What parents need to know about their child’s education

6 March 2023

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.

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?

What’s wrong with state schools?

What’s wrong with state schools? Should Christian parents be sending their children to normal state schools? Many Christian parents are finding that state schools are having a detrimental effect on their children – but why?

“There is an impact on the faith of your child if they’re taught by those who are not Christians,” says Steve. “Children and young people pick up not just how to read or do maths from teachers, but they pick up their attitudes, their morals, their throw away comments. They also pick up on what they don’t talk about, and what they don’t say – never mentioning God in any context.”

If you’re a parent, perhaps the question to ask yourself is what God is saying to you about the children he’s entrusted to your care, and what you should do to help them learn. For some, state school might well be the best option, but for others, a different path might be a better one to take.

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