Leading a Faith School is a timely new book written especially for headteachers and senior leaders of schools with a religious character.
Leading a faith school is a challenge, even when you share that faith. Because of the increasingly politicised ‘faith schools debate’, you are automatically in a position of controversy, fielding arguments such as:
Does God raise standards? Do faith schools cherry-pick their students? Should faith schools be funded? Do they teach creationism rather than evolution? Are they divisive?
If you are of a different faith, or no faith, the task becomes more complex and requires careful reflection of ethos and values; collaboration with staff and community; and an understanding of the importance of religious education and the distinctiveness of the school. It is also important to understand how the foundation and past of the school shapes its present and future.
This is a useful reference work for school leaders as well as being an interesting read from historical and sociological points of view. It aims to help readers:
understand the historical context in which faith schools are set
become more aware of the main arguments of the faith schools debate and have some understanding of the counter-arguments
understand what makes a faith school distinctive and different from a non-voluntary school
have a framework for self-evaluation that will help them to prepare for Section 48 inspection
understand the unique relationship of the leader of a faith school with various stakeholders, and understand why this position is similar to, yet different from, the same post in a non-faith school.
Summary of contents
The book covers the main arguments of the current ‘faith schools’ debate; provides practical guidance on essential elements including inspection and governance; and relates the fascinating history of faith schools since the mid-19th century. A workbook is included as a framework for reflection on your own school and community.
This book can be read from beginning to end for a great insight into the range of aspects of leading a faith school - and can also be consulted on a need-to-know basis by busy school leaders preparing for inspection, working with the community or reviewing provision of collective worship and RE.
Part 1: The history and evolution of faith schools - from 1833 to the present day
Part 2: Building the school community - governance, stakeholders, funding, diversity
Part 3: Ethos and distinctive character - inspection, RE, collective worship, leadership and management
Part 4: The faith schools debate - exploring the main arguments, including: Are faith schools divisive? Do faith schools teach creationism rather than evolution? Do faith schools brainwash their pupils? Does God raise standards?
Part 5: Leading a faith school workbook - learning, reflecting, planning