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Evangelicals less worried about exam results than values in their children's education

Christians in the UK have been urged to turn their passion about their children's education into action in changing things for the better ...

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

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