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Changing perspectives on faith school cultures : practice informing policy

Cairns, Josephine M.; (2007) Changing perspectives on faith school cultures : practice informing policy. Doctoral thesis , Institute of Education, University of London. Green open access

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The study argues for a reassessment of the role of state supported faith schools in plural civic societies. In England, government policy supports their expansion. Problems associated with this policy are hard to resolve. A particular difficulty arises from OFSTED reports pointing to faith schools' apparently greater academic achievement and better experience in them of social, moral, cultural and spiritual development. Aiming towards a resolution of the problem the study addresses intellectually the concerns which such privileging of religion in education raises in modern times alongside developing an appropriate methodology to illuminate further OFSTED findings about faith schools. Here Lawton's hierarchical plotting of the beliefs, values and behaviours of a school culture has been formative, emphasising many aspects of life additional to goals and success or failure seen not only in terms of league table results. An empirical study of four Catholic schools in three countries aims to interrogate the educational cultures which sustain them. It combines Lawton's conceptual mapping with Flynn's self-review tool, devised to encourage students to clarify their beliefs, attitudes and values while studying in Catholic schools. The student voice is prioritised in evaluating a faith school education. It tells of cohesive and inclusive communities, their capacity to act for themselves in their 'worlds', from principled positions for the common good and the fit between personal, spiritual and academic goals and the school culture. The meta-narrative resulting from this study is offered as a potential evidence base through which citizens and politicians might involve themselves in a deliberative engagement with the policy question: Should plural societies operate common schools which will ensure the full educational entitlement of all students, from whatever social, cultural, ethnic or religious background or a plurality of schools, in which religious groups are accorded the right to their own schools?

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Changing perspectives on faith school cultures : practice informing policy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://ethos.bl.uk/ProcessSearch.do?query=535733
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis: (PhD) University of London Institute of Education, 2007.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10020530
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