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The Religious Dimension of the Education Reform Act 1988

  • J. D. C. Harte (a1)
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“I believe that in the years to come it will be the best thing this government has done and one of the best things any government has done in this century.”

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1. Press conference of the National Association of Head Teachers when it issued its members with “Education Reform Act 1988 Guidance Notes. Religious Education and Collective Worship”; Reported in the Times and the Guardian, Tuesday 28 Feb 1989. See also Times Educational Supplement, 3 March 1989, Bert Lodge, “Assembly rules a recipe for chaos say heads”. In January the Secondary Heads Association had produced an Occasional Paper on Collective Worship which was also unfavourable to the legislation.

2. The influential “Swann Report” found religious education generally to be regarded as a “poor relation” subject; “Education for All”, Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Education of Children from Ethnic Minority Groups, 1985, Cmnd, 9453, p.233. For an analysis of the actual provision of religion in schools see Religious Education Council of England and Wales, , “Religious Education; Supply of Teachers for the 1990s”, 1986, and Burn, John and Hart, Colin, “The Crisis in Religious Education”, 1988, The Educational Research Trust.

3. E.g. views recorded by Gibbons, Jemima in, “Sacre Blues” (Worship in a multi cultural society), School Governor, 10 March 1989, p. 7, and the reactions of the two associations of head teachers referred to in note 1 above.

4. Parl, . Debs., H.L., 3 May 1988; Committee on the Education Reform Bill, e.g. col. 418, Lord Jacobovits, the Chief Rabbi, and col. 515, Lord Buckmaster.

5. Education Act 1980, especially ss. 2,6,7 and 8; Education (No. 2) Act 1986; Education Reform Act 1988, Chapter II.

6. The distinction between grammar, secondary modern and technical schools was not made in the 1944 Act. For the distinction between primary, secondary and further education, see in particular ss. 7-9. The change to the normal current pattern of comprehensive secondary schools was largely made by Circular. See D.E.S. Circulars 10/65 and 10/66, but c.f. Education Act 1976, repealed by the Education Act 1979. For the general legal framework for English and Welsh schools, see Poole, K.P.Education Law”, 1988, Sweet and Maxwell, chap. 2. (with supplement expected to cover the 1988 Act).

7. Education Act 1944, s. 9(2).

8. Local Government Act 1972, s. 1. Metropolitan County Councils were abolished by Local Government Act 1985, s.1.

9. The Inner London Education Authority was originally a committee of the Greater London Council, which shared local government functions in London, other than for education, with London Boroughs. It was abolished by Local Government Act 1985, s.1. The Inner London Education Authority survived as a directly elected body until abolished under the Education Reform Act 1988, Part III.

10. Education Reform Act 1988, Part III, s. 162f.

11. Education Act 1944, Part II, especially ss. 10 and 15.

12. Education (Grants and Awards) Act 1984 for grants, and Education Act 1944, s. 77 for inspection. Separate arrangements are made for inspection of religious instruction in voluntary schools.

13. Education Act 1944, s. 9(5), as substituted by Education Act 1981, s.11.

14. Education Act 1981, s. 12(4), as amended by Education Reform Act 1988, Sched. 1 art. 9. See too Education (Approval of Special Schools) Regulations 1983, S.I. 1983, No. 1499.

15. Education Reform Act 1988, Chapter IV, ss. 52-104.

16. Ibid, ss. 84-88.

17. Education Act 1944, s. 7.

18. Times, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 1989.

19. Department of Education and Science and Office, Welsh, “The National Curriculum 5-16; a Consultation Document”, July 1987, p.8.

20. Hull, John M.The Act Unpacked; The meaning of the 1988 Education Reform Act for Religious Education”, Birmingham Papers in Religious Education, no. 1. 1989, Christian Education Movement, p.5.

21. The relevant Parliamentary debates in 1944 are summarised and discussed by Burns, John and Hart, Colin, “The Crisis in Religious Education”, above, note 2.

22. For the Secretary of State's views on the detailed provisions of the Act, see, “The Education Reform Act 1988: Religious Education and Collective Worship”, 1989, Department of Education and Science Circular 3/89.

23.Education for All”, supra, note 2.

24. Ibid, chap. 8, p. 470f. The analysis was drawn from “Religious Education in Secondary Schools”, Schools Council Working Paper 36, 1971.

25. For the response of the British Humanist Association to the provisions of the 1988 Act concerned with religious education and worship see Teachers and the New Worship Clauses – What You Can Do”, 1989, British Humanist Association.

26.Education for All”, supra, note 2, chap. 4 and 5, especially para. 3.4. A proliferation of terms associated with the phenomenological approach is mentioned in Hull, John“The Act Unpacked”, supra, note 2, p. 12, e.g. “explicit religion”, and “human development”.

