Secular Republic

Replace the monarch with an elected figurehead President.  Disestablish the Church of England.  Abolish religious indoctrination in schools.  Abolish "faith" schools.  Abolish all religious priviledge.

Why is this idea important?

Replace the monarch with an elected figurehead President.  Disestablish the Church of England.  Abolish religious indoctrination in schools.  Abolish "faith" schools.  Abolish all religious priviledge.

Faith Schools

Maintained status should be removed from all faith schools.  It is offensive to a great many taxpayers that they should be subsidising the religious and cultural separation of our children in school.  Have politicians not learnt anything from Northern Ireland et al?

Why is this idea important?

Maintained status should be removed from all faith schools.  It is offensive to a great many taxpayers that they should be subsidising the religious and cultural separation of our children in school.  Have politicians not learnt anything from Northern Ireland et al?

Stop funding “Faith” schools from our taxes

Religions exist to create "communities" who follow arbitrary laws just to stay "one of us". They are divisive in society, because they contradict each other, and encourage ignorance of proven facts such as evolution, or even violence against those not in their "community", or obeying their invented rules.

At least a third of all families now ask for a non-religious funeral when people they love die. When taxes are needed for public services for everyone, please will you insist that any "community" wanting a "faith" school pays for it themseves?

Thank you.

Why is this idea important?

Religions exist to create "communities" who follow arbitrary laws just to stay "one of us". They are divisive in society, because they contradict each other, and encourage ignorance of proven facts such as evolution, or even violence against those not in their "community", or obeying their invented rules.

At least a third of all families now ask for a non-religious funeral when people they love die. When taxes are needed for public services for everyone, please will you insist that any "community" wanting a "faith" school pays for it themseves?

Thank you.

Abolish faith schools

No school should be allowed to discriminate between pupils on the grounds of religion.  If schools are funded by the state they should be completely secular.  To avoid undue influence of the church on education legislation there should be no religious appointments to the House of Lords.

 

If the church wishes to run schools along a particular religious ethos they should be expected to fund it themselves.  Or they can run schools but must do so on a secular basis without imposing any religious ethos on the school or having any involvement in the setting of admissions criteria.

 

No church should have no part in determining access to services.  This is anachronistic and should be ended.

Why is this idea important?

No school should be allowed to discriminate between pupils on the grounds of religion.  If schools are funded by the state they should be completely secular.  To avoid undue influence of the church on education legislation there should be no religious appointments to the House of Lords.

 

If the church wishes to run schools along a particular religious ethos they should be expected to fund it themselves.  Or they can run schools but must do so on a secular basis without imposing any religious ethos on the school or having any involvement in the setting of admissions criteria.

 

No church should have no part in determining access to services.  This is anachronistic and should be ended.

Faith Schools – Government Finance Thereof

Faith schools should be fully financed by the religious institutions that sponsor them.  There should be no state subsidy thereof.

In addition the curriculum should be strictly controlled to limit the opportunity for extreme or scientifically unsound teaching.

Why is this idea important?

Faith schools should be fully financed by the religious institutions that sponsor them.  There should be no state subsidy thereof.

In addition the curriculum should be strictly controlled to limit the opportunity for extreme or scientifically unsound teaching.

Not allowing homophobia in faith schools

It was recently decreed that faith schools are allowed to teach about homosexuality, but then say that in their view it's wrong. I think this is in fact wrong and should be stopped

Why is this idea important?

It was recently decreed that faith schools are allowed to teach about homosexuality, but then say that in their view it's wrong. I think this is in fact wrong and should be stopped

Remove all religion from all schools

Schools are places of learning, not indoctrination, so all schools should not have to teach religion, faith schools should be converted to education schools, and religion should be an option to be done instead of a long lunch break – a bit like tennis.

Why is this idea important?

Schools are places of learning, not indoctrination, so all schools should not have to teach religion, faith schools should be converted to education schools, and religion should be an option to be done instead of a long lunch break – a bit like tennis.

