Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Post-secular schooling: freedom through faith or diversity in community

an article by Jacqueline Elizabeth Watson (University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK) published in Cambridge Journal of Education Volume 43 Issue 2 (June 2013)


Post-secularism and neo-liberalism have converged in education policy and theory to generate a new enthusiasm for faith schools, along with criticism of the publicly-funded common or community school.

However, in a post-secular social context, where religious and spiritual pluralism exponentially increases, and belief positions are both polarised and syncretised, the democratic notion of the common or community school appears even more crucial to address community understanding. There need to be strong reasons, therefore, for abandoning the common or community school in favour of faith schools.

This article presents a critique of recent key philosophical defences of the public funding of faith schools, put forward by Richard Pring and Harry Brighouse, and by the Christian educationalist, Trevor Cooling. It also gives support to Michael Fielding and Peter Moss’ arguments for radicalising and reforming the common school, to enable it to be a community for understanding in an increasingly challenging post-secular environment.

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