It’s just been announced that Nick Clegg and Miriam Gonzalez Durantez have decided to send their son Antonio to a state Catholic secondary school. He’s been attending a Catholic Primary near his home.
Antonio will attend the London Oratory school. Nick and Miriam expressed the wish that now their decision has been made public, the privacy of their son will be respected.
Nick has previously said that he doesn’t believe in God, but his wife Miriam is a practising Catholic. He recently said:
I’ve never made my kids an issue in politics. My kids are more precious to me than anything else in the world and the fact [is] that my wife is Catholic, I married in the Catholic church and my children have been brought up by Catholics and go to a Catholic state primary school. It therefore shouldn’t be entirely surprising that we might consider as parents sending our children on to a state-funded Catholic secondary school
I suspect there will be a little disquiet in the party because of this choice of a faith school. Let’s have a look at what our manifesto (page 37) said in 2010, though:
Allow parents to continue to choose faith-based schools within the state-funded sector and allow the establishment of new faith schools. We will ensure that all faith schools develop an inclusive admissions policy and end unfair discrimination on grounds of faith when recruiting staff, except for those principally responsible for optional religious instruction.
David Laws wrote about the Party’s position on this site in 2010.Choosing the right school for your child is enormously stressful. There are so many things to weigh up and if you get it wrong, the consequences can affect the child’s whole life. I’m an atheist and my daughter goes to a Catholic school simply because it was the place where my husband and I felt she’d be happiest. We made our decision for a whole variety of reasons, none of them to do with religion.
Nick and Miriam’s decision is entirely consistent with their previous actions and with the party’s position and I hope that we’ll all just wish Antonio well and leave it at that.
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings