In this new series, Steve Beegoo, our Head of Education, answers many of the popular questions from parents, teachers, educators, governors, and all those involved in the education arena. Here’s what you need to know about education today.
What does Kristie Higgs’ case show us?
Kristie Higgs lost her job as a pastoral assistant at her local secondary school after she shared her concerns about RSE on social media. The story of her dismissal captured the attention of the nation media and caused outrage to many working in education across the country. But what does her case teach us?
Steve explains: “What this case exemplifies is that the culture of fear, which has been induced over anyone raising any objection to the LGBT ideological push in schools … is making school leaders act disproportionately towards Christians and those with a different view. It shows that schools are being radicalised by so-called equality and diversity organisations to enforce a clamp down on anyone who has … a traditionally Biblical Christian view, even if it’s expressed in a different context from their school.”
But Kristie’s case also teaches something about how we can respond.
How can I best influence my local school?
If you’re concerned about what your child is being taught in school, what can you best do to influence it well?
There are many ways that parents can take an active role in influencing their child’s school, says Steve. To begin, perhaps you can start thinking about how best to pray for your child’s school. And if you’re wanting to go deeper than that, why not explore options of supporting Christian organisations that support schools and educators? You might even what to think about joining the school as a volunteer or a school governor.
Aren’t children best placed in schools?
Shouldn’t we be sending our children to school? After all, aren’t we supposed to be ‘in the world’ and not separate our children away from it? Isn’t it best for children to learn what the world is like in a ‘safe environment’ at school?
“Christian parents are given a stewardship role,” explains Steve. Imagine for a second that you are sent are missionaries to an Islamic country: “would you send your children to be taught from a young age by Muslims, in an Islamic school, 30 hours a week – and expect them to become disciples of Jesus Christ? So why send them to a secular state school in our post-Christian culture?”
As parents, perhaps we should be asking where our children might be best placed to learn the ways of the Lord.
Why should the Church fund schools?
Is the state really best placed to provide education? Might churches have something to offer?
“In history, the best education was provided first by the monasteries and then the universities. And they were always run by Christians,” says Steve. “It was Christians who recognised that alongside being able to work, being able to read the Bible – the foundational book for life and society – was essential.”
So, should churches fund education facilities these days? How can churches be more involved in educating our children with the essential knowledge that saves?
Why are so many people choosing to home educate?
The Covid-19 pandemic forced many parents to start educating their children from home. While many found this difficult, what with all the other pressures the pandemic and lockdowns brought, other parents have chosen to continue home educating their children. But why? And is this what’s best for children?
Steve answers the question of why so many parents are choosing home education over sending their children to school. For some, it could be that a home education is better able to cater to their child’s special needs; it could be that their child’s mental health improves; it could be that it allows parents greater control over teaching more controversial topics like sex education; or it could simply be that their children seem to flourish more in a home environment.
Whatever the reason, says Steve, “Christian parents especially are increasingly understanding that the education of their children is a God-given responsibility, given to them, and are prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to put their child’s education as a priority. So, if parents prayerfully look at the options around, and they truly know what the schools are like, the question should probably be: why are there not even more Christians home educating?”
Is the new Relationships and Sex Education such a big issue?
A lot of fuss has been made to changes to the Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) curriculum, brought in recently. But is it really such a big deal? Do parents really have reason to worry and protest?
Steve believes there is reason to be concerned: following a build up of pressure from LGBT campaign groups, schools have seen a “tsunami of free resources, officer visits, drag queen story times, and [have been] wrongly telling schools that if they didn’t teach their kind of RSE, then [schools] could be breaking equality laws. So now, children are routinely taught by their trusted teachers about how being a lesbian is just when two girls love each other, or that Christian views on sex or marriage are actually homophobic, or that you can change your sex.”
Responding to concerns raised from the Izzy Montague’s case, whose four-year-old son was forced to attend a school’s LGBT Pride march, Steve highlights a statement by the UK government which confirmed schools are “not required to teach LGBT content“ and reveals what you can do if you’re concerned about LGBT content being taught in your child’s school.
Is education affecting the mental health of our children?
Some have described a ‘mental health pandemic’ among our children and young people these days. Certainly the numbers of young people struggling with their mental health have been rising in recent years, but is it education that could be affecting them?
Steve explains: “Is it any wonder they’re self-harming and turning to drugs or gender identity clinics for solutions? … Social media sexualisation, the pornification of culture and isolation from real friendships becomes too much, and children are told the best they can do is find out their own identity based on their feelings, express it, and then work to make their dreams come true. They’re told there’s no Creator, no purpose behind who they are, no purpose beyond themselves…”
But this is isn’t the story is every school. Studies show that children and young people in new independent Christian schools are far less likely to think that life was not worth living. Why? Because they are given purpose. As parents and teachers, isn’t that a challenge to think about how what we teach our children can affect their mental wellbeing?