Stop state funded schools selecting pupils on the basis of faith.

 

All schools funded in part or in whole by the state should have to accept the vast majority of their pupils on the basis of proximity to the school, or better still on a ‘Fair Bands’ system.   The current system allowing state funded ‘Voluntary Aided’ schools to select their pupils on the basis of faith should be abolished.

Up and down the country, if the best local school is Voluntary Aided, you’ll find aspirational parents making a show of attending the relevant church from the arrival of their firstborn in an effort to get their kids into this school.  In many areas this has created a polarization of pupils between schools; the church schools have the advantage of educating children of predominantly informed and proactive parents, those informed and proactive parents who fail to get their kids into the local church schools tend either to go private or to move to an area where they can afford a home within the catchment of a good non-selective state school (expensive, but cheaper than going independent), leaving neighbouring non-selective schools to struggle to provide a high standard of education without the advantage of having predominantly informed and proactive parents which the faith schools enjoy.  The local non-church schools therefore are attended by a disproportionate number of pupils who don’t come from families with such social capital, including those from ethnic minorities, refugees / new entrants to the UK, children for whom English is an additional language (EAL) and those with parents who aren’t informed enough about education to make an active choice about where their children are educated.  It is self evident that at a certain level of complexity, schools struggle to achieve the best in outcomes.  Even ‘outstanding’ teachers struggle to ensure that every child in their class fulfils their potential when they have to cater for an extremely complex set of needs.  We end up with one extreme of state school with vastly differing value sets, learning needs and aspirations or ‘complex urban schools’; and then the other extreme type of state school, the local Voluntary Aided church school, which brim with the advantages of social capital.   Neither type of school offers a child a social experience that is rounded or representative of our diverse country. 

Finland’s education system has no selection at all (not even independent schools exist); they have their share of poverty and other social problems and with a fully comprehensive school system they achieve outstanding results. Teaching children in accordance with their parents’ religious views in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights does not mean that children of parents with other beliefs should be discriminated against by being excluded from such education. 

The Coalition Government have promised they “will work with faith groups to enable more faith schools and facilitate inclusive admissions policies in as many of these schools as possible.”   They need to take this further and ensure that all schools with any element of state funding will have to select pupils predominantly on the basis of proximity to the school or on the basis of fair banding (which ensures that the school’s pupils are a representative mixture of the abilities of the population).  

If a school wants to select any of its pupils on the basis of faith, then it should be wholly independently funded and not take any kind of state subsidy.   Why should the state be funding schools that select children on this basis?  It would be more ‘Christian’ for a school to support and educate its direct neighbours.

Why is this idea important?

 

All schools funded in part or in whole by the state should have to accept the vast majority of their pupils on the basis of proximity to the school, or better still on a ‘Fair Bands’ system.   The current system allowing state funded ‘Voluntary Aided’ schools to select their pupils on the basis of faith should be abolished.

Up and down the country, if the best local school is Voluntary Aided, you’ll find aspirational parents making a show of attending the relevant church from the arrival of their firstborn in an effort to get their kids into this school.  In many areas this has created a polarization of pupils between schools; the church schools have the advantage of educating children of predominantly informed and proactive parents, those informed and proactive parents who fail to get their kids into the local church schools tend either to go private or to move to an area where they can afford a home within the catchment of a good non-selective state school (expensive, but cheaper than going independent), leaving neighbouring non-selective schools to struggle to provide a high standard of education without the advantage of having predominantly informed and proactive parents which the faith schools enjoy.  The local non-church schools therefore are attended by a disproportionate number of pupils who don’t come from families with such social capital, including those from ethnic minorities, refugees / new entrants to the UK, children for whom English is an additional language (EAL) and those with parents who aren’t informed enough about education to make an active choice about where their children are educated.  It is self evident that at a certain level of complexity, schools struggle to achieve the best in outcomes.  Even ‘outstanding’ teachers struggle to ensure that every child in their class fulfils their potential when they have to cater for an extremely complex set of needs.  We end up with one extreme of state school with vastly differing value sets, learning needs and aspirations or ‘complex urban schools’; and then the other extreme type of state school, the local Voluntary Aided church school, which brim with the advantages of social capital.   Neither type of school offers a child a social experience that is rounded or representative of our diverse country. 

