Losing faith in Alice’s Humanist excuses
YOU may recall Professor Alice Roberts, the TV star and Humanist zealot, who made such a fuss about how she could not find places for her children in non-church schools. She said: ‘Seven out of the nearest nine schools to me were Church of England schools. I applied to the two which weren’t and we did not get in there.’
The accounts of this clearly stated that she lived in Bristol. I was a bit baffled about this. Bristol council told me that, of the 108 state schools in the city that take primary pupils, just 26 have church affiliations. So there are 82 non-church schools, roughly two per square mile. This is probably fairly typical, as about 7,000 of 20,000 state schools are church schools, but many of the church schools are concentrated in rural areas.
I do not know or seek to know where exactly Prof Roberts lives. But it seems to me that, if it is so important to her to send her children to a non-church state primary school, she ought to have been able to find something to her liking among 82 possible schools in her home city. When I put this to the Humanists, they revealed that she doesn’t in fact live in Bristol at all. Coyly, they said: ‘Without disclosing where Alice lives, I am afraid your premise, that she lives in the boundaries of the city proper, is faulty.’ Perhaps, I wondered, she’d chosen to live in a country area, where the chances of finding a church school are known to be high. Who can blame her? But, in that case, was her complaint valid?
When I tried to discover more from the Humanists, they suggested wrongly that I was seeking to know where she lived, and then fell silent.