View from the staffroom
Faith schools of all denominations are academically successful and incredibly popular with parents.Tony Blair knows it which is why he is committed to opening more.
No one cries about integration when funding faith schools of other religions. I know Islamic schools quite well; my children attend a very successful one. Homework is regular and benign. One can only assume the special project 'planning to bomb the capital' starts in Year 5.
"Bella Circle" Many parents dissatisfied with mainstream schooling choose faith schools because they get higher results, have better discipline, and so on.
This works against social cohesion. This isn't just an issue with Muslim schooling, although the question hints at this. If a Jewish school opens in a local area, other schools lose their Jewish intake and it means few children have the opportunity to learn alongside Jewish children.
"Leviosa" I teach RE in a C of E secondary with a huge mixture of those with faith, agnostics and atheists and some Sikh pupils.
In modern society, we don't actually have that much influence over the average teenager. People go on about faith schools' ability to indoctrinate children - if that were truly so, none of my pupils would be without a pen or forget to do homework.
In the light of the London bombs (you could add Northern Ireland, Palestine etc) the key is to teach the mainstream beliefs of all religions so that the average pupil understands it is not religion that causes these atrocities but people hijacking it to have some pathetic reason to justify their actions.
"Tasnim Ajmal" I have had the privilege of working in three Muslim schools in the UK, state schools and Christian schools. From experience I can certainly state that children in all of these schools are taught to respect all the other religions.
There is nothing in the Islamic school system that would disconnect one from society. As a Muslim born and raised in London, who went through the state system, I can say that it is not your education that is the dominant factor in deciding your state of mind towards a particular ruling system.
"Mysti" As long as faith schools follow the national curriculum, I see no problem in keeping them. This debate is a kneejerk reaction to the London bombings.
I suspect that faith schools were set up (Christian schools being the first) in order to "protect"the children from a particular faith from other "influences". I see no harm in this.
A little while ago there was an article in The TES about faith schools and it turned out that Muslim schools came out on top whereas Christian schools came out with rather dismal results. I don't recall anyone crying out to close the Christian schools.
"Cinderella" It is wrong to assume there is something sinister going on in Muslim schools or in after-schools Qur'an teaching. Some papers reported the bombers were radicalised in gyms, not schools or mosques. No one suggests banning health clubs.