VIEWS – Christians in Education


Childcare has become an issue in this election. The cost of care for pre-school children has risen by more than 25% across England over the last five years, according to surveys from the Family and Childcare Trust. Now the main political parties are proposing distinctive childcare offers, competing for the votes of working parents. Read more According to the New Statesman, this new consensus is a good thing for working parents. Read more

An article in Huffington Post, however, suggests that more free hours of childcare will actually be a worse deal for parents unless there is an increase in nursery funding.  The National Day Nurseries Association is questioning where staff and funding will come from in order to cope with the increase in capacity, at a time when nurseries are closing because current funding doesn’t cover costs. Read more

The Conservatives have stated in their manifesto that they will not introduce for-profit schools if they win the election. They failed to make that clear at the last election, which meant that this time round there has been something of a ‘will-they, won’t they’ question. We now know they won’t. Or do we? If for-profit schools are so problematic that even the most business-oriented party – at least by tradition – has no stomach for them, how come the government has spent the past five years supporting their growth? Read more

Maths prodigies should sit their GCSEs and A-levels at the same time as their classmates and not be trained to take exams early or fast-tracked to university, a leading maths teacher has warned. Geoff Smith, chairman of the British and International Maths Olympiads, and vice-chairman of the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust, said that accelerating children through the exam system was ‘a disaster’ and ‘a mistake’. Read more

A Year 6 teacher, writes ‘Everyone has a story of “what education used to be like”. Teachers of considerable experience have two stories: what education used to be like when they were a child, and what it was like when they first started teaching.  I have both stories. This Easter holiday with some time away from the relentless pressure of looming SATs, I’ve been reflecting on these. I am aware that I have become increasingly disillusioned with my life as a teacher in England, and things do not seem to be getting any better.’ Read more

After years spent hovering on the outskirts of education, the school chaplain is making a 21st-century comeback. Having been sidelined in the Sixties, today’s chaplains are no longer content just to hide in their offices on the off chance a pupil might knock. In the past 10 years, the number of chaplains in schools is believed to have doubled. Not only that, but they are going out into the corridors and making themselves visible. Read more

The furore over a looming primary school place crisis has intensified during the election campaign, with Labour accusing the Conservatives of causing a crisis in primary school places because of the high costs of their free schools policy. The issue is already beginning to bite hard, but is there more to shortages than the cost of free schools?  Read more

Can religion provide a source of political hope in a cynical age? Writing on the William Temple Foundation blog, Director Chris Baker argues that we live in a postsecular age in which we need to ‘redefine the terms of engagement between religious and secular practices’. Spiritual capital, he suggests, is growing in importance. Read more