Parents and churchgoers petition council for Catholic secondary school in Richmond

Sign here: Anthony Kennedy handing a petition to council leader Lord True

Sign here: Anthony Kennedy handing a petition to council leader Lord True

First published in News by

More than 1,100 parents and churchgoers have signed a petition calling for the council to give one of two new secondary schools to the Catholic Church.

Father-of-two Anthony Kennedy visited most of Richmond’s Catholic primary schools to gather signatures and has written to the Archbishop of Westminster and the Archbishop of Southwark to ask for their support.

He called for the archbishops to “work constructively and imaginatively, both with each other and with Richmond Council, to secure this objective”.

The South West London Humanists group has campaigned against the council’s plans to build the borough’s first Catholic secondary school, saying they were about “exclusivity and privilege”. And Accord, which includes a coalition of Muslim, Hindu and Christian organisations, has also spoken out against the proposal.

But Mr Kennedy, of Clifford Avenue, East Sheen, said Catholic schools only discriminated against pupils based on their faith if they were oversubscribed.

He said: “My view is given there are a number of schools here anyway, and given there is a demand from those Catholic people in the borough who I understand make up about 20 per cent, then no great harm or disservice would be done by having a Catholic school here.

“We have got established Church of England schools and they are allowed to discriminate to the extent they can prefer Church of England pupils to anyone else.

“I suspect the reality is, and I can’t pretend otherwise, that a Catholic school would be likely to be oversubscribed because of the demand.”

The solicitor, who has a son aged nine and a five-year-old daughter at St Elizabeth’s Catholic Primary School, said Catholic parents were concerned about the quality of secondary education in Richmond and applied for places outside the borough.

He said: “They are very good schools, but involve relatively long journeys for relatively young children.”

Accord and the South West London Humanists group said both new schools, due by 2015, should be inclusive and should not segregate children based on their religion.

Comments (23)

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8:27am Sat 12 Mar 11

tim_lennon says...

Would it be unfair to suggest that if parents were worried about the quality of schools, then they might better help their community at large by getting involved in those schools, rather than complaining about having to leave the borough?
Would it be unfair to suggest that if parents were worried about the quality of schools, then they might better help their community at large by getting involved in those schools, rather than complaining about having to leave the borough? tim_lennon
  • Score: 0

11:27am Sat 12 Mar 11

Free from discrimination says...

I am frankly dismayed the newspaper has printed this story in it's current format. The petition itself constitutes news. All though all it 'constitutes' is a list of people opposing equality and in favour of discrimination. A policy I would be ashamed to sign my name to. To be clear this campaign has been repeatedly stated as being in opposition to discrimination not religion. 

Mr. Kennedy asks the church to work constructively with the council. If he is asking them to provide a school which does not discriminate on religion for admissions and employment or opt out of OFSTED and national curriculum as it sees fit but simply run the school then he will gain far more than 1100 supporters. 

The article prints Mr. Kennedy's quotes giving them credibility even though they are baseless and false. I would have expected the paper to acknowledge this. But I challenge the bishops to provide assurances to this. 

Mr. Kennedy says catholic secondary schools only discriminate if over subscribed but this is completely untrue. It seems strange that someone who collects 1100 signatures would not know this... He says, he 'understands' Catholics in the borough make up 20%. Well his 'understanding' is different to the facts which show nationally Catholics account for 9% but more crucially on a local level the church's own census showed only 3% attend Catholic Sunday services in the borough (a standard admissions requirement). 

Mr. Kennedy employs the 'other people discriminate so why can't we' argument. I feel this is barely worth acknowledging and a weak comment from someone described as a solicitor. 

Mr. Kennedy's concern about the quality of secondary education in the borough is valid and this Clearly needs to be addressed but in an inclusive manor. 

Also if the paper is going to print the number '1100 signatures' since this is now the second article I feel they should have printed the number 160,000. This is because they have failed again to mention Accord represents the association of teachers and lecturers ATL a union representing 160,000 teachers, lecturers and head teachers.  
But there could be a 100,000 signatures and they would still be in support of discrimination and therefore should not be supported by any elected officials. 
I am frankly dismayed the newspaper has printed this story in it's current format. The petition itself constitutes news. All though all it 'constitutes' is a list of people opposing equality and in favour of discrimination. A policy I would be ashamed to sign my name to. To be clear this campaign has been repeatedly stated as being in opposition to discrimination not religion.  Mr. Kennedy asks the church to work constructively with the council. If he is asking them to provide a school which does not discriminate on religion for admissions and employment or opt out of OFSTED and national curriculum as it sees fit but simply run the school then he will gain far more than 1100 supporters.  The article prints Mr. Kennedy's quotes giving them credibility even though they are baseless and false. I would have expected the paper to acknowledge this. But I challenge the bishops to provide assurances to this.  Mr. Kennedy says catholic secondary schools only discriminate if over subscribed but this is completely untrue. It seems strange that someone who collects 1100 signatures would not know this... He says, he 'understands' Catholics in the borough make up 20%. Well his 'understanding' is different to the facts which show nationally Catholics account for 9% but more crucially on a local level the church's own census showed only 3% attend Catholic Sunday services in the borough (a standard admissions requirement).  Mr. Kennedy employs the 'other people discriminate so why can't we' argument. I feel this is barely worth acknowledging and a weak comment from someone described as a solicitor.  Mr. Kennedy's concern about the quality of secondary education in the borough is valid and this Clearly needs to be addressed but in an inclusive manor.  Also if the paper is going to print the number '1100 signatures' since this is now the second article I feel they should have printed the number 160,000. This is because they have failed again to mention Accord represents the association of teachers and lecturers ATL a union representing 160,000 teachers, lecturers and head teachers.   But there could be a 100,000 signatures and they would still be in support of discrimination and therefore should not be supported by any elected officials.  Free from discrimination
  • Score: 0

