State funding is good for faith

19th May 2006 at 01:00
Jonathan Romain expresses concern that the expansion of faith schools "will lead to a fragmented generation, growing up ignorant of each other" ("Rabbi warns of a divided society", TES, May 5). I disagree.

First, it should be noted that many faith schools are multi-racial, drawing pupils from a wide-catchment area; whereas many mainstream community schools are predominantly single-faith or single-race.

Second, state funding for faith schools ensures they comply with the national curriculum and the teaching of citizenship. Research has shown that in the US, where there is no state-funded faith provision, many moderately religious families feel they have no alternative but to send children to private schools where there is a risk of extremism. Surely our system is preferable?

Third there are plenty of opportunities for faith school pupils to visit other schools, participate in sport and other activities with other faiths.

State faith schools provide the "best of both worlds": the religious ethos required by parents and the educational provision required of all maintained schools.

Alan Shaw

Headteacher

Moriah Jewish Day School

Cannon LanePinner, Middlesex

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