A lack of faith in atheist philosopher's secular solution

27th November 2009 at 00:00

In your editorial ("Let the Godless in or forgo the bliss of funding", November 20), you state that "secular parents should have a right to send their children to schools that they pay for ... faith schools should not expect to take the cash and largely exclude the payer".

First of all, parents of pupils who attend the 6,900 maintained faith schools in the UK would argue that they are also taxpayers and voters. Second, they would point out that faith communities and parents have to raise 10 per cent of capital costs for schools, unlike community schools, which are 100 per cent funded. Furthermore, given that millions of pounds have been raised by faith communities, parents and benefactors to buy the land and buildings that comprise faith schools, is it really so unreasonable for such schools to give priority to children of their members?

By all means, let us have polite, healthy debates about the role and responsibilities of faith schools; but to imply, as many do, that parents who subscribe to such schools are scrounging off the state is most unfair when, it could be argued, they are actually subsidising it.

Alan Shaw, Headteacher, Moriah Jewish Day School, Cannon Lane, Pinner, Middlesex.

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