The Students’ Religious Identity

  • Jan Germen Janmaat
  • Edward Vickers
  • Henry Everett


This chapter considers, from the student’s perspective, whether the schools (including the non-faith schools) might impact on their students’ attitudes of tolerance through the formation of a religious (social) identity, as well as the extent to which the school is involved in the creation of the social identity. The school’s role in the formation of the religious identity appears to be complex, with student responses indicating that attendance at a faith school does not necessarily increase identification with the faith.

Faith school students did consider that their school had influenced their faith formation, usually in a positive way, but parents were seen as the major influence. This supports the view that schools are reinforcing the identity established at home, rather than creating it.


Student perceptions Religious identity School practice Teaching School ethos 


  1. Agirdag, O., Van Houtte, M., & Van Avermaet, P. (2011). Ethnic school context and the national and sub-national identifications of pupils. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34(2), 357–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bertram-Troost, G., de Roos, S. A., & Miedema, S. (2009). The relationship between religious education and religious commitments and exploration of adolescents: On religious identity in Dutch Christian secondary schools. Journal of Beliefs and Values, 30(1), 17–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Callan, E. (1985). McLaughlin on parental rights. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 19(1), 111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cardinale, H. E. (1966). Religious tolerance, freedom and inter-group relations in the light of Vatican II council. Robert Waley Cohen Memorial Lecture 1966, Council of Christians and Jews, London.Google Scholar
  5. Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia. (2001). Addressing prejudice and islamophobia: Resources, references and guidance on the internet. London: Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia.Google Scholar
  6. Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia, Stone, R., Muir, H., Smith, L., & Richardson, R. (2004). Islamophobia: Issues, challenges and action. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books in Association with the Uniting Britain Trust.Google Scholar
  7. Dreeben, R. (1968). On what is learned in school. Reading: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  8. Driel, B. v. (2004). Confronting islamophobia in educational practice. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.Google Scholar
  9. Everett, H. (2006). Rejecting the state system: A comparison of Evangelical Christian Schools and Islamic Independent Schools in England. Unpublished MA Dissertation. London: Institute of Education.Google Scholar
  10. Freeman, D. (2001). Passing the baton. Oxford: Salt and Light Ministries.Google Scholar
  11. Friedman, Y. (2003). Tolerance and coercion in Islam: Interfaith relations in the Muslim tradition. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hogg, M. A. (2006). Social identity theory. In P. J. Burke (Ed.), Contemporary social psychological theories (pp. 111–136). Stanford: Stanford Social Sciences.Google Scholar
  13. Islamic Academy. (1990). Faith as the basis of education in a multi-faith-multi-cultural country: A discussion document. Cambridge: The Islamic Academy.Google Scholar
  14. MacMullen, I. (2007). Faith in schools?: Autonomy, citizenship, and religious education in the liberal state. Princeton/Oxford: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  15. McLaughlin, T. H. (1984). Parental rights and the religious upbringing of children. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 18(1), 75–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Merry, M. S. (2007). Culture, identity, and Islamic schooling: A philosophical approach. New York/Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mogra, I. (2007). Moral education in the makatib of Britain: A review of curriculum materials. Journal of Moral Education, 36(3), 387–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Moulin, D. (2011). Giving voice to ‘the silent minority’: The experience of religious students in secondary school religious education lessons. British Journal of Religious Education, 33(3), 313–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Parker-Jenkins, M. (1995). Children of Islam: A teachers’ guide to meeting the needs of Muslim pupils. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books.Google Scholar
  20. Raza, M. S. (1991). Islam in Britain: Past, present and the future. Leicester: Volcano Press.Google Scholar
  21. Stringer, M., Irwing, P., Giles, M., McClenahan, C., Wilson, R., & Hunter, J. (2010). Parental and school effects on childrens’ political attitudes in Northern Ireland. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 80(2), 223–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1986). The social identity theory of intergroup behaviour. In S. Worschel & W. G. Austin (Eds.), Psychology of intergroup relations. Chicago: Nelson-Hall.Google Scholar
  23. Turner, J. C. (1999). Some current issues in research on social identity and self-categorisation theories. In N. Ellemers, R. Spears, & B. Doosje (Eds.), Social identity: Context, commitment, content (pp. 6–34). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Germen Janmaat
    • 1
  • Edward Vickers
    • 2
  • Henry Everett
    • 3
  1. 1.UCL Institute of EducationUniversity of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of EducationKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  3. 3.LondonUK

Personalised recommendations