(Dorset) RE, ‘Search’. The latest from: ‘The Agreed Syllabus’ (PC Series), SALED, SACRE, NASACRE, QCA, Ofsted (and, the myriad of) Quangoes of Religiosity. UK. Accord Coalition.



RE, ‘Search’.
{Over – when you consider other subjects and areas that ‘superstition’ (superstition and "who knows what": exactly is spirituality, but we tend to base our modern education and school ethos’s on it, and for many, it is now, a good excuse for – very silly – within ‘the infantile situation’, and subjected, by some, to exclusion or isolation, by the way of the ‘two edged sword of ridicule’. Ref, Joseph Rowntree) may have progressed into (ideological/indoctrination/child domination, and a: frightening, threatening, form of the ‘control mechanism’) the many other ‘areas’ and Subjects at School – 5% of our Children’s time used up, by (some) force and (possible) intimidation (generally a disgraceful example to our children of bigotry, hatred, sectarianism and selection, so on…), from an unelected source and (in some cases of vulnerability) over 100% of Parents time is used up in trying to unravel the damage and ignorance that has, and – thereby been caused. It is a parents duty to know, or we are at the mercy of every crackpot idea and political nonsense (local – RE ‘Search’ and SALED + SACRE). No solid base (for children) and therefore no freedom; producing no ideas; but duty is a dirty word today. Ref, ‘Power of the Guardians’ Prof Amartya Sen "Never has so much power been in the hands of so few in the UK" BBC Today Programme. And, ‘Identity and Violence: The Violence of Illusion’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym12o1i2Mak School Admissions UK  http://www.dorsetforyou.com/media/pdf/o/l/Junior_-_Middle_School_Transfer_-_Sep_09.pdf  "The shallowness of any wonderful pluralism of our UK society in its appallingly bad classification of its people – religion, being the very much overestimated type, of an historically appalling and bad form of classification – having no, or very little meaning at all, to anybody (except, it seems in various educational departments and government) within our present majority, living in our knowledge based culture". Ref, "67% Don’t want Church Schools or Faith Schools". And, 83% think that, "Religion does more harm than good". And, all cultures and people vary enormously in their personal degree of religiosity, which makes religion an even worse form of classification – putting it on a pedestal and perpetuating it through the generations, especially in some of the young and gullible (less – advantaged) a vicious cycle of ignorance. Let’s banish God from the classroom http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/article547341.ece "Let’s stop pretending that every school can teach every child anything meaningful about religion. Let’s scrap RE lessons." http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/article5304304.ece A bit more of History, Evolution, and Cosmology – might not be, such an unbelievable waste of our children’s and most parent’s time: in the unscrambling of utter nonsense. Ref, Replace RE with the ‘greater knowledge’ (in some sort of ‘life class’) that is contained within Atheism: study of atheist thought or thinking –  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism less boring, more multicultural – an ‘open thought system’: as, vs: the "clever imbeciles of the closed system" A.Koestler and "The Infantile Situation" G.Roheim, leading to more ideas for the future in the UK’s ‘knowledge based culture’! Ref, USA / UK (relationship) Constitution(s).
"Not good for the digestion (getting at the truth), but if we are going to sup with the Devil the soup should be tasty and hot enough" House of Lords, UK Parliament.
Dan Dennett brings laughter and “memes” to BHA’s second Darwin 200 event http://www.humanism.org.uk/news/view/246
History and Background – International Humanists (BHS) http://www.iheu.org/node/3235
"It is the admiration of ourselves" Charles Darwin – "Oh dear, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8008926.stm bail us out (the Banks and the Bankers’, are much more important than you – powerless, and quite beastly children, and with your irresponsible, lazy, and immature greedy parents. The honest parliamentarians and bankers – must ruin all our lives for at least the next 15-20 years) A.Darling".
A table of young people’s well-being in 29 European states – the EU plus Norway and Iceland – has ranked Britain 24th. Ref, ‘The Infantile Situation’ and the, ‘Clever Imbeciles’ and the, ‘Closed System’ UK.
Recession ‘tops children’s fears’ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8004214.stm ‘Fears of children in the UK’.
Living in ‘Great Vulgaria Britain’ (GVB) and ‘In The Age Of Stupid’  photo – Pensioners’ (Veterans) Disgusted – demo!
The French Revolution: Mark Steel ‘Vive La Revolution’ part 3 
Great Britain’s (long) Age of Mediocrity – ‘MyTravel’ (fear – mediocrity + after: Empire). Vulgaria http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulgaria Ref, today’s exception, ‘Biggles of Birmingham’ Pablo Mason http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7953069.stm  
The Age Of Stupid http://www.ageofstupid.net/ Britains Age Of Stupid-mess’s and Silliness’s. British Education Policy, UK. Global Crisis by 2030 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7951838.stm
"How could I look my (children) grandchildren in the eye and say I did nothing"? asks Sir David Attenborough. Experts predicting temperature rises throughout the century, entire ecosystems could be lost, and floods threaten. Attenborough speculates on these consequences of global warming and what we can do to avert them. Unsurprisingly, the onus is on all of us in the West to reduce our energy use."
If one of the tipping points of climate change has been reached, such as, the full scale melting of the ice caps I calculate that within 40 years many countries due to sea levels rising will be very different, civilisation as we know it now could only have 80 years to go: London will be well underwater by that time. Then combine the drying up and resulting death of the rain forests, which could mean the end of all life on Earth within a 150 years. The largest and most powerful polluter is America, which has a fascination with preposterous superstition (more than in the UK), this, then is, a recipe for the neglecting of any current reality for promoting any fast change in public attitudes. Ref, "man’s dominion over the Earth", ‘this world, as some or a temporary abode’, man’s self-admiration (of itself), and so on…

