Are fundamentalist schools up to standard?

27

Biased political statements in Accelerated Christian Education schools' curriculum may be incompatible with new standards


The Accelerated Christian Education (Ace) group of fundamentalist schools has gone largely unnoticed by academic researchers and the mainstream media. Recent changes to legislation could mean the education they provide does not meet new standards.

Ace schools are unlike any others. Students work at desks facing the wall, with partitions separating them from their neighbours. They complete a series of workbooks (Paces); interaction with others is forbidden during this time.

Paces integrate religious instruction seamlessly. Scripture memorisation is compulsory. Science emphasises young Earth creationism; history is presented as "His-story". In maths, students calculate the dimensions of Noah's ark. In English, they underline verbs in sentences such as:

God will bless obedience and humility.

I shall obey Thy statutes and judgments.

Humility pleases the Lord Jesus Christ.

After completing these exercises, students proceed to mark their own work from answer keys. This is possible because in Ace, questions have one correct answer.

Last year, the government's Independent School Standards were amended. The standard applied to political questions is now met if "political issues are brought to the attention of pupils [and] they are offered a balanced presentation of opposing views".

A school cannot do this and use the Ace curriculum. Biased political statements are not only part of Paces, they are also built into assessments that are integral to the curriculum.

Written By: Jonny Scaramanga
continue to source article at guardian.co.uk

27 COMMENTS

    • In reply to #4 by AsylumWarden:

      Disgraceful. I know faith schools are still something we have to pyt up with, but this is beyond R.E. This is pushing an agenda, pure and simple.

      I remember thinking when I did RE at school that as we only ever learnt about one religion (the lukewarm Christianity of C of E) it wasn’t a very good class. It should have been called Christian Indoctrination instead, although that would have been introducing too much factual accuracy to the subject.

      I would very much liked to have learnt about Norse and Greco-Roman mythology, as well as the mythologies of other current religions, but they weren’t part of the curriculum and the teacher was a Christian wingnut and so it wasn’t likely in any case.

      I agree that the situation now is far more extreme than when I was at school almost 30 years ago, but in a way I think its a good sign. Increasing recognition of the transparent fictions of religion is forcing the fanatics to be more fanatical, which can only drive away more people. We are watching the death throes of organised religion, as they grasp at any pieces of flotsam to avoid drowning

    • In reply to #4 by AsylumWarden:

      Disgraceful. I know faith schools are still something we have to pyt up with, but this is beyond R.E. This is pushing an agenda, pure and simple.

      “faith schools are still something we have to pyt up with”

      NO, we don’t! Object, loudly, until reason prevails.

  1. I praise this journalist for highlighting this issue, but why hasn’t he gone to the Education Secretary and sought a direct response to these examples of what pupils are being taught.

    It shows just how much religion is still respected by our “secular” media that articles like this are so few and far between and never seem to push the issue.

    • In reply to #5 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee:

      I praise this journalist for highlighting this issue, but why hasn’t he gone to the Education Secretary and sought a direct response to these examples of what pupils are being taught.It shows just how much religion is still respected by our “secular” media that articles like this are so few and far between and never seem to push the issue.

      Because these schools are private schools. The Education Secretary and the state have no control whatsoever over private education which parents pay for. It is state schools that are regulated by our Education Secretary and therefore are not free to teach any of this crap whether faith or otherwise. That is why there is not point in bringing it to his attention!!!!

      Now the real problem is that our moronic Education Secretary has said that in his opinion anyone should be able to open a state school and get state funding free from state regulation. So a hell of a lot of these loony tunes schools have seen a real nice gravy train and an opportunity to proselytise and ruin the educations of millions – even those who wouldn’t touch such an education with a barge pole. So in our times of austerity we’re paying civil servants to go through thousands of applications from those wishing to run free schools and checking they aren’t lunatics.

      Why just recently a devout christian private school called Grindon Hall got state funding to become a state funded school despite fears it was a creationist loony one. With weeks of it receiving state funding it was appearing on the website of the Christian Schools Trust – an umbrella organisation for creationist private schools run by the UKs leading creationists. Had it not been noticed by beady eyed organisations and the Education Secretary informed it would have remained there. However it was forced to withdraw or risk losing funding.

