Cartoon controversy shocks Batley Grammar School ex-pupils – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Trevor and Geoffrey Wilson, Umberleigh, Devon.

A police officer observes protesters gathered outside Batley Grammar School in Batley, West Yorkshire, where a teacher has been suspended for reportedly showing a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed to pupils during a religious studies lesson.
A police officer observes protesters gathered outside Batley Grammar School in Batley, West Yorkshire, where a teacher has been suspended for reportedly showing a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed to pupils during a religious studies lesson.

AS former pupils of Batley Grammar School, my brother (1951-1958) and I (1949-1954) were appalled at the actions of an unruly mob of parents, purportedly protesting at the content of a lesson.

Their “demonstration” actions resulted in teacher being immediately suspended and an “unequivocal” apology by the headmaster, both of these actions clearly having been taken at such a speed that there could have been no attempt to ascertain the facts of the case.

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Batley Grammar School has a long and distinguished history of providing a well rounded and unabridged education to its pupils.

Protesters gathered outside Batley Grammar School in Batley, West Yorkshire, where a teacher has been suspended for reportedly showing a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed to pupils during a religious studies lesson.

In the past these pupils were a select group – both of us, living in Ossett, were awarded County Minor Scholarships from the then West Riding County Council to attend Batley instead of the local Ossett Grammar School.

“Select” is the pertinent word here as pupils were only admitted after gaining an good result in the 11-plus examination.

The school was then reserved for boys aged 11 to 18-years-old and had an excellent academic record, each year achieving exceptional results in the O and A-level exams and sending a number of their output to Oxford and Cambridge.

The school is now proud to be non-selective and takes pupils aged from four to 16 years. Thus it admits children well below the age at which secondary education commences but fails to take them through “sixth form” after which they would be able to take exams for tertiary education. In fact it is very far from being a grammar school and should no longer be allowed to use that designation.

From: Canon Michael Storey, Healey Wood Road, Brighouse.

FROM 1969 to 1973, I was responsible for teaching Religious Education in Birkenshaw County Secondary School.

In those distant days, the main religion taught was Christianity, but other faiths were taught in Year 11. With all religions, it was always right to teach the known facts, beliefs and challenges faced by each faith – i.e. “warts and all”.

Sometimes “warts” can be painful but, nevertheless, should be included if the Religious Education is to be complete.

Christianity, like Islam, has always faced the challenge of cartoons and, in the words of Jesus,”has turned the other cheek”.

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