The Department of Education has just lost in its bid to keep secret the “faith affiliation” of applicants planning to up Free Schools, and has been forced publish the figures by the Information Commissioner.It’s taken two years to get this information, and it’s interesting reading if you read them carefully.
Figures are not available for the first wave of 373 applications, but is (to an extent) for the second and third waves. I’ve been doing some number crunching.
|Religion||Wave 2||Wave 3||Total||%|
The breakdown is a little strange. In Wave 3 the different Christian denominations are specified in some cases but left as “Christian” for others, as they all are on Wave 2. Except the Plymouth Brethren, who appear always to be separate from “Christian” for some reason in both sets of data. “Muslim” and “Islam” are also two different religions, apparently. Did the compiler of these statistics know anything about religions?
I also have my doubts about whether religion has been reported at all. We’re asked to believe schools like Noah’s Kingdom (Reading) isn’t religious. To quote from their ethos description: If life is based on human values then it is incomplete, but if we base our lives on the plan of God then we have a secure path.
It’s not just the Christians – how about the Khalsa Science Academy in Leeds? Sounds Sikh to me! A quick look at their web site confirms my suspicions.
What about the Maharishi Free Schools? Non-faith? Yogi’s might fly! There’s even “Destiny Christian School” in Bedford that’s listed as secular. The clue should be in the name. It’s actually being proposed by “Miracle Church of God in Christ”, and part of the Christian Schools’ Trust who’s attitude to creationism is that it is science and they intend to teach it as such.
In short, a quick scan through the names on the list is enough to show any reasonable person that the published data is full of errors. Journalists like those at the BBC may have taken them at face value, but they’re an insult to any thinking person.
Whatever you feel about so-called “Faith Schools”, having the data kept from us by Michael Gove and the Department of Education isn’t going help with an informed debate.
Wave 1+2 Freedom of Information data from DofE
Wave 3 Freedom of Information data from DofE