Faith Schools – Are they providing a clear picture?

By Jennifer Valentine-Miller

Jennifer’s school photo 1978

From the 1970s (when I was at school) to year 2020 many conversations at school reunions constantly feedback the same message “our school let us down”, and Faith school students also say the same thing.

At school I obtained Pass certificates in Religious Studies and Social Ethics which I enjoyed. However in the long run those studies were not relevant when applying for jobs unless I wanted to go to Bible college, which I did not want to do at the time. Also, there were theatre studies and sports activities which I was encouraged to partake in because it was part of my school’s syllabus. However, When I attended drama classes, netball tournaments and tennis tournaments, my head of year would only exclaim that outside activities were a “distraction” to me which was affecting my other exams; especially Mathematics (so that I could get a job in a bank). That is why I salvaged a BA Hon degree and other Higher Education qualifications later on in life – it would have been ideal to have gained a scholarship when I left school. Campaign groups like “No More Faith School .org uk” are asking for public funding towards religious groups in order for them to evangelize to children who are disillusioned when they leave school having completed their time as Lower 6 or Upper 6 students.

And it seems according to reports that Faith schools are having a “negative impact on social cohesion, foster segregation of children on social, ethnic and religious lines, and undermine choice and equality” (No-more-faithschools.org). In other words, the report is saying if you attended a faith school it does not look good on your CV to the “outside world”. The anti report goes on to say that, “children living in England deserve the best – the law expects schools to demonstrate that they are encouraging pupils to take a respectful and tolerant stance towards those who hold values different from their own. Ofsted acts robustly and impartially to ensure all children in England receive a good education.”

Following on from ongoing claims of sexual exploitation within schools – leaders “have not ensured that safeguarding procedures have been sufficiently robust to keep pupils safe at all times,” inspectors found.  Also, school’s leaders have not ensured that all staff employed at the school has routinely undergone the necessary vetting checks, which compromises pupils’ welfare.“  (Secularism.org.uk 2019).

The charity Child Net insists that the importance of Faith Schools lies in it being able to opt-out of teaching subjects contrary to their religious beliefs, such as information on homosexuality and contraception. The compulsory parts of sex and relationship education from Year 7 (primary school) teach children about reproduction, sexuality and sexual health – including decisions around abortion.

Campaigners insist that pupils from faith schools fail to develop their own beliefs independently. I have no qualms with that. My argument is to support their pupils with after care, especially those who like religious studies, social ethics, theatre, and… Physical- Sciences or in my era it was called P.E. (physical education).

Today, senior leaders preclude the teaching of certain protected characteristics of students leaving school could be defined in the Equality Act. According to the Equality Act 2010, protected characteristics are aspects of a person’s identity that make them who they are. It’s worth noting, while this legislation doesn’t offer protection for revealing protected characteristic e.g. religious beliefs.  Moreover, it’s  unlawful to treat an employee or apprentice differently if they reveal they attended a Faith school – alas, it still happens.

Understanding London’s knife crime epidemic

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Healing Relations PR & City Gates Conference Centre

(Press Release) “Tackling The Issue of Knife Crime Through the Community”

NEWS UPDATE:

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Knife thugs stab different body parts for points Tally Up challenge

Police arrest 586 people in County lines crackdown

519 vulnerable adults and 364 children in need of support were helped 500 men and 86 women were arrested in raids in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cheshire, Bedfordshire and other areas.

County line drugs gangs – is linked by a network of mobile phone lines and often coercing children and vulnerable adults – travel out of their usual urban territory and into rural areas to sell drugs. Most come out of London, Birmingham and Merseyside, said NCA County Lines lead Nikki Holland. Tackling the gangs is a “national law enforcement priority”. Children as young as 12 are being put in danger by criminals who are taking advantage of how vulnerable these young people are.

Exclusive: Tackling knife crime with the Met Police https://news.sky.com/video/exclusive-tackling-knife-crime-with-the-met-police-10884781

HRH Prince Harry backs Youth Zones to tackle knife crime crisis:
https://news.sky.com/story/how-police-could-predict-fatal-knife-attacks-11694472

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Teenagers accounted for more than 1,000 admissions to hospital as a result of assaults with a knife or sharp object last year 2018, NHS figures show. Admissions for all injuries caused by an assault with knife or other sharp objects have gone up by almost a third since 2012-13, from 3,849 to 4,986 last year.

Doctors warned that high street sales of knives is helping to fuel the rise in stabbings, and called on retailers to do more to stem the tide of available weapons. Admissions involving youngsters aged between 10 and 19 increased nearly twice as fast, with 656 hospital admissions in 2012-13 up to 1,012 last year – a rise of around 55%. (England.nhs.uk 2019)

EXCLUSIVE INFORMATION

**The presentation below contains strong and explicit language**

INTERVIEW:David Lammy MP “Kids are getting killed where is the Prime Minister and where is the London Mayor Sadiq Khan?”

