Nicky Campbell presents topical debate from Leicester Grammar School. Should all Islamic State returnees to Britain be punished? Should schools select exclusively by faith?
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Today on The Big Questions...
What to do with returnees
from Islamic State?
And schools - should
they be able to pick
their pupils from one religion?
Good morning, I'm Nicky Campbell,
welcome to The Big Questions.
Today we're live from Leicester
Grammar School in Leicester.
to The Big Questions.
Yesterday was the third anniversary
of the three Bethnal Green
schoolgirls - Amira,
Shamima and Kadiza - running away
to join Isis in Syria.
Two were just 15 and one was 16.
Kadiza is thought to have
died in an air strike
while trying to escape in 2016.
The whereabouts of the
other two is unknown.
And earlier this week,
the capture of two surviving
so-called "Beatles" -
Londoners who carried
out many executions
for so-called Islamic State,
led to a diplomatic row
between the UK and
the United States.
The American Defence Secretary ruled
out sending them to Guantanamo Bay,
saying they should be tried
in their country of origin.
But Britain's Defence Secretary,
Gavin Williamson, said they should
not be allowed to return to Britain
to face trial.
They should pay the price
for their crimes in Syria.
Yet the number of foreign fighters
returning home poses a real threat
to the safety of the UK and Europe,
according to Jane's Terrorism
and Insurgency Centre,
because they'll be returning skilled
in the use of weapons like armed
drones, IEDs and the industrialised
manufacture of car bombs.
So, what should be done about them?
Should all IS returnees
to Britain be punished?
Henna Rai, good morning. So the
girls from Bethnal Green, what
happened to the other two? We know
that Kadiza is dead.
We have no
idea, winner of the Intel is limited
but we know their fate will not have
been dissimilar to what Kadiza ended
up going through, how she was killed
trying to escape.
It was a teenage
It was, it is a difficult
one because I don't look at these
girls different to any victims of
child exploitation. One of them, to
correct you, was 14 going on 15 out
of the three, I cannot remember
exactly which one, but one was 14.
At that age, when they should have
been fantasising about I don't know,
That's what it was, a
teenage adolescent fantasy, an
Islamic warrior with a six-pack.
don't think it was even the notion
of the guy being an Islamic warrior,
this was a man, a boy, a 20
something -year-old with a six pack,
with biceps, extremely attractive,
talking to these young girls and
telling them what they wanted to
hear. These girls were going through
hormonal changes, there's a lot of
issues, internal issues going on,
GCSEs, family rebellion, whatever.
They must have known what was going
I think the naivete would have
stepped in because when you are
young and impressionable teenager
and someone is telling you how
beautiful you are, you are
beautiful, I'm going to make you my
queen, you will have servants at
your beck and call, you will be my
princess, giving them in effect an
Islamic Disneyland or notion of
living in the kingdom where they
would be the ruler and they would be
given exactly what they wanted, and
being coerced into making that
Having personal autonomy
perhaps for the first time.
Absolutely because Kadiza's sister,
after the news came that she was
killed, said Kadiza never made any
choices in her life, all of the
choices were made for her, whether
it was her clothes, what she ate,
what schooling she received,
watching watched on television, this
was the only choice is she ever made
and it was the wrong choice. That is
what we have seen happening here.
It's no different to the girls in
Rochdale who ended up falling for
the charms of these people, whether
it was online or in person.
this apply to the young boys who go
To some extent because the
same manner of grooming takes place.
Do you have any sympathy at all,
No because Islamic
State from the very beginning has
been decapitating people, it has
been butchering the people of Syria,
it's made its views on everything
from Jews... Everything.
talk about decapitating. You cannot
say a 14-year-old can groom
themselves. Girls are
Do not compare these
young ladies who sought out
extremist material, watched online
people having their heads cut off
and agreed with that, they allowed
Did they see that
They all did.
No, it is
disingenuous for you to make this
accusation because these girls were
groomed on the basis of love and
Did they watch the
We don't know
that. I feel they may have seen some
aliments of what was happening but a
lot of Muslim girls we have spoken
to, people like Mike colleagues have
spoken to, have likened this to an
Islamic Disneyland where they will
be afforded rights. The manner in
which these girls are groomed is we
are giving you rights to do what you
want, you will be in charge here,
you will be playing the role and you
have an important is for us. Giving
those girls a sense of importance
and belonging is how...
wanted. Nicola, your son was killed
in a drone strike, which was awful
for your family. Was he given a
sense of importance and belonging?
