Faith schools to be allowed to redact exam papers.

(65 Posts)
creamteas Wed 05-Mar-14 17:21:02

It has been reported that some faith schools have been redacting exam papers, taking out questions that their faith objects too.

To be honest, I am not surprised by this, and will happily add this information to my list of why all religious schools should be banned

But I am horrified by the fact that this story seems to be suggesting that OCR are trying to find a way to accommodate this angry. How on earth can this be justified?

TheRoadLessTravelled Wed 05-Mar-14 22:28:42

I am gobsmacked they're allowed to do this.

I'm also gobsmacked that it's not compulsory to teach evolution in a state school (is this Jewish school a state school?)

It's really not right.

prh47bridge Wed 05-Mar-14 23:10:26

I'm also gobsmacked that it's not compulsory to teach evolution in a state school

It is. It should already be taught in secondary school and from September it should also be taught in primary schools. Schools are not allowed to teach creationism as fact. And most faith schools wouldn't want to anyway. Neither the CofE nor the RC supports creationism.

prh47bridge Wed 05-Mar-14 23:11:51

And I am appalled that exam boards are allowing papers to be redacted in this way.

Everhopeful Thu 06-Mar-14 08:24:06

I'm appalled too. I'm pro faith schools, less because of the faith aspect, more because they generally (I know there are exceptions to every rule) produce hard-working, conscientious and considerate citizens amidst fantastic academic results and I really, really can't see a problem with that. When I chose for DD, the non-seculars averaged 5 GCSEs incl E&M at about 64%; her school has 90% and is no more selective than the others. The day the secular schools do as well (I'm talking averages here), I will be happy to see state faith schools go. Meantime, I'm very unhappy to see ridiculous behaviour by a minority of these schools that makes a mockery of them all. OCR ABU to allow it!

Clavinova Thu 06-Mar-14 10:39:19

Everhopeful - I've just been reading another thread where you said that that your dd's school - Grey Coat Hospital "felt like a private school" - of course it's more selective than the other schools you looked at for your dd; why else would she travel from Croydon/Purley to Westminster every day? I'm as sharp-elbowed as anyone (ds1 travels miles to his private school on a scholarship to avoid the local comp) but let's all stop pretending that average intake equals fab GCSEs.

lalsy Thu 06-Mar-14 11:16:51

I am appalled too.

Here is a link to the BHA statement https://humanism.org.uk/2014/03/02/ofqual-exam-boards-collude-faith-schools-censor-questions-evolution/

Perhaps we can all get sharing it, to spread the word? I cannot believe this, and think it risks discrediting the exam system for everyone. Do flat earthers get questions on the earth's magnetic field removed?

TalkinPeace Thu 06-Mar-14 11:49:50

Jewish Girls school
www.secularism.org.uk/news/2014/03/government-complicit-in-redaction-of-exam-questions-on-evolution

such schools have no place in state funding
and Ofqual and the Dfe are disgraceful in pandering to them

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 06-Mar-14 12:01:22

I'm not sure whether you are ill informed, deluded or just having a laugh about Grey Coats not being selective. but you have just made me laugh out loud. It's horrendously selective witha heavy bias towards a certain type of parent. In fact I'm pretty sure it's just been rapped over the knuckles for its selective admissions criteria breaching the admission code.

Everhopeful Thu 06-Mar-14 12:40:34

Hi Clavinova and Rafa - perhaps I have missed something. Yes, I did indeed say that and was under the impression they'd been rapped for the antique faith points system they use, sooner than for selecting academically. The fair banding system's been criticised here before, but several of the competition use it too and no one has questioned them about it. TBH it would be nice to feel greater pride in her achievement for getting in if I did think that! However, that wasn't the primary driver - Croydon borough is very light on single sex schools unless you're a Catholic and that's what DD wanted. We liked GCH better than the only other option.

Glad I made you laugh, even if it wasn't intentional! Enjoy the sun!

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 06-Mar-14 17:47:54

God I've justread that back and it sounded far arsier than I intended. Sorry.

It's not necessarily 'academic' selection. It's more that the criteria tend to favour motivated, driven parents with high academic expectations of their children. This feeds down into the children and is probably the most likely cause of the hard-working, conscientious, considerate citizens you describe. I'm not saying the school don't have a role in that but I think the demographics of year 7 going in to the school are likely to be very different to the year 7 going into other comprehensives. Which might account for much of the difference in exam results.

Whathaveiforgottentoday Thu 06-Mar-14 17:48:06

I was disgusted that OCR (and therefore Ofqual) are allowing this to happen. Absolutely appalling.

creamteas Thu 06-Mar-14 18:36:32

I really hope that the DoE/Ofqual stop this.

This will probably mean that some subjects get taken off the curriculum altogether though.

There is a private christian school near me which refuses to teach evolution. They also do not allow any internet access. So no biology or IT/computer science qualifications are possible.

