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Extracts from the Church of England report
Church schools as an instrument of revival for the Church of England

Evangelisation, contrary to respect for the autonomy of the individual child

Inclusiveness or Divisiveness?


Church schools as an instrument of revival for the Church of England

1.10 Church schools reach out to the young in far greater numbers than regularly attend church, and because through the young the Church is reaching out to parents and communities who would not otherwise engage with it.

3.15 [In the Church's 1970 report The Fourth R (the Durham report):] the emphasis was being placed on the Church's mission of service to the community, through education, rather than on the role of the Church schools as combining a mission of service with that of nourishing children of the faith in their faith.

3.16 The ministry of service is well established, and has historically been understood as the 'general' purpose of the Church in education as opposed to the 'domestic' purpose of offering education in a Christian context to the children of members of the Church of England. . .

3.17 The . . . 'domestic' function proceeds from a theology of nurture: the nurture of the worshipping community, and the nurture of young people in and from the faith. . . [T]he terms 'service' and 'nurture' [describe] the Church's purposes in education.

3.18 Over the last 15 years . . . the priority the Durham Commission gave to the service function has come under increasing challenge . . .

3.19 [S]ince the time of the Durham Commission the nurture purpose of the Church . . . has gained in emphasis.

3.23 Church schools are therefore a unique gift from the Church to an increasingly secular society.

3.26 The gift is Christ . . .

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Evangelisation, contrary to respect for the autonomy of the individual child

1.13 The justification for [running church schools] is, and must be, because that engagement with children and young people in schools will . . . enable the Church to

Nourish those of the faith;

Encourage those of other faiths;

Challenge those who have no faith.

3.4 [T]he fundamental characteristics of a Church school . . . include meaningful daily worship . . . a distinctively Christian ethos. . .

3.9 . . . Church schools are giving [young people] the opportunity to know Christ, to learn in a community that seeks to live by his word, and to engage in worship. Where pupils come from homes which are not Christian . . . this is a gift they would not otherwise experience.

3.11 . . . Church schools are at the centre of the Church's mission . . . the mission of the Church is: to proclaim the gospel; to nourish Christians in their faith; to bring others into the faith . . .

3.28 . . . Church schools will not actively seek to convert children from the faith of their parents, but pupils will experience what it is to live in a community that celebrates the Christian faith . . .

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Inclusiveness or Divisiveness?

3.29 The church's approach to education . . . is one founded on a notion of inclusiveness rather than separation from the community. [The school roll] especially in primary schools . . . will reflect the composition of the neighbourhood and must therefore be inclusive of all ethnicity, belief and social class.

3.31 The policy of inclusiveness extends also to children of no faith where, without seeking to convert these children to the faith, the school offers the practice of faith, worship and a school life founded on Christian values, all of which give the children an opportunity to make an informed choice that they might otherwise not experience.

3.34 We question the assumption that religion is by its nature inescapably divisive, and the philosophical corollary of this assumption that only a "secular" understanding of the world can be truly inclusive. . .

3.36 . . . notions of distinctiveness and inclusiveness are not mutually exclusive. . . . We note that the British Humanist Association is "in favour of integrated and inclusive schools, which can instil sound moral principles based on shared human experience". Our own vision of inclusiveness is based on Christ's commandment to love all people, and his sharing fully in the life of humanity: in his birth, in his own ministry of healing and teaching, and in his suffering, death and resurrection. Church schools are part of the body of Christ, and a visible recognition of the divine within human experience.

4.40 . . . Voluntary Controlled schools should, from time to time, review their distinctiveness as Christian institutions and consider whether their local circumstances allow a legitimate case to be made to the LEA for inclusion of Christian background within the admission criteria, providing this does not compromise their tradition and responsibility as a neighbourhood school.

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