London Atheist Activist Group (friendly community) Message Board ONGOING CAMPAIGNS REMIT 2: CHILD & ANIMAL RIGHTS (over religious rites!) › OFF WE GO!

OFF WE GO! - CAMPAIGN with Jonny Scaramanga on Faith NURSERIES/SCHOOLs (talk with LAAG on Darwin Day, 2014)

Georgi L.
London, GB
Post #: 2,359
I'm putting this note at the top of the page as we're now READY TO GO with his campaign!: PLEASE NOTE THE LINK AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST TO - EMAIL YOUR MP (takes 2 mins!)

We've just had this from Jonny:

"OK, it took a bit longer than I hoped to get my ducks in a row, but here we fucking go!

It's in the Telegraph today
And on the BHA website

Please find attached my template letter, which people can feel free to use or ignore. If they use it, please encourage them to edit it and make it their own as much as possible.

Also, there's the list of nurseries of concern

You'll see there are lots of non-ACE schools that are still worrying, so many of your members will want to write a broader letter than mine.



I have uploaded Jonny's ­TEMPLATE letter here, and this LINK to email your MP in 2 mins - easy!

PLEASE SHARE WITH FB etc, let's get this stopped!

The original post is below
We are in touch with Jonny to ascertain the best ways we can all support his excellent work.

In the meantime on this page I am collating some links, and the slides from Jonny's presentation are also uploaded ( under 'MORE' from the top menu, then select 'FILES')

New Statesman article . Here's an excerpt: "Together with the Muslim Schools Association, the CST has its own inspectorate, the BSI. The inspectorate was set up by the schools to “respect their distinctive ethos”. Since this ethos is the most contentious aspect of the schools, this strikes me as a wholly unwarranted privilege

Organisations that ought to be holding these schools to account failing to protect the childrens’ interests. UK NARIC, the international qualifications comparison body, actually maintains that ACE-based qualifications are the equal of A-levels. The inspectorate ought to send a clear message to parents and staff at these schools that the current standard of instruction is unacceptable. We need scrutiny, not legislation"

And here is Jonny's blog 'leaving fundamentalism' , and FB page on the ACE Curriculum and methods
Paul R
user 125582952
London, GB
Post #: 34
Excellent. I'll be sending a letter to James Brokenshire.
Paul R
user 125582952
London, GB
Post #: 39
BHA are also starting a letter writing campaign regarding three issues we've noted in our message board. Namely, state funding of creationist nurseries (including ACE), censoring of exam questions in schools and the Learning Outside the Classroom award to Noah's Ark Zoo.­

With regard to Noah's Ark Zoo I have had a reply from Elizabeth Truss MP at the Dept of Education, reproduced below:

Whilst the Department is interested in the work done by the Council for learning Outside the Classroom (ClOtC), the organisation is entirely independent of Government. The Department does not provide funding for them, nor is it involved in deciding which organisations are accredited by the Council. It is entirely a decision for the ClOtC as to which organisations merit their quality badge.
We are committed to making sure that all children receive a high-quality science education. The science national curriculum makes sure that pupils will be taught the scientific knowledge, such as evolution, that is essential to a sound understanding of, and progression in, biology and other scientific disciplines.
Although organisations such as Noah's Ark Farm are free to make their resources available to schools, we have made it quite clear that all state-funded schools must teach science, and that creationism and intelligent design have no place in any science curriculum. It should also not be taught as a valid alternative to established scientific theories.

Not much joy there, unfortunately

Georgi L.
London, GB
Post #: 2,516
Thanks for posting the reply in any case Paul. Lots of politico phrases there like "we're committed to" and "we've made quite clear" - yet we know this science curriculum isn't actually monitored nor enforced. So hollow words, quelle suprise.

I have also written to my MP so lets see what she says, and we'll get this out in our newsletter to all members shortly.
Georgi L.
London, GB
Post #: 2,526
this is worth seeing... (Even the Christian person (s) the BBC had invited to DEFEND it ends up speaking against ACE !!)

