Hurling Hand Grenades

Oct 25, 2017 by

from Christians in Education:

It’s not a headline you expect to read – a vicar observing that parents have been hurling a hand grenade into a school. But that’s exactly what Rev Giles Walter of St John’s in Tunbridge Wells is saying after a group of parents seemed determined to drive Christian teaching out of a Church of England primary school.

In addition to demanding the removal of Christian groups from the school, the St John’s Concerned Parents group is also demanding the removal of all crosses, Bibles and clergy.The problem, though, doesn’t only lie with the parents.

The school in question has built strong links into the local community, and assemblies and the Christian units of the RE curriculum have been delivered effectively for years by workers in the local parish church, together with CrossTeach, a charity based in Tunbridge Wells which offers support to schools on a voluntary basis. The Vicar has been taking assemblies for 24 years and CrossTeach has been working in the school for 15 years. Nothing they are doing has changed. And yet on Monday, the head decided to banish not only the charity but also parish workers from taking any further RE lessons or assemblies, saying that ‘the past few months have been stressful, tiring and a distraction from our focus’. He has, however, allowed CrossTeach to continue running a club which children can attend voluntarily.

It seems it all began earlier this year when some parents raised concerns at the Parents Forum – minutes of the meeting show that the head passed on those concerns to the church. Presumably, this didn’t resolve the situation, as a formal complaint was made to the governors. Not content with this, the parents started an online social media campaign against the teaching of Christianity in the school, claiming that nothing was being done about their concerns. On Monday, for the purpose of restoring peace, the head decided to act.

Read here

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