Spring Report 2009: A report by our Chair on Accord’s progress since its launch 

Accord was born on 1st September 2008 

Personally I had been concerned about faith schools for several years, but I always felt I was a lone voice – certainly within the religious world. While I was able to raise the issue every now and then, there was no structure through which to link up with others or to urge a change of policy. 

It was that sense of frustration that led to Accord, which aims to unite all those with issues about faith schools – be it their very existence or the way they operate. 

Accord can claim to be doubly unique: 

First, it goes beyond the stale arguments by those ideologically predisposed for or against faith schools. Instead, it is much more nuanced. It asks: what is the best interest of the children and society at large? It believes the answer is schools that are inclusive, tolerant and transparent. 

Second, it is a broad coalition of both those who are religious and secular: Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, humanists, atheists; all of whom desire an educational system that is based on social cohesion – and not just as a slogan but in reality. 

The actual birth of Accord was traumatic. Before the day was out, representatives of the religious groups which have faith schools had jointly  produced a three-page press release which not only condemned us, but which deliberately tried to stereotype us as yet another secular conspiracy frothing at the mouth and trying to destroy all that was good in education. 

There was also an avalanche of criticism in various religious papers, which served to give us a lot of prominence but which was also painful for Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus who value their faith without wanting faith schools. 

Still, we did not turn the other cheek but have been forthright since then in putting our view forward, through radio and television interviews, as well as articles in various papers and on websites. And as well as criticism we received strong support from sources as diverse as the Economist and the Church of England Newspaper editorial.  

We also kept in the headlines a fortnight later when Accord’s views were widely sought by the media on the opening of the first Hindu school in Britain.       

Our response was simple: by dividing Hindu children from those of other faiths, there was now an enormous responsibility upon the school to work very hard to overcome the social barriers this could cause.  

