Friday, July 14, 2006


State-sponsored Hypocrisy

Natasha Walter has a brilliant piece in today's Guardian , which highlights the divisive effects that faith schools (and the middle-class parents prepared to perjure themselves to get their kids into them), are having on our communities.

I have to admire the honesty of the woman who admitted to working out how much each visit to church would save them in school fees, but that fact alone should be enough to force a re-think on the whole issue. If snobby, middle class parents can't bear the thought of their little darlings mixing with riff raff, they are quite entitled to pay for private education. Why should they be allowed to create little white, middle-class enclaves within a system which is supposed to benefit all children.

Apart from the breath-taking hypocrisy of it all, what I can't get over is what a terrible example it's setting to children. Presumably if they are lying to vicars and head teachers about their motives for going to church, they will have to make their children complicit in the lies, or their cover will be blown.

They can, of course, console themselves with the thought that they are doing the best they can for their children and that that makes them better than parents who can't or won't make the same choices. Parents of children in private education have been doing so for years. But the fact that their choices are now having a detrimental effect on less well-off and downright disadvantaged members of our communities makes their position morally indefensible and frankly, pretty repugnant.

I guess Christianity has come full circle - 1000 years ago, you used to have to join the church to get an education...
Fair point. I thought it was interesting what that vicar said at the end of Natasha's piece about churches originally setting up schools to educate the poor. I really hate those middle class shits who don't a toss for anyone but themselves.
Thanks for highlighting this. Faith schools affected my family in a different way. Living in a village 5 miles from the nearest town we had no practical alternative to sending our 3 girls to our village primary school. Yes - a Church of England School. We did not want them to have a biased religious education. Despite us not having them christened and rarely discussing religion the inevitable happened. School and peer pressure led to them all asking to be christened. They then for several years were regulars at church. I wish now that we had followed your approach and been more open with our children about our lack of belief. This is a common problem for people in rural communities where often the only village school is a C of E School.

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