'Live the gospel'

The TES asked teachers and students about their religious beliefs and how they affect their work ...

Caroline Williams, Year 2 teacher, All Saints CofE primary, Blackheath, London, said: "There are a set of rules pinned up on my classroom wall saying, for example, that children shouldn't hit each other, and next to that is a picture of Jesus. The children are quite used to it now. They know that people have to live to the gospel and not just read it on a Sunday."

Jo-Ann Hughes, deputy head of Christchurch CofE high school, Ashford, Kent, said: "My faith gives me purpose, enabling the truth to be upheld. Children will lie to get themselves off the hook and pass on blame. I say to them: 'Before you answer this question, remember God sees everything'."

Peter Bowen-Walker, senior master of biology, the Perse independent boys' school, Cambridgeshire, said: "I am an agnostic. It is part of my contract to attend assemblies, but I certainly don't sing and I don't bow my head during prayers. I attend simply from a pastoral point of view to make sure health and safety issues are honoured."

Stuart Peters, a trainee teacher, on placement at Farnham Heath End secondary school, Farnham, Surrey. He said his previous school, John Fisher Catholic boys comprehensive, south London, had crucifixes in every classroom, said: "Schools should be promoting critical and free thinking, which is done in subjects like PSHE and citizenship. Making children do acts of worship in schools seems to be going against this flow."

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