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DOGS refer readers to the National Secular Society website in England for information on the erosion of the secular comprehensive system in that country. http://www.secularism. org.U.K. together with the Guardian Newspaper Education Reports.

According to the Guardian August 28, 2003, the Church of England is planning to acquire two comprehensive schools in Merseyside (Liverpool) in an effort to cope with what they claim is a huge demand for its places.

Manor high school in Crosby and Ainsdale high, near Southport, have been earmarked by the Diocese of Liverpool to become church schools. The diocese either assists or controls 114 primary schools but has only a handful of secondary schools, including three in Liverpool, one in Wigan and one in Warrington. The two schools had been chosen because they had transport links with a rail line which runs from Liverpool to Southport.

"We are not actually buying the schools", the Diocese of Liverpool's schools officer said. "They are being handed over to us and should they ever cease to be schools then the land would revert back to the council's ownership."

The Guardian was uncritical of these developments.

Not so the National Secular Society. On 29 August 2003 this organisation had something to say about State schools being given to the Church of England.

"The Church of England has contributed next to nothing towards the 28 schools it has taken over since the Dearing report was published two years ago. This shocking revelation is made in the Church Times this week, when it said:" The Church's contribution to the new aided comprehensives can now be as much as 2 million, but, as both government and local authorities are keen to develop new church schools, the contribution is often waived or found from other resources. This happened with almost all the 28 secondary schools they have opened [in the past two years]"


DOGS is urging readers to consider this development in England for the following reasons:

1. Australia has a habit of imitating developments in the UK - however disastrous they may be.

2. The Church of England is the established church in England

3. The Roman Catholic Church is the church which is most heavily endowed with public money in Australia. (between 85% and 90% of the running costs of the Roman Catholic church are paid by the taxpayer. It is the most highly subsidised church in the English speaking world, if not
the world.)

4. Church of England as well as fundamentalist Christian , Moslem and Jewish schools are rapidly expanding at taxpayers' expense.

5. The public Education systems throughout Australia are grossly underfunded while private church schools are favoured in the public funding stakes.

6. In recent years State schools have been closed and opened as religious schools. In some cases the schools have been given for little or no payment to religious groups for their purposes. (witness what happened to the Coburg State School and West Melbourne Primary Schools)

7. Mr Blair claims that his children go to "State" schools. They do not. They go halfway across London to a State assisted school which is a Roman Catholic school.

In England religious comprehensive schools call themselves 'comprehensive State schools". "Assisted" schools are there lumped in with the public system. But in fact, percentage wise, there are more "assisted" religious, private schools in England than in Australia.

Moreover, in England, Her Majesty's Inspectorate has been privatised and tendered out. An organisation known as OFSTED can go in and evaluate schools. If a
school is a "failed" school, is it closed. If it is opened again it will be opened under a new administration.

Does this mean that OFSTED can close genuine State schools and hand them over to the Church or private organisations run for profit?

Is this the future for Australian State Education in Australia as well as England ?

Is this where the current obsession with "testing" and blatant favouritism to Church schools is going in Australia ?

DOGS suggest readers ask Brendan Nelson and the State Ministers of Education these crucial questions.


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Last modified:Wednesday, 10 August 2005