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Church and state are not incompatible

I read with interest the articles on the church and state schools (TES, February 23) particularly Professor Richard Dawkins's criticisms of ministers' stance.

I am surprised he fails to perceive at least some benefits of church schools. For centuries the church has provided educational services, motivated by belief in a god who places value on everyone.

As an economist for 10 years before becoming a clergyman, I was amused by the professor's illustration of Keynesians and monetarists, but not impressed by his logic. All good economists appreciate that they are not mutually exclusive and would want their children to study both.

It is no surprise that millions of parents across the country - may of whom are not Christians - choose to send their children to church schools to be educated in a supportive environment which encourages thinking about important questions in life, including moral and spiritual ones.

As a parent, I want schools to help children reach their potential in all spheres of life. As chairman of governors of a non-church state school, I want children to benefit from any community-minded organisation which supports the school. As a Christian minister, I want children to have a chance to decide for themselves what they think of Christianity. Thankfully, most people see these roles as mutually reinforcing.

David Price

30 Chineman Close

Fleet, Hampshire

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