No confidence in Church of England

28th September 2001 at 01:00
FAITH schools will fail to transform education because the Church has succumbed to the moral erosion that has caused standards to collapse, a new book claims.

Columnist Melanie Phillips says in "America's Social Revolution" that experiments in the US aimed at raising attainment, such as charter schools and vouchers, are unlikely to be imported successfully.

She accuses the Church of England of being part of a culture of excuses and predicts it will be unable to have the impact on school standards that has occurred in some parts of the United States.

"It is hard to envisage the British clergy getting itself out of the pulpit and into the streets, as has happened in America," she said.

At Marva Collins Academy in Milwaukee, featured in the book, four-year-olds get more then an hour of phonics a day. They sit at single desks, facing the front, where the teacher leads the class in chanting letters. Ms Phillips described it as an "approach to reading that would make most British teachers' eyes water".

The school is private but poor, black children are able to attend because of a school voucher system which means that they are funded by the state.

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