Teaching about marriage is foundational to human society
While schools have become a key battleground for imposing new ideologies around marriage and gender, there are groups dedicated to supporting teachers that stand for reason and balance.
One of those organisations is the Association of Christian Teachers (ACT). Recently, I spoke to Sarah-Jane Bentley (ACT trustee and teacher), and Lizzie Harewood (ACT Executive Officer) about how to counter the ideological challenges teachers face today.
They explain that, while teachers have a statutory duty to teach “a full and balanced curriculum”, recent curriculum changes have allowed groups opposing real marriage to “push forward their controversial agendas”.
As a consequence, educational institutions are becoming “increasingly hostile to a conservative worldview” on issues such as marriage and gender. This means that all too often, teachers feel “isolated, alone, perhaps coerced” into teaching in a manner not in line with their professional judgement, or their personal beliefs.
This, they say, has occurred because, “the state is reaching so far out of its remit into the realms of education and people’s private lives”.
But the law, they point out, doesn’t just tell us what we can’t do, it tells us “what we can do”. While teachers need to explain objectively what the law is, there are so many opportunities to have discussions around why that has come about.
Teachers everywhere need to “teach about marriage regardless of whether we’re Christian teachers or not”. That’s because, “it’s foundational to human society”.
ACT exists to “offer professional and spiritual support to Christians who are engaged in education”, whether in a paid or voluntary capacity.
We’re encouraged to remember that, “teaching is about helping children to sharpen their tools for discerning the truth”. We need to show them that “truth is discoverable, that it’s not a futile quest”. Remember, “your influence… on young peoples’ lives is invaluable”.
Advice for teachers is to “hold fast”, and “don’t be afraid” to make your views known, but try to do so before any animosity arises, always using gentleness and respect.
Their advice to parents is, get involved by politely holding schools to account, and even becoming governors.
At C4M, we respect balance and objectivity in schools teaching children how, not what, to think. Doing so will reflect the body of evidence showing that growing up with your married mum and dad clearly gives children the best start in life. It’s best for adults and society too.