Steve Beegoo, Christian Concern’s Head of Education, shares how we’ve been supporting some hope-filled education initiatives – even in Covid times.
‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’. Amongst the darkness of a Covid winter, here at Christian Concern we have seen many reasons to have hope this advent. What amazing things the Lord is doing! Advent means ‘coming’, where we celebrate not only that there was a coming ‘once in royal David’s city’, but that there will be a second coming. Courageous Christians bring signs of what that future coming of Christ will fully realise! Let us celebrate the one who really gives the best gifts to children! And let’s celebrate the courageous and sacrificial actions bringing hope in the darkness.
Starting new schools
Firstly, we are finding many Christians are waking up and having a vision for starting new schools. I have spoken, just in the last three months, to many people wanting to start their own Christ-centred low-cost independent schools, where the coming King will be honoured by the teaching and the children. The locations include Aberdeenshire, Lancashire, the West Midlands, South London and Essex. Sacrificial and faith-filled decisions being made as the coming King brings revelation and vision by His spirit into the hearts of His sons and daughters. We believe thousands of children and parents will be given light and hope through these new schools as we support them and help them develop over the coming months.
One of these schools, The King Alfred School near Dudley, has seen God provide over £20,000, of the £30,000 needed for their next stage of development; they have sometimes received anonymous cheques for exactly the sums they needed! Hayley Bowden can be heard speaking at our Round Table event earlier this autumn, and is a fantastic example of the courageous Christians stepping out of the boat in responding to the coming King in this area.
Connecting with church leaders, teachers and parents
Secondly, we are connecting with so many church leaders, organisation leaders, teachers and parents who are bringing the light of Christ into the state schools of this nation. We hear of over 200 churches now helping to provide education centres for the most struggling of the nation’s children, through Transforming Lives for Good (TLG). We know of Christian headteachers and governors, standing for Christ in their uncompromising yet incarnational leadership of State schools. Titi Oluwatudimu, Director of Education at The Emmanuel Schools Trust (TEST) who spoke at our Bringing Hope event last year, is just one such example. TEST has been approved by the Department for Education to open another school in the London Borough of Havering. This new school is scheduled to open in September 2022!
Christians are bringing the hope of the gospel of the coming King by creating excellent resources to be used in schools. We have promoted over the last few months the excellent educational resources on the value of the unborn produced by the Centre for Bio-ethical Reform (CBR) and Lovewise. We have platformed the launch of Noah and The Nestling, a beautiful book for young children covering the same issue. We have been able to advocate for many appropriate and Christian values-based Relationship and Sex Education resources, which can be found on the ‘RSE Authentic’ website. We are seeing Bible-based resources being provided to schools through organisations such as The Bible Society, helping provide Christian assemblies and excellent free secondary school Religious Education resources. We can see a Biblical culture of life, the culture of our coming King, shaping the character and health of our children.
We have also seen the commitment of parents to disciple their children and ensure their teaching supports the Christian faith which is being cultivated in their lives. Some are standing courageously against schools seeking to introduce inappropriate teaching – and winning! We know of many Christian home-educating parents who are doing a fantastic job of encouraging one another and raising children and young people who are wholehearted in wanting to follow Jesus Christ. The Classical Conversations model is especially gathering many new converts in the home education world. In addition, many parents are seeing God provide miraculously as they follow his call to send their children to independent settings where all aspects of school life can reflect the Christian ethos of the parents. It has been a joy to see the Christian Schools’ Trust Schools, Christian Education Europe schools and many TISCA schools succeeding in doing this. Christian Concern is working with and supporting these ventures.
Standing for truth
Finally, we see and support many Christians who are standing up for truth in the face of many cultural pressures. Christians have changed the debate and courageously stood against unhealthy ideological progressivism. The fruit of this is seen in many areas; the victory that children can no longer be so easily channelled into medical and chemical transitioning at young ages; the Western Isles Council overwhelmingly voting not to adopt controversial sex education materials produced by the Scottish Government; and the significant change to DfE advice to schools stating they must not suggest that children might be a different gender based on their personality and interests or the clothes they prefer to wear!
We have seen so much hope, and we are grateful for the much-needed financial support many of you have given, so we at Christian Concern can continue to fund the work God is calling us to be a part of in this crucial area of education. If you are able to support us further, this would be appreciated, especially as we fund the costs of significant legal cases, such as that of Kristie Higgs and Izzy Montague.
This time of year, may be dark and the culture around us can sometimes feel that way too, but there are signs of hope of something important coming. Not just a vaccine, or a pile of presents for the children! But this advent we remember that there is hope for the whole world through Jesus Christ’s incarnation. Many Christians live out this hope in the realm of the teaching of our children. As we do this, those of us who love him, bring signs of the future rule of Christ Jesus. A joy-filled future where a world free from sin and pain, and full of resurrected people who have chosen to submit to this coming King, enjoy His world forever. And so, with our children, may we hold on to this advent hope through the Christmas season.
Christian Concern with the Christian Schools’ Trust is running an online weekend conference event for Christian teachers and school staff in February entitled ‘Further Up, Further In’. Click here for details.