Are you a Christian parent, pastor or expert in the education sector?
Are you concerned about:
- the state of education in the UK?
- the impact of education policies on children.
- the viability of alternative methods of schooling.
On the 21st July we hosted the Big Convo "Whats the cost of an education without God?"
The event consisted of a guest speaker and included a panel of experts who shared their expertise and experience in the field of education.
Watch the full video presentation of the BIG CONVO "What's the cost of an education without God".
For the speaker's presentation including outcomes of the table talks, download the full presentation slide pack.
Mark Neale is a Christian independent educational consultant. Mark has run two schools here in the UK and is a leadership coach and mentor.
Bridget Boulton comes with over ten years of experience working with Christian Education Europe Bridget understands what it takes to launch a Christian School. As the manager of education and training, Bridget works with ACE schools across the country to ensure high standards and excellence in educational services are maintained.
Becky Penberthy-Smith and her husband John home educated their two daughters, Hannah & Abigail, through the ACE curriculum for over 15 years. Motivated to encourage other parents to homeschool, she became the National Coordinator for TEACH's 750 homeschool families in 2015.
Joy Sajuwa has over 11 years of teaching experience in the state education sector Joy is a Christian Deputy Headteacher for a local junior school in Havering.
Questions and Answers
1. What are the financial implications for my child going to a Christian school?
A true Christian School where the curriculum is Christian and therefore not state curriculum will be an independent school. Most of these schools would require the monthly payment of school fees which cover all the costs of education including the curriculum. This can vary but in the case of the schools using the ACE curriculum fees vary from £300 per month to £600 per month. There are still a couple of schools where there are no fees as the staff sees this as a ministry of the church who pay to sustain the school.
2. Is establishing a Christian school an ideal or is it a real need?
It is a real need. Christian Children need to be taught a Godly curriculum in a Godly environment which lines up with the values that the child’s church and home also stand for.
To be taught 5 days a week in a way that is not consistent with home or church produces confusion, a sacred/ secular divide in a child’s thinking and does not help him to renew his mind to the presence or purposes of God for his life.
3. How can one create a sound LGBT curriculum that is in keeping with Ofsed standard but doesn't compromise the Christian faith?
Independent schools are not required to provide an LGBT curriculum. There are policies and requirements within the curriculum where these relevant issues are required to be aired and understood. Carefully crafted documentation and classes with plenty of Biblical understanding of the love of God can cover these topics without religiosity or judgement and yet set a Godly stand regarding these conditions. Children of faith can be better informed and equipped with a Biblical worldview in an environment that is healthy, non-discriminating and compassionate.
4. Why do so many Christian teachers not support Christian values?
Maybe they do not have the revelation! Or maybe they are afraid to be true to what they believe or unaware of what the Bible actually says. They lack personal convictions on the Truth and are unaware of the cost of being lukewarm. Many Christians are filled by the message that the Church is providing. Many Christians have not become comfortable with being counter-culture and want to fit society rather than influence it.
5. Looking at the future of the education system, how do you perceive the Kingdom influencing this sector?
The kingdom can influence this sector by permeating schools with Kingdom values and a stand against compromise. If it was completely subjected to The Kingdom it would be operated on Kingdom principles and therefore it would look totally different. The King would be happy there and so would sinners and saints alike as they are with Him and Him with them. All teaching and learning would be centEred around Christ and outcomes would focus on the fulfillment of His will as a priority. Eternal perspectives would be better understood by getting to know Him and what He wants would be a priority.
6. What should our philosophy be regarding education in a sentence?
Education is life as presented by the author of life.
7. Have Christian parents taken a lazy approach when taking their child/children to state schools?
Yes! They have given up their calling as God’s people to train their children according to Deuteronomy 6 and passed it on to the state which is offering them training in secular humanism instead.
8. Is education really free? As taxpayers do Christians not have a stake in shaping the education agenda?
We pay for education through our taxes. You would think we would have a stake in shaping the education agenda but this is not the case. That is only given to those who are part of the government. We can answer every consultation but our voice is currently marginalized as we have already given our right to educate away. The church of England is largely responsible for this shift which caused people to feel comfortable thinking they had Christian education when it was actually state-controlled within an institution that had given its true influence away.
9. On average how much does it cost to homeschool one child?
Home education is free to do. It is legal and you only need to deregister your child. After that, it is up to you what curriculum and what extracurricular activities you do. Some families just get their resources for free on the internet but I advise you use a tried and tested curriculum to prevent 'burnout'.
The ACE (Accelerated Christian Curriculum) is the only Christian curriculum which leads to a certificate equivalent to GSCEs and A levels. The cost is £12 per month for the family to become a TEACH member plus about £30-35 a per month per child for the curriculum. The cost is reduced if you pay a yearly membership and for subsequent children, as you will not need more score keys ( answer books) and literature books. If you think about it, that is less than the cost of a coffee per day!