This in turn begs specific questions that apply to all faith schools, and which form the four key concerns of Accord (which will be particularly relevant to the forthcoming Equalities Bill): 

  1. Admissions: should state funded schools operate admissions policies that take account of pupil’s religious belief, and which discriminate against those who come from what is deemed “the wrong faith” or no faith at all? This is the litmus test as to whether those schools are serving the local community or serving themselves. 
  2. Employment: should state funded schools operate recruitment and employment policies that discriminate on grounds of religion. I can at least understand the argument that an RE teacher should be of a particular faith, but what about the Maths teacher, French assistant, kitchen staff or caretaker? 
  3. Syllabus : as there is no National Curriculum for RE (why not ?) and as faith schools can opt out of the locally agreed SACRE syllabus (how come ?), how can we ensure they follow an objective, fair and balanced syllabus for education about religious and non-religious beliefs? 
  4. Accountability: is it wise to have a system of inspection whereby special arrangements are made for faith schools that other schools do not have, which permits exemptions from the normal OFSTED regulation. Why should this be the case and why are faith schools not monitored like every other school?        

Once the initial glare of publicity was over, the hard work began of campaigning for these reforms, targeting those most able to deliver. So Accord has met with government via the Department for Children, Schools & Families; with the Liberal Shadow Minister for Education and the Conservative Shadow Minister too, as well as other MPs and members of the Lords.

We have tried to expand the coalition with like-minded groups, both those in the educational world (from teachers union to educational think-tanks) and those from the religious communities (such as Christian clergy, the Chair of the Muslim Forum and the Hindu Academy). 

We have also sought advice of, and made connections with, bodies that work in other spheres but who sometimes cross-over into the area of faith schools – such as the Runnymede Trust. 

It is hard work, but we have found that there are many who profoundly agree with our position and are glad that such a forum exists. 

There is definitely a new mood in the air: the rapid expansion of faith schools in the last two decades (without nearly enough public attention) is now being challenged by people who are uncomfortable at what has happened; people who feel that it is important that children from different backgrounds do not grow up as strangers, or even hostile to each other, but as fellow citizens.

What is more, independent evidence has recently emerged that admissions procedures are being abused and some state-funded faith schools are acting unethically: either by covertly charging parents or by selection procedures that discriminate against children from less academic backgrounds. 

Moreover, the case for examining faith schools has recently received a boost from a report issued by a report entitled ‘Right to Divide’, published by the highly-respected Runnymede Trust.  It endorses faith schools, but suggests ways of improving them, many of which answer the key questions of Accord listed above. 

There have also been two major pieces of research by academics at the London School of Economics and the Institute of Education showing that religious admissions cause social segregation and don’t improve results over all. 

And most recently we have seen the fruits of our hard work with the announcement of a new Lib Dem policy on faith schools. At the party’s Spring Conference in Harrogate on 7th March they announced that they will oppose the creation of new faith schools that discriminate in admissions and would require existing faith schools to prove that they are inclusive or loose state funding. 

The policy also commits them to fighting for RE lessons that teach “about beliefs, not what to believe”, for the ability of children to withdraw themselves from collective worship on grounds of conscience and for the right of teaching and support staff to be appointed and promoted without regard to their personal beliefs. 

It is another step towards our ultimate goal of changing legislation. Relying on the goodwill of governors or the common-sense of head-teachers is not enough. It is only by initiating legislation about admissions, employment and accountability that the goal of inclusive schools will be achieved. 

So, to sum up the position so far: Accord is just over six months old, but we feel that we have started to make our mark….and we have created a vehicle that not only gives voice to concerns about faith schools but is in a position to press for change. 

With the Equality Bill due to be published next week we know that the next few weeks and months will be busy. We will be in touch very soon to let you know how you can help, so please keep a look out for future emails 

Wish best wishes, 

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE 

Chair, Accord http://www.accordcoalition.org.uk/

Teachers report ‘racist bullying’. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8014880.stm Children’s minister Delyth Morgan said racism in schools was "completely unacceptable". "Children are not born racist and we must work hard to ensure they are educated to be tolerant of difference, and stop bigoted views from outside schools spilling over into the playground," she said. Ref, when? ‘In The Playground For Faith And Belief’. UK.

Ministers and ‘troublesome priests’ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8017388.stm

Smacking, Beating and Drugging: Children. Private Schools – Public Schools. Sexual Abuse. Church Schools, Faith Schools, Childcare Institutions. UK.


