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Humanists to mount legal challenge against new schools

By on Thursday, 12 April 2012

A legal challenge will be launched against the building of two new Catholic schools in southwest London.

The British Humanist Association (BHA) and the Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign (RISC) are planning to mount a legal challenge against Richmond Council, following an application by the Diocese of Westminster to build a Catholic primary and secondary school.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Westminster defended the application stating: “The Diocese of Westminster believe that Richmond Council have acted entirely properly in respect of proposals for the establishment of new Voluntary Aided Catholic primary and secondary schools in the borough.

“The proposed court case being brought by RISC and the British Humanist Association, a national organisation that campaigns against the existence of all schools with a religious character, seeks to use procedural arguments to prevent an entirely legitimate proposal to increase the educational choices available for parents and children in Richmond.”

The spokesman said that the establishment of the new schools would provide greater diversity of choice in the Richmond area. He continued: “The proposed new schools are also likely to bring additional benefits by releasing places at other local schools which are currently being taken up by those who would prefer a Catholic education.”

The BHA argue that if the council ratifies the plans they are flouting new rules from the Education Act 2011 that state: “If a local authority in England think a new school needs to be established in their area, they must seek proposals for the establishment of an Academy’ [i.e. a Free School]. Proposals are then adjudicated by the Department for Education (DfE).”

A statement from the BHA continues: “Richmond Council has been clear that it thinks the borough needs a Catholic secondary school to complement its existing Catholic primaries, and that there is also a need for a new Catholic primary to provide additional places. They say that the Act allows them to go ahead with Voluntary Aided Catholic schools without first following the above rule.

“The BHA is concerned that this offers a way of opening religious schools in the face of public opposition by the back door, avoiding the competition that would otherwise be required.”

But Richmond Council said that any legal action from the BHA and RISC was premature. A spokesman for the council said: “The Council has not yet taken decisions in respect of the Diocese’s proposal, or in respect of the use of the site in Twickenham and therefore, any judicial review challenge would be premature.”

  • teigitur

    I wonder what they are afraid of??

  • Adam

    Not very humane of them.

  • Diane

    How pathetic … Catholics we have the human RIGHT to ensure OUR catholic children are educated in CATHOLIC schools!! We have the right to ensure our children are raised as we wish and it’s a fact that roman catholic schools better educate children, they are stricter and have higher exams results ect! They also have zero policy on issues like bullying. School uniform is smarter and compulsory ……..
    You anti-catholic morons need to get a grip and stop obsessing over our faith and our core beliefs like religious education, our views on marraige being between man and woman, our belief on pro-life not pro choice! And we truly will raise our children with these core beliefs as its for the good of mankind!!
    These anti-Christian groups that oppose our rights are all going to meet their last day like us all and I for one am glad I don’t hold their aithiest beliefs because the lord Jesus Christ will judge! Wether you belief or not …low silly is one going to feel on their death bed and passes to meet our lord at the gates when they have fought against Christ all their life, blasphemised with these marriage between two same sex people, next it be marriege of a human and a dog! …talked women into abortion….stopped collegues wearing their lords cross on their neck…..never gave to the poor….had affairs and never repented…..all these things you people do will be judged.

  • Peter

    Perhaps you will be the one to get a shock Diane – a shock when you realise Jesus loves everyone in the tenderest and most beautiful way and is not the vengeful hateful potentate you seem to think he is.

  • Charles Martel

    I would be angrier if I didn’t know that ‘Catholic’ schools in England and Wales produce almost nothing but apostates (98% or something). My own brother and sisters attended top-notch Catholic schools and haven’t the foggiest idea of what the Catholic Faith is (they don’t even accept the Natural Law, trivialising abortion and homo-marriage). The only reason I know more is that my Father bothered to teach me from Dr Ludwig Ott’s ‘Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma’. Thank God for that.
    Don’t be fooled. These ‘Catholic’ schools will teach mush at best, and at worst will propagandise for Islam or other such nutty creeds..

  • ms Catholic state

    London Mayoral elections are coming up and Ken Livingstone belongs to the British Humanist Association.  It would be interesting for London Catholics to know if he is opposes these and all new Catholic schools….and if he holds the same views regarding new Muslim schools. 

    I think the people of London, especially Catholics, deserve to know where exactly he stands!

  • Honeybadger

    Well said, Diane! Well said!

  • Honeybadger

    What outrage there would be if the Humanists and other small minded nomarks objected to an Orthodox Jewish school or a Muslim school or a Hindu school being built in the area!

