To not let extremists into primary schools

(134 Posts)
BombayBadonkadonks Tue 10-Sep-13 19:56:25

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/parents-outrage-extremist-religious-cult-2254926

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/school-bosses-kick-out-extremist-225779

A friend's DCs go to this school and she is horrified about this and the books they received this week.

Surely telling kiddies that if they don't believe in God only bad things will happen and that 'homosexuality is a sin' is wrong.

HavantGuard Wed 11-Sep-13 11:11:19

Trigger for complaints.

friday16 Wed 11-Sep-13 12:54:55

Primary school teachers tend to be nice people, who aren't terribly keen on confrontation, have a track record of perhaps being insufficiently sceptical (Brain Gym, and longer ago ITA) and have a generally optimistic and trusting view of others.

Christian extremists tend to be cynical, skilled manipulators and liars, whose pronouncements on things like young-earth creationism can appear dangerously plausible if you aren't aware that YEC even exists as thing.

It's not a fair fight.

Anyone aware of how easily Trot entryists took over constituency Labour parties in the 1980s will sympathise with the school. Once there's a critical mass of people who turn up early, stay late, sit on unpopular committees and generally provide the sweat and hard work, it's very difficult to say "hang on, these people aren't our people". Eight people have apparently been excluded from the school in question, so the take-over was clearly well resourced, well planned and well executed.

You can mock the naiveté of the (one half of a job share) head, but I suspect that primary heads don't have extremist entryism high up their list of concerns. It would be interesting to know how so many non-EU citizens obtained whatever the Scottish equivalent of CRB checks is, and quite how many of them had work permits, but I suspect that their mostly being volunteers is a large part of the problem; volunteers may or may not be properly CRB'd (my experience is that schools vary on this), but if they're not being paid the governance associated with "employing" them will certainly be weaker than if they're on the pay roll.

The letter she sent out is, of course, career-endingly stupid. Primary schools are not the place for "balanced coverage", "teaching the controversy" and all the rest of the YEC "wedge issue" nonsense, even if you accept (as obviously I don't) that such books are balance or there is a real controversy. The whole idea that schools should distribute books they are given without analysing them, and that somehow they should be given a free pass because they are free, is absolutely wrong. But the whole saga of Kitzmuller v Dover Board of Education shows you how insidious these people can be, and how willing they are to lie and deceive in order to get their "ideas" over.

The head will presumably be sacked, and if she isn't I should imagine that the governors and/or the LEA will be having a firm meeting with her. Coffee and biscuits may well not be offered. It's possible that she was party to the scam, but it's unlikely: I think she's guilty of ignorance and naiveté about something which is not really within her remit. Sad.

HavantGuard Wed 11-Sep-13 12:57:46

She saw the books.

friday16 Wed 11-Sep-13 13:16:15

She saw the books.

To be clear, YECs are a scourge in education and should be resisted at every turn. I've got a hair-trigger for their nonsense, and I've fought the good fight (to the point of a teacher receiving a final written warning) when I've detected its spoor.

Yes, she did see the books. But firstly, that was at the end of an eight year programme of infiltration: these weren't random books from random strangers, but from those nice people that they knew. She probably didn't look very carefully, and had she looked and asked, the "teach the controversy" line is very plausible if you aren't aware that there is no real controversy. And secondly, having studied more than a few of this sort of shite, they aren't as obviously preposterous as you might think. If you're aware of the menace of YEC, and you're aware of the lines they take, they jump straight out at you. But although it's tempting to believe that the books are by morons for morons, YEC didn't become the force that it is by being obviously moronic. It would be much easier to resist if it were.

And, of course, you and I presumably realise that creationism is a wedge issue for these sort of entryists, and that behind it are a whole raft of other things that are also very insidious and wrong. Again, the naive may not realise that, and may think that pretty stories about olden times are all much of a muchness, and that it's not something to get too worked up about.

Schools should realise that YEC is a menace, and you need to be on your guard. Many don't. I'm not sure how much that the headteacher's fault. I'd be more inclined to think that she's as much of a victim as the children in this, for the same reason I don't necessarily laugh at everyone who's the gullible victim of an advance fee scam.

ItsaTIARA Wed 11-Sep-13 13:31:17

I've just got around to reading the full articles and I see that the HT defended the books starting with the phrase "Whilst I realise that not every family in our school are practicising Christians......"

That's exactly what infuriates me, the attempt by YECs to annex the whole of Christianity, implying that all Christians are creationists and if you aren't a creationist you can't call yourself a Christian. Hugely dangerous in areas where there are lots of self-defined Christian children, and also leads to self-defined atheist children thinking that all Christians are idiots. The Pope is not a Creationist. The Archbishop of Canterbury is not a Creationist. YEC is a tiny fringe belief in the UK.

PedantMarina Wed 11-Sep-13 13:47:21

This is very timely, as next week is Talk Like a Pirate Day.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 11-Sep-13 13:58:37

Arrr... and will they have a special assembly in schools like most do for other special religious days? Will they heck.angrygrin

friday16 Wed 11-Sep-13 14:06:06

People worried about Free Schools being at liberty to teach nonsense might like to ask themselves how effective LEA control was in this case, too.

If it's been going on for eight years, then several cohorts had all or the vast majority of their primary education while the head was in thrall to entryist religious extremists who had effectively taken the school over; a bloc of eight people, in a two-form entry primary school, is a huge group. The head might very nervous about throwing them out and having to operate the school without them the following week: classic entryism.