12:28pm Sat 12 Mar 11

Concerned_Resident says...

I wonder whether the good Lord would make a photo opportunity such as this to accept a petition against a Catholic secondary school?
I wonder whether the good Lord would make a photo opportunity such as this to accept a petition against a Catholic secondary school? Concerned_Resident
  • Score: 0

2:01pm Sat 12 Mar 11

tim_lennon says...

I'm sure Lord True is on hand to receive all the 1,100 signature petitions the council is sent!
I'm sure Lord True is on hand to receive all the 1,100 signature petitions the council is sent! tim_lennon
  • Score: 0

2:46pm Sat 12 Mar 11

Iratus de Ham says...

Given that there is already pressure on in-borough secondary schools for places how can Richmond Council even consider making one of these new schools a faith school. Surely the main focus of the council should be to provide enough decent secondary school places for all in-borough pupils irrespective of race, class and religion.
Given that there is already pressure on in-borough secondary schools for places how can Richmond Council even consider making one of these new schools a faith school. Surely the main focus of the council should be to provide enough decent secondary school places for all in-borough pupils irrespective of race, class and religion. Iratus de Ham
  • Score: 0

4:21pm Sat 12 Mar 11

quicklizard says...

Anthony Kennedy said: "We have got established Church of England schools and they are allowed to discriminate to the extent they can prefer Church of England pupils to anyone else."

So the solution is remove the right of schools to discriminate against children on the basis of their parents' religion. More division is not the answer.
Anthony Kennedy said: "We have got established Church of England schools and they are allowed to discriminate to the extent they can prefer Church of England pupils to anyone else." So the solution is remove the right of schools to discriminate against children on the basis of their parents' religion. More division is not the answer. quicklizard
  • Score: 0

5:17pm Sat 12 Mar 11

localMumOfTwo says...

As a mum myself, I can understand why people would sign a petition calling for this school. It is likely to be outstanding, and their children are likely to have priority access to it. However, I suspect that the majority of those parents would also have no objection to their children being educated in an Outstanding local community school, if they had access to one. Large numbers of Catholic girls go to Waldegrave, but unfortunately the Linked School Policy prevents their access to other local schools. The council could choose to amend that policy if it wished to, and I think they should explain why they have not considered that option as a solution.
As a mum myself, I can understand why people would sign a petition calling for this school. It is likely to be outstanding, and their children are likely to have priority access to it. However, I suspect that the majority of those parents would also have no objection to their children being educated in an Outstanding local community school, if they had access to one. Large numbers of Catholic girls go to Waldegrave, but unfortunately the Linked School Policy prevents their access to other local schools. The council could choose to amend that policy if it wished to, and I think they should explain why they have not considered that option as a solution. localMumOfTwo
  • Score: 0

5:27pm Sat 12 Mar 11

JeremyRodell says...

So, some local Catholics have signed a petition in support of a new taxpayer-funded Catholic secondary school ("Catholics back petition" 11 March). They have presented it to the Leader of Richmond Council Leader, who is a trustee of a Catholic charity and whose Cabinet already support a new Catholic secondary. No news there then.

LocalMumofTwo makes a good point about the unfairness resulting from the "Linked schools" system. But the answer to that is to improve (or drop) the system.

The arguments Anthony Kennedy uses to support his petition are far weaker. Firstly he says that Catholic schools only discriminate against pupils based on faith if they are over-subscribed. Correct, as they need to fill up the places. But he then says he expects a new Catholic school would be over-subscribed. Quite.

He points out that we already have "Church of England schools and they are allowed to discriminate". One of the eight existing secondaries is a Church of England faith school, judged "good", but not "outstanding", by Ofsted. How does that justify more discrimination?

More importantly, he says that Catholic parents are concerned about the quality of secondary education in Richmond and send their children outside the Borough. Of course they rightly want high quality schools for their children. So does everyone else. And it's entirely reasonable to want access to a good school in the local area. But no belief group has a right to exclusive education at taxpayers' expense just because they or their church demand it.

