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← Panorama - BBC1 8.30 p.m. on 22 November

Panorama - BBC1 8.30 p.m. on 22 November - Comments

Arnott Bird's Avatar Comment 1 by Arnott Bird

Yes, it should be an interesting programme. I really can't see why anybody would argue for faith schools; surely the experience of Northern Ireland, and the segregation there, ought to have taught us something?

Education should be faith-neutral, it should be exactly what it says on the tin; education, not faith indoctrination. What is particularly galling is that taxpayers' money is being used for faith schools.

Fri, 19 Nov 2010 17:41:23 UTC | #549980

Kenny18's Avatar Comment 2 by Kenny18

I commend John Ware for doing such an important program. It makes me sick to think we don't have any top politicians who are for abolishing state funded faith schools and keeping our schools secular in which we would teach ABOUT all religions comparatively. Education is one of the best ways to integrate immigrants into our society but we aren't doing it. I think it's one of our biggest mistakes going into the twenty-first century.

Fri, 19 Nov 2010 17:53:37 UTC | #549991

evotruth's Avatar Comment 3 by evotruth

Our armed forces are fighting a "war" with the taliban and we have schools where young children are being taught to hate westerners through religious indoctrination! I seem to remember there being a program about this issue many years ago, so HOW can it still happen?

How can these schools get away with teaching children lies? How can they get away with segregating them through religion and race?

Fri, 19 Nov 2010 17:57:07 UTC | #549994

TreenonPoet's Avatar Comment 4 by TreenonPoet

Lord Hill's infuriating speech at Lambeth Palace on November 16 needs the Jos Gibbons treatment. I nominated Lord Hill for the New Humanist Bad Faith award a few weeks ago, but he did not make the shortlist. Here is a part of what I posted there:-

"I would like to nominate Lord Hill of Oareford (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for schools) for the award (although I realise this may appear a UK-centric choice) for his contribution to the mis-education of children. Here he is in a House Of Lords debate on the Academies Bill:

...one of the core aims of the policy is precisely that the Secretary of State should not dictate to academies what they should teach. The whole direction of government policy is to interfere less and trust teachers and head teachers more. It is not easy and a lot of debates that we have had have been around the tension between trusting people and being worried about what happens if you trust people and things go wrong. I fully accept that if you trust people things do go wrong, but that is the direction that we want to try to go in.

and here is an extract from a letter from Lord Hill to the NSS:

On the issue of proselytising, which you also raise, we do not think it appropriate to legislate in this area. Parents will choose a school based on its ethos. That ethos may be Christian, Muslim or Jewish or it may have no faith ethos at all. Parents should be free to choose schools on the basis of their ethos. I would like to believe that parents consider these issues carefully and send their children to a school fully aware of its faith or other ethos.

So, Lord Hill sees no reason to protect children against being imbued with irrationalism and superstition, not only as a result of parents' delusion regarding religion, but also as a result of parents' ignorance regarding the susceptibility of schools to a change of ethos."

Fri, 19 Nov 2010 18:26:07 UTC | #550016

Arnott Bird's Avatar Comment 5 by Arnott Bird

Comment 4 by TreenonPoet

Lord Hill, it seems to me, is a prize pillock. A man never elected into office who has so much say on the education of our children? Hooray for democracy...

Fri, 19 Nov 2010 18:47:12 UTC | #550031

HughCaldwell's Avatar Comment 6 by HughCaldwell

Comment 3 by evotruth How can these schools get away with teaching children lies? How can they get awaywith segregating them through religion and race?

Segregation is inbuilt in the British education system. There are Catholic schools, CofE schools , Jewish schools and Muslim schools in the state education system. Government policy is to increase the number of faith schools. Obviously, religious groups are going to accept the invitation of the government to set up even more faith schools.

The root of the problem is that even 'secular' schools have compulsory religious assemblies and religious instruction. The firat step is to amend the education act to do away with the statutory obligation to have religion in all state schools. The problem is that, for some reason, religion, any religion, is considered 'a good thing'.

Fri, 19 Nov 2010 19:05:03 UTC | #550040

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 7 by Stevehill

Lord Hill's (no relation!) quote:

Parents will choose a school based on its ethos. That ethos may be Christian, Muslim or Jewish or it may have no faith ethos at all. Parents should be free to choose schools on the basis of their ethos. I would like to believe that parents consider these issues carefully and send their children to a school fully aware of its faith or other ethos.

