Monday, April 6, 2009

The headmistress's story

Interesting article in the Independent about how a headmistress lost her job - the local council failing to stand up to misguided religious extremism appears to be the culprit. Here.

Faith and unreason: The headteacher hounded from her job

Erica Connor took a failing school and turned it into a beacon of academic achievement and racial harmony. So why was she driven from her job by religious extremists and misguided officials? Tim Walker hears her story

Thanks to anticant for this...

6 comments:

anticant said...

I would use a far stronger term than "misguided"!

Situations like this are going to become far more common, and not only in schools. They are the inevitable result of the government's inane - actually insane - 'multiculturalist' policies and the incessant cries of "Islamophobia" which emanate from the Muslim community if they are criticised about anything.

georgesdelatour said...

1. The proportion of children of Muslims in a school rises 2. It reaches a tipping point. 3. Non-Muslim parents actively seek ways to get their kids out of the school 4. The school, though not technically a "Islamic School", becomes almost wholly Muslim in character.

When I first looked for a school for my son, I visited the nearest local school. It was a state school with an 80% Muslim intake. Non-Muslim parents in the area - including "died again" Atheists and Jews - were going to church on Sunday, pretending to be Christian in order to get their kids into Anglican or Catholic schools. It's exactly what I did.

Whatever we Atheists may write on blog posts, my direct experience is that most British Atheists will actively seek out Anglican or Catholic schools for their kids, and do almost anything to avoid sending their kids to nominally secular Muslim majority schools.

Most UK Muslims are economically disadvantaged, and English may not be the kids' first language. These school quality factors may be enough to make non-Muslim parents want to go elsewhere, without even considering the specific characteristics of Islam. But I don't think that's all.

My son went first to a Catholic school, then an Anglican one. In both I found the extent and intensity of religious indoctrination to be very very mild, and easy to counteract at home. With Christianity in the UK, it feels like we're mostly flogging a dead horse. We all sense "Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar". But Islam feels different. There's a confidence and assertion in British Islam, buoyed up by rising numbers of adherents. As noted here, for instance:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/article5621482.ece

There's a feeling that Islam in the UK is a bad idea whose time has come. And it depresses me. Old battles we thought we'd won, we'll have to fight all over again. Only this time the other side knows what losing looks like.

anticant said...

Islam is a theocratic faith which does not, and never will, accept Western notions of tolerance and pluralism. Its driving aim throughout the world is to advance the universal Ummah - the rule of Islam. Demographically it strives to reach a tipping point, aided by polygamy. When sufficiently strong it will seek to take over everything and everybody. If it succeeds we non-Muslims will be back in the dark ages and our bodies and minds will no longer be our own. And goodness knows what will become of our science and technology. Even if it doesn't succeed, the cost in terms of civil strife and quite possibly bloodshed will be dire.

Non-Muslims who naively think that 'multiculturalism' will ever work in the West, or satisfy Muslims living here, simply do not understand the nature of Islam and inhabit a mental cloud-cuckoo land. They resemble the ostrich-like appeasers of the 1930s who were saying, right up to the outbreak of war, "Oh, Hitler's not such a bad chap really. If we just leave him alone to do what he wants at home he won't bother us."

What is to be done?

Dick said...

I don't accept anticant's assertions about Islam, which are anyway contradicted by the article : it's clear Connor had strong support from the Muslim community and local imams. What is highlighted is the danger of manipulative, even threatening, caucuses within the Muslim population, and the dangerous naivety of the education authority.

If there were no misguided government policy on so-called 'faith schools' the opportunity for such intimidation would not have been there. The first practical step is for government to backtrack on the misguided policy and introduce legislation to enforce diversity on the governorship of all state schools. I'm not sure to what extent 'diversity' should reflect the makeup of the local population for the reasons georgesdelatour hints at. Maybe it depends whether local means 'catchment' or something wider. Even 'national'.

That is not to pander to a misguided 'multicultural' agenda. It is protect schools from such abuse.

anticant said...

Alas, all the main parties are committed to supporting faith schools.

Let those who wish to have faith schools do so by all means, so long as they are not in receipt of a penny of tapayers'money, and are subject to rigorous inspection by the state educational authorities to ensure that the pupils are being adequately taught about British democracy, pluralism and tolerance.

Anonymous said...

I do worry that parents suggest that sending their child to a faith school is OK because the indoctrination is only mild and easily got around. Every time a member of a church hierarchy boasts about the results of his school he is able to do this because supportive, engaged parents who have no faith have sent their child to his schools to escape 'something worse'. All the time we hear bishops etc talking about the wondrous results their ethos achieves when, in fact, they are starting off with the benefit of pupils who are well supported at home and likely to do well. My eldest will be going to our local inner London community secondary school in September which doesn't have very good results and has a generally deprived ethnically mixed intake. Where the school really struggles is that many local parents opt out of it by finding faith or some other ruse. If all the children eligible for the school went there, the school population would look much more balanced, and I wouldn't be biting my nails quite so much about what my son's secondary school experience will be like.