What's wrong with new, high quality secondaries, equally available to all
the Borough's children regardless of the beliefs of their parents? Surely
the Council's academy-friendly education policy can deliver that.
So, some local Catholics have signed a petition in support of a new taxpayer-funded Catholic secondary school ("Catholics back petition" 11 March). They have presented it to the Leader of Richmond Council Leader, who is a trustee of a Catholic charity and whose Cabinet already support a new Catholic secondary. No news there then. LocalMumofTwo makes a good point about the unfairness resulting from the "Linked schools" system. But the answer to that is to improve (or drop) the system. The arguments Anthony Kennedy uses to support his petition are far weaker. Firstly he says that Catholic schools only discriminate against pupils based on faith if they are over-subscribed. Correct, as they need to fill up the places. But he then says he expects a new Catholic school would be over-subscribed. Quite. He points out that we already have "Church of England schools and they are allowed to discriminate". One of the eight existing secondaries is a Church of England faith school, judged "good", but not "outstanding", by Ofsted. How does that justify more discrimination? More importantly, he says that Catholic parents are concerned about the quality of secondary education in Richmond and send their children outside the Borough. Of course they rightly want high quality schools for their children. So does everyone else. And it's entirely reasonable to want access to a good school in the local area. But no belief group has a right to exclusive education at taxpayers' expense just because they or their church demand it. What's wrong with new, high quality secondaries, equally available to all the Borough's children regardless of the beliefs of their parents? Surely the Council's academy-friendly education policy can deliver that. JeremyRodell
  • Score: 0

7:32pm Sat 12 Mar 11

TrevorC says...

There have been many petitions of higher numbers ignored in the past and this one should not be given any special treatment or regard.

If you look at the recent history of Christ’s C of E School http://www.richmonda
ndtwickenhamtimes.co
.uk/news/8899362.Fai
ling_school_turns_it
s_fortunes_around/?r
ef=ec it has moved from failing to outstanding in the last 10 years. Take note of the factors that have contributed to the turnaround and success. Beyond the high quality of the teaching, it is all around commitment, parental engagement and community support as contributory ingredients.

There are many of varying shades of religious belief, who believe rightly or wrongly, that only a school of any religion can or will have committed parental support, advocate high moral values and provide the holistic mix that turn out well educated and well rounded children/young adults.

The focus should be for a consistency of standards delivered by all schools and expectations of what is required from students and parents alike. Rather than going to church as a requirement to get a place at a particular school, why not make it a required number of hours of voluntary work or community service?
There have been many petitions of higher numbers ignored in the past and this one should not be given any special treatment or regard. If you look at the recent history of Christ’s C of E School http://www.richmonda ndtwickenhamtimes.co .uk/news/8899362.Fai ling_school_turns_it s_fortunes_around/?r ef=ec it has moved from failing to outstanding in the last 10 years. Take note of the factors that have contributed to the turnaround and success. Beyond the high quality of the teaching, it is all around commitment, parental engagement and community support as contributory ingredients. There are many of varying shades of religious belief, who believe rightly or wrongly, that only a school of any religion can or will have committed parental support, advocate high moral values and provide the holistic mix that turn out well educated and well rounded children/young adults. The focus should be for a consistency of standards delivered by all schools and expectations of what is required from students and parents alike. Rather than going to church as a requirement to get a place at a particular school, why not make it a required number of hours of voluntary work or community service? TrevorC
  • Score: 0

11:41pm Sun 13 Mar 11

Longstanding Local says...

This petition from Local Catholic parents highlights their passionate belief that they have a legitimate and legally enshrined right to state provision of an educational environment for their children that underpins and supports their faith in a way that has long been denied them in this borough. There is nothing untoward about Richmond at long last proposing to build its one and only state funded Catholic secondary school. If it’s good enough for neighbouring boroughs to have (excellent) state funded Catholic secondary provision then why not Richmond borough? Why all the fuss? Why no excellence for Richmonds teenagers? Catholic parents pay their taxes and place great value on being allowed the freedom to educate their children in a faith environment, and is sad to see (in this modern day and age) that it is the faith itself that is the very thing that those who rail against Catholic schools object to the most. Loud protestations about “discrimination at the point of entry” do nothing to disguise the very old fashioned Catholic bashing that surfaces every time this school is discussed. Those who rail against this school would do well to consider that in their desire to obliterate Catholic teaching and religious experience from the boroughs education system they will enforce the kind of secularisation that becomes a straight jacket to the freedom of thought and expression of their Catholic (and other faith based) neighbours who have every right to expect to be able to openly express their religious heritage in all aspects of the way they live. Not everyone wants to be pushed through a state system that is devoid of religious content. Not everyone wants to live a life that denies the existence of God and does not see human beings as having a primary spiritual purpose and dimension. So why should we not have state funded schools that provide for Catholic freedoms and aspirations? As pope Benedict put it so well recently in Westminster Hall “...... I would suggest that the world of reason and the world of faith – the world of secular rationality and the world of religious belief – need one another and should not be afraid to enter into profound and ongoing dialogue, for the good of our civilisation. Religion in other words, is not a problem for legislators to solve, but a vital contributor to our national conversation.” .......In other words an educational system that excludes faith is not an educational system for faith exists and is a reality in the modern world. The Catholic faith is alive and kicking in Richmond. It cannot be wished away and in a modern democracy should be acknowledged and embraced in the education system as a valid and viable part of the national culture.
This petition from Local Catholic parents highlights their passionate belief that they have a legitimate and legally enshrined right to state provision of an educational environment for their children that underpins and supports their faith in a way that has long been denied them in this borough. There is nothing untoward about Richmond at long last proposing to build its one and only state funded Catholic secondary school. If it’s good enough for neighbouring boroughs to have (excellent) state funded Catholic secondary provision then why not Richmond borough? Why all the fuss? Why no excellence for Richmonds teenagers? Catholic parents pay their taxes and place great value on being allowed the freedom to educate their children in a faith environment, and is sad to see (in this modern day and age) that it is the faith itself that is the very thing that those who rail against Catholic schools object to the most. Loud protestations about “discrimination at the point of entry” do nothing to disguise the very old fashioned Catholic bashing that surfaces every time this school is discussed. Those who rail against this school would do well to consider that in their desire to obliterate Catholic teaching and religious experience from the boroughs education system they will enforce the kind of secularisation that becomes a straight jacket to the freedom of thought and expression of their Catholic (and other faith based) neighbours who have every right to expect to be able to openly express their religious heritage in all aspects of the way they live. Not everyone wants to be pushed through a state system that is devoid of religious content. Not everyone wants to live a life that denies the existence of God and does not see human beings as having a primary spiritual purpose and dimension. So why should we not have state funded schools that provide for Catholic freedoms and aspirations? As pope Benedict put it so well recently in Westminster Hall “...... I would suggest that the world of reason and the world of faith – the world of secular rationality and the world of religious belief – need one another and should not be afraid to enter into profound and ongoing dialogue, for the good of our civilisation. Religion in other words, is not a problem for legislators to solve, but a vital contributor to our national conversation.” .......In other words an educational system that excludes faith is not an educational system for faith exists and is a reality in the modern world. The Catholic faith is alive and kicking in Richmond. It cannot be wished away and in a modern democracy should be acknowledged and embraced in the education system as a valid and viable part of the national culture. Longstanding Local
  • Score: 0

