Faith Schools and Education

Liverpool Humanist Group presents:-

Faith Schools and Education

a talk by Richy Thompson

Date:     Thursday 12th January 2012
Time
:    7.30pm
Venue
The Crown (upstairs room), 43 Lime Street, Liverpool L1 1JQ
Cost:      
Suggested contribution of £2-3

Richy Thompson, BHA Campaigns Officer, in Liverpool with Richard Jacques, Chair of Liverpool Humanist Group.

Richy Thompson, BHA Campaigns Officer, will discuss the history of ‘faith’ schools in England from the founding of the “National Society” (the National Society for Promoting Religious Education) up to the rise of Academies and Free Schools, before debunking some of the myths surrounding them. Richy will also explore other issues of concern to humanists in the area of education.

The Christian Church was arguably the first provider of schools and universities in England and Wales.

The National Society was founded in 1811 to provide schools for poor children.

The original name was ‘The National Society for the Promotion of the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church’. The founders were deeply concerned about the fate of the population, including children, working in the factories, mills and mines of the newly industrialised Britain. They set up the Society to raise money to build schools and pay teachers.

These schools were to teach basic skills and also to provide for the moral and spiritual welfare of the children, by teaching them the ‘National Religion’ – Christianity as represented in the Church of England and Wales.

Their aim was to found a church school in every parish and by 1851 (still 20 years before the state took any responsibility for education) there were 12,000 schools across England and Wales.

Following the reformation in the 16th century, the Catholic Church’s role as a provider of public education went largely underground until the 1800s. In 1847 the Catholic Poor School Committee was established which focussed on the promotion of Catholic primary education. This was followed by the re-establishment of the Catholic hierarchy in England and Wales in 1850. Because the Church has always viewed education as vital to the formation and development of the whole person, it put the setting up of schools for the Catholic community ahead of building churches, often using its schools in those early days as the place of worship for the parish.

The British Humanist Association advocates a genuinely inclusive school system in which all pupils are educated together, not separately according to the beliefs of their parents. Humanists believe that the rights and entitlements of both the religious and the non-religious can be respected within community schools.

BHA education policies arise out of humanist principles and concern for the common good and social cohesion, as well as an awareness of the needs of non-religious people and experience of working with members of religious groups. The objectives of the BHA in the area of education are:

  • Inclusive, integrated community schools, and an end to state-funded religious schools, which are unnecessary, discriminatory, and potentially very divisive.
  • Inclusive school assemblies, not compulsory “collective worship”.
  • Reform of “Religious Education” to be an objective fair and balanced education about religious and non-religious beliefs and values.
  • A broad education that prepares young people for adult life in a pluralist society, including sex and relationships education, values and citizenship education, and the development of curiosity, thinking skills and creativity.

Richy Thompson - BHA Faith Schools Campaigner

Richy graduated from the University of Oxford in 2010 with a first in Computer Science. While a student there he founded and was the first President of Oxford Atheists, Secularists and Humanists, and also coordinated the first Oxford Think Week. He subsequently became Press Officer of the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies (AHS), and in July 2010 was elected as the third President. He simultaneously became a campaigns volunteer at the BHA as well as the European Humanist Federation, before becoming the BHA’s Faith Schools and Education Campaigner in May 2011.

In a climate of thought that is increasingly unfavourable to (Christian) beliefs it is a mistake to try to impose them on children, and to make them the basis of moral training. The moral education of children is much too important a matter to be built on such foundations … Margaret Kennedy Knight (1903-1983) speaking in a BBC radio broadcast in 1955 entitled Morals without Religion.

All children should be free to grow up in a world where they are allowed to question, doubt, think freely and reach their own conclusions about what they believe. Ariane Sherine Comedy writer and journalist.

The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.
Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970)

Three words you will never hear a religious person say to their offspring: “Think for yourself”. Anon.

We educate each other. Richard Jacques and Rex Bradley

North West Humanist Conference 2011

NWhumanists

                                   united on purpose

 What the world most needs at this moment is a means of convincing human beings to embrace the whole of the species as their moral community.   For this we need to develop an utterly non-sectarian way of talking about the full spectrum of human experience and human aspiration.  We need a discourse on ethics and spirituality that is every bit as unconstrained by dogma and cultural prejudice as the discourse of science is.

