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Christian Ethos Schools Mark Pike from the University of Leeds

Christian Ethos Schools

26 November 09

Phase 1 Small Grant 'Religious Reading in a Secular Society: Learning for Life in a Liberal Democracy?'

Aims: To investigate the education of 14-year-olds in five schools with a Christian ethos in order to evaluate how well they were prepared for life, work and citizenship in a secular liberal democracy. 

Partners: The Emmanuel Schools Foundation; The Christian Schools Trust; Jacobus Fruytier Christian College, The Netherlands; Professor Leslie Francis.

Methods: Ethnography; observation; semi-structured interviews; content analysis; survey of over 1000 participants at five schools of a Christian ethos.


  1. The schools studied possessed the religious resources to transform expectations and raise attainment while providing character education.  The conviction that human beings are, in some sense, ‘created in God’s image’ emerged as a theme of central importance.
  2. Children and young people in these schools with a Christian-ethos engaged in a good deal of critical reading of ‘religious’ truth claims.  All five schools shared a conviction that it was not enough to be effective and efficient or to focus only on achieving examination results and academic success. For these schools, education is about helping students consider the ‘bigger picture’.
  3. The focus upon the Bible in all the schools studied provided a common point of reference for the exploration of a range of moral and ethical issues as well as cultural and literary study. 

Given the success of the schools in this study, their potential to influence practice in other schools should be recognised.

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