2:36pm Mon 14 Mar 11

LaurenceMann says...

There is a problem in our borough with the linked school system and Catholic primary schools which prevents children from those schools getting places at our community schools. This does need addressing, but requires the co-operation of those primary schools as there is a dogmatic refusal to engage with the rest of the school system. The CofE schools are happy to be linked in.

I must take issue with Mr Kennedy's reported comment that: "Catholic parents were concerned about the quality of secondary education in Richmond and applied for places outside the borough." Richmond secondary schools provide an excellent level of education, with three of the five non-Academy Secondaries rated as Outstanding by Ofsted, and the remaining two very much on the way there.

So no parents should do other than be very pleased to live in a borough where their children can and do achieve their potential without being exported to other boroughs or farmed out to private schools at considerable expense to families.

Whatever arguments there are for a new Catholic Secondary, the quality of local community school education is not one of them.
There is a problem in our borough with the linked school system and Catholic primary schools which prevents children from those schools getting places at our community schools. This does need addressing, but requires the co-operation of those primary schools as there is a dogmatic refusal to engage with the rest of the school system. The CofE schools are happy to be linked in. I must take issue with Mr Kennedy's reported comment that: "Catholic parents were concerned about the quality of secondary education in Richmond and applied for places outside the borough." Richmond secondary schools provide an excellent level of education, with three of the five non-Academy Secondaries rated as Outstanding by Ofsted, and the remaining two very much on the way there. So no parents should do other than be very pleased to live in a borough where their children can and do achieve their potential without being exported to other boroughs or farmed out to private schools at considerable expense to families. Whatever arguments there are for a new Catholic Secondary, the quality of local community school education is not one of them. LaurenceMann
  • Score: 0

3:22pm Mon 14 Mar 11

tim_lennon says...

Longstanding Local is also wrong to attempt to conflate dislike of the idea of a Catholic school with dislike of Catholics or their religious choices.

This isn't about Catholic bashing, it's about the way all religious schools use Government to discriminate in favour of their co-religionists.
Longstanding Local is also wrong to attempt to conflate dislike of the idea of a Catholic school with dislike of Catholics or their religious choices. This isn't about Catholic bashing, it's about the way all religious schools use Government to discriminate in favour of their co-religionists. tim_lennon
  • Score: 0

3:47pm Mon 14 Mar 11

JeremyRodell says...

LongstandingLocal wants us to think that Catholics who want a state-funded Catholic school are somehow victims of anti-religious and/or anti-Catholic prejudice because other people are objecting. But there is no evidence for his view and there is no "Catholic bashing". The campaign for an inclusive school is supported by the Accord Coalition, which includes a number of religious groups. Claiming a non-existent right to a taxpayer- funded school, controlled by their church with discriminatory admissions and employment policies and biased religious education, and then having the audacity to complain of being victimised when people object is scarcely credible.

This is not about anyone being anti-Catholic - we have a proud tradition of freedom of belief in this country. And there is a clear case for the inclusion of Catholic primaries in the Richmond "linked school" system (if it is to be retained).