Absolutely, he was sold a lie. What
he was sold was the fact that if you
are good Muslim, not just a Muslim
but a good Muslim, this is the
journey you have to make and that's
why he gave up all of his family,
who he loved very dearly, and
decided to be a really good Muslim
because that's ultimately as a faith
tells us that I should do this and
this is what will take me to
paradise. It was also the lifestyle
that they sold to him, this utopian
lifestyle. Even when he was in
contact in Syria, she was in regular
contact with me once he went out
there after a couple of months and I
would call it even a honeymoon
period. He was very much sold in the
part where he felt these were his
brothers, that they were looking
after him well. Until the reality
Who became a fighter, didn't
Yes, but he was very ill
What was he doing
He was put in the camp
for about 64 days, initially they
put him in for 30 days but this I
understand he was kept in their
longer because what I've heard is
they couldn't break him. But we have
kind of almost brought him up too
well and they were finding it
difficult to get him to buy into
what they wanted him to carry out.
When they finally released him, then
he was just in civilian life but
then after several weeks...
in the bureaucracy there?
generally helping out day to day. It
was after some weeks, then they just
wanted, again it was about numbers
and they just sent him out to fight.
He was sent out fighting for several
weeks and when he came back, I was
preparing myself psychologically and
emotionally for a desensitisation,
for him to be detached. What I found
was when he came back he was in fact
very clingy to me. In fact when he
called me come he never wanted my
voice to go off the call, he wanted
my voice to be the last one he
Why didn't he know about the
true nature of this organisation,
the rape and torture, the genocide?
Did he not believe that stuff?
was so much media out there, the
coverage and images we saw, but you
have to understand, this ideology,
the way they recruit them, they
teach them, what you are hearing in
the media is fake news, it is a
conspiracy, the Government is making
this up against you.
They must have
seen the beheading videos on
That is much later on.
Was he an enemy incompetent?
Was he an enemy incompetent? --
I didn't understand
what he had been sold, he had gone
in this dream.
An innocent abroad,
you reckon? Just tell everyone, you
were a British volunteer who fought
I find it so frustrating they
were joining Islamic State as
victims. Their work Yazidi girls
being sold into slavery, journalists
having their heads cut off. Your son
and the others we were talking
about, they watched this on the
news. We all did and I was moved to
fight against them, your son was
moved to fight for them. You cannot
compare poor young girls who come
from disadvantaged backgrounds and
who are abused by abusers to those
young girls that sort out extremist
material, they watched the news as
we all did, and agreed with what
they were watching and allowed
themselves to be groomed. I agree in
some respects, the young girls did
get groomed, they were seeking
something, but at the end of the day
it was them
it was them that sought it out.
you are told a lie you tend to
believe it, especially at an age
when you are impressionable and
being able to make a choice, what we
need to understand here, these girls
were not allowed to make choices in
their home lives.
Do you think once
they saw the material...
what their families have said.
have picked up mobile phones and
seen the footage and it is
unspeakable, isn't it?
I was talking
to a friend of mine recently, in the
past we have always tried to
dehumanise the enemy, but ISIS have
dehumanised themselves. They want us
to know they are a death cult.
don't disagree with that at all.
With your son of seeing that,
Absolutely, when he came
back from fighting he was very
clingy towards me and it was in that
week, we had contact for about a
week, and in that period he was on
the phone every single day. There
was something softer... He was
beginning to see grey again. Very
much the mentality is they see this
black and white, yes and no, right
So critical thinking was
creeping back in. What should happen
to these people?
My concern is
relieve them to the authorities in
Syria, it is so fractured and out
there, I wouldn't trust the Syrian
people to bring them to justice.
Nobody in this room once these ISIS
fighters to be brought to justice
more than I. I lost my only son so
nobody in this room can declare they
want them to be brought as much as I
Tom, what should happen to them?
These are people who have betrayed
Are they traitors?
Absolutely, they have gone to join
the force that has committed
unspeakable atrocities and many when
they arrive burn their passport and
denounce this country. They are not
British any more in any meaningful
sense and have no right to come back
to this country. You cannot denounce
this country then claimed the right
and the privilege to come back and
live here. So often this
conversation ends up being about the
right of the returnees, the right of
terrorists essentially, and we are
at the risk of having our commitment
to rights being used against us, by
people who believe in an ideology
that doesn't believe in human rights
at all, that would like to kill as
many people in this country as they
can. I think this conversation has
to begin as a starting point by
thinking about the rights of the
vast majority of people in this
country, the rights of people not to
be blown up at a music concert.
