Christianity and the School Curriculum: What is possible?
Recently concern about the moral relativism in society and the role of schools in challenging it has been expressed by Dr Nicholas Tate, Chief Executive of the Government’s Advisory Body on the Curriculum and Assessment.
A new booklet argues that Christianity has a proper place in all the subjects of the curriculum. It has been written by the Principal and Vice Principal of Emmanuel College. The College was named last week by the Chief Inspector of Schools as one of the 32 most outstandingly successful secondary schools in England.
Emmanuel College – a Christian City Technology College – seeks to help young people challenge moral relativism and acquire a spiritual and moral basis for living. Christian belief and ethics have a major contribution to make across the school curriculum.
John Burn (Principal) and Nigel McQuoid (Vice Principal) explained their purpose in writing this booklet
“Christianity speaks to every area of life. It has profoundly affected our laws, culture, art, literature, science and institutions. We believe that it is impossible to properly educate young people without understanding this influence. Yet so often teaching in our schools amounts to barren secularism. We hope that this booklet will help parents and teachers begin to get to grips with this issue and see what is possible in ordinary state schools”
Christianity and the Curriculum – What is possible? is published by the Christian Institute at £2.25 (inc p+p). It is available from The Christian Institute, PO BOX 1, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE7 7EF
ISBN 0 9521914 5 8
Emmanuel College : (0191) 460 2099
The Christian Institute : (0191) 281 5664
Quotations from the booklet
Education is also to do with developing what is inherently true about human beings. (p 4)
Biblical Christianity proclaims itself as Truth. Sadly many Christians have given up the battle for public truth and settled instead for a commitment to private truth. Christianity is true because it is true, not because we believe it to be true. For this very reason we need to argue for public truth and ethics. We need to help our young people at schools examine the assumptions of the many world views which compete for their minds. Biblical Christianity is perfectly capable of standing up to such and examination. We hear much about the rights of children and young people and yet an education which fails to help them in this search for truth and virtue fails them spectacularly. (p 6)
Christianity and Biblical Truth must find a place across the whole curriculum and not just be confined to the act of worship and Religious Education. This is more important than ever before so that we may arrest the drift into cultural relativism and subjectivism. (p 13)
The process of science can involve creativity and imagination and gives opportunity to experience a sense of wonder and awe. The teacher should not shy away from talking about awe and wonder, creation and design in a natural way at appropriate times. (p20)
Consider, however, the potential for constructive spiritual and moral teaching through Shakespeare (Sight and Blindness; Repentance and Hope in ‘King Lear’ or Justice and Mercy in ‘The Merchant of Venice’), Dickens (the Love of Money and the Father Figure in ‘Oliver Twist’), Owen (The Value of Life; Honour in War in ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’) or Hines (Life without Love in ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’). (p 22)
The question, therefore, is always there to be asked “Is History the haphazard collision of individual moments, clung together by the strugglings of man and his attempts to control and shape his destiny? Or is it the unfolding of a story which operates within providential limits,…(p 22)