... might have a scintilla of credibility if all parents could choose schools. Instead their kids are usually assigned to whatever school can take them by a bureaucratic juggernaut, irrespective of parents' wishes.

Or, having expressed their wishes, a school is closed down and the pupils are transferred en masse to a faith school not of the parents' choosing, as in Islington.

Fri, 19 Nov 2010 20:29:06 UTC | #550099

Kenny18's Avatar Comment 8 by Kenny18

Steve, even if parents were able to choose schools, I still don't think the state should be paying for faith schools. In other words the state should remain neutral on the issue of faith. But if someone wants to start a faith school with their own money that's a different issue.

Fri, 19 Nov 2010 20:53:53 UTC | #550112

TreenonPoet's Avatar Comment 9 by TreenonPoet

Regarding comment 7 by Stevehill:

I do not think that there is even a scintilla of credibility in the idea that parents should be able to choose schools according to religious ethos. Apart from the divisiveness of the idea, there remains the credulity it gives to religion. Where there is a genuine (i.e. non-religious) dispute about what constitutes best behaviour, a school can refrain from judgement or attempt a balanced discussion about it, but it may be necessary to accept a default position based on local tradition (just as we accept the law of the land). (Parents who feel strongly about a particular cultural practice will not be without influence at home.)

The very attempt to divide state schools according to religious ethos is bound to result in some parental disappointment regarding their preferred ethos, given the limited funding available for schools. The need for specialist schools already results in geographic unfairness - why make the situation worse?

Regarding comment 8 by Kenny18:

Why should anyone wishing to start a faith school with their own money be allowed to mis-educate innocent children (and pretending that faith is rational is mis-education)? Lord Hill's recent Lambeth Palace speech uses the word 'moral' quite often where I think he is quietly understood to be referring to religious indoctrination.

Fri, 19 Nov 2010 21:36:48 UTC | #550135

Layla's Avatar Comment 10 by Layla

What counts as extremism in a Muslim school?

Isn't ordinary, run of the mill Islam already equivalent to the extreme forms of Christianity?

Sat, 20 Nov 2010 01:00:48 UTC | #550204

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 11 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 1 by Arnott Bird

Yes, it should be an interesting programme. I really can't see why anybody would argue for faith schools; surely the experience of Northern Ireland, and the segregation there, ought to have taught us something?

The argument may even be stronger. The schools in N.I., while sectarian, they are not faith schools per se, in that religious indoctrination is taught in the classroom. As you point out, it is still a wedge driving tool in our society, perpetuated for the most part, by the RCC and bigoted parents.

Sat, 20 Nov 2010 03:56:01 UTC | #550244

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 12 by Enlightenme..

The BBC? Doing such an Islamophobic program as this? Whatever next?

Sat, 20 Nov 2010 04:45:53 UTC | #550259

viralmeme's Avatar Comment 13 by viralmeme

'An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has established that the education watchdog has published positive reports praising Muslim schools for their contribution to community cohesion — even in the case of a school which openly states that Muslims “oppose the lifestyle of the West”.

The Ofsted inspector responsible for many of the reports, Michele Messaoudi, has been accused of having links to radical Islamist organisations.

This newspaper can reveal that another recent Ofsted inspector, Akram Khan-Cheema, is the chief executive of a radical Muslim educational foundation, IBERR.

Its website describes Islamic schools as “one of the most important factors which protect Muslim children from the onslaught of Euro-centrism, homosexuality, racism, and secular traditions”` link

Sat, 20 Nov 2010 10:45:06 UTC | #550375

Arnott Bird's Avatar Comment 14 by Arnott Bird

Comment 13 by viralmeme :

'An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has established that the education watchdog has published positive reports praising Muslim schools for their contribution to community cohesion — even in the case of a school which openly states that Muslims “oppose the lifestyle of the West”.

The Ofsted inspector responsible for many of the reports, Michele Messaoudi, has been accused of having links to radical Islamist organisations.

This newspaper can reveal that another recent Ofsted inspector, Akram Khan-Cheema, is the chief executive of a radical Muslim educational foundation, IBERR.

Its website describes Islamic schools as “one of the most important factors which protect Muslim children from the onslaught of Euro-centrism, homosexuality, racism, and secular traditions”` link

I find all of this terribly disturbing; what is meant by "community cohesion", for example? Surely, as I mentioned earlier, and Ignorant Amos expanded upo, the schools in Northern Ireland did exactly that?