Finland’s education system has no selection at all (not even independent schools exist); they have their share of poverty and other social problems and with a fully comprehensive school system they achieve outstanding results. Teaching children in accordance with their parents’ religious views in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights does not mean that children of parents with other beliefs should be discriminated against by being excluded from such education. 

The Coalition Government have promised they “will work with faith groups to enable more faith schools and facilitate inclusive admissions policies in as many of these schools as possible.”   They need to take this further and ensure that all schools with any element of state funding will have to select pupils predominantly on the basis of proximity to the school or on the basis of fair banding (which ensures that the school’s pupils are a representative mixture of the abilities of the population).  

If a school wants to select any of its pupils on the basis of faith, then it should be wholly independently funded and not take any kind of state subsidy.   Why should the state be funding schools that select children on this basis?  It would be more ‘Christian’ for a school to support and educate its direct neighbours.

No state funding for faith schools

It is unfair that some faiths get funding and others don't. Rather than seeking to normalise a chaotic situation – where do we draw the line? would we fund Jeddi schools? What about those teaching hate amongst all the other stuff? – don't fund any. If people are committed to teaching thier children in a faith environment, they should fund their schools themselves – like some (few) already do.

Why is this idea important?

It is unfair that some faiths get funding and others don't. Rather than seeking to normalise a chaotic situation – where do we draw the line? would we fund Jeddi schools? What about those teaching hate amongst all the other stuff? – don't fund any. If people are committed to teaching thier children in a faith environment, they should fund their schools themselves – like some (few) already do.

Free Our Schools

Free Our Schools

Almost all children now believe they go to school to pass exams. The idea that they may be there for an education is irrelevant. State schools have become exam factories, interested only in A to C Grades. They do not educate children.  Exam results do not reflect a candidate’s innate ability. Employers have moaned for years that too many employees cannot read or write properly. According to a survey, school-leavers and even graduates lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. More and more companies are having to provide remedial training to new staff, who can’t write clear instructions, do simple maths, or solve problems. Both graduates and school-leavers were also criticised for their sloppy time-keeping, ignorance of basic customer service and lack of self-discipline.

Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children.  Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private sector. Parents can perform a better job than the Local Authority because parents have a genuine vested interest. The Local Authority simply cannot be trusted.

The British Government is planning to make it easier to schools to “opt out” from the Local Authorities. Muslim children in state schools feel isolated and confused about who they are. This can cause dissatisfaction and lead them into criminality, and the lack of a true understanding of Islam can ultimately make them more susceptible to the teachings of fundamentalists like Christians during the middle ages and Jews in recent times in Palestine. Fundamentalism is nothing to do with Islam and Muslim; you are either a Muslim or a non-Muslim.

There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries.  Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.

None of the British Muslims convicted following the riots in Bradford and Oldham in 2001 or any of those linked to the London bombings had been to Islamic schools. An American Think Tank studied the educational back ground of 300 Jihadists; none of them were educated in Pakistani Madrasas. They were all Western educated by non-Muslim teachers. Bilingual Muslim children need bilingual Muslim teachers as role models.  A Cambridge University study found that single-sex classes could make a big difference for boys. They perform better in single-sex classes. The research is promising because male students in the study saw noticeable gains in the grades. The study confirms the Islamic notion that academic achievement is better in single-sex classes.

Iftikhar Ahmad

Why is this idea important?

