Religion in schools sometimes gets a bad rap, and from time to time faith in schools comes under scrutiny. When the 2016 Census data was released earlier this year, one of the findings to capture media attention was that nearly a third of Australians (30 percent) report having no religion. Christianity certainly remains the most common religion (52 percent), but it has been in decline since the late 1960s. Yet, enrolment in faith-based schools remains steady, so what role does faith play in a contemporary school setting?
Trinity Grammar School has been educating boys for over a century, and the guiding educational philosophy of our School, from its inception, has been reflective of an Anglican church school located in the evangelical diocese of Sydney. Now more than 100 years on, descriptors of ‘church school,’ ‘Anglican’ or indeed ‘Christian’ are no longer readily understood or accepted. Likewise, a comparison of the ethnic and religious backgrounds of Trinity families then and now would reveal significant differences. Notwithstanding these changes, the educational principles of the School have remained constant.
Is faith relevant in contemporary education? Here are some fundamental ways in which faith is relevant in contemporary education and how it positively impacts students:
1. Respect and tolerance
Australia is a culturally rich and diverse country. Religious studies teaches students respect and tolerance for other people regardless of their beliefs, background or social status. A deeper understanding of other religions and worldviews promotes acceptance in a world which is increasingly divisive.
2. Intellectual curiosity
Far from imposing a set of beliefs upon students, the study of religion seeks to open minds and encourage intellectual enlightenment. Students are free to wonder and question their place in the world – the big questions of life. In a contemporary school setting, curiosity and respect is nurtured.
3. Exploration of humanity
In our global society, students need an understanding of the faiths and worldviews of the people who make up that society. Most faith-based schools will examine other religions, and look for the commonalities that make up humanity.
4. Service to others
Discovering how to make a positive contribution to family, community and the wider world is at the heart of religious studies. Discuss your son’s understanding of how God may wish him to use his talents in his service to the community. As students come to discover more about themselves and their values, they learn how to actively live their faith by serving others.
At Trinity Grammar School, we strive to promote the spiritual, academic, social, physical and cultural development of our boys, based on a biblical understanding of the Christian faith. Trinity aims to provide a thoroughly Christian education for its boys, imparting knowledge and understanding of the world we live in, and recognising the importance of spiritual qualities in every sphere of learning and living. The School actively encourages its students to grow in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man in order that they may become responsible, contributing members of society.
Trinity strives to help boys through a Christian foundation so that they may grow into men who are clear about their God-given talents, passions and purpose in life.
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