The liberal Accord Coalition has rejected the Church of England’s (CofE) Church school of the future report. It criticises the report for failing to set out an ‘open and inclusive’ vision for schools.
The CofE, which is responsible for more than 4,800 schools across the country, published its 44-page report in March, after consulting dioceses, school leaders, politicians and other stakeholders with an interest in education. Church school of the future warns against a ‘utilitarian’ approach to education.
However, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE, chairman of the Coalition, said the report was a missed opportunity and ‘back to front’. ‘It focuses primarily on opportunities for the CofE within the state education system, such as how the understanding of Christianity can be better promulgated, and how the church can use recent developments in the state education landscape to expand upon its current involvement.
‘The report should have focused on what church schools can do for the whole of society, helping to provide education for its own sake’.
Rabbi Romain MBE said, ‘It is vital for the harmony of society at large that RE in schools teaches about the broad range of beliefs held in Britain today, as a path to good citizenship, ensuring that pupils develop an understanding of those different from themselves’.
Dr Romain implies that achieving good citizenship means dumbing down on distinctive biblical teaching, but the book of Proverbs says, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’ (9:10).