01 November 2018

Proposed new Sikh School - Letter from Anthony Matthew

Dear Editor,

It is not surprising a group of Sikh parents wish to see a large sum of public money spent on a school primarily for their children. With the shortage of school places, most parents are likely to be keen on new provision which favours them especially.

Nor is it surprising that Keith Vaz MP should support a proposal that could win him a block of votes at the next election. (First Sikh secondary school bid, 17th September) The effect though of a school primarily for the children of Sikh parents is to shelter them to a large extent from contact with children from other backgrounds. That indeed is a virtue in the eyes of community leaders because no child is born a Sikh, nor a Catholic, a Moslem, an Anglican or any religious sect, there are only children born to parents in such sects or none.

A likely way for those leaders to maintain a flock of followers is to try to prevent their children deciding against joining their sect, either by moving to another or to none at all. These attempts to minimise integration are of no benefit to the community as a whole and there is no reason why they should be subsidised by public money. Of course the same arguments apply to existing and long-established Catholic and Church of England schools. Parents have no right to determine the beliefs of their children.

Yours faithfully,

Anthony Matthew