Rejecting Government's Proposal to Require New Church Schools to Make Available Places Without Reference to Faith
Bishop George Stack has asked for your help in opposing the Government's plan to introduce quotas of places without reference to faith in any new Church school.
The Strength of the Catholic community's opposition to this move must be made known urgently as the Government will bring their Amendment to introduce non faith places at the third reading of the Education and Inspection Bill, which will take place in the House of Lords on 30 October.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols and I have each written to every Catholic school strongly urging action against this divisive move and suggesting ways to lobby MPs. It would be an enormous help if you too could ask your parish community to make their feelings known in writing to their own MPs; to the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, Alan Johnson; and to any peers known to members of the parish. The name and contact details of MPs can be confirmed by logging on to www.theyworkforyou and entering a postcode in the search box.
To help you I have attached some material which I hope you will find helpful in raising the issues at Mass this Sunday, and some which you may feel able to include as an appendix to you parish newsletter.
I thank you in anticipation of your invaluable help.Fr. Dennis
Dear ......... (name of MP) ~ probably Nick Hurd.
I am a parishioner at the church of St Gregory the Great at South Ruislip.
I wish to record my strong opposition to recent Government proposals to give local authorities the power to force Catholic schools, and other schools of religious character, to admit up to a quarter of pupils of other faiths and none. The picture painted by the Government of a society divided on faith lines by schools is not one I recognise. The Catholic schools I know give witness to the Catholic faith in its commitment to teaching the worth of every person and the need to respect other people, regardless of their religious views or social or ethnic background.
Children of other faiths and none are valued pupils in Catholic schools where spaces permit. It is right that Catholic schools should first and foremost be for Catholic children. A Catholic education is of the highest importance for Catholic families.
As my parliamentary representative, I ask you to oppose this unnecessary and destructive proposal if it reaches the House of Commons and to communicate my views to your parliamentary colleagues in the House of Lords before this is next debated on 30th October.
I look forward to your reply, detailing your views and your intentions in relation to this extremely important matter.