(Daniel and I have also written to our MP, if anyone else has, please note it below so we can let Jonny know he has our support)
user 33309642
London, GB
Post #: 589
I wrote to my MP Diane Abbott(*) weeks ago and she hasn't replied - I think I will repeat the email with a complaint & Cc it to her local party office.

(*) we have an ACE school in the area which actually mentioned Ms Abbott in a newspaper interview!
user 33309642
London, GB
Post #: 590

Dear Diane Abbott,

I sent the below email to you over a month ago and have yet to receive a reply. Is this simply an oversight on your part or is there any reason why you might wish to avoid this issue?

Thank you,

Subject: ACE in Hackney
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2014 10:39:09 +0000

Dear Diane Abbott,

I have recently become aware of the Accelerated Christian Education programme (ACE) mentioned a few years ago in the Guardian - http://www.theguardia...­ I imagine you're aware of this as it mentions you by name - and I have received considerable insight into how ACE works from an ex-ACE educated student.

Hackney's own ACE school was inspected by Ofstead in 2011 (attached) with mixed results but the report failed completely (it seems to me) to criticise the core ACE material which is mostly what the kids study from. I have seen some of this & it appears to be in the main extreme Christian fundamentalist bigoted propaganda, quite unsuited to educating a child in today's complex and inter-cultural world. It's a rather strong word to use but I would say that educating a child in this way amounts to intellectual abuse.

I wonder if you have any thoughts on this issue? It seems to me that Ofstead is spectacularly failing these children in it's unwillingness to criticise the ACE materials.

user 33309642
London, GB
Post #: 591
I had an IMMEDIATE reply!

Sorry for not replying more quickly. Certainly not avoiding the issue. Will be back to you soon
user 134044402
London, GB
Post #: 23
Maybe not the right thread to ask this, so please feel free to move this somewhere else.

As a first timer to MP writing, I followed the link to the WriteToThem website, put my post code in the box and arrived at a page describing Bob Blackman as the MP for my borough.

I haven't voted for him, nor for anyone else, as I haven't applied for citizenship to start with.

The page also shows his voting record, where among other things can be read:

Voted strongly against equal gay rights.
Voted strongly against allowing marriage between two people of same sex.
Voted very strongly for university tuition fees.
Voted moderately against a wholly elected House of Lords.
Voted moderately against removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords.
Voted very strongly for selling England’s state owned forests.
This is just a selection-biased short-list taken from the voting record on that page. Of course I can only speak for myself when saying that I'd go the opposite way in about 99% of the recorded issues. Based on that, I would never, ever, vote for this MP, had I the chance in the first place.

So my questions, as a newbie, are:

1) Since I didn't participate in the election process to begin with - and was not entitled to -, am I entitled at all, in the present system, to raise concerns to the resident MP?

2) If 1) = True, does it matter the near 100% opposing of views between myself and said MP? Or is an MP supposed to provide a response to everybody with a clear and applicable concern, regardless of his or his party's views?

3) Even if 1) = True, is this the only legal tool a "commoner" like myself has to reach out to his officials?

Georgi L.
London, GB
Post #: 2,535
Hi Jorge,

Don't ever worry about posting things in 'the wrong' place - we can always move them etc. The main thing is that you're being active :-)))

Bob Blackman sounds very progresive doesn't he? Oh dear oh dear, it's scary really.

But although he is likely to vehemently disagree with us, he still has to a/log it b/ answer you if you are a constituent in that borough. i.e. if you are on the electoral register ( EU citizens have a right to abode so you should be). Doesn't matter whether you voted for him, or even if you voted at all. The fact
that you write equates to a proxy vote i.e. they calculate that for every person who writes, it means x number of people feel the same concern. I don't know the actual figure in this case but I did read somewhere that writing to the BBC constitutes a proxy vote of 100,000! So well worth doing.

3/ Yes unfortunately I think this is one of the few ways we can make our voices heard. The others would be a protest outside the commons or something like that, but even then it depends if it gets reported upon. It's shameful to call it a democracy isn't it, when in reality we have so little control over the issues.

Brilliant that you're getting involved! love struck
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