      Now with so many free schools opening, such vigilence will become harder and harder. Plus the creationists and lunatics will become far cleverer at concealing their intentions.

      So education in the UK prior to 2010 fine, no creationism allowed, state controlled, national curriculum and benign faith schools. Education post 2010? Who knows, anyone can run a school as long as they can pull the wool over Goves eyes. And lets face it, how hard is that exactly? The man is our biggest moron!

      Still it would appear we were stupid enough to vote him in. Along with a health secretary who just loves homeopathy!

      • In reply to #10 by atheistengineer:

        In reply to #5 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee:

        I praise this journalist for highlighting this issue, but why hasn’t he gone to the Education Secretary and sought a direct response to these examples of what pupils are being taught.It shows just how much religion is still respected by our “secular” media that articles like this are so few and far between and never seem to push the issue.

        Because these schools are private schools. The Education Secretary and the state have no control whatsoever over private education which parents pay for.

        Except the article does mention the Independent School Standards, which are Government regulations. According to the ofsted website:

        “There are around 2,400 independent schools in England, but Ofsted inspects the educational provision of only half of them. We inspect independent schools which are not members of associations. We do this at the request of the Department for Education, which is the registering authority for all independent schools.

        The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that independent schools comply with The Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010, as amended by The Education (Independent School Standards) (England) (Amendments) Regulations 2012 which specify the provision a school should make.”

        The piece only refers to the section on political questions – which it does seem that Ace is failing to meet – but I would hope that there are others on such basic things like not teaching bollocks. At the very least it shows that the Government can and does regulate private schools so it’s legitimate to ask the DfE for a view.

        Also, what qualifications do these schools issue? I assume they have to be approved by Ofqual.

        • In reply to #17 by paulmcuk:

          In reply to #10 by atheistengineer:In reply to #5 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee:I praise this journalist for highlighting this issue, but why hasn’t he gone to the Education Secretary and sought a direct response to these examples of what pupils are being taught.It shows just how much religion is still respected by our “secular” media that articles like this are so few and far between and never seem to push the issue.Because these schools are private schools. The Education Secretary and the state have no control whatsoever over private education which parents pay for.

          Except the article does mention the Independent School Standards, which are Government regulations. According to the ofsted website:”There are around 2,400 independent schools in England, but Ofsted inspects the educational provision of only half of them. We inspect independent schools which are not members of associations. We do this at the request of the Department for Education, which is the registering authority for all independent schools.The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that independent schools comply with The Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010, as amended by The Education (Independent School Standards) (England) (Amendments) Regulations 2012 which specify the provision a school should make.”The piece only refers to the section on political questions – which it does seem that Ace is failing to meet – but I would hope that there are others on such basic things like not teaching bollocks. At the very least it shows that the Government can and does regulate private schools so it’s legitimate to ask the DfE for a view.Also, what qualifications do these schools issue? I assume they have to be approved by Ofqual.

          I think the big problem is that when the legislation was changed to ensure that independent schools had to be inspected many grouped together set up their own associations to inspect themselves under the eye of Ofsted – i.e. it sort of licensed them to set up as associations with a group of member schools and carry out their own inspections with some very loose overseeing from Ofsted. As you rightly point out Ofsted inspect the rest, about half, as well as all state schools.

          But that means in the other 50% people are actually inspecting themselves with Ofsteds blessing so to speak. That probably isn’t an issue for the associations of the bigger non religious independent schools as there are enough members to ensure no friendly waving through to dodgy quality. Though that is debatable I suppose.

          But when it comes to some of the religious schools, the umbrella organisation is very small and almost incestous. The heads of one school inspecting one of a small number of other schools. The chance for corruption is pretty high and difficult to check.

          The one I know about is a Christian/Muslim private schools umbrella association set up and then licensed by Ofsted called Bridge Schools Inspectorate (BSI) which was brought into being to inspect the creationist Christian Schools of the Christian Schools Trust (CST), which Grindon Hall free school briefly became a member of, and the Muslim private schools of the Association of Muslim Schools.

