Jan 30, 2023


Around one third of all UK state schools are classified as ‘Faith Schools’. Do these schools equip children for the modern world? This week’s 5 Minute Break considers this issue…

In my 5 Minute Break of 28th November last year, I set out what I saw as the compelling case against religion, and my own journey from being a young, casual Christian to being a rational secularist grown-up. While my parents had sent me to schools that were nominally Church of England, these schools had restricted God and Jesus to within chapel services, rather than making them a core part of school life.

But what about Faith Schools, where Christianity or other religions are totally central to the school’s mission? Around one third of schools in the UK state education system are classified as Faith Schools, and many parents have little or no choice but to send their kids to one.

So I wondered – what sort of education might I have had if I had gone to such a school, where faith is so fundamental to its ethos?

I googled a few and I found statements such as: “We do aim to deliver new skills and knowledge very much through the lens of the teachings of Christ” and “Christ is at the centre of everything we do.” There’s even one which I understand has a quote by the late Pope Benedict XVI as part of its mission – “We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God.”

I mean, what? WHAT? How on earth can you educate kids to be the next generation of scientists, leaders and thinkers that we so desperately need, while confusing their minds with such stupidity? Teaching them that they must not question religious dogmas, then (presumably) teaching them actual proven facts? Thank goodness I didn’t go to one of these schools! It defies belief (and I chose those words deliberately), to think what such teaching is doing to impressionable young minds. How much could it confuse them?

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