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Christian Faith in English Church Schools

Research Conversations with Classroom Teachers

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Trevor Cooling, Beth Green, Andrew Morris and Lynn Revell

Church schools are booming, becoming increasingly popular with parents across the world. However, research shows that teachers face considerable challenges as they try to offer a distinctively Christian education within a church school context. This book is the account of a qualitative research project investigating the joys and difficulties experienced in English church school classrooms. The research team spent a year working alongside fourteen teachers from Catholic and Church of England secondary schools, introducing them to What If Learning, a pedagogical initiative designed by an international team of educationalists to support teachers in developing Christian approaches to teaching and learning. The highs and lows of the teachers’ experience are documented in this book and the lessons that emerge are explored in detail. The findings of the project are highly significant for all those involved with church school education and point towards valuable new ways of thinking about Christian faith and learning.
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Foreword Nigel Genders

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Foreword

Revd Nigel Genders, Chief Education Officer for the Church of England

I write this in the week that the Government has published its Education White Paper Educational Excellence Everywhere, setting out plans and aspirations for the education system over the next few years. The attention all too readily focuses on the fact that all schools will become academies, with the expectation that the whole system will rise to the challenge of greater autonomy, fostered by an accompanying greater accountability. But in order to enable this to happen successfully (that is, in a way which promotes better outcomes for children and enables them to grow and flourish in all aspects of their lives), we need to have teachers who are equipped to lead at every level of the school system and who feel supported and nurtured in that responsibility. The White Paper sets out many of the plans to achieve this, but in a school-led system we need the whole education community to work together to ensure that we develop a system which promotes excellence, well-being and character.

The Church of England has been working in this area for many years and we recognize the importance of character which goes beyond resilience and grit, but seeks to equip children for human flourishing. As part of that work we have been carrying out our own research, funded by a grant from the Department for Education, which is focused on the What...

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