The Church pioneered mass education in Britain but over the last ten years, as the ‘church school´ sector has morphed into ‘faith schools’, the role of religious groups and institutions within the education sector has become highly contentious.
Much of the debate is by nature ideological, revolving around the relative rights and responsibilities of parents, schools and government in a liberal and plural society. Invariably, however, ideological positions draw on evidence pertaining to the actual experience and impact of ‘faith schools’. Questions like – Are ‘faith schools’ socially divisive? Are they exclusive and/or elitist? Is there a special faith school effect on pupils? Is there anything distinct about the educational experience offered by faith schools – become key to the debate.
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