Religion and Education in Ireland, Europe and Beyond: Child Agency, Ethos and Leadership in Community National Schools

Guest Speaker: Prof Daniel Faas, Trinity College Dublin

Date: Wednesday 15th June
Time: 13.00-14.00
Location: Room 903, UCL Institute of Education, Bedford Way

Ireland has seen rapid social change in recent years. There is currently a mismatch between a largely Catholic primary education system and increasing ethno-cultural and religious diversity among students and the wider population. Considering these changes, there is now a variety of beliefs among children in schools, yet over 90 per cent of Irish primary schools are denominational.

Schools have a crucial role to play in terms of social integration and inclusion. Drawing on data from principals, teachers, parents and pupils in 11 community national schools (multi-denominational primary schools) in Ireland, this seminar asks the following questions:

  • What do children know about other cultures and religions as a result of their primary schooling? To what extent does the stated school ethos correspond to classroom practice?
  • How do primary schools encourage intercultural and inter-faith dialogue among their diverse student intake?
  • What is the role of teachers and principals in exercising culturally responsive leadership and fostering inter-faith and intercultural dialogue?

While the empirical data presented focuses on Ireland, discussions will also classify a range of other European and non-European countries in how they approach the topic of religion in the classroom ranging from a compulsory subject approach to no religion in school.

About the Speaker

Daniel Faas is Professor in Sociology at Trinity College Dublin, Convenor/Champion of the Research Theme ‘Identities in Transformation’, and Founding Director of the MSc Comparative Social Change.

His research is in the sociology of migration and consists of three interlinked strands: (1) identities and integration, (2) comparative curriculum analyses, as well as (3) religion and schooling in Ireland and Europe.

He has published widely on these topics in high-impact peer-reviewed international journals, as well as a sole-authored monograph (Negotiating Political Identities: Multiethnic Schools and Youth in Europe, London: Routledge). In  2015, Faas was elected to Fellowship at Trinity College Dublin in recognition of his scholarship and research achievements.