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What faith in fiath schools?

PUBLISHED: 13:57 16 January 2008 | UPDATED: 13:36 12 July 2010

APPARENTLY it's known as the Year Five Epiphany - the growing phenomenon of older children being baptised into the Roman Catholic Church by parents desperate to get them into the best schools.

APPARENTLY it's known as the Year Five Epiphany - the growing phenomenon of older children being baptised into the Roman Catholic Church by parents desperate to get them into the best schools.

The Church of England has also witnessed an increase in these later christenings - numbers rose from 35,000 to 39,000 between 1990 and 2005 alone.

Faith schools in Norfolk annually appear among the best-performing in academic league tables.

Next year, when one of our children is ready to move on, we will again be faced with the dilemma of whether to apply, against our better judgement, for a faith-school place, or to a secular institution where grades are lower.

It's a lack-of-proper-choice which makes me angry and I was therefore pleased at education secretary Ed Balls' announcement last week that the Government would no longer back an expansion of faith schools.

By all means teach kids at every school to understand and respect the diversity of beliefs held across the world, but please don't let my taxes go towards state schools which are biased towards one particular religion.

Segregating and educating children along religious lines seems a perverse thing to do in a UK where, for starters, Muslim fundamentalism is a current cause for concern.

At best I would argue faith schools create a lot of false converts. And at worst I remember the obscenity of September 2001 when some 50 children, attempting to walk to the Holy Cross Catholic girls' school in north Belfast, ran a gauntlet of verbal abuse, stones and bottles, thrown by a 200-strong Protestant crowd.


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