But the issue here is a simple argument about one belief group seeking privilege over everyone else.
LongstandingLocal wants us to think that Catholics who want a state-funded Catholic school are somehow victims of anti-religious and/or anti-Catholic prejudice because other people are objecting. But there is no evidence for his view and there is no "Catholic bashing". The campaign for an inclusive school is supported by the Accord Coalition, which includes a number of religious groups. Claiming a non-existent right to a taxpayer- funded school, controlled by their church with discriminatory admissions and employment policies and biased religious education, and then having the audacity to complain of being victimised when people object is scarcely credible. This is not about anyone being anti-Catholic - we have a proud tradition of freedom of belief in this country. And there is a clear case for the inclusion of Catholic primaries in the Richmond "linked school" system (if it is to be retained). But the issue here is a simple argument about one belief group seeking privilege over everyone else. JeremyRodell
  • Score: 0

4:51pm Mon 14 Mar 11

Dr James Murphy says...

For as long as the state involves itself in matters of faith/superstition there will be conflict as a direct result. The new schools should be open to ALL children in the borough.
For as long as the state involves itself in matters of faith/superstition there will be conflict as a direct result. The new schools should be open to ALL children in the borough. Dr James Murphy
  • Score: 0

12:39am Tue 15 Mar 11

Longstanding Local says...

Catholics in Richmond are not seeking privilege. They simply want to be treated the same as other Catholics in neighbouring boroughs where (part) state funded Catholic secondary schools are provided. If Catholics in Hounslow can have a secondary school then why can’t we? We pay our taxes plus an extra levy for all our schools! As to discrimination – the Catholic perspective is something that no-one considers in their haste to protest about our so called “discrimination”
. We actually feel increasingly alienated at the lack of real engagement with the reality of our presence in this borough. I have observed over a long lifetime that every time we express our genuine and legitimate wish to live out our religion in this borough - including the education of our children - we get the same old mantra of “discrimination” and “privilege seeking”. These are appalling slurs. In a perfect world the new school should be built large enough to take all children who want to attend. All creeds, all nations. We would love everyone who wants to attend a Catholic school to be able to do so. The "discrimination at point of entry" that is constantly referred to above is a distortion of the sad fact that due to the lack of physical capacity in existing Catholic schools it is often the case that potential pupils have to be turned away – including many Catholics. This “discrimination” is a result of the real physical difficulty of accommodating all pupils wanting to attend, rather than the real wish of Catholics to exclude anyone based on faith. Catholics would dearly love to have all pupils of all faiths and backgrounds attend any school allocated to them. To centre your objection to a Catholic school on this fiction of a “discriminatory entry policy” when in reality the problem is the lack of capacity to take all applicants is a travesty of the word “debate”. In this context labels such “discriminatory” and “elitist” are indeed Catholic bashing as they lack intellectual rigour. Labels distort a logical look at the history of secondary level Catholic school building in the borough (zero), and infer a “discriminatory” and “elitist” mentality in Catholics that simply does not exist. They are a grave slur on the good character and good nature of all Catholics in this borough who do not seek privilege and do not discriminate on the basis of anything - let alone faith!. As I said before the reality yet to be accepted by those objecting to this school is that Catholics actually exist in this borough at all. Catholics are not going to cease to exist in Richmond or move elsewhere, and it is wholly offensive to be constantly labelling us as being “seekers of privilege” and “discriminatory” for simply trying to cope with the lack of capacity in our out of borough secondary schools. We are asking to be treated the same as all other Catholics are in England. I repeat – other boroughs provide Catholic secondary schools so why not Richmond?
Catholics in Richmond are not seeking privilege. They simply want to be treated the same as other Catholics in neighbouring boroughs where (part) state funded Catholic secondary schools are provided. If Catholics in Hounslow can have a secondary school then why can’t we? We pay our taxes plus an extra levy for all our schools! As to discrimination – the Catholic perspective is something that no-one considers in their haste to protest about our so called “discrimination” . We actually feel increasingly alienated at the lack of real engagement with the reality of our presence in this borough. I have observed over a long lifetime that every time we express our genuine and legitimate wish to live out our religion in this borough - including the education of our children - we get the same old mantra of “discrimination” and “privilege seeking”. These are appalling slurs. In a perfect world the new school should be built large enough to take all children who want to attend. All creeds, all nations. We would love everyone who wants to attend a Catholic school to be able to do so. The "discrimination at point of entry" that is constantly referred to above is a distortion of the sad fact that due to the lack of physical capacity in existing Catholic schools it is often the case that potential pupils have to be turned away – including many Catholics. This “discrimination” is a result of the real physical difficulty of accommodating all pupils wanting to attend, rather than the real wish of Catholics to exclude anyone based on faith. Catholics would dearly love to have all pupils of all faiths and backgrounds attend any school allocated to them. To centre your objection to a Catholic school on this fiction of a “discriminatory entry policy” when in reality the problem is the lack of capacity to take all applicants is a travesty of the word “debate”. In this context labels such “discriminatory” and “elitist” are indeed Catholic bashing as they lack intellectual rigour. Labels distort a logical look at the history of secondary level Catholic school building in the borough (zero), and infer a “discriminatory” and “elitist” mentality in Catholics that simply does not exist. They are a grave slur on the good character and good nature of all Catholics in this borough who do not seek privilege and do not discriminate on the basis of anything - let alone faith!. As I said before the reality yet to be accepted by those objecting to this school is that Catholics actually exist in this borough at all. Catholics are not going to cease to exist in Richmond or move elsewhere, and it is wholly offensive to be constantly labelling us as being “seekers of privilege” and “discriminatory” for simply trying to cope with the lack of capacity in our out of borough secondary schools. We are asking to be treated the same as all other Catholics are in England. I repeat – other boroughs provide Catholic secondary schools so why not Richmond? Longstanding Local
  • Score: 0

8:33am Tue 15 Mar 11

Free from discrimination says...

