Friday, July 2, 1999 Published at 02:32 GMT 03:32 UK
Churches say schools lack spiritual dimension
The churches are concerned about the revised curriculum
Church leaders have expressed their "deep disappointment" at the lack of prominence given to "spiritual and moral development" in the National Curriculum.
The Church of England Board of Education and the Roman Catholic education authorities have issued a joint statement calling for a greater emphasis on the spiritual dimension in the revised version of the curriculum proposed by the government.
The churches have expressed "grave concerns" that moral principles are not written more clearly into the curriculum, particularly in personal, social and health education and in lessons on citizenship.
The "reduced significance" for spiritual and moral education is "serious and unacceptable", say the churches, which want more explicit references to moral and religious beliefs in the sections of the curriculum devoted to personal and social development.
Spiritual education, the churches argue, "is an integral part of what it means to be human, stimulating a search for meaning and purpose in life and for values by which we live".
The statement quotes a speech made earlier this year by the late Cardinal Basil Hume, who said: "If young people are to leave school fired with a wholesome moral vision and a sense of service, then it demands that an intelligent and critical moral awareness is cultivated and inspired by the teachers."
The revised curriculum is scheduled to be introduced in September 2000, with citizenship lessons to be introduced in September 2002.