Alpha course is taking on England’s state schools

December 10th, 2009 Posted in Education, Evangelism |

From Times Educational Supplement

Secularists warn hardline proselytising on school premises

Original paper headline: The Alpha movement has persuaded millions back to church globally. Now it’s taking on England’s state schools ..

Growing numbers of Alpha courses are being run in schools to give pupils the opportunity to explore Christianity, The TES has learnt.

The courses, which have been criticised by religious bodies and secular campaigners, are taught in lunchtime and after-school sessions.

Youth Alpha courses, designed for 11- to 18-year-olds, encourage pupils to consider questions such as “Who is Jesus?” and “How can I resist evil?”

They are based on popular adult Alpha courses, run in churches, universities and prisons, which organisers say have been completed by more than 13 million people around the world.

Archbishop Blanch CofE High School in Liverpool, now in its third year of running Youth Alpha, has had almost 300 pupils complete the course. It runs for eight weeks in lunch hours. Attendance is voluntary but the sessions are promoted around the school, including during assemblies.

Head Jane Griffiths said: “It is a hugely successful and popular part of our church life here. There were girls who were asking questions about the Christian faith.

“We feel it’s great for children whose own churches don’t offer Youth Alpha and for children who are not Christians.”

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