Can a grace focussed ethos be effective in raising attainment in secondary education?

This dissertation will present the findings of my research, answering the question: ‘Can a grace focussed ethos be effective in raising attainment in secondary education?’ I have done this through the use of surveys and case studies in three different schools. I used my own primary data as well as finding additional secondary data.

My introduction provides an appropriate working definition of grace within an educational context, by unpacking the Christian understanding of the word. I conclude with a virtuous understanding of grace; that both encapsulates the Christian definition (although not fully) and at the same time makes it possible to be used in a secular environment.

The literary review goes onto focus on the established links and evidence of grace within my three key areas of investigation: Education, Ethos and Attainment.

My methodology chapter explains my use of triangulation within my primary data through the use of: questionnaires, focus groups and structured interviews. I studied three schools: State, Church of England and a Christian Academy (which had an ethos of grace) and revealed the link between their ethos and their attainment. I also used Ofsted to determine each schools attainment (I paid particular notice to the schools previous GCSE results).

In the main section of this dissertation I examine and analyse the research results and provide a detailed evaluation of the findings. My findings will show the effectiveness of each school’s ethos in raising attainment and I will therefore conclude with an answer to my dissertation title and consider the implications of my evaluations.

Simon Bentley

Simon graduated from Midlands CYM in 2015 with a BA (Hons) in School, Youth & Community work and Practical Theology.