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Faith in what…

Christmas is an important event in the Christian calendar. For the first time the 2021 census showed that only  46% of UK adults identify as Christian. Likewise, the number who said they had no religion increased to 37% of the population. Are primary and secondary faith schools a good idea in a growing sectarian society?

Faith schools

A religious soup

The census question broadly asked what your religion is, which refers to people's affiliation, rather than their beliefs or active religious practices. No religion may indicate many different beliefs. Some people will be atheist (non-believers), many will be agnostic (don't really know) and others will be spiritual (not part of a religious group).

Educate me

A third of the UK’s 20,000 schools are faith schools. These 7,000 state-funded mainstream schools are spilt roughly 68% Church of England, 30% Roman Catholic. The rest are made up of 42 Jewish, 12 Muslim, 3 Sikh and 1 Hindu faith schools.

The advantages of faith schools

  • Children mix in the same faith without feeling as a minority. They can make friends and bond with others of the same religion.
  • There are many Church of Englanf and Catholic faith schools, giving comfort to parents following the same religion.
  • Pupils are taught the ideas and stories of that religion, such as Christianity or Judaism.
  • The application process for all faith secondary schools is the same.

 The disadvantages of faith schools

  • Faith schools can be selective. Church of England schools use few entry requirements. Catholic schools normally want children who are Catholics (alongside the parents).
  • Children may have a closed viewpoint, as faith schools set their own religious curriculum. They may only teach children the religion of that school.
  • Pupils have fewer chances to discover their own beliefs. Faith teachers encourage pupils not to follow other faiths or have no beliefs.  

Being able to attend a faith school is brilliant for students wanting to follow a certain religion. Ultimately, the choice of school is down to the parents. They need to choose a school that best suits their children, which may mean being part of a different religion/beliefs as to the parents.

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Date: 19 December 2022 by Max Robinson