BAFTA Award – Documentary – Chosen http://www.chosen.org.uk/ ‘Selected Groomed Abused’

The Unloved

"Two inquiries into the alleged abuse of children by Catholic orders in the Republic of Ireland are to publish their findings."
Promises: Private and Public Schools of the UK – The number one choice of schools: have they really changed, we like to think so, but they still rely on the ‘clever imbeciles of the closed system’. The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, said those who perpetrated violence and abuse should be held to account, "no matter how long ago it happened". Ref, governments will not act to abolish them (above): in the ‘infantile and closed situation’ of GB.

‘The Making Of Them’ Nick Duffell (Starvation with Kaolin and Morphine) http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=jRNVLgfJHKkC&pg=PA154&lpg=PA154&dq=Preparatory+School.+Kaolin+and+Morphine.&source=bl&ots=tVpRMR9mQj&sig=mqIWTBRqnfzXcvj7xq_sHXLv_KY&hl=en&ei=zffaSZeIM4GUjAf52YG-CA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1 Hundreds of girls heavily sedated in UK care homes during the 1970s and 1980s may be at risk of having children with birth defects, the BBC has found. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7985912.stm

Boarding ‘could transform the lives of some children’  http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8032961.stm

There is also however, a more personal answer. ‘Science tells us what we can know, but what we can know is little, and if we forget how much we cannot know, we become insensitive to many things of very great importance. Theology, on the other hand, induces a dogmatic belief that we have knowledge, where in fact we have ignorance and by doing so generates a kind of impertinent insolence towards the universe. Uncertainty, in the presence of vivid hopes and fears is painful but must be endured if we wish to live without the support of comforting fairy tales (‘The Infantile Situation GB’ – ‘Identity and Violence’ Amartya Sen). To teach how to live without certainty and yet without being paralysed by hesitation, is perhaps, the chief thing that philosophy in our age can still do for those who study it.’ Ref, BR – Daddy. Ring a Scholar – A telephone and Internet helpline offering advice about the true teaching of Islam is being launched in the UK today http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8078344.stm And, ‘Hi-Tech Theology’ http://www.elhatef.com


Consultation on New Guidance for Religious Education in England 

What is the issue?

On 30 April, the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) issued new draft guidance on the teaching of Religious Education (RE) in English schools for public consultation (ending on 24 July). The guidance is intended to replace that issued in 1994 (Circular 1/94) which was widely believed, even at the time, to represent very poor advice on RE. The BHA was represented on the steering group that helped to produce the new draft, but it fails to address our two principal concerns in RE: 

  • that RE should be the study of both religious and non-religious beliefs;
  • that humanists should have the same right to be full members of the local committees writing and overseeing RE syllabuses as religious people have.  

We are now very concerned that the guidance will, at best, offer no improvements in these two areas and, at worst, undermine the positive developments that have occurred, in defiance of the previous guidance, in the years since 1994 (and especially since the Human Rights Act 1998). 

What do we want?

We want the government to use the Human Rights Act to read references to ‘religion’ in the present law on RE as references to ‘religion or belief’. This would mean that non-religious philosophies such as Humanism would be included. In particular, we want the references to the content of RE as being about ‘principal religions’ to be read as ‘principal religions or beliefs’ and the eligibility for full membership of Standing Advisory Councils for RE (SACREs – the local committees that oversee RE) and Agreed Syllabus Conferences (ASCs – the local committees that set the RE syllabus) as a representatives of ‘religions’ to be read as ‘religions or beliefs’, giving humanists the right to be full members alongside the religious representatives. 

The phrase ‘religion or belief’ is taken from the language of the Human Rights Act and it includes non-religious beliefs such as Humanism. The phrase ‘religion or belief’ is already used in the government’s national framework for RE (2004) and in the RE section of the secondary curriculum (2007) as well as in the proposed new primary curriculum (2009). In those places, it is made clear that it includes Humanism. It is very important that this should be the case in the new guidance, and that it should be made clear that this is the interpretation that should be given to the law on RE in light of the Human Rights Act*.  

