouchers to the parents which can be exchanged for periods of education for the children. Perhaps we should go the way the NHS tried to go, and make each public sector school a trust and the trust can raise its revenue by collecting vouchers from parents for educating their children. And if the CofE or the RCC want to have church schools, then let them, opn the same terms as anyone else. Let's be blunt, they could hardly do woerse than the local authorities up to now.

6 October 2013 at 22:23  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

Banjo says "When I was at school ... I barely learned anything ..."

How nice to be able to agree with you.

6 October 2013 at 23:22  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

The religion that is now taught in British state schools is Political Correctness and it is taught very well and thoroughly indeed.

6 October 2013 at 23:23  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Religious Instruction was taught in my 70's comprehensive school in 2 x 30 min. lessons a week by a teacher who was a Christian himself but couldn't really control a class of 36 pupils. The emphasis of the whole school was not particularly academic but more sports minded, rugby being the religion of the school. Needless to say we didn't learn much. It was a typical 70s rebellious attitude of we don't need Religion.

The married (not to each other )English teachers were busy having an affair so we were left to our own devices in the lessons whilst they canoodled in the corridor. For homework we were instructed to read articles in Punch magazine on adultery and write about them. The essay topics we were tasked to write about were nearly always to do with licentious behaviour, “The Definition Of a Mistress” being one such title? Mr Jones would laugh out loud as he boomed “something between the master and the mattress ha ha ” just as the end of lesson bell sounded. We did go on a few theatre and cinema trips to London to see plays we were attempting to study, but only so as the English teachers could escape for their afternoon delight, meeting up with us later at the venue. Is it any wonder children didn't respect Christian religion and contributed to our society becoming weakened and vulnerable.

I think schools other than those of faith should have RI three times a week taken by a member of the local Christian clergy, and there should later on be an option to do it for O level or whatever Mr Gove has now introduced as the measurement of standard ability.
There can be guest appearances of other local religious leaders to come in for a term or two each to give a grounding of the other faiths as well, but we have to maintain Christianity as this country's core main religion and culture above all the others.

6 October 2013 at 23:45  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Must remember not to visit this blog on a Sunday. Everyone seems to have too much time on their hands and write twice as much drivel as usual.

7 October 2013 at 00:16  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Checked the link, bluedog; very depressing. Things are definitely out of control and as always, the modern poltroonish police forces and their career whore captains are largely at fault for letting things slide. We haven't reached that stage in Toronto yet, although I notice that I now get sustained glares whenever I find myself at the truck parks and loading docks in our eastern part of the city or in a western suburb, where the critical Islamic masses are coalescing into local majorities. So, I go about with a smile and hefty torque wrench and glare back. This is still Canada, the land of the free and it'll take a lot more than a few stupid stares before I cover up with a ball cap and tuck my fringes in.

In my case, Mr Integrity, I think I've churned out more drivel today than my average monthly output. Rainy day, family away, no one to give me chores and good books I haven't had time to crack until now.

7 October 2013 at 00:44  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Marie

Schools should not teach RE at all. Most of what they teach is junk by teachers who have no faith themselves. Two of my kids were removed from RE lessons for challenging teacher's interpretations. One of my sons (Who has an impeccable behaviour record in all other subjects) is now banned from RE lessons for having "too forthright views regarding his own faith".

Christianity it seems is only acceptable in school if it is always unassuming.

Phil

7 October 2013 at 03:15  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Marie

Your school sounds like my school in Wales.

We went to see A Midsummer Nights Dream performed in Swansea by an entire cast who were completely naked.

Quite an eye opener for a 15 year old.

Apparently it was a more "authentic" rendition. We didn't complain!

Despite the affairs by staff the sex in the corridors etc I at least got the grades to go to one of the best Universities and get a 2.1 in Engineering.

Would I have done any better or even as well in one of Stalin's new schools that meets Grove's approval?

Somehow I very much doubt it.

You see you cannot rule people by tickboxes. They only do what the tick box says to do. And usually only pretend to do that.

That is why Stalin's worldview does not work.

Phil








7 October 2013 at 03:33  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Marie 1797, Phil Roberts,

Well I went to an indifferent Grammar School, reinvented by a political decree mid-way into a Comprehensive state school, in South Wales, in the 60s. I thought that it was a fairly luke warm, indifferent sort of RE that we received, two lessons a week, from a not exactly faith filled, vaguely Christian woman. But compared to what you both have received mine was relatively positive and safe experience and environment. Your RE seems well, hostile to the nurturing of a faith. Perhaps shows what a how dire direction standards are heading in ?

The odds really are stacked against young people emerging from that educational tunnel with a "lively faith". I'd say that this tends so prove Gove's point that the UK needs a fresh start, but are these academies the right way ?

7 October 2013 at 08:35  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Avi,

I like your bit about walking around with a smile and a hefty torque wrench ! The traditional English saying is, " Smile and carry a big stick", which is my approach and favourite saying.

