In the pre-welfare State of Britain, Church schools usually taught only about Christianity and it suited the then society of Britain. They even readied vicars for the church and in those days, it was impossible to imagine a church school teaching other religions or cultures…
This change had been taking place, not only in Britain, but also in other European countries.
As minorities got stronger, they started voicing their demands and insecurities. Government slowly realised that education for the children had been stagnant without taking into consideration the need to alter it. It also decided in the last three decades education had not been modernised. In Britain, as Henry VIII rebelled against the authority of the Pope, monarchs become the Head of the Religious faith. Britain, after Henry VIII incident, had its own Church and other connected institutions. After the Second World War, Britain had evolved into a multi-lingual and multi-cultural society, with many voices, demands, languages, cultures and religions. People from erstwhile colonies have made Britain their home, along with other asylum seekers and quite naturally, they all have become part of Britain now. Government had to protect their needs and requirements too. This led to a more coherent government policy and church schools have been asked to accommodate students of other faiths, and with effective guidance from cultural leaders, they have to reduce their Christian outlook to a large extent and teach children about other cultures. They have realised that they have to modernise their outlooks with the changes brought by the changing times. They are neither vehement about Christianity, nor reluctant to change.
Till recently, we can say that nothing much has been done in this direction, even though this is a very important element of a welfare state.
"One important target of active states is the school institution and its influence over how children are socialized. Since the Reformation, civic leaders have made grand claims about the magical effects of mass schooling and the secular state's power to expand it. But only in the past decade has research matured on both the causes and economic consequences of school expansion," (Fuller and Rubinson, 1992, p.1).
Church schools might not sound and look like the best places to accommodate alien cultures. The stereotype and traditional church schools of olden days would never have taught anything other than Christianity. Fortunately, today, religious institutions are changing according to the time and requirements. Hence, most of these schools are accommodating the multi-cultural and multi-faith demands of British society. Even though they are still being called as 'Church Schools', run by the societies and funds belonging to the Church of England mainly, their function and focus has enormously shifted in recent years. Even Churches have accepted that Christianity is not the only religion in United Kingdom. They are not only providing multi-culture based education today, but also they are welcoming students from other cultures to join the schools without any discrimination in admission. They are also trying to know more about diverse cultures, so that they could be right in their approach.
"It is also important to recognize the extent to which changes in education policy are influenced by larger social and economic developments. The analysis draws us back clearly to political questions as lying at the heart of education policy, which is, after all, about the choices that governments made," (Levin, 2001, p.18).
Church schools, which were considered to be stuffy at one point of time, have changed so much in their approach, that it is not at all difficult for them to provide ...
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