Saturday 20 February 2010

The Disgrace Which Is The CES...

The Catholic Education Service is a complete disgrace.

SPUC have done a stirling job in highlighting the collusion between the CES and the Government in drawing up the Children, Schools and Families Bill which is up for its third reading on Tuesday 23rd February.

SPUC have also produced a clear summary of the main areas of the Bill which are of concern to anyone wishing to follow Catholic teaching.

Collusion is not too strong a word - the CES has actively worked with the Government to draw up this Bill, which prevents parents from having a say in how their children are educated. Betrayal is another word that springs to mind. The Catholics of England and Wales support the CES financially through collections held in church. I have no wish to give money to any non-Catholic education services (I already pay taxes for that purpose, thank you very much!) I would, therefore, expect the CES to be fighting to uphold the rights of Catholic schools to teach the Catholic faith, in its entirety... and without outside interference.

We are not attempting to impose religious beliefs on anyone else, we just want the right to educate our children in line with those beliefs. That includes having the right to withdraw children from classes which are promoting a way of life contrary to those beliefs.

What really underlines the disgraceful attitude of the CES is the self-congratulatory tone of its pronouncements. In a statement made on 5 November 2009:

"As age and growing independence brings young people ever closer to pressures, advertising and coercion to behaviour which can undermine the healthy life of young people, we are comforted in the knowledge that our schools and colleges will do an exceptional job in providing Sex and Relationships Education, set within the teachings of the Catholic Church."

Really? In my experience, the schools look to the CES for guidance. If the CSF Bill has been drawn up with the active help and advice of the CES, then it must be ok to teach that stuff, mustn't it?

And then there is the stunning incompetence of the CES. In a clarification, the CES states:

"The proposals announced by Ed Balls today confirm that, from September 2011, Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, including Sex and Relationships Education (SRE), will be compulsory in all schools. We welcome the government’s reiteration of its support for the important principles underlining SRE, which emphasise that schools continue to have the legal right to determine the content of what is taught in PSHE within their schools and that governing bodies retain the right to determine what is taught, and must determine this in line with the ethos of the school."

The Government, however, has rather a different view, which a simple question from parents seems to have been able to ascertain...

"Let's be absolutely clear, faith schools cannot opt out of statutory PSHE and SRE (sex and relationships education) lessons when it comes into effect in September 2011.

"All maintained schools and academies will be required to teach the full programmes of study in line with the principles outlined in the Bill including promoting equality and encouraging acceptance of diversity."

So, to suggest that Catholic schools continue to have the legal right to determine the content of what is taught is an example of gross incompetence.

And, once again, SPUC has done a first class job of debunking the latest attempts of the CES to claim credit for getting the Government to back down on the CSF Bill.

Perhaps, in these times of financial constraints, it is time for the Bishops' Conference of England & Wales to reconsider its funding of the CES, since that body appears to be nothing more than a mouthpiece for the latest Government education policy.

UPDATE: There is also Damian Thompson's excellent article, where he comes to much the same conclusion as me...


Victoria said...

If what is said about the Catholic Education Service is true and the CES has the backing of the bishops of England and Wales then should a documented complaint be sent to, firstly the bishops' commission and then to the nuncio and then to the relevant curial department in Rome?

"little ones" "millstones" "to whom much is given" and all that

vexilla regis said...

Thanks for a succinct post and for the link to Damian T's post - alas many of the comments there are far from edifying. Let us pray that, whatever their prior stances, the Bishops retain enough of the wisdom imparted by the Holy Father to recognise that rampant secularism has crossed the "Rubicon".The Bishops must dissolve the wretched CES and disown its sellout, replacing it with a new body with Catholic integrity.It is possible to fight back even from the edge of the slippery slope.

George said...

The 'total failure' that is the CES, neatly summarised Mac.

If we the simple ordinary Catholic parents trying to pass-on our Glorious Faith in its untainted entirety to our children can see the CES for the real 'pup' it is, then why can't our learned and Holy Bishops see the same?

As you say any CES worth its salt would be fighting the government tooth and nail on all the issues spouting forth on relativistic lifestyles, homosex, values free sex-ed etc...

I think Parish Priests might draw their parishioners attention to these matters and when it comes to CES Collection day - do as they did in the States on similar issues and put little notes into the collection boxes instead of money on which was written something like 'No Catholic Teaching - No Catholic Dollars!' A very clear message indeed.

The CES are a waste of space UNLESS they support the fullness of the Catholic Magisterium.

Innocent Smith said...

My views on the issue here

Elizabeth said...

With society as it is and schools being a reflection of society I think there is only one hope for our children and that is Home Schooling. The sooner that becomes a well established system among the few remaining Catholics, the sooner our faith will flourish. Failing that ditch CES use the money to promote Traditional, true to the Magisterium, run schools and use strict measures to filter what families are allowed into the schools.

Kate said...

Oona Stannard surely has to go.She has presided over and colluded in an appalling betrayal of Catholic children, their parents and the teaching of the Church.
But for me, the worst bit is her attempts to obfuscate the language so that the impression is created that Catholic schools retain the right to determine the content of sex education programmes. Obfuscation might be what one comes to expect of politicians, sadly, but not of those who are supposed to stand up for the truth and defend Catholic parents, children and Catholic Education against the atheist secularism so beloved of our Govt. departments.
The interests of authentic Catholic Education are not served by the CES, under its current leadership.

George said...

I like your choice of words Kate:

How about - CES Obfuscata Est!


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