Longstanding local,

Even if the school did not have a discriminating admissions policy it would still have a discriminating employment policy. It would also still be opting out of a national curriculum for RE and aspects of teaching relating to sexual education and equality.

Would a school employ an atheist teacher who lives in the borough even if there were no catholic teachers living in the borough or will they discriminate against him in favour of the catholic. Do you think this is right or wrong?

Would a school employ an openly gay teacher who lives in the borough even if there were no straight catholic teachers living in the borough or will they discriminate against him in favour of the catholic. Do you think this is right or wrong?

Even if you personally would not discriminate in this way do you accept a school would? Assuming yes, since you are arguing for the school to be provided I feel you should be able to justify this discrimination against people looking for a job on the baisis of their faith and sexuality.

As for other boroughs having a catholic school, this is not really a matter for debate. It doesn't make it right because lots of other people do something that is wrong.

Also if you are going to emphasise PART- funded then please be clear. I believe the church will provide 10% of the capital costs only. The council will provide 90% of the capital costs, the sire and all the ongoing running costs in perpetuity.
Longstanding local, Even if the school did not have a discriminating admissions policy it would still have a discriminating employment policy. It would also still be opting out of a national curriculum for RE and aspects of teaching relating to sexual education and equality. Would a school employ an atheist teacher who lives in the borough even if there were no catholic teachers living in the borough or will they discriminate against him in favour of the catholic. Do you think this is right or wrong? Would a school employ an openly gay teacher who lives in the borough even if there were no straight catholic teachers living in the borough or will they discriminate against him in favour of the catholic. Do you think this is right or wrong? Even if you personally would not discriminate in this way do you accept a school would? Assuming yes, since you are arguing for the school to be provided I feel you should be able to justify this discrimination against people looking for a job on the baisis of their faith and sexuality. As for other boroughs having a catholic school, this is not really a matter for debate. It doesn't make it right because lots of other people do something that is wrong. Also if you are going to emphasise PART- funded then please be clear. I believe the church will provide 10% of the capital costs only. The council will provide 90% of the capital costs, the sire and all the ongoing running costs in perpetuity. Free from discrimination
  • Score: 0

9:22am Tue 15 Mar 11

Longstanding Local says...

I rest my case about needless slurs and Catholic bashing
I rest my case about needless slurs and Catholic bashing Longstanding Local
  • Score: 0

10:51am Tue 15 Mar 11

tim_lennon says...

You're wrong to conflate dislike of religious schools with dislike of Catholicism. You have been free to practise your religion since the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1832. What many object to is not a Catholic school, but a religious school at all.

The fact that other boroughs already have a Catholic school does not detract from our in-principle objection to any more religious schools in our borough.

The fact is that religious schools *do* have discrimnatory entry policies; they *do* have discriminatory policies on recruitment; they *do* fail to provide a full RE syllabus for pupils not from their religion.
You're wrong to conflate dislike of religious schools with dislike of Catholicism. You have been free to practise your religion since the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1832. What many object to is not a Catholic school, but a religious school at all. The fact that other boroughs already have a Catholic school does not detract from our in-principle objection to any more religious schools in our borough. The fact is that religious schools *do* have discrimnatory entry policies; they *do* have discriminatory policies on recruitment; they *do* fail to provide a full RE syllabus for pupils not from their religion. tim_lennon
  • Score: 0

11:56am Tue 15 Mar 11

Free from discrimination says...

I do not believe that my comment above contained any slurs or catholic bashing. I did not feel it was actually necessary to make this clear but my comment was directly leveled at a recruitment policy utilised by an institution not at an individual or even your religion itself.

As you have chosen of your own volition to step up and argue in favour of the provision of a Catholic Secondary school I think it is reasonable to ask you the questions I did. Questions you have chosen to not acknowledge let alone answer. You can dislike the fact that these questions have to be asked but that will not change the policies of the school should it be built. If these questions make you feel uncomfortable and you are not at ease with their answers then perhaps you need to reconsider your support of the school. It is a logical conclusion that the only people who will support a Catholic Secondary School must by the very nature of their support also be comfortable with discriminating against people applying for jobs on the basis of their faith and sexuality.

Not all Catholics will be comfortable with this which is why some Catholics will oppose a Catholic Secondary School in favour of an inclusive school where their children will be able to attend free from discrimination. The question is, if you are not comfortable with this type of discrimination then why do you support a bid for a catholic secondary school? If you are comfortable with discriminating against people on the basis of their faith and sexuality then I understand your support of the school but not your failure to acknowledge this.