    Do you expect Roman Catholics to put up with these numpties objecting to a school for the education of Roman Catholic children?

    Who the hell do these people think they are?

    Do you know what makes me sick? It’s those people who have no religion who would love to send their children to Catholic schools because of their good reputation!

    Christ is no softy either, Peter!

    Roman Catholics pay their taxes and council tax, too!

    I hope these humanist nomarks lose!

    So, why shouldn’t we have the RIGHT to have a secondary school and a primary school?

  • Honeybadger


  • Honeybadger

    You have a point, Charles M!

    I learned a lot about the Faith at home when, through no fault of my own, I was sent to a non-Catholic school. My family, poor though they were, ensured that there was plenty of books, papers etc. about the place for us to read. They also taught by example i.e. prayer, Mass, fasting and abstinence, penny catechism.

    Roman Catholic families should not leave it soley to the schools to teach the faith.

    I think the bag is with these humanists etc. is that a Roman Catholic school is being built. They appear not to be too bothered about the ins and outs – just that it’s Roman Catholic!

  • Honeybadger


    Will London Roman Catholics have these matters brought to their attention from the pulpit before the Mayoral Elections?

    Will Archbishop Nicholls help his flock to make informed choices in electing a Mayor?

    The answer to that is: when my budgie learns how to operate a dishwasher!

    Please God, I’m wrong!

    There’s a referrendum coming up soon: ‘Do we want an Elected Mayor in Manchester?’

    Grief! Another stage for some narcissistic wannabe to promise you the world and hands you a dusty atlas!

  • whytheworldisending

    The BHA wants to force its totalitarian atheistic dogma down the throats of decent children. I wonder why? Probably for the same reason that Stonewall wants to paradoxically indoctrinate toddlers with the nonsensical fantasy that homosexuals are born and not made. Like many fanatical atheists down the ages, who wanted to rule the world, they cannot tolerate the idea that people might be free to ignore them and their bizarre dreams.

  • whytheworldisending

    You don’t show love by teaching a dangerous lie to children. You teach them the truth and that includes educating them about the dangers of sin.

  • TreenonPoet

     You claim that, as Catholics, you have the right to ensure your children (whom you describe as catholic) are educated in Catholic schools. You do not claim, but imply, that Scientologists have the right to ensure their children are educated in Scientological schools and flat-earthers have the right to ensure their children are educated in accordance with their philosophy. Do you not have any sympathy for children who are raised in the ‘wrong’ religion or according to the ‘wrong’ philosophy? And where only one parent is Catholic, why should that parent have rights which override those of the other parent?

    There is a superior right which says that nobody should be denied education. (Teaching somebody falsehoods – miseducationg them – is even worse than denying them education.)

    Parents may be well-meaning, but they do not necessarily know what is best for their child. They may have been misled by institutions with dishonest agenda. You appear to have been misled yourself. (For example, I would suggest that you read the actual judgements regarding the wearing of the cross, rather than go by what some newspapers say. Some clergy have no qualms about repeating the lie that the wearing of the cross in general is being banned. Please watch from the 30 second mark to the 6 minute mark of this video which includes an interview with the BHA Chief Executive on the matter.)

  • Davidfsavage

    how many of you googled the book like me.. I thought this looks good and clicked to buy it off amazon then lookedagain .. the price is 200 dollors…

  • buckingham88

    Its hard to see why a society that claims the mantle of Humanism could so strongly oppose the exercise of human rights.This is because it places its organisation in contradiction to the legitimate aspirations of those parents that wish to educate their children in the way that they wish,not the way of  some organisation.If the Humanists supported the parents, this would be a just use of their powers.By conflicting with parents they deny them a fundamental human right, enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights viz ‘Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children’.

  • Honeybadger

    Oh, you again!

    Another member of F€ckwits Unanimous! Comic relief indeed.

    You must really, really LEURVE Roman Catholics! You visit this site more than most Catholics. Put us to shame – even if it is to entertain us with your crazy attempt to convert us to your Green Teapot Cult (Founder: Richard Dawkins).

     ‘deed you do, cheeky chops, you do!

  • Honeybadger

    Yeah, like Communism, Fascism, Nazism…

  • Benedict Carter

    Can’t a determined rich Catholic take these so called “humanists” to court? 

    The League of the Militant Godless was a Soviet organisation. What is it doing in good old England?

  • Benedict Carter

    You are wrong. Nichols is a rank socialist, like all the post-Vatican II lot. 

