Amankwatia, John (2007)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This study addresses the question of church schools’ compatibility with the tradition of liberal education and the extent to which these schools contribute to intolerance in society. Critics of church schools argue that the religious foundation of church schools contributes little to their academic success and that any school with a similar pupil intake will be academically successful. Critics therefore advocate removal of church schools from the English education system. However, using the evidence in the relevant literature, research studies, and eighty Church of England and Roman Catholic schools’ prospectuses, this study argues that church schools understand and express their nature as: (i) denominational; (ii) voluntary-aided; and (iii) comprehensive. This understanding is crucial to the schools’ approach to their role of providing pupils with skills necessary to live in all forms of society. The skills provided in church schools stem from the Christian understanding of Man as made in the image of God to share in, and provide stewardship for, the created order. In conclusion, this study rejects the argument that church schools: (i) contribute to intolerance in society; (ii) indoctrinate pupils; and (iii) undermine pupils’ autonomy for the following reasons: 1. The schools provide Christian education which accepts differences in human nature and prepares individuals to live in diverse communities. 2. Christian education is incompatible with coercion and manipulation. 3. Christian education provides opportunity for pupils either to accept or to reject the Christian faith or teaching.
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