What can you do?

You can respond to the consultation, urging that the guidance should make it clear that RE should be the study of religious and non-religious beliefs and that humanists should be eligible for full membership of SACREs and ASCs. You can do this by downloading the questionnaire at http://www.qca.org.uk/qca_22295.aspx and completing it or you can complete it online by going to http://tinyurl.com/onrhct and registering your email address. You will then be emailed the link to the consultation. 

When completing the consultation you can make use of the BHA’s response to the consultation which is at www.humanism.org.uk/reguidance  

You can email your MP, using the BHA’s easy online facility at http://tinyurl.com/oerynv  and urge him or her to make your views known to the government and support changing the guidance. 

If you are a teacher, you could explore the possibility of your school making a response to the consultation and urging the changes we are looking for. 

If you are a teacher of RE, or otherwise involved in RE as a professional, you can mention this in your own response to the consultation, and you can also contact the National Association of Teachers of RE http://www.natre.org.uk/  or Association of RE Inspectors Advisers and Consultants (AREIAC) http://www.areiac.org.uk/ and urge them to support the changes we are seeking. 

If you are a member of a political party, you can write to the education spokesperson of your party to urge them to support the changes we are seeking. For Labour, this is Sarah McCarthy Fry on mccarthyfrys@parliament.uk , for Conservatives this is Michael Gove MP on govem@parliament.uk , for Liberal Democrats this is David Laws on lawsd@parliament.uk 

If you are a member of a SACRE, whether as a humanist or not, you can urge your SACRE or local authority to make a response to the consultation supporting the changes we are seeking. 

PLEASE DO ALL THE ABOVE insofar as you are in a position to do so.  This is the most important issue we have had to deal with for many years and we need the maximum effort from everyone if we are to win our rights. 

Please copy any submissions you make or correspondence you enter into on this subject to Paul Pettinger at the BHA ( paul@humanism.org.uk or by post to British Humanist Association, 1 Gower Street, London WC1E 6HD). 

* The Human Rights Act at section 6 forbids discrimination on grounds of religion or belief by public authorities and in section 3 requires existing legislation to be “read and given effect in a way which is compatible with the Convention rights”. 

If you know anyone else who may be interested in taking this action, please feel free to forward this email to them! 

Not already a BHA member? Join now and support our vital work!

A global education programme designed to foster understanding between religions has been launched by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8091098.stm @ The Tony Blair Faith Foundationhttp://tonyblairfaithfoundation.org/

Amnesty International

"Children, I’ll argue, have a human right not to have their minds crippled by exposure to other people’s bad ideas—no matter who these other people are. Parents, correspondingly, have no god-given licence to enculturate their children in whatever ways they personally choose: no right to limit the horizons of their children’s knowledge, to bring them up in an atmosphere of dogma and superstition, or to insist they follow the straight and narrow paths of their own faith.

In short, children have a right not to have their minds addled by nonsense. And we as a society have a duty to protect them from it. So we should no more allow parents to teach their children to believe, for example, in the literal truth of the Bible, or that the planets rule their lives, than we should allow parents to knock their children’s teeth out or lock them in a dungeon." ‘What Shall We Tell The Children’ ‘Amnesty Lecture’ Oxford – Nicholas Humphrey. http://www.mindmeister.com/13207398

Also: children, prehistoric boy or girl, were totally absorbed in the activities of their parents (hypnotically so? Ref, ease of human indoctrination and wishing to believe – almost anything, esp – when young) Therefore society could not advance – parent to child, child becomes parent, and in exactly the same exacting mould: seen in some tribal cultures today – the ‘closed system’ of no cultural, and no social advance or of little or any scientific advances! Dr J.Bronowski. ‘A broad menu’ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7630042.stm Jacob Bronowski ‘The Ascent Of Man’ ‘The Long Childhood’ http://www.bbcshop.com/History/Ascent-Of-Man-DVD/invt/bbcdvd1608 Sexual segregation in some tribes (natural state of homosexuality of puberty recognised as normal, even encouraged – a practise for the adult role – ‘perverted’ by any adult involvement) Re-segregation after the ‘myriad of types of initiation rites’ – homosexuality after an initiation rite is given up, for the young male or female, to play the full part in the adults or tribal forms, of the societies accepted forms and its structures of heterosexuality. "Even if homosexuality were, as a matter of fact, ‘unnatural’ (which it probably isn’t), that would not, by itself, justify us in morally condemning it." ‘The War For Children’s Mind’s’ Stephen Law.