7 October 2013 at 08:38  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

I have not read the comments before me, but as someone who is heavily involved in delivering Christian RE lessons in the primary and secondary schools within the parish that I am youth worker in I feel I have a pretty good idea of what is going on in this matter.
The curriculum is actually very good for primary schools (my largest area of delivery) with the topics being covered including belonging to a faith in year 1, the creation story in year 2, the Trinity in year 5 and life after death in year 6.

However, it falls down in 2 areas.
The first, which is nothing to do with Gove, is that it is reliant on either having knowledgable teachers or teachers that are willing to bring in experts (if I can be allowed to refer to myself in such a way) who know their faith well enough to teach it well without proselytising. And whilst in 2 primary schools and the secondary school this has been a very positive experience, in a third primary school there has been no interest in inviting myself or my vicar in to support the delivery of the RE curriculum. The head is, I am informed, an atheist which is not a problem, but how he appears to act from his beliefs is.
And so RE is a lesson which can vary greatly in the quality of it's delivery because of these factors.
The second area that RE suffers is very much on Gove, which is the time that is allotted to it.
Last academic year every RE lesson was given 1 hour per week. Not huge when compared to the "3 R's" but it gave time to deliver all the information in a relevant way without rushing. This year RE has only 30 mins per week! And when you consider that a good RE lesson would seek to include group discussion and some sort of activity AS WELL AS teaching the subject matter, not to mention the use of PowerPoint, videos and other media, 30 minutes makes the quality delivery of the lesson tricky at best, almost impossible at worst! So why the 50% reduction, you may ask? To bring in 30 minutes of philosophy. But this too seems a bit pathetic, not because philosophy is a bad lesson to teach, on the contrary, but because it is being squeezed into such a short timeframe!
Both RE and philosophy deserve 1 hour EACH! To be given less IS doing both an injustice and this IS something that Gove and the Dept of Education can change. Because if we want children to grow up with at least an accurate understanding of the basic concepts of faiths, particularly Christianty given the role it plays in our national heritage, then RE must have more time given to it's delivery.

7 October 2013 at 08:45  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Phil Roberts,

Your bit about one of your sons being banned from RE for having "too forthright views regarding his own faith", are truly chilling. Good for him, I say, as he's clearly got something.

I assume that the teacher was not a person of any genuine faith? I just wasn't aware of just how powerfully the state schools are squeezing any significant Christian faith out of kids.

7 October 2013 at 08:46  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Phil Roberts,

Would you please email His Grace (address top right on blog) concerning your son's school which you say has 'banned' him from RE. The school has acted illegally.

7 October 2013 at 10:02  
Blogger David Hussell said...

"Good on you", Your Grace, as our Australian cousins would say.

7 October 2013 at 10:08  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

"And the villain of the piece is a proud arrogant homosexual man, albeit closeted, who dares to ride the back of Islam to further his own agenda for the systematic dismantling of everything Christian in the UK. And that without one idea of what will fill the spiritual void, which for all that we know, may eventually be submission to Allah."

Goodness, Inspector! So...you have met Mr Slope then.

7 October 2013 at 10:35  
Blogger David Richards said...

" Reports of some schools having "abandoned teaching the subject altogether" is simply not credible: they would be breaking the law."

One of my secondary schools had done this, and this was back in the 1990s.

Of course, pshe was still taught, which was the avenue for teaching secularist ideas by default. I suspect that was because those lessons were unstructured and so dependent on the whims of whoever happened to be teaching.

7 October 2013 at 10:54  
Blogger David Richards said...

I am surprised, however, that the CofE can't make its own provision to teach daily/weekly. Others do, and relying on the state to teach your beliefs seems risky.

7 October 2013 at 10:57  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

In addition to my earlier comment, I have found out today that our local secondary school no longer has RE lessons, being replaced with Morality and Ethics. RE fits in there somewhere, but it also brings in philosophy. One assumes that it is to fit in atheist thoughts whilst not including atheism within an RE lesson (given that they refuse to see it as a set of beliefs, but merely a lack of belief). This is surely a case of the curriculum giving in to the secular and allowing an increase in content to the detriment of actual religious education!

7 October 2013 at 11:04  
Blogger David Hussell said...

The comments raised here are, if one assumes accurately describing the national picture, moving me towards believing that, as others have said, the state cannot be trusted to teach sound religion, let alone faith. As the Inspector has said, bring in the priests and ministers, the state paid teachers can not be entrusted with this task.

7 October 2013 at 12:36  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Your Grace, all the best to you in any battles on behalf of Mr Roberts and his son. Five years too late and an ocean away from your jurisdiction, but I would have loved to have had you batting for my youngest in Grade 2. Not even a month into the new school year she reported to us that teachers wrapped and pinned pink craft paper on her on "Pink Day" because distracted Daddy didn't check the school note and pick out a pink outfit for her. Pink day was sold as an "anti-bullying" demonstration to the parents, but turned out to be a mini Gay Parade which involved kids, both boys and girls, marching in pink outfits, all carrying and waving rainbow flags and banners around a sports track in a neighbouring park.