Those situations take place by
people who have been groomed within
the country and remain within our
So we don't need any more
Doesn't it show the
difficulty the Government has, we
need to distinguish between those
who were naive, those who...
one of the things you try to do?
Sorry, Jonathan, I will come back to
you, but when you say Sifton
distinguished, that is right on what
Lynn does, if you will forgive me.
How do you stop people from coming
back who have a supremacist,
Islamist ideology that we are
inferior human beings? And also they
believe that we should be killed.
How do you change that? Adult people
do change, but before that I would
like to go back to the idea of
making distinctions within the
people who come back.
Our values are
the search for evidence about what
has happened. By law in this country
there is no offence by law as being
a terrorist, we do not convict on
thought crime. About these people
have made their choice. We do not
convict on what people believe or
ideology in this country. For things
to happen to people there has to be
evidence and a whole raft of
measures which will be put in place.
They may go to court or there might
be other measures. We had to look at
people differently and look at the
possibilities of reintegration, that
will be the best thing to do.
We have had a research
programme in ConnectFutures looking
at interviewing former extremists
and their families about why they
went out, why they came back. We
have made a series of films which we
use with young people, training in
schools. We also have some former
extremists talking live to young
people. Young people are engaged
with this and it is the most
powerful messages to young people
about understanding the grey areas.
But it takes ten years...
happens when people start to change,
when they realise...
This is a cult,
it takes ten years to deprogrammed
somebody from a cold.
an example of somebody from
Birmingham who fought in
To be completely
clear, it takes ten years?
It can be
less. It can happen during the
actual time. Looking at examples
like someone who fought in Bosnia
and Afghanistan in the 90s, during
the time he was there he began the
critical thinking process, seeing
areas of grave. Now he has come
back. When he came back he began the
actual de-radicalisation process.
Became normal again. It is my
understanding with some of these
interviews that have taken place
that some of these people express
great sadness at unnecessary death,
but it was sadness at the
unnecessary death, as they saw it,
of fellow Sidnei Muslims, not at
Yazidis, not Coptic Christians, not
Western aid workers. -- of fellow
Sunni Muslims. They were
disillusioned with not the ideology
but the way the state was being run.
On another level you see
Scientologists leaving Scientology
but still believing in it. That is
the problem you have?
I don't deny
that and I am not saying but former
extremists will have renounced the
ideology, necessarily. With the man
that you mentioned, you might still
believe in the caliphate that you
renounce violence as a means to get
their ads you are using the
Some people have gone
through the de-radicalisation
process and have still committed
terror attacks. People lost their
lives in Australia because of
somebody who went through a
de-radicalisation process and kills
people. You have no right to play
Russian roulette with public safety.
We will put them on trial, after
there is not the evidence to get the
proper conviction. You have seen the
idea that you can put them under
surveillance, security services are
not infallible and in 2017 we had
Manchester, London Bridge and
Westminster Bridge carried out by
individuals known to the
authorities, under surveillance.
People have lost their lives. You
have to but the British public
The London Bridge was not
committed by somebody who had been
Neither was Manchester.
were people known to the
authorities. In the case of London
Bridge he was a live investigated
case. What about the 7/7 bombings
carried out by people trained in
Pakistan? What about the Bataclan
But clearly they would be
a useful resource when it comes to
How do you know who is
really a useful resource and he was
By talking to them, and you can
only do that if they are here.
you shut down the opportunity
immediately you will never get them.
What would you like to happen to
Of course they ought to be
brought to justice and put on trial,
but they should not come back here,
that should be the prerequisite. If
you trade your country you should
never come back. That must be sent
to people in the country, that
message, when the next Islamic State
whatever comes along. If you go out
there, we will not welcome you back.
Bring them to justice in another
country. One of the Beatles was
convicted in Turkey and is currently
serving a prison sentence that.
Other European fighters have been
put on trial in Iraq. We can debate
that and what should happen, but the
starting point is the British public
is put first and we do not need to
live among them.
