Navigation Links
Keeping faith -- schools must balance ethos with equality
Date:9/1/2010

London, UK (September 1, 2010) Faith based schools are on the rise in the UK, apparently boosting educational standards. But are religious values at odds with legislation on equality? Research that appears today in the journal Education Management Administration and Leadership published by SAGE shows what happens when school values and those of the state diverge, with unfortunate consequences for gay students and staff.

The UK Government, and certainly former Prime Minister Tony Blair, suggest that faith based schools contribute to choice and diversity, and also raise educational standards. Brian Caldwell's theory that schools with a strong 'spiritual capital' can raise student achievement has been influential.

However, Gerry McNamara and James Norman from Dublin City University, set out to investigate whether giving control of a school's ethos and philosophy to churches or other organisations can lead to unfair policies and practices, as has been the case in the Republic of Ireland.

In Ireland, the vast majority of schools are owned and managed by the Catholic Church but funded by the state. State measures to encourage equality and protect minorities such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) students are often not transmitted or supported in these schools, and due to legislation loopholes schools can also sack LGBT teachers to protect their ethos. Could something similar happen in faith schools in the UK?

McNamara's research shows that Catholic schools showed a marked unwillingness to address LGBT issues under sex education, flouting national policy. Worse still, teachers' failure to respond to serious homophobic bullying in schools was commonplace.

McNamara suggests that teachers and presumably school leaders felt constrained or even intimidated by the power structures within which they operate. "There was little indication at leadership level that concerns about social justice and equity were leading to a willingness to take potentially controversial initiatives," says McNamara, "and this timidity seems to percolate down through the staff structure".

Legislation loopholes allowing schools to choose pupils to 'protect its ethos,' mean that faith based schools operate in what McNamara describes as "an equality vacuum," where it is not clear what their obligations are under the equality legislation.

Finally gay and lesbian teachers in schools were also fearful for their positions since the churches had sought and obtained exemption from the legislation designed to protect minorities from discrimination in employment. This is despite the fact that Ireland has introduced a comprehensive and advanced set of legislation on equality.

This research has implications for schoolteachers in all faith schools, including those in the UK. "Fundamentally, it is the responsibility of all those who are identified as leaders within the school community to ensure that practical steps are taken to challenge and respond to homophobic bullying," says McNamara.

The Catholic Church primarily runs schools not to provide choice and diversity or to raise standards, but to promote faith and religious knowledge among young people. In this context, it makes sense that such schools reflect the teachings and ethos of the church, which acts as their patron.

In Ireland, this is an inherited reality, which must be managed as well as possible. In Britain the authors conclude that if faith based schools are to be further encouraged, the State should retain adequate power to require schools to comply with, for example, equality legislation and with the prevailing standards of justice and tolerance in the wider society.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jayne Fairley
jayne.fairley@sagepub.co.uk
020-732-48719
SAGE Publications UK
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Lack of morning light keeping teenagers up at night
2. TypeAMom.net on Keeping Daughters Safe From Predators
3. Keeping up with the neighbors speeds vaccine use
4. The Fresh Diet Dances With The Stars Keeping the Cast in Shape and on Its Toes
5. The Fresh Diet Dances With The Stars Keeping the Cast in Shape and on Its Toes
6. Promoting healing by keeping skeletal stem cells young
7. Number of Americans willing to donate organs rises, but still not keeping pace with need
8. Keeping the Boston Bruins Healthy. Their New - Very Cold - Secret Weapon Against Injuries
9. Keeping kids away from R-rated movies may prevent early drinking
10. NASA satellite imagery keeping eye on the Gulf oil spill
11. Backyard Poultry A Growing Trend Throughout US - USDA Offers Pointers on Keeping them Safe
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... The Florida Hospital Tampa ... Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS), the leading authority in hyperbaric medicine. This accreditation identifies ... few hospitals and facilities have earned this distinction. This is the second time ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... Mirixa ... (MTM), adherence, and other pharmacist-delivered patient care services, has announced the promotions of ... Hoessel to vice president of sales. , Litsinger joined Mirixa in 2008 ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... SunView Software aims to ... that are both engaging and easy to use. Coming off the heels of ... revealed today its plans to roll out new AI-powered self-service enhancements to help ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... California Senate Bill (SB) 863, signed into ... claim in 2013 and 2014, according to CompScope™ Medical Benchmarks for California, 17th ... According to the study, medical payments per claim in California decreased 4 percent in ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... services from offices headquartered in Hamilton County, is embarking on a charity drive ... specializes in finding new homes for orphaned or neglected senior dogs in the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/9/2016)... , Dec. 9, 2016  RxWiki Inc., a digital ... digital marketing strategies of thousands of pharmacies through its ... Austin Inno,s "50 on Fire" Award in ... "We,re pleased to accept the award as one of ... Chief Executive Officer at RxWiki. "Our platform gives independent ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016 IRIDEX Corporation (NASDAQ: ... newly issued shares of common stock, $0.01 par value (the ... underwritten public offering.  The final terms of the Offering will ... pricing, and there can be no assurance as to whether ... expects to use the net proceeds it will receive from ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016 Global Interventional ... on the global interventional radiology market analyzes the ... report comprises an elaborate executive summary, including a ... segments and sub-segments. The research is a ... formed the bulk of our research efforts along ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: