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Faith Schools and Neutrality April 20, 2009

Posted by John Stephenson in Education.
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The 5live phone in this morning did it’s normal trick – got me cross!¬† The subject was faith schools and apart from ¬†Nicky Cambell being provocative ( I know it’s his job) I found the quality of contributions mediocre.

We had the ‘I don’t want my taxes to pay for religious schools’ – because of course religious people don’t pay taxes!. We had the children are being indoctrinated comment – as if the alternative to a faith school is some sort of neutral value free education.

When are we going to wake up to the fact that the alternative to faith schools is not neutral but a set of other values altogether. The choice is between a set of values – some influenced by a faith perspective – others equally influenced by a different set of values – often unspoken secular ones. We need to be honest and open about our values – at least that’s what faith schools are doing.

I think ‘Indoctrination, Education & God’ should be compulsory reading for all in Education. At least then we’d begin to be alerted to the reality of what lies behind our approach to education.

When Christians have worked out why being involved in education is a good thing for all the students in their care, when they can articulate why the values that underpin their approach to education are not just about passing on faith but about helping all to reach their God-given potential, then the dialogue can really begin. Let’s do that and speak out firmly because to keep quiet is to ignore the needs of the young people we supposedly care so much about.