IF Glyn Oliver's acidic anti-religious rant (Letters, July 27) represents the collective wisdom of the Southampton Anti-Academies Alliance then one can only wonder what kind of "open minded'' education he and his allies seek to promote.

He claims a commitment to a "multi-cultural society'' while condemning people of faith to its hiding places using a series of unevidenced claims about their "bigotry''. Apart from the fact that Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were secularists like Mr Oliver (see, doesn't feel nice to sloppily be "boxed'' does it?), faith communities have long proved themselves as successful educators of the poor, defenders of refugees and deliverers of health care where so many others fear to tread.

The Charities Aid Foundation says they give more than the national average to charity too.

If we want a city which is increasingly at ease with itself, not to mention no longer characterised by scandalous pockets of child poverty and unemployment, we will have to build a coalition of all social partners and harness all the talent we can muster. Glyn Oliver undermines that task - and has converted my scepticism about the new academies to wholehearted support.

FRANCIS DAVIS, Southampton.