This paper will look at the manner in which state-funded religion schools came into being in the United Kingdom. It will reason that authorities educational policy and its in-migration and integrating policies play a cardinal function in finding the demand for the proviso of province religion schools.
The province support of religion schools has a long history in the United Kingdom. The National Society of the Church of England founded 17,000 schools to offer instruction to the hapless between 1811 and1860. ( DfES, p.2 ) The province support of these schools began in 1870 when Church and other voluntary establishments began to have financess to supplement and help them in their educational proviso. ( Cush, p.435 )
As at January 2008, of the 20,587 maintained primary and secondary schools in the UK, 6,827 have a spiritual character and of these nine are Muslim. ( Bolton, 2009, Table 1 ) There are three types of schools with spiritual character in the UK – maintained, academies and independent schools – with the province providing support for the first two. Maintained schools are either: volunteer controlled which means the Local Education Authority provides all the support in return for control largely over spiritual instruction and administration ( most Church of England schools are voluntary controlled ) ; and voluntary aided where the province provides 90 % of the support for more control over spiritual instruction and administration ( most other denominations fall into this class, particularly Roman Catholic schools ) . ( Cush p. 435-436 ) . Christian and Judaic religion schools were the lone religion schools having province support until 1998 when the Islamia Schools Trust, after a conflict of 12 old ages, was awarded voluntary aided position for its schools. Whilst there are merely nine province funded Muslim schools, there are over 100 Muslim schools in Britain. These independent schools tend to organize their attempts through the Association of Muslim Schools.
On November 11th, 2007 during Prime Minister ‘s Questions, the authorities stated that sing instruction it “ is committed to a diverse system of schools driven by parental demands and aspirations ; that the Government does non hold marks for faith schools but remains committed to back uping the constitution of new schools by a scope of suppliers. ” ( Bolton, 2009, p.14 ) Reaffirming the Government ‘s place on religion schools, Ed Balls, the so Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families said on January 9th, 2008: “ It is non the policy of the Government or my Department to advance more faith schools. We have no policy to spread out their Numberss. That should be a affair for local communities. ” ( Bolton, 2009, p.16 )
The thrust for some members of the Muslim community towards their ain religion schools needs to be understood in visible radiation of the background of Muslim migration into the UK, their subsequent integrating and recent universe events. The first Muslims geting from South Asia in the 1950s were semi-skilled or unskilled laborers. They had a inclination to remain insulated from the wider community – this being every bit much a map of their ain pick as a response to the racism and societal exclusion they were sing. ( Hefner, p.227 ) Subsequent unfastened in-migration policies of the 1970s allowed their households to follow and now 75 % of all Muslims in the UK are from South Asia. Harmonizing to the 2001 nose count, the about 1.6 million British Moslems make up approximately 3 % of the population. ( Hefner, p. 227 ) In the UK, “ Muslim ” has become synonymous with “ Pakistani ” .
Third coevals British-born Muslim households no longer believe of themselves as immigrants, although what it means to be a British Muslim is still a construct being negotiated. Our individualities are defined as much by our ain apprehension of our histories as by how we think others perceive us. In recent old ages, the individuality of Muslims has been tied up with universe events and striking representations in the media. Since September 11th, 2001, Muslims have been bombarded by an overpoweringly hostile media and a authorities seemingly captive on encroaching on the autonomies and human rights of its Muslim citizens. Salma Hafejee described an event that evoked non uncommon feelings in her 21 twelvemonth old boy. Talking on a movie for “ Our Lifes ” , a undertaking which explored the penetrations and experiences of Muslim adult females in Bradford, she told the narrative of a weekend visit her boy took to Barcelona. Coincidently, on the weekend of his trip there had been a series of apprehensions made in Barcelona in connexion with what had been described as terrorist activities. On his return place, her boy was met by constabularies and questioned for several hours. She said he had ever felt British and believed that his British passport would protect him, but for the first clip he felt an foreigner in his ain place. ( Speak-it, 2009 ) One can good conceive of that this experience and the changeless bombardment of negative images associating to his religion in the media must hold been perplexing. Naturally surrounded by such ill will and “ other ” ised in this manner, a community would hold a inclination to shut ranks and look inward for comfort, protection and security.
This state of affairs can be seen as some justification for why the Muslim community turned to Muslim schools to continue their communal individuality and Muslim patterns. The Education Reform Act 1988 provinces that schools should “ advance the religious, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of students at the school and in society… ” Some Muslims were get downing to oppugn whether a non-Muslim schooling environment would be able to adequately carry through that demand for their kids. The Education Act of 1944 made faith the lone topic it was mandatory to learn in school, but the instruction of faith is comparatively superficial, intending that from the position of those for whom a spiritual ethos is of import, mainstream schools are unable to supply the religious and spiritual dimension adequately.
