An RE curriculum would help bridge gulf over faith schools
I wanted to share my perspective on why it is that pupils at faith schools perform better than those at their non-religious counterparts.
The article suggested that it was selection criteria and the obligations of religious life that made it more likely that students would come from a stable, well adjusted background.
While there may be some evidence for this, I feel it far more likely that the reason pupils perform better in these schools is the ethos behind the education they provide.
Faith schools are much more likely to identify with a strong and clear mission and purpose, one that is embedded through their teaching methods and relationships within the community.
Using faith as a foundation for learning creates a different set of priorities, based more in learning how to live, how to relate and how to support one another. These moral and social skills are regarded, not as optional extras (like PSHE), but at the heart of enabling students to achieve excellence.
If you compare how much of the school day in a mainstream school is genuinely focused on pastoral care and meeting the diverse spiritual and emotional needs of their young people, to the approach taken in a faith school, one can begin to map out just how much added value comes from the recognition that emotional wellbeing is a foundation for effective learning.
Erica Sosna, Director, The Life Project, Brighton.