          I don’t know if the school in question is a CST school but many of their members do use ACE and PACE stuff. And even if they don’t the stuff they teach is questionable in the extreme – they are creationists, the first of their schools was set up by our leading creationist. They are also homophobic in the extreme. I’m not sure if that qualifies as political or not. Their leader recently did her PhD on the children in the schools and about 90% believed the biblical view of creation.

          The other problem is the fact that whatever controls Ofsted can put in place in state schools which have to follow the national curriculum does not stand in private schools. Private schools, within the limitations of the political questions statement, can pretty much teach what they want. Once a school enters the state sector, even if it is a free school, it cannot teach the sort of nonsense pushed by ACE, but until it does it can. It is private, the kids attending are in education, and there is nothing that can be done. If a parent chooses to mess up their child and does not expect the state to pay for it there is nothing the state can do.

          As for Ofqual, that is perhaps where action could be taken. What would be required would be to ensure the exams taken are not accredited – which means no university, college or employer would recognise them. However I believe Ofqual has already accredited them, meaning they can be considered. Whether any university would choose to consider them is another matter. But one worth contacting local universities about.

  2. In English, they underline verbs in sentences such as:

    God will bless obedience and humility.

    I shall obey Thy statutes and judgments.

    Humility pleases the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Geez, this makes the hair at the back of my neck stand up. Religions really have perfected the brainwashing of young minds.

  3. Basically its child abuse, but no one in this country in a position of power has the balls to stand up and sort it. Much better to debate the expenses scheme, meet various unknown foreign dignitaries or buy a second home etc. The MPs need to get a grip and ban this kind of nonsense regardless of who they annoy.

    I’ts no ones right to force anyone into a religion

  4. I just read through a bit of the PACE company’s website. They make no bones about their focus, converting kids is the goal and they’ll educate them if they get a chance.

    Pure indoctrination.

  5. Gove signed off on this…what more do you expect from a RC clone?
    Although to be fair it seems these muppets have slipped under the radar for decades, just shows how asleep the Education ministry has been, as for OFSTED what a sad joke!
    What have they been doing…not a lot!

    So there is a generation of kids out there that are badly undereducated and supremely biassed, one does wonder just where the fuck the parents head has been at, presumably somewhere damp, wet, dark, and smelly by the shape of it!…some folks should not have progeny…simple like so!

    • In reply to #16 by Jon Snow:

      Gove signed off on this…what more do you expect from a RC clone?
      Although to be fair it seems these muppets have slipped under the radar for decades, just shows how asleep the Education ministry has been, as for OFSTED what a sad joke!
      What have they been doing…not a lot!

      I see the teachers have been taking a view on Gove’s capabilities!

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21984756

      The NUT conference began a motion of no confidence in Michael Gove – which was adjourned before it could be put to a vote.

      But successive speakers launched attacks on the education secretary, with delegates clapping and chanting “Gove must go”.

      Oliver Fayers, from Camden, accused the secretary of state of “failing at his job, failing teachers and failing children”.

      History teacher Una Doyle said the proposed changes to the curriculum reflected a “naked ideological attack”.

      .. .

      Earlier on Saturday, the NUT’s conference called for the resignation of Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw over claims the inspection system is demoralising teachers.

      And the NASUWT union, meeting in Bournemouth, called for changes to the schools inspection body or, if that fails, to campaign for its abolition.

      Mr Bowser accused Sir Michael of behaving like the education secretary’s “junior minister” who oversaw an inspection regime that was “intrusive and invasive”.

      OFSTED when first set up years ago, initially picked out the very obvious previous failings in schools: – such as incompetent heads and inadequate buildings.
      The fact that most of its inspectors have no teaching experience or teaching expertise, is now progressively making it a tool of political ideology to follow the government policies of (allegedly) “raising standards by cutting budgets”.

      They are farming out education with preferential funding to any outfit which will follow their short-termist ideologies, and then blaming teachers and neglected schools for the unaddressed problems!