How authoritiess deal with the proviso of faith does look to hold some bearing on the educational picks of parents. An scrutiny of Belgium and The Netherlands shows that when the authorities proviso of spiritual instruction is high, the demand for spiritual schools is muted. In Belgium, 4 % of the population is Muslim – chiefly of Turkish or Moroccan descent. Since 1975, it has been the jurisprudence to supply Islamic direction in province schools on the same footing as other faiths are taught. The first, and merely, province funded Islamic primary school opened in 1989 and seems to be linked to the inability of two municipalities to name officially recognized instructors and thereby their refusal to supply Islamic direction. In The Netherlands, 6 % of the population is Muslim and besides chiefly of Turkish or Moroccan descent. The province does non hold a policy for the specific proviso of Islamic direction and there are 45 Islamic schools in The Netherlands. ( Merry, 2005 )
In the UK, the deficiency of equal proviso of spiritual instruction in mainstream province schools, the ill will of the media, the authorities and the populace to their religion and community, and the recorded underachievement of Pakistanis in mainstream schools combine to organize a powerful incentive for Muslim parents to take over control of the instruction of their kid.
Given the UK authorities ‘s expansive rhetoric about advancing and back uping Britain to be a multi-cultural society, and its declared committedness to a diverse system of schools driven by parental demands and aspirations, the support of Muslim province funded schools is an easy stretch.
But an in agreement definition of a multicultural society seems deplorably missing. The authorities has a ‘policy of advancing multiculturalism ‘ but if it is unable to specify what a multicultural society could look like, how does it cognize that the policies it is advancing are effectual to run intoing this terminal? Today ‘s multicultural Britain has many faces dependent mostly on ethnicity, geographics and societal category, which in bend is one of the determiners of educational accomplishment. Is multicultural merely the recognition of diverseness in our society or is it an battle with that diverseness to make a society that is pluralistic? Does it intend that we are all free to populate in our ain sub-worlds without interface with the wider community or does it intend that we are encouraged to prosecute with each other? Where is the yarn that binds us as citizens if we live wholly culturally independent lives?
This was a inquiry that was raised by Ray Honeyford more than twenty old ages ago and it is still a inquiry that warrants turn toing thoughtfully today. In 1982 Bradford Council issued guidelines for its purpose in instruction. These included: preparing kids for a life in a multicultural society ; countering racism and the inequalities of favoritism ; developing the strengths of cultural and lingual diverseness ; and reacting to the demands of minority groups.
Ray Honeyford was a headteacher in a Bradford in-between school and he was concerned that the educational policies he was expected to implement were impracticable. He argued that the 20 % of Bradford ‘s Islamic immigrant population had purposes to stay in Britain. For their interest and for the interest of others, they should take part to the full in British life, and that in order to make so efficaciously their instruction needed to emphasize the primacy of the English linguistic communication, and British civilization, history and traditions. ( Dalrymple, 2002 ) In 1984, Honeyford wrote an article that was rejected by The Times Educational Supplement before being published by the far right Salisbury Review. The fact that it was this publication that was the first method of transmittal connoted a batch to its readers and no uncertainty would hold influenced the subsequent reading of the article itself. In “ Education and Race – an Alternate position ” Honeyford ( 2006 ) suggested that the perversion of linguistic communication ( he had a Masters in linguistics ) around race and cultural issues had made it impossible to talk candidly about the concerns and worlds that our progressively diverse society was throwing up. He highlighted that chunking together all non-whites into one class that was “ black ” created a duality of anti-white solidarity. What we, today, name “ other ” -ing. His primary concern was the impact of an imposed multicultural mentality on the instruction of his pupils. British jurisprudence obliges a parent to guarantee that his or her kid is registered and attends school on a regular basis. He argued that the inclination for Asiatic households to take their kids out of school and direct them to the sub-continent for months at a clip was non merely illegal but had obvious negative educational effects. The Department of Education and Science turned a unsighted oculus go forthing headteachers, like Honeyford, to follow with an attending policy based on the parent ‘s state of beginning. He found this untenable and cast it as an “ officially canonic policy of racial favoritism. ” ( Honeyford, 2006 ) Honeyford farther highlighted that the absence of English as a primary linguistic communication of direction at the school left the “ cultural white ” minority pupils in his schools educationally disadvantaged. His broader concern was how the operation of interior metropoliss with its production of cultural ghettos, and multi-racial educational policies could bring forth an integrated and harmonious society. He concluded: “ I suspect that these elements, far from assisting to bring forth harmoniousness, are, in world, runing to bring forth a sense of atomization and strife. And I am no longer convinced that the British mastermind for via media, for puddling though, and for good natured tolerance will be sufficient to decide the inevitable tensenesss. ” ( Honeyford, 2006 )
Post-publication, Honeyford endured a drawn-out and acrimonious run against him taking to his eventual early retirement. The acerb response to his averments for better and more integrative instruction did non raise the authorities action. Issues raised by the “ Honeyford Affair ” continue to be debated more than two decennaries subsequently. Honeyford ‘s tough and brave inquiring of issues that the authorities was excessively uncomfortable to raise and seek and work through have left a permanent vacuity on integrating and the harmonious and “ multicultural ” universe we reasonably aspire to.
