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Lawson’s Guff

I wouldn’t like this Blog, whatever it’s merits or lack of them, to become a place to point out the nonsense about faith schools spouted in the newspapers (usually the Telegraph) but I was struck by this article in The Independent by Dominic Lawson.

It really is an object lesson in how to miss the point. It seems that Mr Lawson has seen a well-run Catholic School so he argues that this makes all faith schools good.

  • He notes the picture of the Pope in the hall and links this to children standing up in class – with little evidence.
  • He states that the social mix, whilst not as disadvantaged as the local surrounding community schools, is not enough to explain the better results of the Catholic school. The evidence is really not on his side, and he is on the verge of admitting it.
  • He covers his lack of evidence with some assertions about the discipline in school against the undisciplined family backgrounds of some pupils. Again, this is just the opinion of the Headmaster who, I would guess, will have limited knowledge of the family backgrounds of children in the area who don’t attend his school.
  • He quotes the research on Ofsted and Community Cohesion which has been largely criticized (including by me).

With the exception of the last point, he is still generalising from one good school with attribute A to assume that all schools with attribute A must also be good. He makes the concession that there are probably some good non-A schools. He does not consider A attribute schools that are not good – although presumably there are some. All this would lead most of us to conclude that there is a lot more to good schools than A-ness or the lack of it. But not, it would seem, when you are Dominic Lawson and the A attribute is religion.

Perhaps Mr Lawson should look at this school and see what generalisations he can make?

  1. Stonyground
    08/03/2010 at 7:51 pm

    I followed the link and found it totally horrifying. There are already Islamic schools that seem to be determenied to turn out unemployable, antisocial, dysfunctional benefit junkies and now the Christians want to set up in competition. This is even more depressing as it is happening in my neck of the woods. Whenever Nu-Labour is ousted from power, please let it be soon, surely an absolute certain road to success would be to keep the current cabinet on as consultants and then to do the exact opposite of anything that they suggest.

    • 09/03/2010 at 1:19 pm

      Much as a agree with you about the present Government’s appalling sycophancy to all the religious lobbies, I am equally appalled at the main alternative. David Cameron and his lot seem to be just as keen as Labour on faith schools and – if this article is to believed – may harbour some rather unsavoury evangelicals.

      Only the Lib Dems ever seem to make a few anti-religious privilege remarks – and they’re not going to form the next Government, are they?

  2. Stonyground
    10/03/2010 at 8:09 pm

    The one ray of light in all this is that ramming religion down children’s throats tends to produce the most pro-active atheists. Part of the problem that we now have is that most people don’t give a toss about religion and just see it as harmless tosh. A new generation that recognise that religion is poisonous drivel may be just what we need.

  3. 26/05/2010 at 8:44 am

    Ha! Just looked at my last comment here: Only the Lib Dems ever seem to make a few anti-religious privilege remarks – and they’re not going to form the next Government, are they?

    Look at what has happened! They are part of the Government, but any instincts to stop religious privilege seems to have disappeared. Will be interesting to see what happens to the Bishops in The House of Lords. They managed to hang-on during Labour’s reform of the Second Chamber. Will the Coalition be more radical?

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