  • Benedict Carter

    The only Catholic schools in England worth the name are those (or is it still only one?) run by the SSPX.

  • Benedict Carter

    Oh God, another luvvie Vatican II hippy.

  • T.H. Huxley

    So on one hand there’s a lot of you ranting about the ‘right’ to have a Catholic school and the other half ranting about how bad gay marriage is, evils of being pro-choice, how you dislike another faiths and non-faiths alike.  You are rather selective on what you consider ‘a right’.  

  • teigitur

    Did not watch the video, my spare time is too precious. But I will say this. Catholics and non-Catholics alike  are queuing up to place their kids in our local Catholic schools

  • teigitur

    Now, now Benedict. We have chinks of light at last. ie Bishop Davies.

  • TheBlueWarrior

    “Parents may be well-meaning, but they do not necessarily know what is best for their child”…spoken like a true comrade.

  • TreenonPoet

     The selection processes used by many schools of a religious nature (not just Catholic schools) tend to favour children whose parents are more involved in the education of their children. The children of such parents will tend to do better, which is reflected in their school’s ratings. High ratings will attract more such parents.

  • TreenonPoet

     I am not saying that the state necessarily ‘knows’ either. Politics is not the same thing as rationality.

  • MJCarroll

    Whatever you say, you are on a hiding to nothing. Middle class families, be they Catholic or non-Catholic, want their children to go to faith schools because they are successful. There is a middle class snob value at work in this issue. These middle class parents will not thank you.

    Humanists are cutting off their nose to spite their face because if they get their way all will actually happen is that they will have stopped two quality schools being built that would have guaranteed even the children of humanity parents good grades at 11+, GCSE, and A Level.

    Well done humanists – Total ######FAIL !

  • JabbaPapa

    The immense failure of the comprehensive schools system that was based on the false premise that you have just typed out for us is demonstration enough that educational quality is provided by schools of quality, not parents of quality.

    There is a more or less demonstrated genetic link (that it’s actually pretty much taboo to discuss) insofar that successful parents may pass on DNA and other biological materials that are conducive to success to their natural offspring — but then the children of such parents will tend to benefit therefrom in whichever school environment.

    Those however with no such advantage, when given poor schooling, will end up with a poor education.

    AFAIK parents who provide better education by virtue of becoming involved in their children’s education are usually professional teachers in the first place.

  • Benedict Carter

    Correct. “Rights” are not based on what people are propagandized to want, but on selective criteria determined by the natural and of course divine law. 

    Nobody has a “right” to “gay marriage”: indeed, it is a contradiction inn terms. There is no “right” to murder the unborn. 

    Passing a law saying either is a “right” does not make them so. 

  • Benedict Carter

    Perhaps one; out of how many?

  • Benedict Carter

    Then don’t buy it from Amazon. There are other sources, including TAN Books, where it’s $30 or so.

  • Benedict Carter

    Another Vatican II hippy.

  • JabbaPapa

    “atheists don’t like it” is quite clearly an insufficient motive to prevent the construction of a faith school

    “gay marriage” is an unnecessary absurdity — the prevention of legal and financial and political discrimination between unmarried heterosexual couples and unmarried homosexual couples in terms of basic civic and personal rights is completely unrelated to marriage as such

    “pro-choice” = “pro-murder”

    “dislike another faiths” (sic) — attitudes may range from simple disagreement to outright hostility (“faiths” like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or various death-pact sects that arise from time to time, or religious terrorist sects (of whichever origin), and so on are naturally liable to garner a lot more open hostility than any particular mainstream religion will

    “dislike … non-faiths” — the implicit suggestion that you provide characterising unbelief as equivalent to belief is probably unintentional, but it still makes me smile …

    You are rather selective on what you consider ‘a right’.

    And you … aren’t ???

  • ms Catholic state

    First they didn’t want nominal Christians to come to Christ; and they largely succeeded in that with all the secular schools which are largely Christ-free.  Now it seems the ‘bien pensants’ are trying to stop Catholic children from coming to Jesus Christ.  And believe me,  it won’t just stop at the school gates.  This action against Jesus Christ will continue into the home at some stage.

    The best we can do is to follow our Faith to the max, and the bishops must realise that Catholics cannot blend in nicely and be accommodated comfortably in a secular society.  At some point it will be attacked by those ever so nice secularists with an anti-Christ agenda.  This is the direction our supposedly ‘secular’ society has been going in for a long, long time now.

