VIEWS – Christians in Education


Christianity is being subtly ‘silenced’ within the public sector in the UK because of a civil service culture which treats speaking about faith as ‘not the done thing’, according to a former top Whitehall mandarin appointed as Church of England’s most senior lay official. William Nye said a ‘secularising spirit’ now permeates the machinery of government. Read more

The threat to universities in the current green paper is not of a free market but of creeping – or perhaps even galloping – state control. Look at what has happened in schools: nationally administered tests for children as young as seven, an imposed national curriculum – to be played with by politicians at their pleasure – and a punitive inspection regime. Read more

Religious groups have backed the government’s decision to issue robust guidance that protects the freedom of schools to set their religious studies curriculum in line with statutory guidance and in accordance with the wishes of parents. This comes after the DfE clarified the meaning of the Judicial Review ruling on the religious studies GCSE. Read more

Are schools and universities meant to be making sure their students have the skills to succeed in an increasingly competitive jobs market, or is the purpose of schooling slightly more open ended? Does it need to have a purpose at all, beyond instilling knowledge – and a passion to keep learning – into pupils? Should learning be about education for education’s sake? Or should the focus be employability? Read more

The attempt to ban or discourage the teaching of humanism is shortsighted. Anyone who really wants Christianity to flourish in this country should be lobbying untiringly for the teaching of humanism in every school and nursery. Humanism gains its strength in Britain today because it is not taught. Instead it is simply assumed to be the only rational ground on which decisions could possibly be made. The tenets of humanism are taken to be facts, while other moral or metaphysical positions are simply beliefs. Read more

Mindfulness is a technique extracted from Buddhism where one tries to notice present thoughts, feeling and sensations without judgement. The aim is to create a state of ‘bare awareness’. What was once a tool for spiritual exploration has been turned into a panacea for the modern age — a cure-all for common human problems. Read more

In his Letter from a Curious Parent series, Michael Rosen writes: ‘The moment that you ministers say you’ve got plans to “improve schools”, we parents prick up our ears. It’s as if you are offering us a magic present: we can imagine it’s anything we want. If we think the kind of schooling we had was rubbish, we can make that part of the present. If we think schooling now is awful, we can make that part of it, too.’ Read more

‘The New Blob is desperate to believe that schools, on their own, can transform children’s life chances. The New Blob is affronted when it is pointed out that schools alone cannot compensate for the lost life chances of children and young people who suffer poverty, who live unstable and chaotic lives in poor housing, who come to school hungry, badly clothed and distracted, and who find a narrow academic curriculum, topped off by timed exams, alien to their lives and their interests.’ Read more from Mary Bousted