Whathaveiforgottentoday Thu 06-Mar-14 19:24:20

I think this should be against the law. If they're faith is so strong, why are they worried about the students reading alternative theories. Surely, if they are so sure they are right, it shouldn't affect them.

I've taught plenty of students who 'don't believe' in evolution and they've never had a problem.

This is the sort of behavior you expect of countries like afghanistan not the UK. Perhaps we should start burning books next just in case they contain something we don't want to read.

oh - i think this may have already been done.

TalkinPeace Thu 06-Mar-14 19:52:51

creamteas
private schools can do what they like
if you restrict what private schools can do you get an epidemic of religious home schooling : as in the USA

horsemadmom Thu 06-Mar-14 21:30:56

The school in question is not a mainstream Jewish school. It teaches the most religious and insular end of the Jewish spectrum. Similar to the most devout end of Muslim and Christiam schools. I'm not a fan of faith schools- speaking as a Jewish parent- I'm glad that my DCs have friends from all faiths and none.

Everhopeful Fri 07-Mar-14 08:32:26

Hi Rafa

Interesting...does this imply that you think setting the faith criteria encourages the more committed parents to apply to that school? If you're right, perhaps that is what accounts for the better results. So, how to spread that to the others? I'm sure they all have some sort of homework agreement, etc, so can't help thinking there must be something else. If it's simply that you have to do something "extra" (can't think of a less emotive word, so don't flame me!) then I can't see how to make the other schools as attractive to your "motivated, driven parents with high academic expectations of their children". I'm sure they must have their share though, especially of those who have a principle excluding faith schools. Anyway, that's not really relevant to this thread, since it's about whether such schools should be allowed to tinker with the syllabus to suit themselves, so I'll drop it.

I was thinking last night that the only way forward on this is to create a new "science" GCSE - let's call it "Creationist Science" - and this paper can be the redacted one. At least then universities and employers know what the candidates knows...! Frankly, I doubt it will be that popular with either, but presumably it will be popular with parents at these schools?

Everhopeful Fri 07-Mar-14 08:33:32

Whathaveiforgottentoday - hear, hear!!

reddidi Fri 07-Mar-14 09:05:12

I was thinking last night that the only way forward on this is to create a new "science" GCSE - let's call it "Creationist Science"

That's a good idea. How about "Revisionist History" for the holocaust deniers, we could have "Racist Politics" and "Sexist Business Studies" too hmm

creamteas Fri 07-Mar-14 09:32:31

Exactly reddidi.

If exam boards begin negotiating as to which parts of the curriculum schools can leave out and remove from the exam papers, this will open the doors to potentially all sorts of ideas being challenged.

Hellefrog Fri 07-Mar-14 09:36:01

When did Education stop being about learning and become only focused on results?
After teaching for many years, I don't see a thirst for learning- just lots of switched off kids, who've been tested forever.
Surely parents want their children to understand the world they live in, including the wide variety of beliefs that make up modern Britain?
Throw out the testing until 18, push for truly comprehensive schools and bring in a bac type exam for those who are academic. ( Not the Michael Gove poncey private school rip off type). Don't accept what politicians tell you is good for your kids!
Thank heavens my children went through the State system in the 90s.They have a wide general knowledge, friends from all types of backgrounds and despise discrimination. Their not perfect, but definitely not bigots. When they were small they came to church with me, but made their own minds up not to come anymore.
Religion is not an Education matter. Understanding religions is what matters.
Sorry to rant, but we've all been brainwashed into thinking test results matter. They only count at GCSE and A level and they're not the only thing that counts. Work experience and the ability to communicate are vital.

meditrina Fri 07-Mar-14 09:38:02

Well, if a school decides to omit part of the curriculum (and then blank out questions from the paper) that is up to them - but they should take the hit on the results. I think that's terribly unfair on the pupils though.

And would be even more unfair should a pupil be placed there if the school was not a parental preference (for if you do not secure any of your choices, you can be allocated any state school and not being of matching religion is not a reason in itself for appeal. Not covering the whole curriculum damned well ought to be, though).

Presumably this affects very few schools though? Most faith schools are CofE or RC, and in neither of these would it be an issue.

Beastofburden Fri 07-Mar-14 09:40:35

How ridiculous. When those children get to University, will they have to leave the room when that part of the curriculum is being discussed? will they be allowed to get degrees without covering the whole syllabus? Will Unis get sued by other stuidents who did have to do the whole syllabus and therefore did less well?

These schools are in terminal denial, if they think the way to support their belief system is to say "It's not happening, it's not in the public exam syllabus, not it's not, la la, not listening".

Beastofburden Fri 07-Mar-14 09:41:55

reddidi we could call it "In Denial Studies" grin

I feel very sorry for the children who are being brought up in such a climate of fear. The adults obviously fear that if children are exposed to different ideas they might start a terrible process called "free thinking" and who wants their child growing up able to critically analyse information. hmm

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