10. What type of support is available for parents who want to homeschool?
If you want to homeschool, Christian Education Europe (CEE) can help via our TEACH department (The European Academy of Christian Home-schools). That is a tried and tested way forward for 3-19-year-olds complete with academic certificates recognized by the government as college or university entry qualifications.
If you join TEACH then you have support from the start with training, diagnostics tests, annual conferences, convention, and camps. The office staff are there full-time to support on the phone and by email. They can give academic support if you don't understand any part of the curriculum.
11. Is there an agenda to push Christian values in the public school system and if not, why not?
I am not aware of any agenda to push Christian values in the public school system, rather exclude them because of the issue of creationism. In our lifetime we have seen the Lord's prayer removed from assemblies, prayer and hymn singing removed and in fact the assembly as a Christian expression closed down entirely. It is our understanding that this erosion is as a result of the push for the humanist agenda. We hope Christians push back before its too late to see a transformation in communities that will want a return to a Christian ethos.
12. How important are IQ and/or intelligence studies to determining whether a child/adult is illiterate?
IQ does not measure literacy.
13. It used to be the case when I was at school that there needed to be a reference from a pastor or priest for admission to a school. Is this still the case and in the current religious climate does it even matter? Therefore could schools form relationships with TRUSTED Christian organisations and select children members of those vetted groups?
Sometimes there does have to be supporting evidence of faith showing attendance at a C of E church in order to gain a place in the School. Location still plays a part as do other factors in a child being admitted. However, this does not mean that the family is committed as a Christian, just committed to getting their child into the school of their choice. The policy of admissions is managed by the DfE. Either way it’s all state-controlled education.
14. What are the advantages or disadvantages of having a homeschooled child compared to a child put in a school?
This boils down to the choice of the parents. There are benefits either way if it’s Christian schooling v Christian homeschooling. An obvious benefit for schooling is that parents are free in the daytime to go to work or whatever they want to do. On the other hand, the homeschool benefit is that you can give your child the education you actually want and determine the terms and hours you want to do this within. It’s between you and God really!
Some of the advantages of home education are:
- Are free to teach your children the Word of God
- Can teach character training
- Individual attention for your child
- Individualised learning, appropriate for child's ability rather than 'school year'
- Can encourage their gifts and talents
- Can get as much work experience as you like
- Helps family relations as they have shared experiences
- You can decide what your children read and who they socialize with
- Prevents unnecessary exposure to current trends - LGBT issues etc
- Can achieve academically what their potential is rather than being held back in a disruptive classroom environment
- People will always say 'socialization' but these days there are so many activities, whether sport, groups, church etc then it doesn't need to be an issue
- Financial - one parent will need to stay at home
- Academically - some people feel they could take their child to a high level if they have not educated themselves. Following a structured curriculum is a way around this.
- Time- you don't have any time away from the children unless you have a good support network. it is 24/7!
15. Can regular sharing of the word at home with the children eradicate the impact of what negative teachings they get in school?
It depends what time you have to give your child and whether the children actually want a post-mortem every day! It can help children greatly, of course, to teach the Bible at home but why give a child the thing that you then want to rescue them from. What a load of needless learning and unlearning that causes for the child!
16. What are the chances of setting up a Christian Education evening classes, like a homework club, some simple like using a community center, in different boroughs to educate our children for two or more hours, Monday to Friday?
Many people already do this in Tuition Centres but it does put children through quite a strain to have a second curriculum in the evenings as well as school all day. Tuition centres are definitely valuable in rectifying poor education and giving children a better start in life.
Something so simple that the government won't take any real notice of it, is this something that you guys could work on as many parents could do with the support? Homeschooling is still outside the government agenda and so are tuition centres. At CEE we can help set you up with either of those.
17. A class of up to 25/30 kids at £10-15 per hour, I see a guy in my sister's estate doing something similar but not Christian.
This is possible. We have a set-up plan that you could look at but bear in mind there are laws governing this type of education too. We have a good understanding of those to help you should you wish.
18. How can children be salt and light when they are not saved or grounded in their faith?
Absolutely agree with this rhetorical question! Often people will say that children need to be 'salt and light' in the schools. It is very difficult for them to do this if they have not yet made a commitment themselves or are not grounded in the word. Schools are tough environments and even adults would struggle to be 'salt and light' in difficult playground situations
19. When is it the right time to put our (saplings) children out into the storm (world)?
When they are ready! When they are comfortable and fluent with apologetics and content with who they are in Christ. In many cases, this is uni age/ young adults. The question when to put your saplings into the storm is a question every parent needs to answer for themselves depending on their own children's maturity, faith journey, what the local schools are like, friendship groups etc.
Not an easy thing to decide as there are no formulas or guarantees how your child will 'turn out' whatever you do. Each couple needs to discern and decide what is right for their own family.
20. What would you say is the relationship between Education and Social Policy?
Social Policy is the government agenda and it us humanistically driven education.
21. What would you say is the relationship between Education and Entrepreneurship?
As far as Christian education goes entrepreneurship is grounded by leadership and management in Christian principles and us covered by the business courses in the ICCE curriculum.