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?