Church is backing faith ghettos

10th January 2003 at 00:00
IN his Richard Dimbleby lecture the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams encouraged more faith schools as a way of "bringing their (religious communities) beliefs into practical contact with public questions."

I teach in a Middlesbrough school which is comprehensive in name only. Growing numbers of more able pupils are creamed off by selection to city technology colleges. A new city academy opened in the town in September this year. A further one, a Christian foundation, opens at the beginning of the next academic year.

We cannot compete with these colleges' resourcing or their ability to select (and by implication, exclude). A comprehensive school such as ours is in danger of becoming a sink for those unable to access the alternatives.

Comprehensive education is over. So much for inclusivity (a profoundly Christian principle). I believe that the Church should be working within the whole educational framework and not creating comfortable ghettos from which many are excluded.

In this way religious communities and beliefs will indeed come into the practical contact with public questions for which Dr Williams yearns.

Rev Tim Robinson

The Yellow House Copt Hewick Ripon

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