VIEWS – Christians in Education


Christians in Britain are being cowed into hiding their faith for fear of being viewed as a bigots and accessories to child abuse, or simply fools obsessed with genuflection before a sky pixie, according to Michael Gove.  He goes on to say that such is the antipathy to religion that prayer is now viewed with greater suspicion than smoking crack while those who publicly profess faith are assumed to believe in bronze age absurdities. Read more

Five years ago, many thought the outcome of those ‘five days in May’ following the election  would result in timid government. Yet the pace of legislation and changes in education, in particular, have disproved forever the warnings that coalition government leads to paralysis. But the impact of those changes will take decades to play out, argues David Bell. So is it time for education to be depoliticised? Read more

British values is on the agenda again as teachers at the ATL conference were urged to disengage with a law which is ‘ill-considered, ill-defined and counter-productive’. Conference was told that the policy is totally out of proportion and vulnerable to misinterpretation. Read more Meanwhile, The Telegraph reports that a majority of the British public thinks that ‘there is a fundamental clash between Islam and the values of British society’. Read more Teachers, the BBC reports, are also now fearing extremism debates in the classroom Read more

Chaplaincy in the UK has long been associated with Christianity, covering a small range of traditional sectors: education, health, the military and prisons. Nowadays that is no longer the case. Chaplains are everywhere, from all faiths and none, operating in every conceivable sector. So where does this leave school and college chaplaincy rooted in the Christian faith? Is it outdated in 21st-century multicultural Britain, or in demand – for staff and pupils alike? Read more

Employers are more interested in whether young people have participated in local theatre or raised money for charity than they are in exam grades. John Cridland, director general of the CBI, believes schools should be doing more to develop character. He said that his members were likely to look at all elements of a candidate’s CV, rather than merely their qualifications, because ‘everybody has A*s’. In an interview with TES, the business leader also called for Ofsted to judge schools on the holistic development of pupils, claiming that the inspectorate should focus less on the metrics and more on whole education. Read more

The government should plunder undergraduate tuition fees to fund a 25% pay rise for teachers willing to work in challenging schools, Alan Milburn, the government’s social mobility champion, has proposed. Milburn, who chairs the social mobility and child poverty commission, said that radical approaches were needed to close the educational attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their better-off classmates. Read more

Some of the responsibility for careers guidance inevitably lands at the door of teachers, but their exact role remains a bone of contention. Teachers shouldn’t be expected to be careers guidance professionals. Instead, it’s about a partnership. Career guidance professionals bring expertise in theory and knowledge of the labour market and links with employers to the table, while teachers bring pedagogic knowledge and have sustained relationships with their students. Read more

Ofsted has had a difficult time recently. It has been castigated by the Commons education select committee for its apparent inability to identify problems in Birmingham’s Trojan horse schools, and for downgrading its ratings from outstanding to inadequate once the schools were at the centre of a media and political furore. The chair of the select committee is also quoted as saying ‘questions have been raised about the appropriateness of Ofsted’s framework and the reliability and robustness of its judgments’. So is Ofsted adequate to inspect CSE policies? Read more