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Christian Peoples Alliance Slams Proposed Nationalization of Church Schools

Plans by the British coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to dictate to church schools who they may admit is an unprecedented shift in church and state relations.

That’s according to a news release from the Christian Peoples Alliance (CPA) party. The Christian Democrats are pointing out that continuing encroachment by government into school admissions is an unwelcome move that approaches nationalization. The party says that if pursued, it would be a grave violation of parental rights as primary educators of their children.

CPA said the deal that brought the Liberal Democrats into government, entitled “The Coalition: our Program for Government,” stated, “We will work with faith groups to enable more faith schools and facilitate inclusive admissions policies in as many of these schools as possible.”

According to CPA, the meaning of “inclusive” can be drawn from a section of the Lib Dem election manifesto entitled “Freeing Schools for Excellence,” which said, “We will ensure that all faith schools develop an inclusive admissions policy and end unfair discrimination on grounds of faith.”

Dr. Tom Rogers is a university lecturer and on the National Executive of the Christian Peoples Alliance. A Roman Catholic lay-minister, Rogers commented in a news release, “The Lib Dem notion of ‘inclusivity’ is a complete misnomer – as disingenuous as the rest of the politically-correct diversity agenda. What it really amounts to is the imposition of atheistic secular values, and the deliberate frustrating of parents’ rightful capacity to bring up their children in the context of the values they know to be truthful and best.”

Rogers continued, “True inclusivity is what is actually already offered by Christian schools, which have a very long history of bringing free education to children who would not otherwise have such vital life-affirming opportunities. In Britain, both independent studies and the Government’s own inspection system … have consistently praised Christian schools for their often disproportionately large representation of children on free school meals and from ethnic minorities. There is no evidence that Christian schools are not inclusive, and attempts to prove as much have consistently been shown up to be simple-muckraking from the secularist lobby.”

CPA said Rogers also warned that state interference of this kind would ultimately kill successful schooling.

He said in the news release, “No school can expect to maintain the ethos which makes it a success if a significant number of parents do not support that ethos. Christian schools want as many children as possible to benefit from what a faith education brings, but non-Christian parents and the Government cannot have it both ways.”

Rogers added, “Entry requirements into Christian schools which stipulate baptism are, firstly, there to protect the integrity of the faith-education freely-chosen by Christian parents for their children. Secondly, they are a protection of the conscience of non-Christian children and their parents, that the faith is not imposed on them. Christ is all inclusive and does not prevent anyone on this planet from following Him who wishes to – including parents who know Christian values are the best for the education of their children.”

The CPA said Rogers welcomed plans announced this week in the Queen’s Speech for a new Academies Bill, which will make it easier for parents and other groups to set up “free schools,” including new faith schools. He said it is important that middle-class parents don’t use the measure to opt out of comprehensive schools to form socially
exclusive schools of their own.

The CPA said he added, “Church schools have delivered high quality education over many generations, driving up standards and tackling educational under-achievement. They have a better track record on inclusion than their secular counter-parts. But this new Bill risks undermining the partnership between the state and churches in the provision of education. The bait of new faith schools must be resisted if it means breaking the principle of non-interference on admissions.”

CPA admitted that if the policy is implemented, it will only impact new church schools. But the group warned that such implementation could be a step towards loss of control of the admissions process of over 4,470 Church of England, 2,300 Catholic and 85 Jewish schools.

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