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The Sunday School in an East London borough.

Copsey, Kathryn M. (1983) The Sunday School in an East London borough. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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This thesis is a study of the white-led Protestant Sunday school in the inner city London Borough of Newham. The research accepts the basic premise that the contemporary Sunday school is in numerical decline and has lost the social significance it once had and attempts to examine some of the reasons for this. The study is set in an historical context, reviewing the development of the Sunday school movement over the past hundred years. This is set against the changing social patterns within society as a whole as these affect the child and the school, and special reference is made to the major characteristics of the London Borough of Newham. In particular, the distinction between the "rough" and the "respectable" working classes is noted, and the historic alienation of the "rough" working classes from institutional Christianity may also be observed in Newham. Field work for the research was carried out in Newham in 1978. Initially, a survey was conducted with the superintendent in each of the white-led Protestant schools. As well as providing an overview of the current situation within the Sunday school, the results of this survey identified the theological orientation of the Sunday school and the geographic area in which the school was located taken as an indicator of socio-economic class as the two principal variables affecting the role and function of the inner city Sunday school. Based on these two variables, four schools were selected for in-depth study, using the techniques, of participant observation and focussed interviewing with the children, parents, teaching staff and clergy in each of the four schools. The interviews examined in depth the children's personal goals or expectations in attending Sunday school, and compared these with the school's official goals as these related to religious education and socialisation. The major conclusion of the research is that the Sunday school today is seen by the children primarily as a recreational activity. In this respect, it functions as one of a number of alternative leisure-time pursuits for the child, often failing to draw the children who are accustomed to more attractive forms of recreation. Thus the official goals of the school are bypassed by the child, and he generally attends. regularly only if his personal goals relating to sharing an enjoyable recreational activity with his friends are being fulfilled.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
Copsey, Kathryn M.
Date : 1983
Contributors :
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 09 Nov 2017 12:15
Last Modified : 20 Jun 2018 10:50

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