April 28, 2003


Since when was it a sin to be the best school in town? (Stephen Pollard, April 28, 2003, Times of London)
Imagine a school where 98 per cent of pupils, not one of whom has been selected by academic ability, gained five or more A to C passes at GCSE. With the average school managing to achieve these grades with only 52 per cent of pupils, you?d think the school must be doing something right and it would be worth replicating. There is such a school, in Gateshead. And there are plans to open a sister school in Middlesbrough, as well as the hope of others in Doncaster, Leeds, Newcastle, Sunderland and Hull.

Wonderful news. The people behind it--and the man who has made it possible by donating millions of pounds of his own money to help children once condemned to some of the worst schools in the country--should be lauded as heroes.

Except that to many in the liberal education establishment, they are not heroes but villains. The man who funds the school is blind, as are some of the teachers. To some in the local education authority, in neighbouring schools and in the media it?s simply beyond the pale having blind people involved in the education of children. They might, you see, somehow pass on their blindness.

It?s foul, isn?t it--and quite astonishingly stupid--that there should be such prejudice? Like most prejudice, it?s not only baseless, it?s self-defeating. The way the blind people run the school brings only positive benefits to the pupils, but that counts for nothing in the face of bigotry.

Oh, sorry. Did I say they were blind? Scrub that. I meant they are Christian. The school with a 98 per cent pass rate is Emmanuel College in Gateshead, and the man who has given millions to it, and wants to repeat his munificence elsewhere, is Sir Peter Vardy, who is--ugh, how revolting--an evangelical Christian, as are--excuse me while I hold my nose--some of the teachers.

Because they are Christians who believe in creationism, and the literal truth of the Bible, they are, it seems, unfit to teach children, lest they infect them with their foul ideas.

Thus does secularism lead, quite literally, to ignorance. Posted by Orrin Judd at April 28, 2003 12:05 AM
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