Last week in a House of Lords debate he initiated, the Archbishop of Canterbury took the opportunity to answer some of the critics of church schools, which opponents say ferment sectarianism and racial tensions.
Secular schools, Archbishop Justin Welby said, are unable to teach children the values they need to avoid extremism. A major obstacle in the education system is “a lack of clear internal and commonly held values.”
We live in a country where an overarching story which is the framework for explaining life has more or less disappeared. We have a world of unguided and competing narratives, where the only common factor is the inviolability of personal choice.
This means that, for schools that are not of a religious character, confidence in any personal sense of ultimate values has diminished. Utilitarianism rules, and skills move from being talents held for the common good, which we are entrusted with as benefits for all, to being personal possessions for our own advantage.