Publications

Research Publications

DOING GOD IN EDUCATION

By Trevor Cooling
ISBN: 9780956218230

This report, published by Theos, examines the vexed question of how religious beliefs should be dealt with in education in Britain today. This debate manifests itself in all sorts of ways.

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LEADERSHIP IN CHRITIAN HIGHER EDUCATION

Edited by Michael Wright and James Arthur

Imprint Academic, 2010. ISBN: 9781845401894

This book provides a range of experienced voices, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, that reflect on the character and mission of leadership in Christian higher education in the 21st Century.

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Universities and Colleges with a Christian affiliation have in recent years sought to renew and redefine their identities and almost all have rearticulated their mission for the modern age after a long and serious process of reappraisal. This process has been accompanied by an ongoing discussion of the nature and identity of higher education itself. This discussion has required leadership that is different from most secular leadership.

This book provides a range of experienced voices, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, that reflect on the character and mission of leadership in Christian higher education in the 21st Century. 


MAPPING THE FIELD

By Elizabeth Green and Trevor Cooling
ISBN: 9780956218209

The aim of this review was to summarise and evaluate the current research evidence on the impact of primary and secondary schools with a Christian ethos. The review focused on schools in England and Wales but also drew on a small sample of the wider international literature.

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STRONG SCHOOLS FOR STRONG COMMUNITIES

By David Jesson

This study reviewed the impact of Church of England schools in promoting community cohesion. This review compared Ofsted's grading of the contribution that schools were judged to be making towards promoting 'Community Cohesion'. This was assessed as part of the 'Leadership and Management' section of a school's Section 5 inspection.

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In 2009 Professor David Jesson of the University of York undertook a study of recent Ofsted data assessing schools' progress on the duty to promote community, cohesion and tackle inequality, on behalf of the Church of England Archbishop's Council Education Division. This review compared Ofsted's grading of the contribution that schools were judged to be making towards promoting 'Community Cohesion'. This was assessed as part of the 'Leadership and Management' section of a school's Section 5 inspection. In particular, DCSF and Oftsed guidance suggests that inspectors should look for evidence that schools have undertaken an analysis of their school population and locality and then create an action plan focused on engaging with under-represented groups outside the school and between different groups within the school itself. It also considered aspects like links with other local community organisations, and global connections.

This review had a specific remit to compare the 'Community Cohesion' grades aggregated across (for Primary Schools):

  • Church of England Faith Schools (207 schools)
  • Other Faith Schools (66 schools)
  • Community Schools (429 schools)

These evaluations were taken from inspections conducted during June 2009. While for Secondary Schools inspection grades were compared for :

  • Faith Schools (predominantly CofE and RC) (74 schools)
  • Community Schools (271 schools)
  • Foundation Schools (66 schools)

These evaluations were taken from inspections conducted between March and June 2009.

The comparative element of this study showed that whilst all schools have a commitment to both of these factors and that no one type is universally successful, it is nevertheless very clear that Faith schools stand out as providing many exemplars of good practice as identified by inspection evidence collected over the past six months. This provides a useful corrective to some misguided assumptions about the roles that Faith schools play within their communities.


FAITH AND SECULARISATION IN RELIGIOUS COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

By James Arthur

Routledge, 2006. ISBN: 9780415359405.

A review of this book has been written by the journal ‘Theology’.

"Professor James Arthur, Director of the National Institute of Christian Education Research, based at Canterbury Christ Church University, has provided a book that is unparalleled in the field. There have been some fine studies on the secularization of Christian universities and colleges in the USA, but little on this theme outside of the States. There have been various ad hoc studies on the nature of Muslim and Jewish universities, but virtually no comparative work. Arthur, in one stroke, brings the entire picture together for the first time, inspecting the nature, purpose and scope of modern Jewish, Christian and Muslim universities and colleges around the globe…

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Clearly Arabic and Hebrew sources would have deepened the investigation, but Arthur nevertheless draws on a huge field of literature from many disciplines and has visited and interviewed extensively to produce an appropriately fine-grained survey of the state of play, with reflective generalized summaries.

His argument is simple. For the most part, religious universities and colleges have lost their way, finding it difficult to show how they might be different from secular institutions other than in having specialized religious courses, religious services, and the presence of various religious figures associated with the establishment. Arthur pushes hard at the vulnerable issues: precisely what would constitute a Jewish, Christian or Muslim research institution in terms of its vision of belief and knowledge, the development of its curriculum, and how would academic freedom be construed within the various available models? Regarding the curriculum, for example, Arthur shows the presence of three types of approach in all three traditions: rejection of modern knowledge (with little time for a university); almost entire assimilation to modern knowledge (in effect, a capitulation to modernity); and an attempt to integrate modern knowledge on the model of how Maimonides, Aquinas, Avicenna and Averroes integrated Aristotle within the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions respectively.

In a brief book he offers a wide fare (chapter by chapter) on the background to the development of the university and colleges within each religion; the search for what constituted the institutional identity in the face of numerous pressures, most clearly, secular modernity; on different forms of governance; on belief and its relation to knowledge; academic freedom; and the impact of the secularization process; and the more recent signs of de-secularization and renewal. What is especially valuable about Arthur's work is his fair treatment of each religion, his generation of models to understand and categorize the vast internal diversity within each tradition, his interconnecting of the traditions without any facile reductionism, and his refusal to be politically correct, rigorously criticizing his own tradition and in places, quite appropriately, other traditions. Arthur writes as a Roman Catholic.

Arthur is sober in his conclusions. If these institutions cannot produce something distinctively religious in their intellectual projects they are destined to become irrelevant in terms of their religious identities and thus fail to serve their originating communities. He recognizes the intellectual difficulties ahead, but clearly the great medieval synthesizers are a cross-religious hope for the future."

Gavin D'Costa, University of Bristol
Theology 2007 110: 470

 

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Last edited: 13/11/2019 11:03:00