Also, how is someone with the views held by Akram Khan-Cheema given a position as an OFSTED inspector? Wtf? Let's suspend disbelief for a second and imagine a Muslim faith school that wished to offer a more secular perspective on the world....an OFSTED inspector like Khan-Cheema is going to jump up and down on them.

What sort of morons and lunatics could be so stupid, and blind to the 'bigger picture' that they would encourage this sort of segregation?

Sat, 20 Nov 2010 11:35:33 UTC | #550400

lilalindy's Avatar Comment 15 by lilalindy

At the end of the last Tory government, and at the end of the last Labour government, the corruption all got just a bit exposed to the general public and they got voted out; a spectacular landslide in the former case and a peculiar whimper in the latter (I have no doubt that given a bit longer, the queen would have stepped in and tossed a coin to decide it).

The best we can do is expose this corruption of our education system by sectarian schools, possibly in a number of embarrassing leaks that implicate government ministers get the tabloids and the rest of the press to make it a vote issue.

The easy victim for the tabloids is the Islamic schools but that could be a foot in the door that, given a bit of good management and luck, could be extended to other sects such as RCC and so on, placing the education of our children higher on the agenda. Save Our Schools (SOS) has a certain ring about it.

Sat, 20 Nov 2010 11:56:36 UTC | #550410

Carlsandman 's Avatar Comment 16 by Carlsandman

These faith schools encourage segregation in our society. They should all be closed.

Sun, 21 Nov 2010 17:49:50 UTC | #551049

Emmeline's Avatar Comment 17 by Emmeline

Comment 4 by TreenonPoet :

Lord Hill's infuriating speech at Lambeth Palace on November 16 needs the Jos Gibbons treatment. I nominated Lord Hill for the New Humanist Bad Faith award a few weeks ago -

You have probably seen this but others might like to read the related article on the National Secular Society's site:

http://www.secularism.org.uk/ever-more-faith-schools-to-be-cr.html

Sun, 21 Nov 2010 18:07:00 UTC | #551059

raytoman's Avatar Comment 18 by raytoman

In Madrasses in Pakistan, they teach the Quran. Students are taught nothing else, not even Arabic (the language of the Quran) or how to read/write. They just learn how to recite the the Quran and the best students can memorise it all. That is all the education a Muslim Needs.

Pretty much the same for all the Jewish religions (this of course includes all the Jewish, Christian and Muslim cults with about 3 billion members). The only difference is the book(s) they teach though most do teach the 3 R's and other subjects.

In most countries all of the population contributes to this "teaching", even athiests.

With 6 billion religious people (yes, even newborns believe in God(s), life after death, living for eternity in paradise or hell, etc) this is the expected norm.

England seems to change religion by Royal Decree (though I think Henry VIII made the last decree) so maybe King Charles is preparing to change his religion to Muslim

Sun, 21 Nov 2010 22:55:06 UTC | #551190

inquisador's Avatar Comment 19 by inquisador

Having watched Panorama, or the last 15 minutes of it, I see that once again the main cause of the problem is ignored. They blame radical imams and teachers for preaching hateful supremacist verses from the Koran. As ever, the pretence is indulged that the teachers are the problem, as if the teachings originate from them. As if all we need are more teachers who will somehow render the Koran and other texts as something other than what they really are. All the evidence is plain to see: that the hate and intolerance come straight from the core texts. Just a vague phrase about how one needs to put things into context or correct interpretation is lazy waffle and it just will not do. How long can we go on dodging reality with its' troubling implications? I wonder.

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 21:43:18 UTC | #551687

Layla's Avatar Comment 20 by Layla

It annoys me that these are state schools.

If we're going to have schools like this they should at least be private and privately funded.

It adds insult to injury.

It's not just about the money but that this is being sanctioned by the state.

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 00:12:07 UTC | #551732

TreenonPoet's Avatar Comment 21 by TreenonPoet

Comment 17 by /Jan:

You have probably seen this but others might like to read the related article on the National Secular Society's site:

http://www.secularism.org.uk/ever-more-faith-schools-to-be-cr.html

I am glad that the NSS highlighted Lord Hill's sentence

And yet — somewhat to my surprise — I find myself having to stick up for faith schools.

This indicates that that he is incompetent or both lying and incompetent. If he really is surprised by the attacks on faith schools, then what sort of research was done before it was decided to increase their number? If he is not really surprised, then he is lying and deliberately playing down the objections. (He does not address any specific secular objections throughout his speech other than to give an inadequate excuse for why the Academies bill was rushed through Parliament.)

Lord Young resigned for less.

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 19:21:55 UTC | #552102