Schools where there is a variety of religious views (including those with none) provide the means where children can come in contact with differences on a regular basis and learn that there is more to human beings than the presence or absence of a religious creed.
The British Government’s recent decision to allow full religious discrimination in school admissions, and the view of the Scottish Government that sixth formers are not allowed to withdraw themselves from religious observances in schools, are abusive and dangerous in at least three ways.
Abusive to Society
One of the ways in which human beings learn to change their views is not particularly through rational argument (though that sometimes can happen), but through prolonged exposure to, and contact with difference. Many of us can testify how having to work for a long period with someone different (for example, from a different race, a different culture, or a different sexuality) has helped us identify our previously unacknowledged prejudice, and helped us modify our opinions. Continue reading “Triple Abuse in Education”
If the re-introduction of Grammar Schools is to happen (and I genuinely hope it won’t) there needs to be much more attention paid to the blunted legacy it will leave for the majority who will “fail”.
At the age of 11 my parents received a letter saying that I was “borderline”. I didn’t quite understand what it meant, but I vaguely realised that I hadn’t passed the 11-plus examination. On the other hand, I hadn’t failed it either. I had fallen into the band of normal statistical error which meant that I could have passed or failed, and so to be sure, I needed to take another examination.
Weeks of cramming verbal reasoning, arithmetic, and spelling with my teacher aunt followed. Then I sat another examination, and eventually learned that I had passed. I would be going to the local Grammar School with four others from my class of 30.
Normally no-one from my primary school on a Council Estate passed, so 1964 was a record year! Continue reading “Don’t Put The Ceiling Back!”