For first time, school with ‘Christian ethos’ wins inclusivity award

The Guardian is reporting from Walthamstow academy in east London which, judges say, shows how state-funded schools with religious ethos can be true to themselves and serve their communities…

…This is Walthamstow academy in east London, which this week received a prestigious award for inclusivity – the first time it’s been given to a school with a Christian ethos, prompting hopes that other faith schools and those of a religious character could broaden their scope and welcome a wider selection of pupils.

The school, which has 1,000 students and was founded in 2006, is part of the United Learning Trust group of academies and independent schools, a charity founded in 1883 as the Church Schools Company. It identifies itself as a school with a Christian ethos, rather than a faith school. This, says the Accord Coalition, which campaigns for an end to state-funded faith schools, would still enable it to select and employ teachers on faith grounds, or to admit pupils by faith when oversubscribed. It does neither.

Rabbi Jonathan Romain, who chaired the award’s judging panel, says this approach is a rebuff to those faith schools that believe they will sacrifice their religious ethos if they broaden their horizons. “Walthamstow shows how state-funded faith schools and schools with a religious ethos can both be true to themselves and serve the wider community that funds them,” he says.

The Accord Inclusivity Award, which has been made annually since 2010, has previously always gone to community schools. Romain believes Walthamstow’s success is a sign that some schools with a religious ethos are embracing the need to widen their reach. “This is a template,” he says. “Too many are narrow and blinkered and, as a religious person myself, I feel religion shouldn’t be creating environments where there’s an ‘us’ and ‘them’ culture.” At Walthamstow academy, the headteacher, Emma Skae, says she concentrates on providing an environment where different faiths are celebrated and welcomed. “We don’t just tolerate different beliefs here, because that’s a passive response,” she says. “We encourage our pupils to talk about and share aspects of their faith, and we’re very proud to welcome pupils of all faiths and none…”

More at: For first time, school with ‘Christian ethos’ wins inclusivity award

 

Welcome signs and a template, as suggested, for others?

 

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Comments

  1. Michael_Merrick

    SchoolsImprove Plenty of research to suggest they often are – don’t need politically motivated Accord award to validate that DurhamFreeSch

  2. DurhamFreeSch

    Michael_Merrick SchoolsImprove agreed – it’s our ethos and admission criteria too: ‘all faiths and none’.

  3. Busy Mum

    Guess what – all schools in the UK used to have a Christian ethos by default and they always served the community that funded them. Private schools still do serve the parents that fund them. The clash is between what parents want to be ‘served with’ and what government wants to ‘serve up’. Some parents will never accept that the government knows best.

  4. Busy Mum

    Guess what – all schools in the UK used to have a Christian ethos by default and they always served the community that funded them. Private schools still do serve the parents that fund them. The clash is between what parents want to be ‘served with’ and what government wants to ‘serve up’. Some parents will never accept that the government knows best.

  5. Busy Mum

    Guess what – all schools in the UK used to have a Christian ethos by default and they always served the community that funded them. Private schools still do serve the parents that fund them. The clash is between what parents want to be ‘served with’ and what government wants to ‘serve up’. Some parents will never accept that the government knows best.

  6. LaCatholicState

    Let’s also acknowledge that parents often want their children to mix with co-religionists who share their beliefs, culture and views. They especially want this in a multi-cultural society….which is often hostile to their beliefs and Faith.

  7. Janet2

    Good to see a Christian school living up to Christ’s teaching:

    ‘Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not…’

    That means ALL children not just those from a particularly group.

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