While this was going on, all the alleged safety nets that LEA-controlled schools have that Free Schools don't (parent governors, LEA representatives, LEA advisors, etc) failed completely. For eight years. For those of us that are concerned about the ability of Free Schools to operate without proper oversight or governance, and who think that the way to deliver effective local education is via local education authorities, it's pretty sobering to see a school where it would appear LEA governance failed so comprehensively.

By the way, it appears that the blog referred to here has been deleted. But the snippets still available just reinforce the failure: didn't anyone notice that the nice TA (oh, sorry, unpaid TA) was blogging about her missionary zeal? Just what the hell was a two-form primary in Lanarkshire doing with an unqualified Mexican volunteer taking classes in Spanish anyway?

PedantMarina Wed 11-Sep-13 14:07:56

I'd like to propose that with my DS's CofE school. We're culturally Pagans but politically Pastafarians.

Primers for anybody who doesn't know about the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster which pretty much makes Talk Like a Pirate Day the official High (non)holy Day of Pastafarians.

PedantMarina Wed 11-Sep-13 14:11:46

I just clicked my own links - first pages on each aren't much in the wayt of primer. But this is: Open Letter

Sigh. Need more coffee. Or Gin.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 11-Sep-13 14:16:28

Friday - yes - but at least now its finally come to the LEAs attention they can do something about it.

You might have thought OFSTED would catch on that there was something a bit odd - maybe the volunteers made themselves scarce on inspection days or were very circumspect?

PedantMarina Wed 11-Sep-13 14:22:57

Just reading the article about the blogger, reminds me that DP and I once had to share a plane journey with of an American missionary, on her way back from Poland, where she'd been sent by her church, because they perceive people in Poland aren't religious enough.

She said it with a straight face. >head, desk<

friday16 Wed 11-Sep-13 14:32:31

The school's website doesn't appear to list the names of the people involved, but there is some evidence of pretty frenzied and recent scrubbing having gone on. And unfortunately, the Wayback Machine has almost nothing from the school.

Education Scotland's last report doesn't seem to pick anything up. It's clearly a high-performing school (well, with eight free full-time TAs, who wouldn't be?) and therefore the inspection was unlikely to have been tearing the place apart. Low FSM, high attendance. When things seem to be going well, the inspectors are less likely to be looking for buried bodies than they would be in a school which was obviously failing or was facing other challenges.

When thinking of the Spanish classes and the like, I'm somehow reminded of Edward Woodward asking Christopher Lee quite how they grew all that lovely fruit on Summerisle...

bachsingingmum Wed 11-Sep-13 17:16:13

Another jog that we need to get our youngsters to talk about what they've been doing at school.

A couple of related snippets. I recall that the same book of the bible (Leviticus) which condemns homosexual acts, also condemns sex during menstruation, and provides interesting guidance on dealing with mildew. It's odd how one ruling gets talked about and debated constantly and others are ignored.

I had a long chat with our vicar earlier this week and he mentioned that a significant proportion of his year of ordinands (men being ordained priests) have since died of AIDS. This would have been 30 years ago (early 80s, and it was all men then). The CofE has many many gay priests of both genders.

Pinupgirl Wed 11-Sep-13 17:18:23

In our school hand book it quite clearly states that the school promotes Christianity and it affiliated with the local church-which is literally across the road.

I am still dubious that the parent at this school knew absolutely nothing of this affiliation. Trips to our local church at easter and xmas are a given-I merely send a letter saying my dcs wont be attending as we are not practising Christians.

I wonder if these pupils had visited this church before?

HavantGuard Wed 11-Sep-13 17:23:39

Mind you, this could be happening in schools all over the country.

Mum: So what did you do at school today

DC: Nothing.

For all we know schools could be full of groups preaching that we're descended from aliens or that we're all going to evolve gills and live under the sea.

Greydog Wed 11-Sep-13 17:29:12
friday16 Wed 11-Sep-13 17:38:59

"In our school hand book it quite clearly states that the school promotes Christianity and it affiliated with the local church-which is literally across the road."

But the school is question is listed as "non-denominational". Hard to be affiliated with a church, especially a lunatic fringe cult, and continue to claim that. As I say: entryism.

Pinupgirl Wed 11-Sep-13 21:27:59

My school also states it is non demonational but the fact still stands it is affliated with the church.The minister comes in for special assemblies and I dont still dont believe that the parents in this case didnt know about the contact between the school and the church.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 12-Sep-13 08:53:23

They may have been aware that people from a church were coming in, but evidently not the nature of it. There's a difference between standard CofE vicar (or local Methodist, URC etc etc) and a US creationist, homophobic missionary group. 'Church of Christ' sounds like...well, a Christian church, that's all.

Pinupgirl Thu 12-Sep-13 09:55:40

Church of Christ is quite clealy an evangelical church and the parents should have been educating themselves about what this church was preaching to their kids.I wonder how many of the outraged parents will still allow their dcs to be in the nativity?

twistyfeet Thu 12-Sep-13 10:28:48

Arent academies out from under LEA control as well? Ripe ground for this sort of thing?

ErrolTheDragon Thu 12-Sep-13 10:30:11

'Church of Christ is quite clealy an evangelical church'

I don't agree, not to an average 'apatheistic' or 'cultural christian' parent. This sort of church is outside most peoples experience.

justanuthermanicmumsday Thu 12-Sep-13 11:05:44

I think I was misunderstood of course homosexuality exists I don't agree with it if that's an extreme view so be it. I'd like to add I'm not calling for violence against homosexuals either in case that's going through anyone's head.

friday16 Thu 12-Sep-13 11:56:27

But this is the problem with entryists. If you're on guard against nutters, you know the signs, but most people have better things to do with their time. The Trotskyite entryists of the 1980s were fairly obvious in hindsight, too.

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