There is a requirement to stand up now and fight for equality because failure to do so will lead to only one thing. A school that will have a discriminating employment policy.

This campaign is not against religion. It is not even against religious schools. It is against discriminating employment and admissions policies and the opting out of national curriculum and some aspects of OFSTED inspections.
I do not believe that my comment above contained any slurs or catholic bashing. I did not feel it was actually necessary to make this clear but my comment was directly leveled at a recruitment policy utilised by an institution not at an individual or even your religion itself. As you have chosen of your own volition to step up and argue in favour of the provision of a Catholic Secondary school I think it is reasonable to ask you the questions I did. Questions you have chosen to not acknowledge let alone answer. You can dislike the fact that these questions have to be asked but that will not change the policies of the school should it be built. If these questions make you feel uncomfortable and you are not at ease with their answers then perhaps you need to reconsider your support of the school. It is a logical conclusion that the only people who will support a Catholic Secondary School must by the very nature of their support also be comfortable with discriminating against people applying for jobs on the basis of their faith and sexuality. Not all Catholics will be comfortable with this which is why some Catholics will oppose a Catholic Secondary School in favour of an inclusive school where their children will be able to attend free from discrimination. The question is, if you are not comfortable with this type of discrimination then why do you support a bid for a catholic secondary school? If you are comfortable with discriminating against people on the basis of their faith and sexuality then I understand your support of the school but not your failure to acknowledge this. There is a requirement to stand up now and fight for equality because failure to do so will lead to only one thing. A school that will have a discriminating employment policy. This campaign is not against religion. It is not even against religious schools. It is against discriminating employment and admissions policies and the opting out of national curriculum and some aspects of OFSTED inspections. Free from discrimination
  • Score: 0

12:06pm Tue 15 Mar 11

JeremyRodell says...

Anyone who supports the campaign for an inclusive secondary school instead of a Catholic school in Richmond should please email: richmondschool@swlhu
manists.org.uk and/or join the Facebook group called "Learning together - no new faith schools for Richmond".
Anyone who supports the campaign for an inclusive secondary school instead of a Catholic school in Richmond should please email: richmondschool@swlhu manists.org.uk and/or join the Facebook group called "Learning together - no new faith schools for Richmond". JeremyRodell
  • Score: 0

12:32pm Tue 15 Mar 11

Longstanding Local says...

Free from discrimination you will not be "free from discrimination" until you stop seeing it where it doesnt exist. At no stage have I mentioned all the issues you bring up. There is no such "discrimination" except that existing in your own perceptions. There is however a lack of capacity in the boroughs secondary schools - for all of us.Im sure we can agree on that . Maybe that is the real issue to be tackled.Im not sure that making us all go through the same dead pan secular education system is the right way of tackling the boroughs underprovision of secondary school places.So dont pick on the Catholics for having the luck to get a once in a millenium shot of a school. As I said Catholics would love to let everyone into this non existent school but the potential capacity seemingly (and by assumption )doesnt exist. Thats not our fault and blaming us for the ills of the world does sounds very unjust from our perspective.You do actually sounds very prejudiced against Catholics yourself Im afraid. Maybe we should all unite and get Richmond to build more secondary schools for all - but not all the same please for as you say we are all different and should not be upset with each other for being so.
Free from discrimination you will not be "free from discrimination" until you stop seeing it where it doesnt exist. At no stage have I mentioned all the issues you bring up. There is no such "discrimination" except that existing in your own perceptions. There is however a lack of capacity in the boroughs secondary schools - for all of us.Im sure we can agree on that . Maybe that is the real issue to be tackled.Im not sure that making us all go through the same dead pan secular education system is the right way of tackling the boroughs underprovision of secondary school places.So dont pick on the Catholics for having the luck to get a once in a millenium shot of a school. As I said Catholics would love to let everyone into this non existent school but the potential capacity seemingly (and by assumption )doesnt exist. Thats not our fault and blaming us for the ills of the world does sounds very unjust from our perspective.You do actually sounds very prejudiced against Catholics yourself Im afraid. Maybe we should all unite and get Richmond to build more secondary schools for all - but not all the same please for as you say we are all different and should not be upset with each other for being so. Longstanding Local
  • Score: 0

2:50pm Tue 15 Mar 11

Free from discrimination says...

Long standing Local,

I am sory but you are wrong. Wheather the school will have a discriminating employment policy or not is not an opinion. It is a simple unquestionable fact. You have yet again avoided answering or acknowledging questions you do not like. You have employed this tactic in the past on other articles and as such after this comment I will no longer waste my time trying to reason with you. I shall assume other readers are able to see your responses for what they are...

You have said, "There is no such "discrimination" except that existing in your own perceptions.", in response to my statements about discrimination in employment policy.

You may not like it but the facts are the facts. A Catholic School will discriminate in exactly the manor I have stated. They use model employment contracts created by the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales (CESEW) which have been approved by the the Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales. These are not secret and are freely available. The practice of discrimination is not hidden or up for debate. The Bishops believe that they are right to discriminate in this manor.

