School values more important than league tables to Christian parents


New research by the Evangelical Alliance has found that when it comes to choosing the school for their children, Christian parents are not so concerned by league tables or Ofsted reports.

When asked what they value in education, 92% of parents said they wanted an education tailored to their child's needs. This was followed by a school close to home (74%).

Less important was the school's position on GCSE league tables (55%) or Ofsted reports (53%). Nearly three-quarters of parents (73%) want a reduced emphasis on testing against target grades.

Almost two-thirds of parents (64 per cent) want their children to attend 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.

According to the Evangelical Alliance, some parents chose not to place their children in a Christian school because they felt it was important for them to learn how to deal with non-Christian life.

Other parents chose Christian schools because it was important to them that their children are encouraged in their faith by teachers.

Only one in 10 of those surveyed agreed that faith-based schools tend to divide communities in harmful ways.
Most parents (73%) wanted religious education with a predominantly Christian emphasis to be compulsory at some point throughout the school life of their children.

A majority (84%) also agreed that sex education without a clear moral framework is harmful to children.

More than half of churches (55%) surveyed by the EA had regular opportunities to take assemblies in local schools, and just under one in five (19%) had good contact with or ministry in their local university. Just under half (45%) said they regularly pray for their local schools.

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: "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."