The Christian Institute

News Release

SCAA’s Moral Blueprint: Welcome for CofE intervention on SCAA Marriage fiasco

Colin Hart, Director of the Christian Institute, today commented on the latest proposals about to go to the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

“It is deeply regrettable that there should need to be such a public furore just to get marriage included. Whilst I welcome the fact that Dr Tate is now backing the inclusion of marriage, the values document still smacks of a moral fudge. Children see through moral mish-mash. They are less frightened of moral principles than SCAA appears to be.

I strongly welcome the decision of Mr Alan Brown, from the Church of England’s Board of Education, to vote against the SCAA proposals on marriage as presently drafted.”

Mr Hart went on to argue why life-long marriage should be promoted in schools:

“National opinion polls show that 75% believe marriage should be promoted in schools.

Most people accept that children need a mother and a father. Few would advocate promoting lone parenthood as a matter of social policy. The real question is whether schools will put temporary cohabiting relationships on an equal footing with a life long commitment.”

“According to the 1995 General Household Survey, 59% of men and women aged 16-59 are married. Only 8.6% cohabit. Virtually all the remainder are lone parents or live alone.

Cohabiting relationships generally end in separation or marriage.

Cohabiting couples tend to get married when they have children. The Family Policy Studies Centre* reported in 1995 that only 3% of children live with cohabiting natural parents, whereas 71% live with married natural parents. The two parent married family is overwhelmingly still the norm, though I accept there are worrying trends with the growing increase in divorce and one parent families.

Many cohabiting couples do go on to marry. But those who live together before marriage have a 50% greater risk of divorce within the first five years of marriage than those who do not cohabit.

Cohabitation is much more unstable than marriage with a split up rate of four times that of marriage, according to the Government’s British Household Panel Survey(1990-1992). Cohabiting relationships last on average around 2.5 years. **

Promoting the best environment for the care and nurture of children and promoting social stability means promoting marriage.”

*Children in Britain, FPSC, 1995 (figures based on 1991 figures)

**Population Trends(80), Summer 1995, page 11

Note to Editors The Christian Institute researches into social and ethical questions from a Christian perspective.