“Teachers call for faith schools to be abolished”. So went the headline in the Daily Mail online, 24th March 2008.
Britain’s biggest classroom union – the National Union of Teachers met for their annual conference in Manchester last week where it was suggested that all faith schools be abolished.
I would not expect a proposal like that to be accepted without great opposition from the faith teachers who are also members of the NUT.
But the most entertaining suggestion I heard was from a politician who suggested all schools be secular, but to have various religious leaders to come in and teach. He said they could hold “Multi-faith services” – What!? I have been on the internet but can not find out who it was I heard interviewed on the radio. Who it was who displayed such ignorance of faith matters.
As a Christian I say let us not dismiss this out of hand. Before dismissing his suggestion perhaps we could suggest that we have an example from the world of politics – role models.
I suggest the different parties could hold multi-party meetings. They could start locally and then, after good relationships and trust has been established, they could do it nationally. Eventually whey hold inter-party conventions they could all each take a turn to sing their closing party songs – even better all to sing each other’s song.
After all they all have the same belief in making our country better and having the best party in power, so there is no difference between them really.
Yes, I think they should do that. And as a sign of their good faith and good relationships the various parties should remove the exemption they have under employment law from discriminating against applicants from other political parties who want to work from them. They should have no more employment protection than faith churches and faith groups have (which is very little).
Another proposal at the NUT conference is for all schools to be completely secular.
I for one would support stripping all our state schools of the religion of Humanism, which in my opinion, is the dominant faith taught in our state schools. When I was a school governor I concluded that Humanism is the faith perspective in most classroom content.
See Guardian Comment