If you wish to support the bid for a Catholic Secondary School that is up to you and anyone else who chooses to. However, please do not try to pretend that the school will not discriminate. If you want to support the bid then you are supporting discrimination. It does not matter how you phrase it. that is what you are doing.

You have once again employed the argument that this is a campaign against Catholicism and specificly accuse me of this when you say, "You do actually sounds very prejudiced against Catholics yourself Im afraid.". I feel I have been extremely clear that this is not the case. I am opposed to people that wish to discriminate against others. Some of these people happen to be Catholics. Some Catholics do not wish to discriminate. It is not a complicated situation to understand.

Will everyone who wishes to support a bid for a Catholic Secondary School please take the time to actually consider what you are supporting. make sure you are not supporting something without giving it due consideration. Understand that if you support the bid, you are supporting a discriminating employment policy and admissions policy. Do not let people try to pull the wool over your eyes to beleive otherwise.
Long standing Local, I am sory but you are wrong. Wheather the school will have a discriminating employment policy or not is not an opinion. It is a simple unquestionable fact. You have yet again avoided answering or acknowledging questions you do not like. You have employed this tactic in the past on other articles and as such after this comment I will no longer waste my time trying to reason with you. I shall assume other readers are able to see your responses for what they are... You have said, "There is no such "discrimination" except that existing in your own perceptions.", in response to my statements about discrimination in employment policy. You may not like it but the facts are the facts. A Catholic School will discriminate in exactly the manor I have stated. They use model employment contracts created by the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales (CESEW) which have been approved by the the Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales. These are not secret and are freely available. The practice of discrimination is not hidden or up for debate. The Bishops believe that they are right to discriminate in this manor. If you wish to support the bid for a Catholic Secondary School that is up to you and anyone else who chooses to. However, please do not try to pretend that the school will not discriminate. If you want to support the bid then you are supporting discrimination. It does not matter how you phrase it. that is what you are doing. You have once again employed the argument that this is a campaign against Catholicism and specificly accuse me of this when you say, "You do actually sounds very prejudiced against Catholics yourself Im afraid.". I feel I have been extremely clear that this is not the case. I am opposed to people that wish to discriminate against others. Some of these people happen to be Catholics. Some Catholics do not wish to discriminate. It is not a complicated situation to understand. Will everyone who wishes to support a bid for a Catholic Secondary School please take the time to actually consider what you are supporting. make sure you are not supporting something without giving it due consideration. Understand that if you support the bid, you are supporting a discriminating employment policy and admissions policy. Do not let people try to pull the wool over your eyes to beleive otherwise. Free from discrimination
  • Score: 0

6:32pm Tue 15 Mar 11

TrevorC says...

This is an area of debate which has become polarised, as it often does, which is not helpful. Each side believes in the absolute right and wrong of their arguments and points of view. I don't see it that way and wish that more voices could speak up for the middle ground.

While I don't agree with the creation of a Catholic secondary school in this borough, or any new faith based school anywhere, I do understand why there is a call for them and the concerns and desires that drive that. I don't necessarily agree with the secular view that says it's our way or no way (unless you pay).

Another way ought to be found that can be all inclusive for those that have high aspirations for turning out well educated, well rounded, well behaved and morally upstanding young people.

While schools would not be selecting before allocating a place, they should give a clear code of conduct of standards, behaviour, expectations and responsibilities before an application is made, with a requirement for both the parent or guardian and the student to sign a contract after a place has been offered. It should be easier to exclude for breaking the contract, with less chances given before doing so.

A corrective school for the excluded could be created and staffed by the mainly ex military or police who have been made redundant and re-trained, with the chance of reintegration for those that see the light.

As for the faith and secular viewpoints, the education should be around an understanding of all and respect for all, not about right or wrong or one is better than another. (Or supreme to all).

Is that too idealistic and unrealistic to hope for?
This is an area of debate which has become polarised, as it often does, which is not helpful. Each side believes in the absolute right and wrong of their arguments and points of view. I don't see it that way and wish that more voices could speak up for the middle ground. While I don't agree with the creation of a Catholic secondary school in this borough, or any new faith based school anywhere, I do understand why there is a call for them and the concerns and desires that drive that. I don't necessarily agree with the secular view that says it's our way or no way (unless you pay). Another way ought to be found that can be all inclusive for those that have high aspirations for turning out well educated, well rounded, well behaved and morally upstanding young people. While schools would not be selecting before allocating a place, they should give a clear code of conduct of standards, behaviour, expectations and responsibilities before an application is made, with a requirement for both the parent or guardian and the student to sign a contract after a place has been offered. It should be easier to exclude for breaking the contract, with less chances given before doing so. A corrective school for the excluded could be created and staffed by the mainly ex military or police who have been made redundant and re-trained, with the chance of reintegration for those that see the light. As for the faith and secular viewpoints, the education should be around an understanding of all and respect for all, not about right or wrong or one is better than another. (Or supreme to all). Is that too idealistic and unrealistic to hope for? TrevorC
  • Score: 0

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