Pyramid Comment

This journal takes an alternative view on current affairs and other subjects. The approach is likely to be contentious and is arguably speculative. The content of any article is also a reminder of the status of those affairs at that date. All comments have been disabled. Any and all unsolicited or unauthorised links are absolutely disavowed.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Faith Schools

Faith schools The term 'faith school' seems to be the popularised description for a multicultural intake school. As such, a reasonable conflict of acceptance is clear. There are arguments that legally, parochial schools should not enjoy any special treatment (government funding). In the English educational system, many schools are linked to the Church of England which sets the ethos of the school and, where there is competition for places, this can influence the selection of pupils. A large proportion of the 6,955 'faith schools' in England are Christian. The Roman Catholic church also maintains schools and additionally, there are 36 Jewish, 7 Muslim and 2 Sikh faith schools. These schools follow the same national curriculum as state schools and although religious education in Church of England schools is monitored by the local diocese, does not typically take up much more of the timetable than in secular (no religious connection) schools. Many 'faith schools' are breaking the law. Not a good testimonial for the standards of such an establishment and demonstrates contempt simply for the pursuit of finance rather than the interests of the children. Additionally, these schools fail to give priority to children in care. Of 106 voluntary-aided schools 96 are in breach of a new statutory code on admissions as revealed in a survey by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and 87 of these are 'faith schools'.
90% in breach of the law
The biggest single breach involved the admissions of children in care and a total of 58 schools were found to be refusing to give them priority in admission as demanded by law. Additionally, 13 did not admit special-needs children at all. Hasmonean primary school (Barnet) has 4 pupils out of a roll of the mixed roll of 200 (2%) that have a statement of special educational need and the proportion of pupils entitled to free school meals is well below average. This school has breached the code in 10 different ways. One popular method is in the questioning during interview: "Do you have a place for independent study at home" that carries an inference "Do you live in a council home or a large house?" And a refusal to offer a voluntary contribution when asked for one may be regarded as jeopardising their chances of admission. The Catholic Education Service, the Church of England and the Jewish community have agreed to work with the government to secure compliance with the code.
Next year
Almost a 'voluntary' compliance. No compulsion. Smacks of Gordon Brown asking MPs to show restraint and don't ask for too much ($$money$$) for themselves. It would not be politically correct to insist as this could upset someone. Just ask nicely and see if the awfully decent chaps wouldn't mind. But upsetting citizens of UQ (aka UK) is acceptable and even mandatory, though everyone else? So what can swim and rise to the top in the trough?
Cherie Blair Tony Blair Michael Martin John Prescott Some (6) were asking parents for 'voluntary' financial contributions of up to £895 per term Jewish Beis Yaakov primary school in Barnet, north London) before admitting their children. This is then a 'conditional voluntary' contribution. It is alleged that 'faith schools' are flouting the statutory code: " get richer kids and better results...". Wikipedia entry:
  • Jewish law, known as halacha is considered a set of God-given instructions to effect spiritual, moral, religious and personal perfection. As such, it includes codes of behavior applicable to virtually every imaginable circumstance (and many hypothetical ones), which have been pored over and developed throughout the generations in a constantly expanding collection of religious literature. The earliest written compilation of halacha, the Talmud, is considered authoritative.
  • Halacha is a guide for everything the traditional Jew does from the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to sleep. It is a body of intricate laws, combined with the reasoning on how such conclusions are reached. Halacha incorporates as rules many practices that began as customs, some passed down over the centuries, and an assortment of ingrained behaviors. It is the subject of intense study in religious schools known as yeshivas.
  • Throughout history, halacha has addressed issues on the basis of circumstance and precedent. There have been some significant adaptations, including more formal education for women in the early twentieth century, and the application of halacha to modern technology. While Haredim have typically been more conservative than their Modern Orthodox counterparts regarding new practices and rulings on new applications of halachic concepts, Orthodox Judaism views these types of innovations as consistent with traditionally expounded halachic concepts. Haredi Orthodoxy's differences with Modern Orthodoxy usually lie in interpretation of the nature of traditional halachic concepts and in understanding of what constitutes acceptable application of these concepts.
  • Modern inventions have been studied and incorporated into the ever-expanding halacha, accepted by both Haredi and other Orthodox communities. For instance, rulings guide the observant about the proper use of electricity and other technology on the Jewish Sabbath and holidays. Most major points are the subject of consensus, although fine points are the subject of a greater range of opinions. While discussions of halacha are common and encouraged, laypersons are not authorized to make final determinations as to the applicability of the law in any given situation; the proviso is: "Consult your local Orthodox rabbi or posek (rabbinical authority)."
This does not offer guidance to the ethics of finance, which is apparent by its absence and suggests the morality is exempt, but the conditional extraction of money is not and is indeed expected and acceptable. It would seem that the God-given instructions (halacha) through Jewish law has priority over English law. In England. According to the DCSF, three authorities (Barnet, Manchester, Northamptonshire) are considered representative of the country as a whole. There were no breaches of the law in schools run by local authorities or at the government's flagship academies, but flouting the law is widespread in 'faith schools'. State-funded education was introduced by the Education Act (1870) and before this the church provided the only means of an education for poorer children. 'Faith schools' have become so popular that they can now cherry-pick pupils and since league tables measure a school's achievements it is not surprising that only the cream is pursued. The brightest. And the richest. As spinning goes, the original ethos has been spun around to shower advantage onto those who can afford education and deny it to those who cannot. David ('call me Dave') Cameron
  • Eighteen months ago, when David Cameron was an outside bet for the Conservative leadership rather than slight favourite to become prime minister at the next election, the Tory MP John Bercow set out publicly why he thought Cameron was not a good prospect. "In the modern world," Bercow said, "the combination of Eton, hunting, shooting and lunch at White's is not helpful when you are trying to appeal to millions of ordinary people."