ABSTRACT

Faith-based schools in Britain are not new: those of a Christian tradition have existed for centuries. What is significantly different today is the development of a new type of school founded on an Islamic or Sikh ethos. Such schools see themselves as part of the national education system, yet wish to locate their teaching, learning and practices within a faith-based context. As we move beyond those institutions of a Christian tradition, issues emerge which have provoked fearsome debate about the wisdom of expanding this newer type of school. Historically, Christianity was embedded in the state education system, and Judaism became an acceptable part, but the same may not be said of others. Why is it that some faith-based schools are regarded differently from others? What makes Muslim and Sikh schools, for example, different from those classified as Church of England, Catholic or Jewish?