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01 March 2013

Press release

Schools need more values and fewer league tables

Schools need more values and fewer league tables

Many parents across the UK are discovering today at which secondary school their children have been allocated a place. But what do evangelical Christian parents look for when choosing a school for their children?

Do we value education? - the eighth and latest research report from the Evangelical Alliance - reveals that Christian parents rate GCSE league tables (55 per cent of parents) and Ofsted reports (53 per cent) as less important factors than an education tailored to their child's needs (92 per cent), and a school close to home (74 per cent).

Almost two-thirds of parents (64 per cent) wanted their children at a school with a strong Christian ethos and 58 per cent wanted a school where Christian beliefs and values were taught. Yet only 20 per cent of parents chose a church school, or independent Christian school, for them.

Opinions on Christian schools are varied, with some not choosing them because they feel learning to deal with non-Christian life as a child is important, while others choose Christian schools because they believe teachers should encourage children in their faith. Only 10 per cent agreed that faith-based schools tend to divide communities in harmful ways.

Snapshots

  • 84 per cent of those surveyed agree that sex education without a clear moral framework is harmful
  • 73 per cent want religious education with a predominantly Christian emphasis to be compulsory at some point throughout their school life
  • 73 per cent want a reduced emphasis on testing against target grades
  • 55 per cent of churches have regular opportunities to take assemblies in local schools
  • 19 per cent of churches have good contact with or ministry in their local university
  • 11 per cent of churches meet in school buildings
  • 10 per cent of churches are used for adult education courses

Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, said: "Evangelical Christians have a long history of involvement in education. It's part of our passionate investment into the wellbeing of society as a whole as well as into the lives of the poor and least able.

"This report reveals an ongoing concern and desire to influence the way education is delivered in 21st Century Britain. There is much that needs to change in our educational system, but it is essential we steer away from being critical to concentrating on providing a clear vision for continued Christian engagement."

Clive Ireson, director of strategy at the Association of Christian Teachers, said: "We welcome this wide ranging research report by the Evangelical Alliance. We are encouraged that 45 per cent of churches represented in the survey regularly pray for their local schools. Evangelical Christians have strong views about education but this doesn’t always translate into active involvement in supporting teachers, support staff and schools.

"Let this report be a catalyst to change so that the many opportunities to make positive change in our education system are taken up by evangelical Christians and churches."

The report is available online at: www.eauk.org/snapshot, where hard copies can also be ordered.

Media Enquiries

Danny Webster
Tel: 07766 444 650
Email: d.webster@eauk.org

Notes to Editors

21st Century Evangelicals
21st Century Evangelicals is a series of research booklets produced by the following group of organisations: Care, Christians Against Poverty, Compassion UK, CWR, Evangelical Alliance, Mission Aviation Fellowship, Open Doors, Prospects and Wycliffe Bible Translators. Its purpose is to study the beliefs, habits and practices of evangelical Christians in the UK.  In January 2011 the first publication of 21st Century Evangelicals was a groundbreaking survey of more than 17,000 respondents. The follow-up surveys will help us move forward and delve deeper in to understanding more fully the beliefs and practices at the heart of evangelicalism.

Previous issues in the series are: A snapshot of the beliefs and habits of evangelical Christians in the UK, Does belief touch our society?, Are we communicating?, The World on our doorstep?, How's the family?, Does Money Matter? and Confidently sharing the gospel?

The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org