Free Our Schools

Almost all children now believe they go to school to pass exams. The idea that they may be there for an education is irrelevant. State schools have become exam factories, interested only in A to C Grades. They do not educate children.  Exam results do not reflect a candidate’s innate ability. Employers have moaned for years that too many employees cannot read or write properly. According to a survey, school-leavers and even graduates lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. More and more companies are having to provide remedial training to new staff, who can’t write clear instructions, do simple maths, or solve problems. Both graduates and school-leavers were also criticised for their sloppy time-keeping, ignorance of basic customer service and lack of self-discipline.

Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children.  Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private sector. Parents can perform a better job than the Local Authority because parents have a genuine vested interest. The Local Authority simply cannot be trusted.

The British Government is planning to make it easier to schools to “opt out” from the Local Authorities. Muslim children in state schools feel isolated and confused about who they are. This can cause dissatisfaction and lead them into criminality, and the lack of a true understanding of Islam can ultimately make them more susceptible to the teachings of fundamentalists like Christians during the middle ages and Jews in recent times in Palestine. Fundamentalism is nothing to do with Islam and Muslim; you are either a Muslim or a non-Muslim.

There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries.  Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.

None of the British Muslims convicted following the riots in Bradford and Oldham in 2001 or any of those linked to the London bombings had been to Islamic schools. An American Think Tank studied the educational back ground of 300 Jihadists; none of them were educated in Pakistani Madrasas. They were all Western educated by non-Muslim teachers. Bilingual Muslim children need bilingual Muslim teachers as role models.  A Cambridge University study found that single-sex classes could make a big difference for boys. They perform better in single-sex classes. The research is promising because male students in the study saw noticeable gains in the grades. The study confirms the Islamic notion that academic achievement is better in single-sex classes.

Iftikhar Ahmad

Scrap the law that forces all schools to hold an act of (broadly Christian) collective worship every day

Scrap the law that says that all schools must hold an act of (broadly Christian) collective worship every day.

Why is this idea important?

Scrap the law that says that all schools must hold an act of (broadly Christian) collective worship every day.

Defend the principle of religious tolerance

Preserve the right of all people to live by any law-abiding creed or religion they choose, without restraint or penalty. Protect faith schools, and the rights of parents to bring up their children without undue interference. Repeal all laws infringing freedom of speech, for both religious and non-religious people. In other words, stop this country's collapse into mutual hatred and intolerance.

Why is this idea important?

Preserve the right of all people to live by any law-abiding creed or religion they choose, without restraint or penalty. Protect faith schools, and the rights of parents to bring up their children without undue interference. Repeal all laws infringing freedom of speech, for both religious and non-religious people. In other words, stop this country's collapse into mutual hatred and intolerance.

Religion has no place in policy making

I nearly said "no place in govenment", but of course the one duty government has is to safeguard anyone's right to practice a religion of their choosing, if they have come to that decision as a thinking person, no matter how misguided. Hence no organised worship in schools, and certainly no dubious moral dogmaticism in policy making.

Why is this idea important?

I nearly said "no place in govenment", but of course the one duty government has is to safeguard anyone's right to practice a religion of their choosing, if they have come to that decision as a thinking person, no matter how misguided. Hence no organised worship in schools, and certainly no dubious moral dogmaticism in policy making.

Secularise schools : an end to brain-washing our children.

Faith schools should be outlawed. Faith groups should be barred from the "free schools" movement. (Which is a terrible idea anyway, and designed to fragment our universal system of education and benefit the few at the expense of the many.) Religious observance and acts of worship are inappropriate in schools. It is sufficient to teach children about religion and belief systems as an academic subject.

Why is this idea important?

Faith schools should be outlawed. Faith groups should be barred from the "free schools" movement. (Which is a terrible idea anyway, and designed to fragment our universal system of education and benefit the few at the expense of the many.) Religious observance and acts of worship are inappropriate in schools. It is sufficient to teach children about religion and belief systems as an academic subject.