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What do you think of the idea of setting up secular free schools? (Poll Closed)

  • A great idea. If religious organisations use the system to set up schools expounding their philosophies, why shouldn't non-believers be doing the same?
    90 votes

  • Sceptical, but it's better than nothing. If you can't beat them, join them, and at least parents would have an alternative to faith schools.
    63 votes

  • I'm opposed. Setting up a secular free school would represent an inadvertent endorsement of the system. All schools should be secular, and we should concentrate on campaigning for that.
    151 votes

  • Other
    12 votes

Posted 8 years.


  • South of the River - 8 years ago

    I said it all!? Just wanted to say thank you to Barbara.

    I know some religious schools are preaching hatred of other minority groups and it is a real threat to our future - segregation (and ghettoisation (?)) cannot bring about community cohesion, mutual tolerance and understanding - especially as the more extreme end of the faith school spectrum is pretty self-selecting . . . .these are the very chidlren that we need in a mainstream school to temper anti-social ideas they may be getting at home.

    At most schools, very detailed records are kept of different social, ethnic, national groups to monitor if there are any that are falling below expectations so additional help can be targeted towards them. The idea that schools want children of a particular faith to fail is (as Barbara points out) offensive and, frankly, counterproductive for the employees of that school.

    All schools should be secular - and as Dawkins said this will possibly lead some children to move towards atheism without needing to be a specific aim.

  • Barbara - 8 years ago

    'South of the River' said it all.
    It is too scary to think of schools being set up with public funds which can indoctrinate children with any weird ideas. I would not want to see an atheist school particularly, but I would def not want one that taught creationism. Nor any religious ideas.
    A few years ago, on a now closed email address, I regularly received emails from Iftikhar Ahmad of the London School of Islamics, He called British schools 'slaughter houses' for Muslim children and made very derogatory assertions about British teachers. As a primary school teacher I found this very offensive. If this is the language he speaks to an unknown audience, what message would be taught in a school where he had influence?
    I believe that he is not representative of Muslims in general, but let's just leave religion out of education.

  • Rick - 8 years ago

    Am I the only one who thinks this poll is worded in a way that would influence people's votes? It seems to be worded so that if you say that the "Atheist" school is a good idea, you're also saying that you DON'T think ALL schools should be secular. It also makes it seem like if you say it's a good idea that you're bringing atheists down the the level of religious people, and associating that vote with religious indoctrination.

    The phrasing in the middle vote is even more leading, I doubt many people will choose a phrase that says "If you can't beat them, join them". The connection the poll tries to make between religious indoctrination, and the concept of a school of free thought seems pretty obvious to me at least.

    I'm not saying it will affect all the votes, plenty of people have voted for all choices, but I am saying that the questions seem leading, and I'm sure will change at least some people's votes, and that is NOT a good, objective poll.

    Of course, the last response, being against the school, means that you are the only one who wants to campaign for ALL schools to be secular.

    I know it's boring to have polls with just "yes, no, unsure" or "support, don't support, unsure" but choices like that allow for a fair poll that DOESN'T try to influence (consciously or not) the opinion of the people taking it.

  • Margaret Nelson - 8 years ago

    I doubt that Dawkins had thought this through before he said it. As I understand it, he was responding to someone's question about free schools. If he did, he should have appreciated that we need to be consistent about our attitude to faith schools, including free schools.

    Setting up an atheist free school to prove a point isn't a good use of resources. I wouldn't send a child of mine to one.

    I think the free schools idea is seriously flawed and that enthusiasm will fizzle out when people realise the disadvantages. It's not a sensible use of resources. Better to concentrate on promoting good secular schools for all.

  • Dennis H - 8 years ago

    I voted as being 'sceptical', because although believing all schools should be secular, we should at least use the option of setting up a few secular schools to prove the point, (a) that it is possible and desirable, and (2) it will provide a platform that will generate interest & commitment to the cause !

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