Can we not call
them the Beatles?! The Beatles were
four Greg Clark from Liverpool. Call
them the four halfwits or the four
delusional Axel -- delusionals.
with you, it is like that ghastly
phrase Jihadi John. Let's ask the
audience. You mention is on trial in
Syria, that will not take a long
time. Is it the Hague, which will
take a long time? Isn't this
country, which will be very
different, the bar of evidence, you
cannot be convicted for ideology. Or
should we just give them a ticket to
Guantanamo Bay? Quick thoughts.
an LGBT rights activist I am
sickened by people trying to
defence, however young or naively,
people who go to be part of an
organisation that checks gay men off
the top of buildings.
Having said that I think we should
live up to a British liberal values,
they should be brought here,
sentenced and sent to prison.
We should withhold the very thing we
are fighting for, our liberal
values? Over there, good morning.
agree with that gentleman over
What should happen to them?
Going through my head is the fact
that this country some years ago
took a decision to abolish capital
punishment. One of the things that
worries about me -- worries me about
the debate going on here is that we
could be condemning British citizens
to capital punishment where they are
held. It is a sign of our liberal
values that we should insist they
come back here and face trial.
should not condemn them in the way
they condemn their victims?
Precisely so. We have gone to a good
deal of trouble to avoid British
citizens being subject to capital
punishment in countries they are
written. There was a young man, they
try to extradite him to the States,
he could have faced the death
penalty. We have set our face
against capital punishment. I do not
think we should engage in a
situation where we condemn our
citizens and what we think of them
to death in another country. I agree
that they should be brought back
here and subject to our values and
standards and our trials, that is
what makes as the country we are.
We have not had you, Rabia Bhatti.
When you hear about a drone strike
and one of these people getting
killed, how do you feel?
upset. Loss of life, anywhere,
anyhow, is deeply upsetting. But
these people made a choice to lead
this country, to denounce Britain,
to go and fight with Islamic State
and kill other people. If we allow
them back into this country, I don't
want to wake up on a Sunday morning,
go shopping with my family
go shopping with my family and be
the victim of a terror attack which
would devastate hundreds of
thousands of civilians for no fault
of their own other than the fact
that we allowed people we knew were
a threat to our society back in to
integrate and learn from them.
To be honest, I think the UK
has the best legal system, the best
knowledge and understanding of
radicalisation and rehabilitation
compared to a lot of countries. I do
a lot of work in Europe and America
and I can pride myself on the UK.
Why are we not bringing them back to
We do not have the
But neither do these
countries. My concern is if you
leave them there, eventually they
will come out. You will not be able
to monitor them then. Eventually...
They have families here, they will
want to come back.
Nicola, I completely understand what
you are saying, but allowing people
to come back into this country that
we know has been exposed to terrible
ideology over there, have committed
crimes that you can't even speak of,
to come back and try to rehabilitate
these people into society where they
could be a threat to millions of
others is really unfair and very
selfish of us.
People can easily be
exposed to that very same ideology
on the dark web here as well. It
makes no difference whatsoever.
should we bring them back?
already back, we need to start
working and understand what made
them... We need that understanding,
as counter extremism experts, as the
security agencies, as a government
we need to be able...
we need to be able...
subject to these Investigatory
Powers Bill? Are they monitored
every art of the day?
We do not know
where they are, we know they are
We do not know where they are?
The security services are working
very hard to ensure they are found
and we are able to monitor them and
work with them.
What I would like to say is the
de-radicalisation process can be
How do you know they
are not lying to you?
It is all
They had deleted the
Internet history, they might be
pulling the wool over your eyes.
have great security systems in
place, great officers working who
are trained to extract the truth and
hundreds of civilians. You keep
ALL TALK AT ONCE We do not have the
level of evidence required from our
courts in this country.
We need to take it on a case-by-case
basis. No one individual will have
the same level of radicalisation,
the same level of engagement with
Isis as others. These young girls,
they have mostly been kept in large
houses, have been restricted with
their movements. Not all the women
have been trained.
The women are as
bad as the men. There is a police
force run by women which beats
Let him explain, he has
been out there and force them, he
has fought IS. I want to hear from
They have gone out there,
been trained, been exposed even more
ideology. Why risk inviting hundreds
of these people back to the UK when
they potentially could be so much
worse than the people already here?
There are many things we need to do.
We need to keep the ones that other
out and come after the people who
are back already.
Some of them have
been extremely vulnerable.
We look at the young girls...
Why do you keep mentioning the young
girls, what about the boys?
we started this debate talking about
those young girls. There are many
more like them.
I will be with you
in a minute. Macer Gifford, is it a
principle of yours that you share
the crimes of the group you join?
