Put faith into secular schooling

22nd December 2000 at 00:00
Ron Dearing may have got many things right for education in the past, but he is seriously misguided if he is recommending that church schools should become "more actively Christian" (TES, December 18).

Church of England schools are largely an historical accident and it is increasingly inappropriate that religious exclusivity should have any part in what are now almost wholly state-funded institutions.

In urban areas where parents do have some choice, an overtly religious school may be an attractive option for those who share that belief. However, in small rural communities such as where I live, our village school (which happens to be a church school) isessentially the only option for a community which includes non-believers and people of other faiths. At the moment almost every family in the village uses the school and all are made welcome. If it were to take on a more sectarian tone, however, significant numbers might feel it was no longer a suitable place for their children.

The report's key statistic is that there are now more children in church schools than adult worshippers. The appropriate response to this is not to increase the indoctrination of children, but to look hard at the value of retaining any link between church and school.

Heather Morris The Old Stable HouseHolt, Wiltshire

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