Thursday, 3 October 2013

Faith-Free Schools

If only Tory Ministers followed their own rhetoric. Their mantra is ‘hardworking families’ yet they do not put in the hard yards themselves. Michael ‘Gollum’ Gove is such a minister. His tenure has become a byword for half-baked, ill-thought out ideas and schemes. Launched on a Monday, revised on Wednesday and dropped by Friday is a parody of his ministerial style. But it is only just a parody.

The latest chicken roaring home to roost is the muslim free school in Derby which hit the news this week. They announced themselves some months ago as being moderate and all-embracing but it seems that once the public money was in the bag they revealed their true colours. 

“THE Al-Madinah Muslim School, under fire over ordering female teachers to wear a hijab – an Islamic scarf – regardless of their faith, has refused to answer crucial questions.
And education officials have also stayed tight-lipped over whether it was right to give £1.4 million of public money to the city school.” Derby Telegraph 2/10/13

Girls are reported to be treated as inferior, not allowed to read fiction and to have to sit at the back of the class. Boys are given preferential treatment. Teachers are not allowed to join a union and women staff were forced to wear the hijab and full length clothing even though they may not be of the muslim faith. This is in Derby not Islamabad.

There will be a number of people who say we should not interfere with the way a faith school operates. Others may have regard to a passage in the Koran which has advice for men about how to treat their wives. Being a ‘good husband’ means hitting your wife proportionally - a good muslim man will not go over the top in hitting his wife. So that is all right then. 

No it damn well isn’t. And it is not just muslim schools either. We have got faith academies pushing creationist nonsense - the earth being 10,000 years old, created in a week, Adam and Eve and all the rest of the bollocks. All paid for by our taxes. 

This nonsensical and discriminatory situation is happening in Britain. The home of the Enlightenment and rational thought. With the support and backing of Gove, who is himself a practicing Christian. Using our money to pay these proponents of mumbo jumbo and oppressive beliefs to peddle their dogma to unformed minds. 

The consequences of opening a new Free School in an urban area plays havoc with any concept of planning and invariably takes money from neighbouring schools. It must be particularly galling for hardworking staff (appropriate use - ed)  to not know how much their budget will be and watch much needed funds go to a divisive, non-collaborative, antipathetic faith school.  

Free Schools are yet another ill-thought through bad idea. When they are set up to promote religious difference, discrimination, unfairness and irrational ideas they become far, far worse. 

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