“I’m free!”

John InmanWell, it does read a bit like an old-style situation comedy. A free school setting up in Bristol says it won’t be teaching Religious Education (or sex ed for that matter). RE is a statutory requirement and the DfE says the school must be doing it because they wouldn’t have been able to get the funding otherwise. The school says  it isn’t doing it because the parents don’t want it. The DfE says the school will cover the RE requirement ‘appropriately’ (good word!). Oo-er, Missus (no, sorry, that’s another show completely).

Is this what happens when you tell people they are free to choose? Free schools and academies are free to vary the National Curriculum (you might ask, in what sense then is it ‘national’?) apart from English, Maths, Science and RE. This one is going to offer most of the rest of the NC on Saturday mornings. This may seem like a small point but actually, we all ought to care. Firstly, this school is in an ethnically-diverse area of Bristol where children ought to know about the beliefs and customs of  their playmates, not just the ones their parents decide to brainwash them with. Secondly, no school should be able to ‘tack on’ arts and so on as second class subjects. I also wonder what contracts the teachers are working to that requires them to work Saturday mornings.

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