Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Education, Edukation, Edjuckation

Hi All, its been a long time since I lasted posted, this has mostly been due me being away for Christmas, working on Phase IIs for the telescope time I got (this is where we set up the way we want our observations to be taken), writing a paper, and trying to help my girlfriend through the awful confusion that is teacher training.

Anyway now I'm back and want to jump right into something I noticed while at home. In a town near my home called Blyth there are plans to set up a new Academy, nothing too special there except that this Academy is going to be partly funded by the Christian Fundamentalist "Philanthropist" Peter Vardy. For those of you who don't know who he is, he is a man who made his fortune selling cars, now he spends his time and money trying to brainwash children to try to buy back his soul. His Emmanuel Schools Foundation currently runs 3 schools, with plans for 4 more (apparently 7 is an auspicious number in the Bible).

The schools are built and run under one of the governments worst thought out Private Finance Initiatives, for the investment of £2million (or about 9%) of the cost of building one of these schools, Peter Vardy gets total control of the school, he chooses the Headteacher all but 2 of the board of governors. This despite the schools running costs being entirely met by standard funding from the Education authorities. Does this seem like a terrible deal to anyone else? It gets worse when after 25 years the land the school is built on also becomes legally theirs! Land that was probably owned by the council and worth considerably more than £2 million, it seems Mr Vardy has gone from dodgy cars to dodgy real estate deals now.

The schools have courted a great deal of controversy through their teachings, which have occasionally seemed to contradict the guidelines of the DFES, as well as their hiring practices. I personally know of one teacher at one of the academy's that was told they would not be hired if they "lived in sin", remember their wages are being paid for by you and me (well not me, yet), yet one man who will actually make a huge amount of money out of the deal gets to decide who is suitable to teach our children. I could go on for hours listing all the things that are wrong with these schools, from the fact that they teach creationism, to the fact that they are inherently homophobic intolerant places, but other people have done it better so here are some links.

This one is particularly good.
Wiki as always has the goods.

I sincerely hope Blyth manages to keep these wing nuts away from their schools, and shame on the government for blackmailing them so that the only way they can get the new schools Blyth so obviously needs is by selling their children's minds.

For a final thought, what a crazy world we live in when a left wing government gives control of education to a bunch or right wing zealots.


Anonymous said...

From the WP article (emphasis added):

To present, however, the Truth that they were made by a loving and just God who sees every one of them as being of equal and real value and capable of achieving their best, and to speak of the life beyond death, creates an altogether more positive sense of responsibility, accountability and direction.

Sure it does. That's why the "Christian nation" across the pond has one of the lowest crimes rates in the world, right?

(cough cough)

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, Peter Vardy, the advocate of family values and Christian virtue contradicts himself by allegedly (a word I use reluctantly) keeping a mistress flat as well as a family home. Odd how the word of God is so flexible for some.

Mark Norris said...

Really? I would of course not be surprised at all if that were true. You usually seem to find that most of the in your face religious types seem to have some pretty bad skeletons in their closets. Look at Ted Haggard etc. Wikipedia even has a whole page about this stuff:

I don't think its that the word of God is flexible for them, after all Genesis is supposed to be inerrant for most of these clowns. Its just they're hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

I suppose that's what years of repression does for you. *shrug*

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