On the Idea of Non-Confessional Faith-Based Education

  • Michael HandEmail author


Faith-based education need not be confessional: education can be rooted in a faith perspective without including among its aims the transmission of that perspective to pupils. In the first part of the chapter, I argue that the idea of non-confessional faith-based education is worth taking seriously because confessional education is morally objectionable. In the second part, I offer some thoughts on what non-confessional faith-based education might look like. I suggest that religious organisations involved in the provision of schooling might reasonably draw criteria for the selection of curriculum content from their theological conceptions of human flourishing. This is likely to yield curricula distinguished by their emphasis on such worthwhile activities as inquiry into the meaning of life and forms of service to others.


Aquinas Chadwick Report Citizenship Confessional Curriculum Durham Report Dearing Report Epistemic authority Indoctrination National Curriculum Non-confessional Service Ultimate questions Worldview Worthwhile activities 


  1. Academies Act 2010, London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  2. Carey, G. (1998). The importance of Church schools. In G. Carey, D. Hope, & J. Hall (Eds.), A Christian voice in education: Distinctiveness in Church schools (pp. 1–10). London: National Society.Google Scholar
  3. Church of England. (1970). The fourth R (Durham Report). London: National Society.Google Scholar
  4. Church of England. (2001). The way ahead (Dearing Report). London: Church House Publishing.Google Scholar
  5. Church of England. (2012). The Church school of the future (Chadwick Report). London: National Society.Google Scholar
  6. Cooling, T. (2010). Doing God in education. London: Theos.Google Scholar
  7. Crick, B. (2002). A note on what is and what is not active citizenship. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
  8. Department for Education (DfE). (2010). The importance of teaching (Schools White Paper). London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  9. Department for Education (DfE). (2012). Huge increase in academies takes total to more than 2300. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
  10. Grimmitt, M. (1973). What can I do in RE? Great Wakering: Mayhew-McCrimmon.Google Scholar
  11. Hand, M. (2002). Religious upbringing reconsidered. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 36(4), 545–557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hand, M. (2003). A philosophical objection to faith schools. Theory and Research in Education, 1(1), 89–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hand, M. (2004). Religious upbringing: A rejoinder to Mackenzie, Gardner and Tan. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 38(4), 639–648.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hand, M. (2009). On the worthwhileness of theoretical activities. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 43(s2), 109–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). (1999). Service-learning and community service in K-12 public schools. Washington, DC: US Department of Education. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
  16. Orr, J. (1989 [1897]). The Christian view of god and the world. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications.Google Scholar
  17. Peters, R. S. (1966). Ethics and education. London: George Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  18. Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). (2007). Citizenship: Programme of study for key stage 3 and attainment target. London: QCA.Google Scholar
  19. Snook, I. A. (1972). Indoctrination and education. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  20. White, J. (2007). What schools are for and why (Impact 14). Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain.Google Scholar
  21. Wilson, J., Williams, N., & Sugarman, B. (1967). Introduction to moral education. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  22. Wright, A. (1993). Religious education in the secondary school: Prospects for religious literacy. London: David Fulton.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK

Personalised recommendations