Sam Harris Killing the Bhudda

Announcing our inaugural regional conference

Organised by Lancashire Secular Humanists, Liverpool Humanist Group and Greater Manchester Humanists

Humanism for the 21st Century

Saturday 8th October – Sunday 9th October 2011

(Optional pre-conference evening entertainment on Friday 7th October)

St Thomas Centre, Ardwick Green North, Manchester M12 6FZ

(A few minutes walk from Piccadilly station. Ample free on-street parking nearby)

The Conference Objectives are:

  • To enrich the knowledge and commitment of new and existing members
  • To develop links between local Humanist Groups – particularly those in the North West
  • To develop links with other like-minded groups in the North West
  • To help participants move forward in living their lives as Humanists
  • To enthuse participants with the message that we have something really worthwhile to offer
  • To help promote the value of Humanism to the wider public

Programme

Friday 7 October:
Evening Pre-conference entertainment (showing films of interest to Humanists)
Saturday 8 October:
From 9.00 am Registration
9.30 am Opening of conference
9.45 am Keynote address by Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association (BHA); followed by break-out groups and plenary discussion
1.00 pm Buffet lunch on site
2.30 pm Panel discussion on conference theme chaired by Guy Otten. Panellists: Andrew Copson; Dr Evan Harris (BHA Vice-President); Professor Ray Tallis; and Professor Carole Truman
5.30 pm Close
Evening: Informal dining at various locations (facilitated get-togethers)
 
Sunday 9 October:
9.30 am “Why more equal societies almost always do better” Kathryn Busby, The Equality Trust
11.10 am “Why bother? – with so many apparently insoluble global problems…” Marilyn Mason, Humanists for a Better World (H4BW)
12.30 pm Conference close

Tickets:          £42 including lunch and refreshments (£36 early-bird reduced price for bookings received by 18 August 2011)

For further information, and to book a place, please download our booking form here.

BHA Holyoake Lecture 2010: John Harris

Holyoake Lecture 2010: John Harris

Date: Thursday 21st October 2010
Time: Doors open at 6:00pm for 6:30pm start
Venue: St Thomas Centre, Ardwick Green North, Manchester M12 6FZ
Cost: BHA members £6; £3 for students; £9 others

NOTE CHANGE OF VENUE: The Main Hall, St Thomas Centre, Ardwick Green North, Manchester M12 6FZ

Holyoake Lecture 2010

Tickets available online – Or call 020 7079 3580 (office hours).

For the British Humanist Association’s second annual Holyoake Lecture in Manchester, Professor John Harris speaks on Taking the “human” out of Humanism. The event will be chaired by humanist philosopher, Raymond Tallis.

Professor John HarrisDiscovery and innovation are creating new technologies which challenge our notions of humanity to and beyond breaking point. These technologies will improve cognitive powers, extend life expectancy and enable us to interact intimately with machines.  It is certain that in the future there will be no more human beings but we may hope that there will still be beings for whom the philosophy of humanism, almost certainly under a new name, is relevant and important.

Speaker

John Harris is the Lord Alliance Professor of Bioethics at the University of Manchester. He has written widely on biotechnology and ethics, including Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People, Clones Genes and Immortality, and On Cloning for the Thinking In Action series.

John Harris - Enhancing Evolution John Harris - Clones, Genes, Immortality John Harris - On Cloning

Tickets

Buy your tickets online. Alternatively you can pay over the phone with a credit or debit card at 020 7079 3580. Lines are open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.

Christian Zionism

The Liverpool Humanist Group presents:-

Christian Zionism

A major obstacle to peace in the Middle East?

a talk by Hilda Reilly


Date: Thursday 14th October 2010
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: The Crown (upstairs room), 43 Lime Street, Liverpool L1 1JQ
Cost: Suggested contribution of £2-3

Many Christians believe that the return of Jews to the land of Israel is in accordance with biblical prophecy and a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Christ. Such beliefs are particularly strong among evangelical Christian groups in America who exert a powerful influence on US policy in the Middle East.

Hilda Reilly is the author of Prickly Pears of Palestine, an account of six months she spent in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. While there she spent some time in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, getting to know a community of Christian Zionists. She will talk about her experiences there, as well as giving a broader picture of the history and aims of the Christian Zionist movement, and exploring the extent to which it represents an obstacle to the achievement of peace in the Middle East.