27. “Education for All”, supra, note 2, p.21.

28. Ibid, chap. 8, para. 2.9.

29. Burn, John and Hart, Colin, “The Crisis in Religious Education”, supra, note 2, pp. 1317.

30.Education for All”, supra, note 2, chap. 8, paras. 2.5, 3.24f, and 5.

31. “Teaching Religious Education”, Education, 18 11. 1988, Digest ii.

32. Education Act 1944, s. 25(1) and (2), now repealed, Education Reform Act 1988, Sched. 13, part II.

33. Ibid. ss. 25(4), and 30, repealed, Education Reform Act 1986, Sched. 13, part II.

34. Education Reform Act 1988, s.4.

35. Ibid, s. 2(1)(a).

36. Education Reform Act 1988, Sched. 1, para. 3(2).

37. Education for All’, supra, note 2, p.471.

38. Education Reform Act 1988, Sched. 1, para. 1(1).

39. Education Act 1944, s.26(2) as amended by Education Reform Act 1988, Sched. 1, para. 1(1).

40. Education Reform Act 1988, Sched. 1, para. 7(2).

41. Ibid, para. 7(3).

42. Education Act 1944, s. 29(2), repealed, Education Reform Act 1988, Sched. 13, part II.

43. Mr Swallow, quoted in Bert Lodge, Times Educational Supplement, 3 March 1988.

44. “Teaching Religious Education”, supra, at note 31, p.i.

45. Ibid, p.ii, and Hull, John, “The Act Unpacked”, supra, at note 20, p. 9f.

46. Education Act 1944, ss. 27 and 28.

47. Education Reform Act 1988, Sched. I, para 2(1) and 3(2).

48. Ibid s.2(1)(a).

49. Education Act 1944, s.27(1) and (6), as amended by Education Reform Act 1988, Sched. I, para. 2(2).

50. Education Act 1944, s.28, as amended by Education Reform Act 1988, Sched. I, para. 2(3).

51. Significantly the Swann Report “Education for Allsupra, note 2, was wary of the possible social divisiveness of schools representing different ethnic groups, chap. 8. part II.

52. Education Act 1980, s. 13.

53. Education Reform Act 1988, ss.87(1) and 86(3).

54. Ibid, ss. 87(2) and 84(11) and (12).

55. Education Reform Act 1988, s.11(3)(b).

56. The Head Teachers' reaction, supra, note 2, and Mr Swallow, representative of certain church members especially in the teaching profession, supra note 43.

57. D.E.S. Circular 3/89, supra, note 22. p.11, and see Hull, John, “The Act Unpacked”, supra note 20, p.15.

58. Education Reform Act 1988, s.6(3).

59. Holloway, DavidA Nation under God”, 1987, Kingsway, chap. 7; cf Habgood, JohnChurch and Nation in a Secular Age”, 1983, Darton, Longman and Todd, especially chap. 4, Some Theological Guidelines”, p.76.

60. Education Reform Act 1988, s.7(2). Here with regard to maintained schools which were county schools see Education Reform Act 1988, s. 84(4).

61. Hull, JohnThe Act Unpacked” supra note 20, chap. 2.

62. D.E.S. Circular 3/89, supra, note 22, p. 11.

63. Education Reform Act 1988, s.84(5).

64. Hull, JohnThe Act Unpacked”, supra note 20, pp. 20 and 23.

65. Parl Debs., H.C., 18 July 1988, col. 827.

66. Education Reform Act 1988. s.9(3).

67. Ibid, ss. 84(13)-(14), 85(5)-(6) and 86(4)-(5).

68. Ibid, s. 88(5).

69. The Church of England National Society for Promoting Religious Education, Grant-maintained Schools and the Church School,” 1988.

70. Draft Diocesan Boards of Education Measure 1989, clause 3(5).

71. Church Times, 29 July 1988.

72. Draft Diocesan Boards of Education Measure 1989, clause 4(5).

73. See Education Reform Act 1988, s.102 and draft Diocesan Boards of Education Measure 1989, clause, 6(2).

74. Field, FrankOpting Out: An Opportunity for Church Schools”, 1989, Church in Danger.

75. Ibid, pp.5 and 11.

76. Burns, John and Hart, Colin, “The Crisis in Religious Education”, above, note 2. p.5.

77. An independent school or a grant maintained school can become a local education authority school; See Education Act 1944, s. 9, and Education Act 1980, s.12.

78. Field, Frank, “Opting Out: An Opportunity for Church Schools”, 1989. Church in Danger.

79. Duncan, Geoffrey (Schools Secretary of the General Synod Board of Education), “No Option” (Church Schools), Education, 7 04 1989, p. 327.

80. Education Reform Act 1988, s. 52(6).

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