Cameron on Muslim faith schools
"It worries me that we have allowed communities to grow up which live 'parallel lives'. Communities where people from different backgrounds never meet, never talk, never go into each others' homes".
So far, so good, but he then goes awry: "The Tory leader said Islamic schools should in future admit a quarter of their pupils from other faiths".Where I believe he has made a category error is in comparing Islamic schools with C of E and RC schools. In the case of Christian faith schools, Christianity is the theoretical faith of the majority, and Christian and post-Christian ideas suffuse our society. These schools are not exactly seminaries, are they? However, Islamic, and come to that, Jewish schools are rather different, and I find it hard to imagine that parents not subscribing to either of those faiths would think it a good idea to send their offspring to such institutions. I think it extremely unlikely that Joe and Sue Bloggs would be sending Joe and Sue junior off to the local Islamic comp voluntarily, and if he is going to achieve a cultural mix in these institutions, as they stand, then we are going to end up with US style busing.
For what it is worth, my alma mater was a grammer school when I started at 11, but a few years down the line metaphorosised into a faith school in reaction to the onslaught on grammars, continued - to her eternal shame - on Thatcher's watch. This was a remarkably cunning move, as the other grammars in the area just gave up and turned themselves into non-selective schools, whereas entry to mine was on the basis of church / shul attendance, having a brother already there or living within spitting distance. As a result, church attendance in the area soared, and the school expanded from two form to five form entry. Can't say that the religious angle was pushed significantly harder post change, although RE was compulsory at O Level. As to turning my year into fine upstanding Christians, that certainly didn't work. Only two members of the upper sixth used to sing in assembly, and one of those only did it because he liked a sing-a-long. The rest of us folded our arms and looked smug, much to the consternation of the squits in the lower years.