Becoming Citizens of 'Post-secular' Britain: Religion in Primary School Life

Project: Research project (funded)Research

Project Details

Layman's description

The ‘Becoming Citizens of ‘Post-Secular’ Britain: Religion in Primary School Life’ project is funded by the Leverhulme Trust from January 2022 - December 2024. The research team is based at the University of York, the University of Sheffield, and the University of Surrey.

The question of how schools should prepare children to be citizens of diverse, multifaith societies is an ongoing feature of liberal democracies in the Western world. While there have been numerous studies of religion and education oriented towards issues such as the content and practice of religious education, we know little about how ideas about religion, citizenship and national identity become interrelated through everyday practices in schools, or what this means for children’s sense of belonging in wider society.

Using child-centred and participatory research methods, our project aims to explore how primary school children (aged 7-11) in different parts of the UK understand what it means to belong to different communities (including their local and school community), and how this relates to religious or non-religious beliefs and values. We will also be looking at what kinds of ideas about citizenship, national identity, and religion children encounter in everyday school life and more local forms of community and belonging.

Through the project, we hope to find out more about the significance of religion, beliefs, and values in how schools foster ideas of community and being a good citizen, and to understand children’s views on these issues. This will give us a better understanding of how children learn to be citizens and enable us to develop recommendations to help to ensure that all children (whether religious or non-religious) feel fully included in school community life.
Short titleBecoming Citizens
Effective start/end date1/01/2231/12/24