The Education Secretary, Justine Greening MP, has hailed England’s church schools as “hugely popular”. In a letter to Sir Edward Leigh MP, Ms. Greening noted that church schools are “significantly more likely than other schools to be rated by Ofsted as good or outstanding.”
Regarding the Government’s recently announced end to the 50 per cent cap on faith-based admissions, Ms Greening hoped it “will give more organisations the opportunity to establish new faith schools.”
“I see Church and faith schools playing a strong role alongside other types of school, as part of a diverse system that gives parents greater choice and drives up standards,” the Education Secretary added.
Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP for Gainsborough and President of the Catholic Union of Great Britain, wrote to Justine Greening on behalf of the Catholic community thanking her for removing the faith admission cap which prevented the Catholic Church from taking advantage of the free schools programme.
“Many parts of the country face a shortage of school places that needs addressing,” Sir Edward said. “The Catholic Church has been an education provider in this country for centuries, establishing its oldest universities, and now teaching many of the poorest and most disadvantaged.”
“I hope Catholics, our other fellow Christians, and the members of other faith communities in Britain take up the free schools with gusto. They can deliver a great education in a caring environment with a more holistic sense of what learning truly is.”
This is Edward Leigh’s response to the report.
The Commission’s report is a clever attempt to denude the public square and reduce faith to something that goes on in private while promoting religious indifferentism. Great Britain is tolerant precisely because it is a Christian country and if we banish religion from public life I fear we will become increasingly victim to a creeping conformist totalitarianism dressed in a therapeutic guise. We would certainly be even more subject to the tyranny of naked materialism and self-centredness.
Catholics will view the Report’s recommendation that faith schools be shut as a specific attack on us as well as on evangelicals as we tend to be the only two groups of any size who are bucking the trend and resisting the educational conformism of the official establishment mindset. The Report also, in a mealy mouthed way, accused Catholic schools of fostering sectarianism without giving any supporting evidence. Indeed the only testimony of open sectarianism I read in the report was a Catholic victim of prejudice in Glasgow. How insidious and ingenious to employ the victims of sectarianism as an argument in favour of destroying those victims’ schools, culture, and right to live out the fullness of their faith in modern Britain.
I both hope and expect this report will be ignored. The UN Declaration on Human Rights specifically asserts the rights of parents to direct the education of their children and I’m sure the United Kingdom will continue to comply with this. I’m sure most Catholics – alongside Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, and others – will reject the dull, dreary, conformist, and obsequiously inoffensive society this Commission aims for and instead seek to build a better Britain, to borrow Chesterton’s words, “aflame with faith and free”.
Local parliamentarian, Edward Leigh has attended a service at Lincoln Cathedral with current and former pupils from De Aston school to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the school.
Around 900 students joined past and present teachers and guests at the event, to celebrate the long history of De Aston School in Market Rasen.
Edward Leigh MP said he felt honoured to have been invited to celebrate the 150th anniversary of De Aston school. He added that it’s important to mark the occasion as not many schools have existed for so long.
A number of constituents have been voicing their concern over the new hike in tuition fees.
I can empathise with students’ worries about shouldering massive debts at the start of their working lives and this issue deserves serious attention. However, assurance is at hand that the government’s new measures won’t ruin young people’s futures. Read the rest of this entry »
Britain has suffered from a high level of state control and surveillance. The burden of the big state is one thing when the economy is growing and the private sector can support the state, but now that we have to tighten our belts, people are rightly seeking information about who is making the cuts and what their motives are. Read the rest of this entry »