In visible radiation of these personal businesss, the argument on religion schools – which preponderantly relates to keep schools – leads us foremost to inquire what the purpose and intent of instruction is. Is instruction intended to supply us with accomplishments for employment, in which instance it is driven by a practical measurable end product? Or is in intended for, as Aristotle called it, human booming? And are these two needfully reciprocally sole? If instruction is deemed a human right, so what function does the kid drama in finding the instruction that he receives? These inquiries do n’t look to hold been straight touched upon by those debating the desirableness of religion schools.
Given the faith school argument touches on countries of instruction, political relations and faith it is improbable to be a cold-eyed 1. Most of the argument is opinion- instead than evidence-based ( Cush p.440 ) and authors on the issue repeatedly bemoan the deficiency of empirical grounds to confirm claims from either side. As Moslems are going acutely cognizant of their minority position, the thrust towards Islamic schools is every bit much a response to the onslaught on their individuality as it is about the ethos of instruction. Harmonizing to Heffner and Zaman ( 2007, p. 228 ) “ In recent old ages, the issue of Islamic instruction has been a critical portion of the argument about what it means to be a British Muslim today and an of import terrain in the dialogue of individuality, citizenship and co-existence. ”
Mainstream instruction tends to see the universe though an Anglo-saxon lens and accomplishments are Europeanised. The survey of the parts made by Muslim bookmans over the centuries in many capable countries is a encouragement to self-esteem and those naming for Muslim schools are looking for a alteration in the manner the universe is viewed. The mission statement of the Islamia Trust Schools states that it “ strive [ s ] to supply the best instruction in a secure Islamic environment through the cognition and application of the Qur’an and Sunnah. ” ( Islamia ) What this requires is a reconception of the manner in which any topic can be taught, negociating as it must through the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The statement being made is that Muslim kids are going de-Islamised ( Khan-Cheema, p.83 ) and that mainstream schools are neglecting to supply an ethos in which all, non merely secular, facets of a kid ‘s life are catered for. Concern for the deficiency of individual sex proviso in the mainstream for miss is besides voiced as a concern and a ground for necessitating the proviso of Muslim schools. The academic underachievement of Pakistanis in mainstream schools is good recognised, but their accomplishment in religion schools is good above norm ( Bolton, 2009 ) . The direct connexion associating improved academic consequences and faith schools should be made carefully as academic accomplishment is besides liked to the economic and societal category of the household.
The instance against Muslim religion schools is a obliging one. Those contending this place say that these schools are a genteelness land for fundamentalist and intolerant spiritual positions that are non inclusive of the bulk. They propagate segregation and voluntary apartheid and create ghettos which exclude other races and religions, therefore making societal division. With Islam about universally cast as a menace to universe order this raises inquiries associating to citizenship and trueness. Those in this cantonment may pull some of their inspiration from the place Honeyford took on the demand to incorporate instead than segregate more than 2 decennaries ago.
Why would, and how could, an immigrant who lands in the UK who is able to make for himself an environment that reflects – culturally, socially, and educationally – the one which he left, have any chance to construct trueness to his host state. Clearly the authorities ‘s place on what a multicultural Britain would look like demands to be debated much more openly – if merely so we can seek and understand how we will acquire at that place. A individualistic each-to-his ain policy can non certainly supply the manner frontward. The inquiries Honeyford asked more than 20 old ages ago, unsavory as they were, are inquiries we might necessitate to inquire once more today.
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Merry, Michael S. & A ; Driessen, Geert ( 2005 ) . Muslim Schooling in Three Western States: Policy and Procedure. Comparative Education, Vol. 41, No. 4 ( Nov. , 2005 ) , pp. 411-432
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