Reform RE – Petition Number 10 Downing Street http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/reformRE/#detail

About luckyme0

My First family, second marriage, bringing up my 18-year-old twins, boy, and girl. I am a third generation Humanist, who has some old handwritten information and notes; collected over many years. Someone may find the articles interesting, or helpful. They could bring back a little ‘reality’, after being ‘shocked’ and ‘brainwashed’, by some malicious group, or institution (REBT Therapy). People should know better, than to do this, to our very young, and the ‘obviously’ vulnerable! Go to easily accessible, non-superstitious knowledge that is not charlatanism! https://charleslizzy.com/2011/08/06/independent-schools-inspectorate-isi-marketing-spirituality-buzzword-or-maybe-even-for-you-to-shiver-at-the-something/ The blog has given me an incentive to order my thoughts, learn, and read up again, after a few non-thinking years of (very silly) imagination and passion. Why not, get your own key to a ‘door’, customise it to suit you, and it can be, all of your very own! Don’t believe, or be led by someone else’s; inherited, stupid, and a very likely (past, and not of today’s) ‘totally preposterous reality’s’. Only some interest in the ‘really big questions’, keeps life above the level of a farce, and very little else! KEEP THINKING! Some of the posts may need some correcting. Interests: REBT Counselling, Atheism, Secularism, Humanism, Psychology, Reading, Popular Science, School Ethos, Philosophy, History, Family, Parenting, Psychology, Horse Riding, Sailing, Rescue Boat Driver, Skiing (Teppichswinger), TV Documentaries, Motorbike Cross Country Riding, Volunteer Sports Stewarding, Writing, Primitive Man, Pre-history, Social Anthropology, British Humanist Association, BHA, Meaning of Life, The Big Questions, Where am I, What am I, Why am I, Hippie Love, Knowledge, Education, Globalisation. Favorite quote: “The world belongs to those who, at least to some degree, have figured it out.” Carl Sagan, ‘The Demon Haunted World’, ‘Contact’, and other famous books DVD ‘Cosmos’. The warning of another and horrendous, “Age of Superstition”. “Isn’t there something deeply absurd in the presumption that children ought to inherit beliefs from their parents. It can be deeply damaging, even lethally divisive. A ‘them’, with an ‘against us’, mentality” – Professor Richard Dawkins. “The will to believe is stronger than mere reason in the vast majority of people” – Dr J.Brown, Army Psychologist of the 1960′s. Humans will believe in almost anything, in fact, they seek it! Why? “98% of us, trained to be just good consumers, let’s train our children to be the 2% who have their very own creativity and discernment”; quote by a famous surreal artist. “The lack of reason brings forth monsters”. “Global interconnectedness is lethal against mass religion, nationalism, racism, and other destructive memeplexes. Let us connect everybody they hate it in restrictive regimes”; from the ‘meme learning group’, Richard Brodie’s book, ‘Virus Of The Mind’ (Richard Brodie a designer for ‘Microsoft Word’). Following on, J.Bronowski, and ‘The Ascent Of Man’ TV series, and a book http://www.bbcshop.com/science+nature/the-ascent-of-man/invt/9781849901154/ with the last DVD in this series, ‘The Long Childhood’ being especially revealing. ‘Prehistory’ and the ‘Making of the Human Mind’ by Colin Renfrew, with P.Wilson’s, ‘The Domestication of the Human Species’, and Nigel Spivey’s, TV series and book, ‘How Art Made The World’, offers some further explanations. Latest reading: Jared Diamond http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jared_Diamond
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