You fought with the white Fiji,
you could well be a criminal because
amnesty International has accused
the YPG of war crimes. Daesh you
fought with the YPG.
Amnesty International to take that
back, which they did not. A year
later the UN did their own reporting
clear the YPG for the accusations.
The report was written on oral
evidence from people who had left
the war zone, it was politically
driven, basically. It was the fog of
That is why it is so difficult
to get a conviction in these places
in a standard courtroom, isn't it?
There are two principles, the
principle of law. We may have dodgy
evidence but we have the law. These
people, sadly, are British citizens
and therefore they have a right to
citizenship and we cannot take it
away. We can take it away if they
are dual nationals, but not British
citizens. We had to take them back
because we abide by the rule of law.
Then there is the question of what
we do with them, we have to sift
between those who were naive and
need to be educated, those who are
brainwashed and need to be
deprogrammed and those who are dill
-- guilty and need to be imprisoned
or whatever. Justice is the only
thing we can on. That is why we have
to apply the same standards to
people fighting on the other side.
Aren't they all, in a sense, guilty?
Everyone in that war zone is under
suspicion. Just because you were
involved in a just cause does not
mean to say that some of your people
may not have also been involved in
murders. It is the only backbone we
have, if we do not adhere then we
My group is the one that captured
the so-called Beatles. They have
banned the death penalty just to
appease the concerns of the
gentleman at the back. They work
closely with the Americans and the
There are so many groups
There really are, that is why
we are trying to simplify it. ISIS
are out of the equation now and
trying to come up with a peaceful
solution -- we are trying to come up
with a peaceful solution. Keeping
prisons would keep jihadis in the UN
funded prison, there's many options
we have got in that regard.
an ideology. If some of these people
have rightly or wrongly felt so
passionate and so strongly about
going abroad and fighting for a
cause, whether it is anti-Isis or
against ISIS particularly as Macer
did, keep them abroad because that
energy could be better used abroad,
not here. I think it's about time
somebody here spoke up for our
security services and particularly
our police force which is depleted
and we are struggling as it is, so
keep them abroad and let them do
some service there. They can
continue the work they wanted to do
either for that country or those
people and help them to survive now.
Hopefully the war will be over and
then they can build the country up
again. Don't bring them back,
please, we don't want any more.
Thank you all very much indeed.
We are going to talk about education
If you have something
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log on to bbc.co.uk/thebigquestions,
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Next, here at Leicester Grammar
School, we'll be debating
whether schools should select
exclusively by faith.
But before that, make a note
of this email address -
if you'd like to apply
to be in the audience
at a future programme.
We're in Bath next Sunday,
Edinburgh on March 4th and Newport,
South Wales the week after that.
Leicester, famous for being the most
multicultural and multi-faith city
in the United Kingdom.
But soon Leicester, and 11
other local authorities,
will face a shortfall
of secondary school places.
Schools here are already
operating at 104% capacity,
and that's forecast to rise
to 135% by 2022.
So the rules for selecting pupils
by each school are coming
under increased scrutiny.
Many faith schools say they'll have
to turn down children
from their own religion
unless the rules are changed.
Currently only 50% of pupils can be
selected according to their faith
in newer schools opened since 2010.
Should schools select
exclusively by faith?
This is something you have been
campaigning on for as long as I can
remember and probably as long as you
can remember as
can remember as well, Rabbi.
this is something I have been
campaigning on. For two reasons,
first principle because it is
discrimination. We wouldn't dream of
having swimming pools only for
Hindus. Secondly, practical level,
faith schools divide children. It
may not be the intention but that is
the effect. It is Jews over there,
Catholics and Sikh, whatever. You
are segregating the children which
means the next generation have the,
suspicion and prejudice. Precisely
because we are multi-faith society,
we want to work hard to make it not
the multi-fractious society. It is a
disservice not only to the children,
because we are talking about
education, and here is another
irony, education is where we want
children to broaden their horizons
and yet by putting them into
individual schools we are denuding
them of wider society. What lesson
are we giving them if we divide them
at the gate? By the way this is also
a religious argument because those
of faith and no faith at all which
share the added love thy neighbour
as you know yourself but you cannot
love thy neighbour if you don't know
your neighbour. It is very
important. Just to give you a
practical example, this isn't just
theory, I deliberately didn't send
my children to the local Jewish Day
school, I sent them to a community
school because I wanted my Jewish
children to sit next to a Christian
and walk home with a Muslim, do brag
with a catholic because that way
they get to know my children, my
children get to know them and we end
up with a better rounded society. By
all means let faith flourish at
home, church, the
mosque, after-school, weekends,
summer camps, but not let faith
divide the children Monday to
I think you have said
everything! I honestly don't think
you have got anything else to say,
it was all in there! I don't
understand that because I right in
saying you don't want children in
backgrounds of other faiths at your
That is not the
totality of what I am saying. I
would want the model we have in the
Hindu faith because per se I do
agree with the Rabbi, in an ideal
world we shouldn't have faith
schools. If state funded schools
provided rounded quality of
religious education, we would have
no need for faith schools at all.
