Anger at appointment of muslim at C of E school
The appointment of a Muslim as headteacher of a Church of England primary school has been criticised by a prominent member of the clergy.
The Rev George Curry, a trustee of the Christian Institute, a charity which has supported the right of Christian schools and organisations to disciminate in favour of Christians in employment decisions, condemned the appointment of Rehana Serij-Allan insisting that only a Christian could uphold the religious ethos of a C of E school.
Mr Curry said: ìThe decision beggars belief. Experience teaches us that the only way to uphold the Christian ethos is to appoint a Christian."
ìIf you are at a Church of England school you need someone to provide education in the context of the Christian world view, and it seems to me a basic requirement is that they are Christian,î he told the Western Daily Press.
But governors at Easton Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School in Bristol defended the decision stating that Mrs Serij-Allan was the best candidate for the job.
Chairman of the governors Richard Winn said: ìShe is very professional and has an excellent track record. We need someone who is very skillful to raise standards at the school and we believe she is the right person for the job.î
He acknowledged that there were some members of the Church of England who disapproved of the appointment of a Muslim to the job, but insisted Mrs Serij-Allan would uphold the Christian ethos of the school.
ìShe has a wide knowledge of the Christian faith and she is prepared to support and uphold the ethos of the school,î Mr Winn added.
Mrs Serij-Allan also has the support of the Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Rev Mike Hill.
A spokesman for the Bishop said: ìThe Bishop is fully behind this appointment and backs the school governorsí view that Mrs Serij-Allan is the best candidate for the job.
ìShe has assured us that she is both willing and able to maintain the Christian ethos of the school.î
She is due to take up the post in January 2004.