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Poll reveals widespread support for teaching children Christianity

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There is widespread support in England for teaching Christianity in schools, according to a YouGov poll released by Oxford University.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of the more than 1,800 people questioned said that children need to learn about Christianity to understand English history, while more than half (57%) said it was important if pupils are to understand the English culture and way of life.

The poll also revealed that more than two-fifths (43%) of the adults surveyed said that more attention should be given to teaching about Christianity in RE lessons.

More than half (51%) also said they felt Christianity distinguishes right from wrong.

But just over a third (37%) said they believe that many RE teachers do not know enough about Christianity to be able to teach it effectively.

Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Concern, welcomed the findings:

"It is striking that so much of the public sees the need for Christianity to be taught properly. We are often given the impression that teaching about Jesus and His message is old-fashioned and irrelevant to a modern generation. But this survey shows that many people value the Christian framework.

"This is not surprising, given that our society is increasingly confused about a basis for moral decisions, for human dignity and for community. Jesus is the personal basis for this, as well as the foundation for so much of our nation’s culture and history".

The poll was commissioned by Oxford University’s department of education as part of a new project to support the teaching of Christianity in RE lessons, following concerns from inspectors and other quarters about how the subject is taught in schools.