you want a 100% Hindu school?
of the religious education
information is not correct, the
books need to be amended and
corrected, therefore we do need some
schools to provide the correct
So you don't
want children from other faiths at
No no no, we have to
have... We must reflect what's
happening in real life in our
schools. However, there are some
schools, particularly in Leicester,
majority on faith only.
So do you
want a 100% Hindu faith school?
we don't have that, we do have a
Do you want to break the
We want children of all
faiths to go to school together. It
works very well. There is no need to
have a quota. If it is based on the
catchment area, meritocracy, then
there is no need for a catchment
area. Why throw the baby out with
the bath water? If you are going to
have a school built on the ethos of
my faith which is Hinduism, a
pluralistic religion for want of a
better word, it is not quite a
religion but it is a religion in the
English educational system. We don't
want to go down the other route
where there is too much orthodoxy,
too much regimental air Station, and
children who are not mixing
children who are not mixing with
other faiths. -- regimentalisation.
Lynne, you were shifting in your
I worry about the hip --
hypocrisy of this because you are
saying we would prefer to have
children of this faith because they
are better than other children. As
soon as you select by faith, you are
saying to others in the community
that our faith is better than yours.
Let me come back in second because
you had quite a lot at the
beginning. Jonathan, you can come
back and correct that in a few
moments, I want to spread the love
in this multi-faith exercise in
which we are partaking. David,
respond to that point.
respond to that point.
I think selecting of the school
begins with the family, selecting to
send their children to a school so
it is a two way process. I would
acknowledge and agree with a lot of
the points that have been made. We
don't want to have schools that are
exclusive on views and on formation
of children, but those are the kind
of views, the kind of values that
for instance in my community a
catholic school would have. We have
about 2500 schools across England
and Wales, 22 Catholic schools in
Leicestershire. Nationally 68% of
the students who come to our schools
So you want to get rid
of the 50% barrier? What do you want
to take it too?
I wanted to be open
that you can select those schools.
You would be happy with 100%?
Absolutely. So that families can
educate their children according to
the faith community and the ethos of
that community, and they have the
right to do that.
Are they catholic
Yes, the children who come
to my school are catholic.
you be catholic if you are not old
enough to make a choice. It's like
saying a Scientologist child, a
They are formed
as part of the community, then they
make their decisions and is formed
by that to grow and be enriched by
Or impoverished as the
case may be.
Our schools are
supervised by Ofsted, supervised in
education systems which look at
That is disgraceful,
you are saying you want 100%
Catholic schools. Too many people
just heard you. In other words you
want an educational ghetto.
want an educational ghetto. Jesus
said, suffer the little children. He
didn't say segregate the little
I grew up in Northern
Ireland, where there was great
segregation. I went to a catholic
grammar school in Northern Ireland
and ironically what you might think,
the school was the absolute
antithesis to what was happening
outside. It was the place where we
were given a broader spectrum of
views, where people of different
views to us were brought in in the
1990s when the troubles were coming
to an end. The non-Catholic schools
in Northern Ireland were bastions of
Would you have a debating
society? We seek to have balanced
views on this programme, more often
than not I hope we succeed but...
Quiet at the back! If you are having
a debate for example on abortion,
would you be able to have a properly
balanced debate in the school with
100% Catholic children?
Not everyone who professes
themselves to be catholic would
beyond a particular line on an issue
So you would be able
to say it is a woman's right to
In order to open the minds
of our children, we would want to
give them access to all areas of any
particular debate so they can form
their opinions on so the views they
hold are part of their conscience.
And sexual education, information
Yes, we teach
that already through our sex
If the child
came to you...