    • In reply to #19 by ArloNo:

      I suppose someone is going to tell me that the British taxpayer helps fund these nonsensical schools? I hope not, but I fear that they do.

      As I understand it, ACE schools are 100% privately funded. The only bit you’ve paid for was for the Govt agency to check that their qualification, the Intl Cert of Christian Education, is comparable to the Intl A levels: they passed. Believing that Nessie not only exists but disproves evolution, is no longer a barrier to a university education.

      But you are paying towards the indoctrination of pre-schoolers in some of their schools.

      Chris

    • In reply to #19 by ArloNo:

      I suppose someone is going to tell me that the British taxpayer helps fund these nonsensical schools? I hope not, but I fear that they do.

      No they don’t. These are private schools. Any school wishing to move into the state sector moves into more control over what it can and can’t teach. Tho that might change given we elected an idiot to oversee our education system.

  6. Regarding inspection, SOME religious schools are inspected by the “Bridge Schools Inspectorate” This is an unholy alliance of the fundamentalist, creationist, Christian Schools Trust and the Assciation of Muslim Schools. It was set up to keep inspectors from treading on the religious sensibilities of the people running the schools and uses staff from member schools to inspect the other schools. AFIAK it has however nothing to do with inspecting non-member schools such as PACE.

    As for accreditation, Accelerated Christian Education has been approved by an arm of the UK government as equivaent to Cambridge International A-levels . This is because the approving body NARIC – set up to check foreign qualifications – concerns itself only with the “rigour” of the courses, not the content. Thus you could get a course in treacle mining approved if you applied sufficient rigour to the discussion of viscosity, saccharinity and the training of bees to seek underground treacle. Jonny Scaramanga has a Leaving Fundamentalism blog entry about this so-called accreditation.
    I don’t think any PACE school has applied for “free school” funding so far and they should be excluded by law because of their creationism. But creationist can be masters of disguise and vigilance is essential.

  7. Paces integrate religious instruction seamlessly. Scripture memorisation is compulsory. Science emphasises young Earth creationism; history is presented as “His-story”.

    The Accelerated Christian Education (Ace) group of fundamentalist schools

    Perhaps we should approach the Advertising Standards Authority

    The Advertising Standards Authority is the UK’s independent regulator of advertising across all media.
    – We apply the Advertising Codes, which are written by the Committees of Advertising Practice. Our work includes acting on complaints and proactively checking the media to take action against misleading, harmful or offensive advertisements.

    Clearly they should be calling themselves ” Accelerated Retardation by way of Christian Education,” in view of the quality of their output!

    • In reply to #22 by Alan4discussion:

      Paces integrate religious instruction seamlessly. Scripture memorisation is compulsory. Science emphasises young Earth creationism; history is presented as “His-story”.

      The Accelerated Christian Education (Ace) group of fundamentalist schools

      Perhaps we should approach the Advertising Standards Authority

      The Advertising Standards Authority is the UK’s independent regulator of advertising across all media.
      – We apply the Advertising Codes, which are written by the Committees of Advertising Practice. Our work includes acting on complaints and proactively checking the media to take action against misleading, harmful or offensive advertisements.

      Clearly they should be calling themselves ” Accelerated Retardation by way of Christian Education,” in view of the quality of their output!

      A.R.C.E. Pronounced as if the “C” was an “S”. How appropriate.

  8. Read the example above and immediately thought that this was about the USA until I got to where you were talking about the UK. Investigation reveals this trash is turned out by a company in the USA after all.

  9. The question, along with all the “answers” are malformed and aimed at creating a solid Republican voting block while under the guise of educating these children. My wife sums it up nicely – “All answers; a, b, c and d are not enough and not correct. People can vote for a person who promises to decrease taxes but not at the expense of certain government services such as social security, good schools and medical care.
    So the correct answer must be ‘PROMISE TO PROVIDE GOOD GOVERNMENT SERVICES, GOOD CHILD-CARE FOR KIDS AND MOTHERS WHO NEED TO WORK; AND DECREASE TAXES IF POSSIBLE’.”

Leave a Reply