Strong in the Lord: the future of Christian schools

23 February 2024

Education Team Assistant Emily Bourne shares about an encouraging recent conference for Christian school leaders and governors.

How can Christians in education keep going in the context of profoundly secular and anti-Christian trends?

Nearly a hundred Christian senior and middle school leaders, including headteachers and governors, gathered in February for the day conference Sustaining Godly Health & Courage.

Held near Derby, this biennial leadership conference provided an example of hope as these educators came together to be reminded of the importance of discipling the next generation.

The event was led by Steve Beegoo our Head of Education, who is also the CEO of the Christian Schools’ Trust. It was encouraging to also see a large number of people there for the first time, with many willing to give up part of their half-term to attend.

The full armour of God

Steve Beegoo spoke from Ephesians 6 and challenged delegates about the importance of allowing God to strengthen us for his service by being open to all he is saying.

As we accept God’s promises and depend on him completely, we can have total confidence that he will work out his plans in us and through us. Christian teachers in independent schools have the great privilege of modelling this attitude to the children in their care. Nevertheless, the spiritual battle is real and many in education are increasingly needing to consciously pick up ‘the shield of faith’, and to wear the ‘helmet of salvation’.

Conviction and compliance

Many school leaders have become increasingly concerned about how to respond to pressures to teach about LGBT issues to their pupils. This comes in the wake of cases such as Rev. Dr Bernard Randall who was dismissed from his role as school chaplain at Trent College – an independent school which has historically had a Christian ethos – for a sermon he gave at the school on ‘identity politics’.

We have also seen that schools are under pressure, even from inspectors, to actively promote and celebrate the LGBT community and endorse their beliefs and activities, in ways which are counter to a Biblical, Christian ethos.

Speakers were able to explain to delegates that it remains possible to hold to Biblical convictions whilst still complying with law and guidance issued by the government and inspectorates as they lead Christ-centred independent schools.

We have previously produced a resource which lays out how Christian independent schools and teachers can best follow government guidelines relating to LGBT teaching while still respecting their religious ethos. Using practical scenarios, speakers explained how school leaders could cultivate both courageous and healthy decision making processes which result in policies that demonstrate both truth and love.

What next?

We are seeing increasing numbers of people contacting us wanting to know of Christian education initiatives in their area such as Christian schools or communities of families choosing to home educate their children. Where these provisions aren’t available in a particular area, some are considering starting something up and we have produced a booklet which outlines the process of how to start a Christian Independent School.

The big vision is to have some form of genuinely Christ-centred education provision accessible to all families in the UK within 45 minutes of where they live.

As part of this, Christian Concern is organising a day event in Central London entitled Education Revolution – How to change the education landscape for Christ. Andrea Williams and Steve Beegoo will speak and there will be the opportunity to hear from and network with those that are developing or have developed new Christian schools, home education initiatives and other resources. There will also be contributions from a panel of experts and practitioners who will be contributing and leading discussion groups on key topics.

If you want to get involved in this movement, or find out more about it, please do register your interest in this event taking place on Saturday 20th April.

Let us never forget these words of Jesus as we consider the education of our children: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14 (NIV)

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