The criteria of correlation of Statement Two

As set out in Chapter 1, we now need to explore the correlation between Statement Two and its own—and other—domains of discourse. We also need to be attentive to the subsequent repetition of Statement Two here, particularly because we have already identified (above) the way in which it has been constructed as furthering a process of normalizing a particular interpretation of the 1944 Act.

Correlation between Statement Two and its own domain of discourse

We begin by considering how Statement Two compares to other statements made by ICE at around the same time. As we have already seen, in exploring The Originality of Statement Two above, there was some discussion within the Research Committee of the ICE about the ‘religious aftercare of School Leavers in the early 1950s (the instigation of this discussion came from out-with the ICE and therefore is dealt with shortly under the heading Correlation between Statement Two and other domains of discourse)™ Although much of the discussion of this matter was within the bounds of the Study and Research Committee itself, it was also discussed by the wider Council of ICE; however, there are no indications here or elsewhere that the Council took anything other than a fully supportive view of the Study and Research Committee’s response.79

Correlation between Statement Two and other domains of discourse

Within a few years of the 1944 Act, there are detailed discussions in related domains of discourse, which exemplify the way in which the way in which religious teaching in school might aim to result in membership of local church communities. As it would be impossible to compare Statement Two with every single pertinent domain of discourse, it is necessary to offer some representative examples here. Two have been selected: the discourse of the London County Council (hereafter LCC) and the discourse of the BCCED.

The discourse of LCC is appropriate for three reasons. Firstly, it was this group that is cited in the exploration of the origin of Statement Two, set out above; secondly, London is one area that, prior to the 1944 Act, had been identified as taking a very strict interpretation of the law in relation to pros-clytization. According to John Stocks, the School Boards in London, post-1870, went beyond the Cowper-Temple clause, ensuring that ‘no attempt be made to attach children to any denomination.’80 Thirdly, London is an

Making little Christians 63 area that—prior to 1944—included non-Christian religions in its syllabuses, something that changed in the period immediately after the introduction of the 1944 Act.81

In March 1952, the LCC Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education asked ICE for help and advice over ‘the problem of bringing children into church membership after they left school’.82 In response, driven by the ongoing work on the Report, a special sub-committee was set up to:

study the question and [make] contact with selected groups of teachers and clergy in different localities to see what might be done to acquaint children with the life and practice of the churches and to make a real link between them.83

The Council recorded that they were ‘anxious that everything possible within the spirit of the 1944 Act should be done to keep the links with religion that was there when the pupils were at school’.84 This episode confirms both that those beyond ICE were concerned with the question of how to link school RE with church membership and that they looked to ICE as an authoritative voice on the matter. The same question vexed the BCCED. Emphasizing the urgency of the issue, they resolved to develop dialogue between ‘clergy and ministers and teachers who should act as colleagues engaged in a common task of presenting the Christian faith and practice to children’.85

This example serves to show that Statement Two has some correlation with at least some domains of discourse beyond ICE. This was not, however, uniformly the case. As disclosed above, the 1952 declaration made at the Bossey Institute stood entirely counter to Statement Two: ‘[the Church] should never seek the imposition of any creed, whether denominational or otherwise’.86 However, the authoritative standing of this conference is contested. The BCCED for example, members of whom took an active role in the conference, perceived some positive outcomes (such as the ‘valuable exchange of information as to conditions in various countries’), but the general feeling was negative.87 Correspondence after the event suggested that it was of little use; ‘the “Conference” was more of a “course” and consequently “findings” arc few and incomplete’.88 The Ministry of Education had funded the BCCED attendance, and also funded two HMIs to attend; this foregrounds the support of the Ministry for such an event and thus may suggest some degree of interest amongst national policymakers in the discourse of education being undertaken by church and para-church groupings.

A mixed picture therefore emerges. It is clear is that there are some domains of discourse (notably the LCC) that look to ICE for guidance on the relationship between RE and church attendance, and who therefore see the aim of RE as set out in Statement Two as entirely legitimate and to be maintained, whilst certain other groups arc opposed to the aim set out therein. It is notnecessary to expose every viewpoint on this issue; methodologically it is sufficient to reveal that there is not a singular perspective here. One discourse (proselytization) has become dominant, but there are alternative viewpoints being discussed.

 
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