Ethnic Diversity, Christian Hegemony and the Emergence of Multi-faith Religious Education in the 1970s
History of Education
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This article provides a detailed reconstruction of the processes leading to the formation of the widely influential Birmingham Agreed Syllabus of Religious Instruction (1975). This is contextualised within one of the most significant periods in the history of race relations in the United Kingdom. The authors discuss how this syllabus, and other landmark reforms in religious education (RE) in English schools from the late 1960s, responded to ethnic diversity by promoting supposedly culturally pluralist, multi-faith approaches to RE, which were subsequently perceived as eroding the Christian foundations of British/English national identity. They argue that the vilification of these curriculum reforms by culturally conservative critics was in fact based on an erroneous assessment of the extent to which these renounced the Christian hegemony of RE. They also critique the assumption that the religious clauses of the 1988 Education Reform Act represented a simple transition from culturally pluralist to assimilationist policies for the subject.
This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in History of Education, October 2011. Available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/ or DOI: 10.1080/0046760X.2011.620013
Vol. 41, Issue 3, pp. 381 - 404