Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Why would any children of no faith in Moortown be directed to a faith primary school in Chapeltown?

I wrote this letter to the YEP before the tragic Tory success in the latest UK general election. Sadly this "success" will mean that the Conservatives think they have a mandate for dismantling our public education system:
This debacle over the allocation of places to the Khalsa Science Academy throws up a number of uncomfortable issues.

1. It is a free school/academy. As such it doesn't need to conform to national or even local educational standards, such as employing qualified teachers or providing healthy meals. Despite Gove and Cameron defending this "freedom", no one else in the country is buying this is as a good thing.

2. It is a Sikh school. Are the parents religious? Sikh even? Well, for me this begs the other question of why are Christian schools bursting with Muslim children? And one answer is that church schools only survive because they include children from other faiths. Is this a good thing? Debate. But when my Muslim friend was in 6th form at a Catholic college she had to attend masses in order to qualify for EMA - the allowance that sixth-formers used to get to help them finance staying on in education.

4. By its name this new school seems to be a Science specialist institution. At primary age! Research clearly show the value of the Arts in education. This title does not bode well for them.
5. This local school isn't actually yet in Moortown, but presently housed in Chapeltown, not, I think "local" at all!
So, it's up to Leeds to sort this out, because this will be being replicated around the country and making us the world's laughing stock