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Education in Oldham

For discussions related to education and educational institutions.
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Nick
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Education in Oldham

#1 Post by Nick » August 9th, 2010, 2:53 pm

I heard a news item last week about some educational proposals in Oldham (see http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_a ... 100438.ece)

The council is proposing to close both schools and unite them on a new site, to help integrate the 2 "communities". Two questions: Do you think it will integrate the two "communities"? And would you send your child to the new school?

My prediction is that the new school will steadily lose it's white pupils, as I think their parents will be less tolerant of what they see as a 'foreign' influence, whereas Bangladeshi parents (who are likely to be overwhelmingly muslim) will be more content that their views (a minority nationally) are so highly represented and respected (though they may have preferred the previous set-up). They will also press for muslim values, which will somehow be respected, while the non-muslims would prefer to transfer their kids away, as they fear being called racists.

I would not send a kid of mine to such a school. I would not be prepared to have a kid of mine surrounded by such dangerous religious nonsense. And before you call me a racist, this would apply equally to a Catholic school too.

Any thoughts?

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Dave B
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Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Education in Oldham

#2 Post by Dave B » August 9th, 2010, 4:06 pm

I am not really happy with this kind of enforced social engineering.

This reminds me of a news item a few weeks ago where a council was going to stop swimming lessons, dancing and certain kinds of music, for all children, in deference to the feelings of the Muslim community. I wonder if anyone asked the local Muslin community what they thought of this. Why should any child be denied an innocent part of its tradition to avoid annoying another.

Having said that I would guess there are those that might call me racist - perhaps I am "culturalist" and wish to preserve my culture as much as the average Muslim wished to preserve his or hers.

A friend who works with various ethnic group says that they often feel as though such measures actually make the differences between the communities more distinct in the minds of both sides.

This is akin to the "bussing" that went on to force school integration in America, I admit that I cannot remember what the final opinion was on that.

I cannot but think that the divide between Muslim, in particular, and white values will never really be bridged - it is a wide gulf.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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jaywhat
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Re: Education in Oldham

#3 Post by jaywhat » August 9th, 2010, 5:01 pm

Yes - but one needs to see the whole story. I am basically for mixing; the more the merrier. And yes, I would have sent my kids to such a school. If we do not go this route there is no hope for a future of equality.

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Dave B
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Re: Education in Oldham

#4 Post by Dave B » August 9th, 2010, 6:51 pm

Quoting myself:
I cannot but think that the divide between Muslim, in particular, and white values will never really be bridged - it is a wide gulf.
I am not sure what I meant to say there, it bothers me that I used the word "white". Hmm, I will have to consider that - hope it was not a Freudian slip because colour does not enter into the problem so far as I am concerned.

My main concern is that any culture should have to give up anything from their culture just to avoid embarrassing or upsetting another. We should just accept cultural differences. If parents, of any culture, do not wish their children to swim, dance etc. then they should have the right to request alternative occupation whilst such lessons are on. Pity the kids can't decide for themselves though.

For this reason I am not against the voluntary wearing of the hijab or burkha in public unless this causes a problem in terms of safety or security. I do realise that particular problem has other ramifications.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan C.
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Re: Education in Oldham

#5 Post by Alan C. » August 9th, 2010, 7:59 pm

Dave B
We should just accept cultural differences. If parents, of any culture, do not wish their children to swim, dance etc. then they should have the right to request alternative occupation whilst such lessons are on.
Ah but it's not a "culture" problem is it? It's a Ramadan (religious) perceived problem, well the swimming part anyway is Ramadan based (they might swallow some water and break their fast) How utterly ridiculous! As far as I'm aware neither the bible nor the Koran/Quran (they can't even agree on the spelling) advocates fasting, it is entirely voluntary as is wearing the celice for the more pious Catholics.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Joined: February 27th, 2008, 12:17 pm

Re: Education in Oldham

#6 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » August 9th, 2010, 8:01 pm

