The State Primary School in which my Mother teaches, (which will remain nameless) is by all accounts a fairly standard institution in a mixed area of the West Country. It was then, much to both my Mother’s shock and all who she told, to learn that Year 6 pupils, (that’s ten and eleven year olds to you and me) had NO CLUE about the story of Genesis whatsoever. The second Primary School I attended many moons ago was CofE, but the first I went to had no official Religion and yet by seven or eight even I, who relentlessly messed around from first assembly to the final bell, had a good grasp of many of the basic Christian parables. And quite rightly so. Yet nowadays they are denied this wonderful poetry and purposefully withdrawn this traditional moral guidance of our collective inheritance.
This is no exaggeration. These pupils simply floundered at the mere mention of The Serpent as a comparison to something that came up in class. Talk of the narrative was lost on them, and it is, of course, not their fault. Meanwhile, these deprived Children are undertaking a six week course on Hinduism involving all kinds of giggling and time wasting activities in the joys of, well, anywhere but here. Why teach the now unknown and unfashionable Lords Prayer when you can throw some pens around and get the snotty brats to colour in Ganesha? How very cultured they will become!!! No.
They are about to enter Secondary School and have no basic knowledge of the very faith that first brought free education to anyone but the richest in British history. Of course our Religious Education should take an interest in all the main Religious stories, Hinduism included, but my Mother, (who is an atheist) was truly shocked at the sad state of affairs whereby eleven year olds were taught not the Sermon on The Mount but rather the dietary requirements of people many of these Children will probably never even meet.
One need not be even remotely religious to see that in some Schools, (and yes it is a significant some, I will not be accused of DM style scare mongering- my Father has given talks on raising standards throughout the UK for the last twenty years at least, I *know* what goes on) that Christianity has wrongly been considered so toxic by the modern trendy permissive teaching establishment that we are speedily losing touch with things that are actually vitally important. And we will come to regret it. Mark my words.
The following video clip from Family Guy, (bottom of post) just about sums up the Nu Tory/ Nu ‘Labour’ ‘Education’ policy and it’s rootless, thin liberalism. It’s lack of rigour, it’s anti-boy, anti-working class ethos but most importantly it’s palpable anti-intellectualism that despises high standards, high culture, respect, manners, our national story and our religious and cultural heritage.
If saying these things makes me an old-fashioned bastard or not ‘progressive’ enough for a New Statesman column, then those are charges I embrace with open arms. This all comes from me, who was not a stranger to making teachers cry with my bad attitude and wreckless behaviour. I simply understand as an adult the mistakes our education system is making and feel compelled to comment on it as many of the modern ‘left’ are failing to address the issues. New ‘Labour’ may have injected much needed funds into education, but the overall policy direction was carried on from Thatcher and is undeniably not working. The less said of Gove the better.
And who exactly takes hope from Tristram Hunt? Not me. He came to Stroud to support David Drew in opposing a ‘Free’ School which is a good sign, but I will be interested to hear what David says about him now if there were more extensive discussions that day. And David is one proper Old Labour man who will not be fooled. Just listen to some recent comments from the legend himself-
“Always possible to tell a Green – just watch the bandwagon and they’ll jump on it…the Greens who wouldn’t know a working class voter if they bumped into one!…Why did the Greens then become a Pro-EU Party losing all credibility?”
And here is that Nu Tory/ Nu-‘Labour’ ‘education’ policy in full-