BoxUpCrime | Help Stop Knife Crime and Rebuild Misguided Dreams! (Stephen Addison)

The 1970s was a good era: Even though we lived it behind school walls

By Jennifer Valentine-Miller

My classmates will not be remembered for being celebrities or for surviving the 1970s. The class of 1978 made a name for themselves because they loved television, music, and sports as well as their school.  School-life was filled with fun and laughter. There was always a scandal around the corner.  I stand tall and commend the good times in my life. I will never forget how we overcame barriers, stigmas and years of pain and hard labour. We step forward in order to be celebrated and step out to celebrate all we have done.


1976 – present

Keeping Teens on Your Side

by Jennifer Valentine-Miller

I spent a good and constructive day with the City Women team. They were tackling a national concern entitled “Keeping Teens on Your Side.” The day was spent listening to the personal stories of parents and teenage guests, and valid information from a senior youth leader from City Gates Church  who spoke about the best way to keep relationships with teens is to keep it real, as well as:

1. Get to know their friends
2. When you are going through something it can really effect young people.
3. Teens biggest struggles is Relationships.
4. Be friends, yes, and set boundaries.
5. Balance form views with true understanding.
6. Monitor internet use and phone calls, eating disorders, alcohol consumption, and signs of self-harming.

Child Development

Why must I go to the country?

by Journalist & TV Presenter Peaches Geldof

Last Easter weekend, record-breaking numbers of us flocked to the countryside. We went seeking “fresh air and peace”, according to the English Tourist Board; a chance to “de-stress from our working lives”.
I’m sorry, but I don’t understand this. At the prospect of spending time in the country, I shudder. This feeling hasn’t grown on me gradually – I’ve always hated it. Not only is it boring but, I also genuinely believe that it slowly drives people insane.
All over Britain, teenagers in families thought lucky enough to have a rural second home are dragged off to spend “quality time” with their nearest and dearest – which means sitting for hours on end playing Scrabble, or if you’re really lucky, going to the pub for the much-anticipated Bingo night with the locals.
I’m always being asked: “Why don’t you make any friends there?” The answer is because most of the people seem to be pensioners, who want to talk about the weather or hunting. The small section of children my age are wannabe rude boys whose only topic of conversation centres on: “Innit, man. Check out dat new Gilera 180 moped with golden alloys . . . it’s da bomb, bo Selecta.” This was amusing for some time. Then it got boring – like everything else in the country.
I can see the good aspects of rural life – if you’re getting on a bit and considering retirement. Peace and quiet, friendly locals, much-needed rest and relaxation to soothe your old bones. But for us young people, it’s hell. I love London because it’s noisy, crammed with humanity and there’s always something happening. I hate the country because the only noise there is the constant hooting of wood pigeons, and the only people there are dressed in tweed jackets and want to shoot them.
Sure, the country is beautiful, there’s no denying that. But so is the city. Look at the architecture, it’s incredible. Big Ben and Buckingham Palace are surely more stimulating than a couple of trees and some ducks in a pond.
I know this might sound awful, but I was almost relieved when the foot-and-mouth crisis started. For me, and for lots of my friends, it meant more time in London doing something exciting or productive, like meeting up with friends to go shopping or out clubbing. But now the countryside is crawling with visitors taking a healthy break, inexplicably enjoying doing, absolutely nothing.
There’s something so forced about the way people talk up the countryside; all that raving about the fresh air. I always feel really drained when I leave.
Here’s a typical, “de-stressing” day: enforced trudge for two miles to a pub for lunch. Arrive with clothes covered in mud. Eat awful fish and chips off pub menu (why do all country pubs serve fish and chips?) Alternatively, hang around while adults spend three hours cooking lunch, then two hours eating it. I hate those long lunches. Afternoon, play Scrabble for two hours. Sit in the kitchen staring at the clock for another hour and-a-half. Watch Bargain Hunt on the 60-year-old television. An hour later, it’s time to feed the ducks in the stinking bog. Look at the sheep – which are there for no reason. Sit in my room watching old Disney videos until it’s time for bed. At eight, mind you.
Another question we’re asked by well-meaning parents is: “Why don’t you bring a friend?” Because no one – no one – wants to come. I remember one terrible weekend when three of my girlfriends couldn’t even bear to stay the night and left four hours later. It really is that boring.
I asked one of them why she left so early. She said that she felt like she was going mad. Understandable, as all we did was read magazines. They left when I suggested the duck pond.
countryside
Peaches Geldof wrote several witty
and thoughtful teen columns for the Telegraph