Nick wrote:The council is proposing to close both schools and unite them on a new site, to help integrate the 2 "communities". Two questions: Do you think it will integrate the two "communities"?
Well, probably not, not on its own, but it might help a bit. The current situation in Oldham does seem pretty dire (see this BBC Newsnight 13-minute video).
Nick wrote:And would you send your child to the new school?
I'd consider it. I can't say I'm won over by the Waterhead Academy website. Still, I think I'd probably prefer to send my child there than to the Blue Coat C of E school or the Crompton House C of E school, or to either of the single-sex Hulme Grammar schools. But there's not a great choice in Oldham, is there? And I can't deny that, other things being equal, I'd prefer a school with just over 300 students (Hulme Grammar for Girls) to one with 1,500 (Waterhead Academy). Frankly, I'm extremely glad I don't have children and live in Oldham. I don't know what I'd do.
Nivk wrote:My prediction is that the new school will steadily lose it's white pupils, as I think their parents will be less tolerant of what they see as a 'foreign' influence, whereas Bangladeshi parents (who are likely to be overwhelmingly muslim) will be more content that their views (a minority nationally) are so highly represented and respected (though they may have preferred the previous set-up). They will also press for muslim values, which will somehow be respected, while the non-muslims would prefer to transfer their kids away, as they fear being called racists.
It does seem that that has happened in the past. Presumably, it's how Grange School and Breeze Hill came to have a predominantly Asian student body in the first place. But I don't know that it's bound to be repeated. It depends on how it's done, I suppose. I wouldn't assume that Muslim parents are going to press for Muslim values. But I suppose language might be an issue. Some children might speak to each other in Urdu or Bengali, and that might trigger resentment among other students. And if time and resources are put into teaching those languages, that might mean less time and resources for some other subjects. I don't know. I just hope that the children get on with each other more easily than they are currently predicting, to judge from the Newsnight video. It could be a great success. I do hope it will be. I think I'm going to have to watch Newsnight regularly over the next year, just to keep track of Waterhead's progress.
Nick wrote:I would not send a kid of mine to such a school. I would not be prepared to have a kid of mine surrounded by such dangerous religious nonsense. And before you call me a racist, this would apply equally to a Catholic school too.
I wouldn't send my child, if I had one, to a faith school. But if the sponsors of both academies are committed to running a secular community school, then I'd be comfortable with that. It might even be better for non-religious children, in that there wouldn't be an assumption of Christianity, as there is even in non-sectarian schools where students are predominantly from a British background.

But as I said, I've no idea what I'd do if I had children and I had to live in Oldham. Or if I had children and lived anywhere in the UK, frankly. I like to think that I wouldn't be one of those parents who moves house just to get into a catchment area for a "good" school. I prefer the idea of sending my child to the nearest school, whatever its performance in the league tables, and getting involved. But it all depends on the individual child, doesn't it?

Emma

Fia
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Re: Education in Oldham

#7 Post by Fia » August 9th, 2010, 9:38 pm

jaywhat wrote:the more the merrier. And yes, I would have sent my kids to such a school. If we do not go this route there is no hope for a future of equality.
I wholeheartedly agree.
The Oldham communities are clearly mostly divided. Although not an panacea it must be a good first step to move towards integration. If divided schooling continues, so will the community be. Just look at some parts of Glasgow and N Ireland. The only way forward is surely to educate all our children together, and moving religion from the public to the private sphere whilst we're at it.

Thanks for all the links, Emma :) Hulme Grammar charges more per annum than my income from my main job :shock:
But I noted a bright spot in the newsnight report, which may be more predominant than the programme makers made out. The Dad with his son living on a mixed street, interacting with their neighbours, and refreshingly talking about people being people. There is clearly hope there.

I would actually also agree with the outgoing head of the "white" school, that this could actually be done far better at primary level. At this age children are generally much better at mixing, before the all-important (to the teenagers) peer grouping of secondary schools.

tubataxidriver
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Joined: August 3rd, 2007, 10:39 pm

Re: Education in Oldham

#8 Post by tubataxidriver » August 9th, 2010, 9:51 pm

Apparently some time ago the schools in the area were more mixed, but over time the two communities geographically re-located themselves to create two distinct areas of Oldham, one predominantly Asian and the other predominantly "white". This skewed the intakes of the local schools. Unless these geographical issues are addressed, I think it is unlikely that doing anything to the school intakes would be effective.

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Alan C.
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Re: Education in Oldham

#9 Post by Alan C. » August 9th, 2010, 10:46 pm

Wouldn't it be great if we (homo sapiens) could just get along?
Segregating kids can never be a good idea.

Having said that, four of my best childhood friends were Catholic, they went to the catholic school complete with Priests and Nuns for teachers, it had no effect on our friendship. (although I must say, they were "cultural"(labeled by their parents) Catholics, not the real thing)
One of said friends has been my brother in law for over 30 years and we remain friends without a problem.

I think if the people of Oldham don't want their kids to assimilate, then they won't; the parents will simply bus them to another school of their choosing.

Aint multiculturalism great?
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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