Image credit: Gerben Oppermans/Getty
By Jonny Scaramanga
Students at Accelerated Christian Education schools don’t graduate with GCSEs or A levels: they complete the International Certificate of Christian Education. As BBC Newsnight pointed out last month, the ICCE is unrecognised by the qualifications authority for England, Ofqual. Nevertheless, according to responses to Freedom of Information requests received by the British Humanist Association in recent weeks, four universities – Bath, Cardiff, Essex and Nottingham – recognise the ICCE as an entrance qualification.
I went to an Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) school from the age of 11 to 14, and I can think of many reasons why this kind of education is a poor preparation for university. I spent half of every school day alone in a cubicle, working silently through PACEs (Packets of Accelerated Christian Education) – workbooks that incorporate religious instruction into every academic subject, for example teaching that evolution is a hoax.
These bastions of fundamentalism have been operating in Britain since the early 1980s. In 2010 the BBC reported that there were 60 in the UK.
In 2012 I began a PhD studying ACE, and discovered that little had changed since I left in 1999. I have campaigned against ACE, with some success. The shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt has described its stance on homosexuality as “dangerous” and “backwards”; the Advertising Standards Authority ruled last month that some ACE schools were mis-selling their qualifications; and the pressfinally noticed they were teaching that wives must submit to their husbands.
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