Of course we have
children in our schools who say they
are gay and they are supported on
cherished and enriched.
case, how do you explain what's
happening in Northern Ireland today,
the school population is going down
and yet there is a vast increase in
children going to integrated
schools, because the parents realise
that they help perpetuate the
prejudice and now the parents are
realising the only way forward is to
go to integrated schools.
the evidence faith schools in
Northern Ireland problem to
conflict? In my experience they help
to end the conflict. It's true, I
have that experience, being part of
It is an unorthodox
It might be but it happens to
be the view I hold. It was the
community standing up together and
saying we no longer want to have
Good morning, Malcolm Trobe! How are
you doing? This is giving parents a
choice to instil moral values and
their children, is it not?
I think what we are saying is what
we want from our education service?
The key thing we want is for every
child to go to a good local schools.
That local school is representative
of the community in which they live.
We live in a multicultural world. We
want young people to be able to
experience that. The schools should
be representative of that. We want
all children to have a good school,
we want that school to represent the
local community. We do not want
youngsters travelling miles. We do
not want a youngster living
literally 100 yards away from a
school but cannot go to their local
school, they are having to travel.
We want all schools to be a good
local school. That is what we are
Malcolm is quite
right, you have to differentiate
between an independent faith school
and a state faith school.
Lots of our faith schools, because
they are predominantly in that
majority face area, that location,
if 99% of those children in that
school are of one faith, what
happens to the parents unbend the
children don't want to go to that
school, because the culture will be
What happens, Henna
I went from being in a very diverse,
mixed school which was secular, it
did not have any religious
affiliations here in Leicester, for
my primary education, although there
was a short period when I had a
Catholic Junior school education,
into an all girls Muslim school in
Leicester. Suddenly from having a
very broad reach of friends, I went
to only seeing Muslim girls in this
school. Who were living in the same
streets, attending the same address
as me in the evenings -- attending
the same madrasah as me.
different attitudes about society?
All of a sudden from having this
rich culture of celebrating
nativities, celebrating Hanika,
celebrating Diwali, it all became
What about the boys and
We don't talk to boys because
we are in a girls school, if we took
two boys we will be expelled and
taken to task. This is the 80s.
think it still goes on.
From being a
tomboy and the majority of my
friends were male and I only had a
couple of female friends, I now had
to tolerate being in an all-female
Audience, I will be
with you in a second.
I am all for...
Was that your
I do not think there has
to be 100% faith schools.
I have been a
school governor and mixed in with a
lot of governors who are governors
for faith schools and I see the
difference. Our culture, our
religion is better, the way they try
to instil their Muslim girls all
Muslim boys, don't talk to each
other. You are not allowed. It is
not our religion. That cannot be
That would be exactly the
view we would want to teach our
children against. As I say, 68%...
Allow me to go to the audience.
That's you. How are you?
thank you. How are you?
The debate so far as one of the most
eloquent testimonies for the reason
we ought to abolish faith in
schools. We need a completely
secular education system. I separate
the idea of education from
schooling. The problem with faith
schools is they school people in
their particular brand of faith
throughout an entire process,
leading to many of the problems we
discussed at the beginning of the
programme. I think the
democratic, just way of organising
education is to ban all face from
schools. It is not out of this world
to do so, it is against the law in
France, in the United States...
want to learn about faith in
Appreciate its history from
an academic and social
make me say that word! Can I move it
I think they'd schools,
personally as a parent I made a
parental choice, I wanted my
children to go to what was described
as a fake school, a Church of
England school, about 20, 25, 30%
from different communities. -- I
wanted my children to good was
described as a faith school. We need
our children to go to schools of
tolerance which might encourage
students to consider other faiths or
no faith at all.
There is a phrase
in England for Church of England
schools, prey on your knees... On
your knees to avoid the fees! That
is what people say in London. All of
a sudden, people have rapid
We talked about mileage
and people sending their kids to
great distance, some sent their kids
to great distance to private
terms of faith schools, I think the
problem is I have plenty of friends
who goes of my best friends are
Muslim, Hindu or whatever, but
sometimes I think they can promote a
lack of understanding in community.
I studied REI GCSE and there was a
very, very big balance across the
subjects. -- studied RE at GCSE. It
has been important for people of
faith is to mix, for me some of my
friends can't do certain things and
for me I would not have understood
that if I just went to a school
based on Christianity. I think it is
really important to mix kids from an
Quite frankly the world
that we live in is not one religion,
it is not Islam, not Christianity,
not Judaism. If you speak to people
along those lines, whatever you want
to say about percentages and trying
to teach acceptance of other
religions etc, when people get into
the real world, the real world is
not like the school you will have
been in -- if you split people along
those lines. And school has to teach
you about the real world.
audience consistency, apart from
your good self.
