Reaching In, Reaching Out

Faith schools, community engagement, and 21st-century skills for intercultural understanding

Paperback / softback, 160 pages, 234 mm x 156 mm
15 Sep 2014
Institute of Education Press

Price: £24.99

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In what ways do Jewish and Muslim faith schools in Britain play a role in promoting and contributing to community cohesion? What 21st-century skills around intercultural understanding do they foster?

This book examines the nuances of faith in school settings and draws on a case study of Jewish and Muslim faith schools. The authors show how these institutions play a role in sustaining their own religious heritage while also engaging with, and providing a place of safety from, the wider community. It sets this case study approach within an historical perspective on faith schools and their relationship with the state in the UK and Europe, and gives an overview of key debates on faith schools. Finally, it examines practical curricula suggestions that all schools can adopt to develop skills around tolerance and engagement to prepare students to live and lead in a diverse 21st century. The book conveys:

• the experiences of some Jewish and Muslim schools within England gathered from one-to-one interviews with teachers, parents, and community representatives, and from focus groups with children;
• a more detailed understanding of Jewish and Muslim concepts of community;
• perceptions of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia;
• alternatives for preparing children with the skills and knowledge needed in the 21st century; and
• the implications for policy and practice in faith schools and those not characterized by a religious ethos or affiliation.

This publication is for school leaders, teachers, teacher trainers, students, and parents. It will also interest government and non-government bodies relating to race relations and education.

  • Marie Parker-Jenkins

    Marie Parker-Jenkins is Professor of Education in the Department of Education and Professional Studies, and Director of the Research Centre for Education and Professional Practice at the University of Limerick.

  • Meli Glenn

    Meli Glenn is an independent education consultant.

  • Jan Germen Janmaat

    Jan Germen Janmaat is Reader of Comparative Social Science at the Centre for Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economies and Societies (LLAKES), Institute of Education, University of London.

CONTENTS: Introduction: The context of learning; 1. Faith schools: Historical and legal background; 2. Faith schools and the wider community: Controversy and debate; 3. Jewish perspectives and concepts of community; 4. Muslim perspectives and concepts of community; 5. Skills for engagement; 6. Conclusion: Where reaching starts and stops; Bibliography

'This well-researched book provides useful information, inquiries, and insights into the intense efforts of Muslim and Jewish schools to maintain both their religious identity and wider community engagement in the face of whimsical government policies on multiculturalism and extremism. This is compulsory reading for policy makers in education.'

Dr Musharraf Hussain Al Azhari OBE, CEO and Chief Imam, Karimia Institute

'At a time when faith schools in the UK are once again at the centre of educational debate, this book serves to add to the conversation. It reminds the reader that an exploration of faith schools in practice and theory is important. It helps us to understand these complex and diverse school communities.'

Dr Helena Miller, Director of Research and Evaluation, UJIA

'This book has double significance: its case studies help to undermine damaging myths about Jewish and Muslim schools; and its recommendation of community engagement to replace community cohesion as an underlying principle for respectful inter-community relations provides a promising way forward. Highly recommended!'

J. Mark Halstead, Emeritus Professor of Education, University of Huddersfield