» Monday, October 16, 2006

Faith Schools

Asked if Alan Johnson’s move on quotas for faith schools amounted to a change in heart by the Government, the PMOS replied that he was not going to get into the detail of it, as it was for the department to make their announcement. People would have noticed that we welcomed the Church of England’s announcement last week to make a quarter of their places in their schools available to non-Church pupils. In general, we supported an extension of that principle.

Asked if the Prime Minister was convinced that people would want to go to these faith schools when they opened, the PMOS said that there was a demand for places in schools of this character, but people should wait for the announcement.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Search for related news

1 Comment »

  1. A very simplistic analogy written to convey a specific problem facing Britain and other European countries today.

    Half way down Middle Road lived five British people who had lived together amicably despite being different in some ways. One was Jewish, one was Catholic, one was a Sikh, one was Protestant, and the other was an atheist. Disputes arose but were settled upon discussions. One day, there was a knock at the door.

    \x91Who\x92s there?\x92

    \x91Hello, my name is Saleem and I in danger\x85please me live with you?\x92

    Of course, being British, the five friends instantly opened the door and gave Saleem the shelter she needed. All went smoothly as Saleem improved her English and made every attempt to fit in to the way the house was run. She wanted to be accepted and to be treated as an equal. Being British, the friends did accept her after they got used to her. Eventually they celebrated her differences and discovered all about them. They enjoyed the element of variety Saleem gave to the house. In fact, at times they were fascinated. Saleem also enjoyed the elements of British culture she had never experienced before.

    Months passed and there was another knock at the door. \x91Hello, I am Kalim and bad things for me\x92

    The door was opened again and the welcoming arms of the five friends embraced their new arrival. Kalim didn\x92t speak any English other than what he said at the door and therefore found comfort in the realms of Saleem\x92s bedroom. He didn\x92t leave her room very often as he felt he couldn\x92t understand the others and felt they were too different to communicate with. Every effort was made by the five friends to make Kalim feel at home. All instructions for operating the domestic appliances were translated and printed into Kalim\x92s language, at huge cost to the house. The house believed it would help Kalim to fit in due to feeling comfortable.

    Saleem and Kalim became close friends and talked a lot in Saleem\x92s bedroom. They decided that they didn\x92t want to learn English anymore, nor change their lifelong beliefs or ways of thinking, living and dressing. Little things around the house annoyed them and so they announced that every week they wanted to have a house meeting to discuss them.

    Although the five friends didn\x92t want to change, they also didn\x92t want to offend their new guests. Bit by bit, they removed articles from the house which Kalim and Saleem had pointed out caused offence. On Christmas Day there was no Christmas tree in the living room, despite it being a much loved feature of the friends\x92 year. One of the friends had to remove her crucifix which had been above her bed for ten years. She was upset but thought it best to create harmony in the house. The dog had to go into a shelter and alcohol was banned from the house.

    One day a gay man, a friend of the five friends, came to visit but Kalim and Saleem didn\x92t want him to be associated with the house they now called home so the gay man had to leave.

    In the privacy of their bedrooms, the five friends silently reflected on their lives with their new guests. They were saddened at the loss of the things which were important to them. They felt their unique identities had been eroded. Discussing the issue of how they had had to accommodate the various dislikes of their new guests was difficult as each believed the others would retaliate. Little did they know that four out of the five friends felt the same.

    Rather than raise the issue and establish some sensibility, and maybe encourage the new guests to adapt their limits of tolerance in order to fit into their new home without taking away its traditional specialities, they buried their heads in the sand and hoped the problem would go away.

    The problem never went away but four out of the five friends did and were replaced by friends of Kalim and Saleem.

    One day much later, there was another knock at the door.

    \x91Hello. My name is Geoffrey Thistlewait and I am in terrible danger old chaps. Do you mind awfully if I could kip here the night? I won’t get in your way\x92

    The door was not opened that time.

    Comment by Elizabeth — 16 Oct 2006 on 9:33 pm | Link

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