I think education is so much more
than just learning academic
principles. You forget about
lunchtimes, break times when friends
are mixing and people are mixing.
Diversity is one of the most
important things in today's society
to avoid the issues we spoke about
earlier. How on earth can being
taught one principle prepare you for
society and life outside of school?
Lynn, we have Ofsted to take care of
business and make sure things are on
the straight and narrow and nobody
is teaching creationism or
pseudoscience and they are doing six
and relationship education properly,
aunt Ofsted the big safeguarding all
One of the safeguard, but
the better safeguard is not to go
there in the first place, I think.
Most of the audience will agree that
as soon as you segregate kids in
different ghettos, going back to the
earlier discussion about security
and extremism, you are more likely
not to be able to build resilience
to extremist views if you have only
had the view that your religion is
better than others. I am sorry, you
may have this open idea that we talk
about homosexuality and abortion and
are fine with all of its, but if
you're fine with all of it you do
not need separate schools for
different religions. You are not
fine with it because you want to
have kids and you want to teach
children the values that you
espouse, which are different from
the values elsewhere. It is only
when you get over that by having a
secular system, I am not talking
about atheism, that is different, a
secular system where you genuinely
The word secular is so
misused. It means not facing any
particular religion or creed over
Not privileging one
It is not a religious.
What a secular school looks like is
favouring secularism is a particular
viewpoint over others.
Run this by
Secularism is a position
It is not.
It is not
privileging any faith over another.
I went to what you might describe as
a secular school but we had a good
understanding of Christianity,
Hinduism, Islam. You don't need to
ALL TALK AT ONCE Are you a teacher?
I am a governor.
So he will know
secularism is not privileging any
faith over another faith, it is not
It is a position on
You will completely devastate
my daughter who is in the Green room
and goes to a Catholic school.
Secularism is the separation of
church and state, you do not
privilege religion in the law,
decision-making, the process of the
Does that allow for
religions to be exercised freely?
Absolutely. In a liberal, secular
ALL TALK AT ONCE
We want to educate our children in
the traditions of our community...
This is the most unruly class I have
ever taught! David.
The things that
you are describing, the values you
are describing, like the British
values agenda in school, all of
those things are things that we
value in our Catholic schools.
Having children from other faiths?
We have lots of them. Lots of
children from other faiths. You can
shout me down as much as you want
but we have lots of children from
other faiths. We treasure those
children and educate them.
Treasure?! How patronising!
He said these
children as if they are over.
We treasure all of our children.
Equally. And give them an
opportunity to engage with the
traditions of our community. That is
what we do.
It is a good idea to
keep 50%, arguably. Nicola, do you
have a view?
have a view?
There is nothing wrong
with parents... Parents want the
best for their children, they want
to protect them. It is very rare you
do not have that. Sometimes that may
be choosing a faith school. What
let's is down is sometimes not the
faith itself, because what we are
signing ourselves up for is the
morals and teachings, but what
letters down as the leadership in
those schools. They are not skilled
enough. I get what you are saying
that actually be straight schools
want to open up and have this
debate, but unfortunately what my
experience says is the people in
these positions have not got the
skill set and letting our children
Many of our schools are led by
leadership teams, governors and
senior leaders graded good or
outstanding. There are policies are
bringing that require improvement or
unsatisfactory to that system. I am
happy to accept that standards in
schools need to be driven up, but
those standards are there. It is
simply not right to say the
leadership is defective.
your experience of good leadership,
Unfortunately sometimes when
you have poor leadership it is very
much driven by the academic. It is
very much about results and those
margins. What does not happen is
quite often it is pushed aside, it
is the whole child, the whole
well-being. Everything about that
person. It is more about the
academic, whether they are achieving
and whether their school will be
-- a vision of
Catholic education would be
educating the whole person. The
person is formed in Christ and to
educate the whole person, which is
why we constantly drive our schools
to be good and outstanding. We have
lots of wonderful children from a
lot of different backgrounds. Our
schools are the most diverse
15 second answer?
want a tolerant, inclusive society
then we had to have a tolerant,
inclusive education system...
allows people to be educated in
Thank you. Thank you
As always, the debates will continue
online and on Twitter.
Next week we're in Bath,
so do join us then.
But for now, it's goodbye
and have a great Sunday.
Thank you for watching.