From the reviews of Prickly Pears of Palestine:-

In all the political discussion about peace in the Middle East the lives of the Palestinians and their suffering has tended to be forgotten and Hilda Reilly’s book brings out these human aspects so clearly and vividly, making the reader understand what it is really about. Tony Benn

This book gives a tender human face to the terrible suffering caused by the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Clare Short

Prickly Pears of Palestine is a moving and vivid introduction to the realities of life in Palestine/Israel. Bruce Kent

I thought I was well-informed on Palestine, but still reading Hilda Reilly’s Prickly Pears of Palestine was an eye-opening experience. Craig Murray, author of Murder in Samarkand

Objections to Humanism

The Liverpool Humanist Group presents:-

Objections to Humanism

a talk by Andrew Copson

Date:     Thursday 9th September 2010
Time
:    7.30pm
Venue
The Crown (upstairs room), 43 Lime Street, Liverpool L1 1JQ
Cost:
Suggested contribution of £2-3

Andrew Copson is the Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association. He will be presenting a number of frequently expressed objections to the principles on which Humanism is based and demonstrating the fallacy of each.“The human race to which the individual belongs, may not survive, but that should not deter him… Wherever our race comes from, wherever it is going to, whatever his own fissures and weaknesses, he himself is here, is now, he must understand, create, contact.” – E M Forster

Andrew became Chief Executive in January 2010 after five years coordinating the BHA’s education and public affairs work. His writing on humanist and secularist issues has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, The Times and New Statesman as well as in various journals and he has represented the BHA and Humanism extensively on television news on BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky, as well as on television programmes such as Newsnight, The Daily Politics and The Big Questions. He has also appeared on radio on programmes from Today, Sunday, The Last Word and Beyond Belief on the BBC, to local and national commercial radio stations.

He is a former director of the European Humanist Federation (EHF) and is currently a Vice President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), where he leads on strategic alliances and is a member of the growth and development committee. He has previously served as a delegate of the IHEU to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and has also represented humanist organisations to the United Nations (UN) and Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). He has been an adviser on Humanism to the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Authority, the Department for Children, Schools and Families, the BBC, and the Office of National Statistics among others. He is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Humanist Reference Library at London’s Conway Hall and, in a previous post in the office of Lord Macdonald of Tradeston in the House of Lords, he provided the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group.

Andrew graduated from the University of Oxford with a first in Ancient and Modern History and was a member of the winning team of the 2005 Young Educational Thinker of the Year Programme. He is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an Associate of the Centre for Law and Religion at Cardiff University. He came to the BHA in 2005 from the Citizenship Foundation, where he worked on political literacy projects.

August Summer Social – Note Change of Venue

The Liverpool Humanist Group presents:-

Summer Social Meetup

Dates:   Thursday, August 26th 2010
Time
:    6.00pm
Venue
The Everyman Bistro, 5-9 Hope Street, Liverpool L1 9BH
Cost:      Free!

After our successful Summer Social Events in June and July, we have a further Summer Social Meet-up planned for Thursday, 26th August, before resuming a full programme of events in September. Our venue for this meet-up will be the ever popular Everyman Bistro. Join us from 6:00 p.m. for a bite to eat after work, or come along later in the evening for a drink and a chat.

Please note the change in venue from that originally published.

Our main meetings will, in future, be held on the SECOND THURSDAY of each month. We will continue to arrange lectures, discussions and debates about Science, Self, Society, Religion, Philosophy, Politics, and other matters of interest and importance. We can already confirm that Andrew Copson, Chief executive of the British Humanist Association, has agreed to be our speaker for the first lecture of the new season on Thursday, 9th September 2010.

We will continue to hold social meetups on the Fourth Thursday of the month.

We are hoping to offer an Introductory Course -Exploring Humanism later in the year.

The Everyman Bistro, our venue for the August social meet-up, is one of only three venues in Liverpool to get the top A* rating in The 2007 Hardman’s Guide. This ‘*’ is awarded for very good food and the ‘A’ for very good ambience…

The Bistro was yet again commended by Hardens in 2008 and 2009…..and again for their 2010 guide.

The Bistro is beneath the famous Everyman Theatre and there is always an eclectic mix of students, professors, ‘media’ types, local celebrities, Five Rhythms Dancers and Humanists.

Summer Social Meetups – July and August

The Liverpool Humanist Group presents:-

Summer Social Meetups

Dates:   Thursday 22th July 2010 and Thursday August 26th 2010
Time
:    6.00pm
Venue
The 07 Café Bar, 103 Mount Pleasant, Liverpool L3 5TB
Cost:      Free!

After our successful social event in June in celebration of World Humanist Day, we have two more Summer Social Meetups planned for July and August, before resuming a full programme of events in September. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 111 other followers