The John Fisher School (JFS) Purley – Teachers’ Union Vs Archdiocese: Who Is Telling The Truth?editor
The teacher’s strike at the John Fisher School (JFS) has ended, but there is a major discrepancy between the claims made by the National Education Union (NEU) and the Archdiocese of Southwark on the terms of the agreed settlement. More on that in a sec but first, for context, to refresh memories but especially for those just finding out about this school scandal now, read our previous blog on the anti-Catholic bigotry of Simon James Green, and also reach links to our original reports on this saga, by clicking here
For the latest news, read on…
The i newspaper report of 27 May, headlined “Catholic School Backpedals after banning gay author – by inviting different LGBTQ+ writer” includes the following statement from the NEU…
“We are pleased to have come to agreement with the school around the visit of an author whose writing includes LGBT+ relationships. The event will take place in the upcoming academic year within a series of events about the celebration of diversity within literature and with the educational outcome of fostering a love of reading. A range of other measures were agreed including training and a re-affirming of commitment to diversity.” Ends.
Shocked at this apparent capitulation, I immediately emailed the Archdiocese of Southwark and received the following prompt reply from Fr Phil Andrews, Private Secretary to the Archbishop:
Thank you for your email. The Archdiocese has, today, issued the following statement:
The Archdiocese of Southwark Education Commission is grateful for the progress that has been made in resolving the industrial action at the John Fisher Catholic School, Purley. We support the mission of the new Governing Body in working collaboratively with the leadership and staff, and with parents and carers of pupils at the school.
We are committed to collaborating with the school in upholding its Catholic ethos, faithful to the teaching and practice of the Catholic Church. We will ensure that every activity in the school, including future invitations to outside speakers, are compliant with statutory guidance concerning the protected characteristics of faith schools, the age and faith appropriate use of resources, and the care and support for everyone in a diverse teaching and learning community. In this, we treasure the traditions of faith and prayer which have been passed on to us and the dignity of each person created in the image and likeness of God.
I hope these statements clarify the situation regarding the NEU’s own statement.
With every good wish, and blessing
Fr Phil Andrews. Ends.
I forwarded the above statement from the archdiocese to Caroline Cowie, Union representative, adding that while Father is very charitably not calling the Union spokesperson a fibber, the contradiction is clear. There will be no similar invitations issued to anyone, which are not compliant with Catholic teaching on sexuality as with everything else. End of.
When, in some toing and froing of emails, I put it to Caroline Cowie, representing the Union that the statement from the NEU and the statement from the archdiocese, were contradictory, she refused to say that the statement from the archdiocese is false, saying instead: The NEU statement is correct and is the agreed position following negotiation through ACAS between the school and our members. [And later]… We are making no comment whatsoever regarding the Archdiocese what I am pointing out to you is that the NEU statement that you are referring to from the Independent article is part of the negotiated agreement between the school and NEU members. Ends.
I invited Will Hazell, author of the Independent report to comment for inclusion in this report. Lo and behold, would you believe, he has not replied.
Given that Will Hazell’s report contains whopping errors, I’m not really surprised that he’s chosen to ignore my invitation to comment for the purposes of this blog article. His report falsely claims, for instance, that Simon James Green’s “books for young adults feature gay characters” without noting (a) that pupils in years 8 and 9 are not “young adults” (they’re 12/13 year olds) and without noting (b) that, far from merely featuring gay characters, Green’s writings are pornographic. You can read some of it for yourself here but be warned, you are about to read utter filth, aimed at children. I believe at one time they used to call that sort of thing, grooming.
Finally, Hazell fails to publish any part of the statement from the archdiocese, disingenuously closing his piece with the rather misleading “Southwark Archdiocese was contacted for comment.”
And so, finally… Teachers’ Union Vs Archdiocese: Who Is Telling The Truth? My money is on the archdiocese, the Union naturally keen to save face at the end of a totally unnecessary strike. In any event, we will be keeping a close watch on the JFS to make sure there is no repeat of this scandal. For now, pray for all involved in this debacle.
St John Fisher, pray for us!