Why do so many ordinary people try so hard to get their kids into faith schools? Well, many enjoy good exam results but many don't. Few are populated by the children of a devout community of churchgoers. They follow the national curriculum and are obliged to approach issues of race, faith or sexuality in the same balanced and non-judgemental way as non faith schools. Even their enemies can't find much evidence of 'religious indoctrination'. One parent's view that "The actual education is not really any different. They have the same hours per day in which to teach Maths, English, Science, History. Geography etc, to KS3, GCSE, AS and A level the same as any secular school. Like I've said, one notable difference is discipline, manners, respect. Now if that isn't apparent in the local schools, then why knock the faith school? Surely we need more?", and that I think gets to the nub of their popularity.
At the heart of Christian theology is personal moral responsibility, a clear moral distinction between right and wrong, a strong sense of social obligation, a belief in the authority of the family and of intermediate institutions, a healthy scepticism about the size and limits of the role of the State and the virtues of other than material rewards. All things that every good Conservative should hold dear.
That black rogue Rousseau would have separated children from their fathers lest the authority of the family challenge that of the State; socialists, as Rousseau did, want no intermediate or countervailing authority between the State and the individual. Faith schools achieve exactly the opposite.
Typically, Polly Toynbee screeches against faith schools in CiF today. Her naked hatred of them confirms me ever more firmly in my belief that it is right to support them. She still really doesn't get it; she writes "Years of Labour handwringing over community cohesion hardly squares with dividing children by religion". Polly dear, communities are no longer cohesive precisely because the State has eroded local authority and institutions; it's the churches, the community groups, the parish councils, the families and local individuals with moral stature - the 'little platoons' - that create cohesive communities and it's the Leviathan of the hateful central State that destroys them. Faith schools don't divide children - they unite them. Long may they flourish.