Well, Momma Barzel saved Poppa Barzel from uttering threats, public nuisance and possibly aggravated assault charges and a night in a tile-lined, steel-barred suite as Her Majesty's guest by insisting on dealing with the incident herself. The said incident was vigorously defended by experienced district school board administration ciphers as an appropriate contemporary social "teaching moment" connected to some UNESCO to-do or another, a battle...one of many to come...against "homophobia." This was the final straw that broke the back of our idealistic notion that a secular public school system among children of all backgrounds would instill balanced, egalitarian civic values. Having lost our own battle to exempt our youngest from further recruitment for social and political causes championed by the progressive principal. We withdrew from field, folded, and two weeks later we moved the offspring to a biased, elitist, sexist, homophobic, classist and not very cheap private school which, as an added bonus, also provides an actual education.

7 October 2013 at 12:59  
Blogger Camel said...

Mr Barzel,

Mr Camel here, or as you knew me before fellow Jew, DK. This is just a fleeting visit, as I've got other, personal matters to deal with at present, but couldn't let the opportunity to pass me by.

I am sure that in Eden we didn't have any clothes on, so I wouldn't be too timid about not painting nudes; one of my sisters did so and suffered no ill effects.

I am sure that Momma Barzel was the best person to shoot the rockets to the school governors, as a former Scottish-Jewish, Captain of a Man O War is a commanding no-nonsense presence in her own right.

Keep wearing the Kippah, make sure the beard is trimmed and hang your payot low. Don't let anyone intimidate you, lest of all the followers of the piece of religion.

7 October 2013 at 14:51  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Phil Roberts
Ha yes! Lol, we too experienced fully naked actors when we were taken to Bridgend cinema to see “Under Milkwood” one afternoon which began at the beginning with the passionate lovemaking of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton in the village allotment shed. The teachers left us ogling in shock and went off to have their own entertainment in the nearby hotel room.

You done good, must have a natural ability for science and maths then.

I agree about the tickbox culture. It's good that your son forthrightly questions the teacher in his RE lessons as long as he's not cheeky. Banning him for this though is wrong and typical lefty behaviour. Why doesn't the teacher agree to have a debate with him and anyone else in the class who is interested as an after school activity?

An hour lesson a week of Christian RE by the vicar, priest, curate, minister, or whatever he's called would be much better for children and young people. Nothing like having the real thing in front of you. It could be linked in to Sunday school as well for those who wished to follow up on the lesson and then Church afterwards for practical. And half an hour a week of other faith for an understanding.

I think children and young people need discipline and routine to be able to make it in the adult world, the 60s abandonment of the grammar schools and especially the 70s were rather too wild though.

7 October 2013 at 15:41  
Blogger Camel said...

Eh? Marie and Phil Roberts are WELSH?The penny just dropped.All is forgiven!

My experience(from my married family), is that Welsh people are full of fire and passion- which is why their flag is a dragon- plus the songs of the valleys based upon staunch Christianity and 'Old Testament' (Or Torah) teachings, which is Phil and Marie.

The Welsh are practically Jewish, in spirit, anyway, no wonder I love the Welsh and am married to a beautiful, beautiful Welsh/English speaking Jewish lady...

7 October 2013 at 15:59  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Your Grace

My son's school was not part of the state sector.

Curious as it may seem, I actually supported the school's decision to kick him out of RE. If "independent" is to mean anything at all it must mean that they are free to make decisions like this that are unpopular with some parents, but taken in the whole make very little difference.

Otherwise Stalin really is back.

My son learned a useful lesson. Unfair or not it was their decision and he would have to live with the consequences, such as they are (not much admittedly). His GCSE certs are missing RE.

I wonder if anyone will ever notice?


Phil

7 October 2013 at 21:16  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

At Doctor Wortle's School (of which I am a governor) all lessons are based soundly on the 39 Articles. Multiculturalism is also covered every Rogationtide when we translate Luther's 95 Theses and paint imaginative pictures of the Massacre of the Innocents. Such fun!

7 October 2013 at 21:38  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Greetings, Mr Camel, sein gesund Yid! Ha, Mrs Barzel...nee Anderson... would be pleased at her promotion to Captain, having been only a humble Able Wren at the Esquimault naval base. Yes, she gave the principal an earful...to no avail; Toronto's school board is on a mission of equity ueber alles. And have no fear, Reb Gamal, the kippah srugah stays on as long as this Zionist heart beats, and what's more, will be getting one with the Tzahal/IDF insignia, just in case one of our lovers of peace out in Scarborough is uncertain regarding my leanings. I should also order a Givati Brigade t-shirt for my dear friend, Corrigan.

8 October 2013 at 01:45  
Blogger Len said...

The '39 articles' a good place to start ones education Mrs P.

8 October 2013 at 16:11  

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