  • ms Catholic state

    In conclusion, we either evangelise and convert, or we face persecution and the attempted elimination of our Faith.  Bishops, beware.

  • sisterofmartha

    The Church does not teach the homosexuals are ‘made’; The CCC (2357) states that the “psychological genesis” of homosexuality is “largely unexplained”. The Church wisely waits for science to pursue its investigation, the continuing findings of which increasingly lean very much against any sexual orientation being ‘made. Please remember that in our struggle against secularism, we should speak what the Church teaches and our opinion should be formed accordingly.

  • sisterofmartha

    In his previous tenure as Mayor, Mr Livingston did not demonstrate any opposition to Catholic schools. Thankfully, being a humanist does not necessarily mean being against faith schools.

  • TreenonPoet

     I am not aware that humanists are arguing that there is not a need for more school places. The issue is whether those places should be in Catholic schools (especially considering what the law prescribes).

    Community schools are successful too. Those with the highest contextual value-added scores match ‘faith’ schools. Community schools could do better if they were not forced by government to give much religious nonsense a free pass, thus saddling them with roughly the same handicap as faith schools regarding the teaching of rationality. It is possible that the more intense exposure to religion in faith schools has the advantage of putting some pupils off religion (giving them an advantage over community school pupils), but I am sure that is not the intention of faith schools; rather, they try to encourage religiosity. In other words, they try to instil irrational thinking, at least where religious matters are concerned. Even if exam marking is designed not to disadvantage the religious, the afflicted children may well be disadvantaged academically.

  • sisterofmartha

    Mr Carter, I am awed that you should have such an intimate knowledge of every Catholic school in the country that you are able to make such a statement, At least, we know where your sympathies are planted. Let us hope that the SSPX lot sign the preamble by Sunday or they may well become by papal declaration what they are already in practice i.e. a bunch of schismatics who are every bit as disobedient as those Austrian priests demanding that women be ordained.

  • teigitur

    Ya don t say. Bit obvious.

  • ms Catholic state

    Well now Mr Livingstone is intent on promoting London as a beacon of Islam.  Not very Humanistic, is it?!  Or maybe Humanist means supporting Islamisation!   

    Mr Livingston is named a supporter of the British Humanist Association, who are taking action against these Catholic schools. Therefore Catholics need to know if he supports these and other new Catholic schools before they can make an informed voting choice. 

  • Benedict Carter

    Every bit as disobedient as the Austrian dissidents?

    Oh, following the Catholic Faith makes you disobedient in your dystopian world, does it?

    Let me tell you that there are MANY clerics (silently) and Catholic intellectuals – including very serious ones -. who have profound difficulties with various Vatican II documents and most certainly with the outrages of the post-Vatican II era. 

    Sorry, the SSPX cannot be so lightly dismissed. But then, I doubt very much that you yourself have a clue about why they take the position they do? I am extremely sympathetic to them: any real Catholic is. 

    As to non SSPX Catholic schools, I am told by many people that the one sure way to lose your child’s faith is to him or her to one of them.

  • Benedict Carter

    He didn’t say that the Church teaches they are “made”. He said that’s what Stonewall claims.

  • Honeybadger

    Whoopee, Benedict!

    I was trying to give Archbishop Nichols the benefit of the doubt…

  • Honeybadger

    I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    I am chuffed to bits with Bishop Davies not only because he is my bishop but also he’s a breath of fresh, holy air!

  • Honeybadger

    I have always said that Pope Benedict played a blinder with Bishop Mark. I pray God and His Holy Mother that he will play more blinders here in England and Wales.

  • MJCarroll

    Value added scores means nothing. They are just put in place to make any school that is neither a public school, grammar school or faith school appear better than they actually are. No well-informed parent is fooled by it.

    The bottom line is that if the humanist win the council will either not build the schools, or if they do build community schools they are guaranteed to be inferior to a public school, grammar school or faith school.

    This country needs all the best schools it can muster.

    ‘Nuls Points’.

    Like I said the middle classes will never thank you for it. Every middle class parent wants their child to go to a solid and successful school and are never put off by the faith tag. In fact they tend to want their children to go to the faith schools when there is no option of a grammar school.

    Thank you humanists for making sure you scupper the British school system. Well done!

  • JByrne24

    Quite so. Faith schools are successful because they are selective and for no other reason. 
    Their success is bought at the cost of damage inflicted on the school system in general.
    The system of faith schools is a self-perpetuating one which damages education in an area and also the greater society.