A Church of England headteacher has hit out at parents who forced an “extremist” Christian group out of the primary school. 

Dan Turvey, headmaster of St John’s Church of England Primary School inTunbridge Wells, told parents he had listened to their concerns and CrossTeach would no longer lead assemblies or take lessons.

A number of St John’s Church workers will also no longer “be invited into school”, Mr Turvey explained in a letter to parents.

The move comes after some parents complained that representatives of CrossTeach had been upsetting children by teaching them about sin.


One parent said that children were being taught about sin and told that if they did not believe in God “they would not go to a good place when they died”.

Mr Turvey said he was “saddened” by the severing of the relationship with the group, but acknowledged that children had been “upset and disturbed emotionally”.

Mr Turvey said the group will still be able to run a club for those children and parents who wish to take part

“The main thrust of the argument has been that by inviting a Christian charity called CrossTeach and individuals from St John’s Church to deliver assemblies/collective worship, we have knowingly allowed your children to be exposed to extremist beliefs and that as a result some children have been upset and disturbed emotionally,” he wrote.

 “After careful consideration I have decided that we will end our regular commitment to CrossTeach and that they will no longer lead assemblies or take lessons.”

Mr Turvey said the group will still be able to run a club for those children and parents who wish to take part.

He said he is “deeply saddened” to be cutting ties with the group, adding that many of the staff are too. But said he hoped the school community could “bring an end to this campaign” and move on.

“I do not believe CrossTeach has done anything wrong,” he said. “They do not deserve the tarnishing of their good name and allegations of extremism that have taken place over the last few months.”

The move comes after a number of parents withdrew their children from assemblies over concerns about their “heavy content”.

Parents need to remember the school was a church school, said the Rev Dick Farr of St John’s Church

One parent who asked not to be named, said: “I didn’t pull my mine out because overall I think it would do more harm than good to segregate them.

“But I do know some of the children have been upset by what they have heard. No one minds Nativity plays and Bible stories but considering most of the parents at the school aren’t practising Christians I think the feeling is that it’s all too much.

“In Tunbridge Wells the vast majority of primary schools are affiliated with the church so it’s not like you have a choice whether you expose your children to this.

“Personally I want my children to learn about all religions.  If you want them to be raised as Christians there are plenty of Sunday schools.”

Mr Turvey, who is a former head of St James’ Infants School and Bishops Down Primary in Tunbridge Wells, said the school would continue its close links with St John’s Church although some connected “individuals” would also no longer be invited into the school.

The Rev Dick Farr of St John’s Church said the church “fully supported” Mr Turvey’s letter but parents needed to remember the school was a church school.

He said: “We agree with the sentiments Mr Turvey has expressed in the letter – the sadness and the value CrossTeach has brought to the school.”

Wayne Harris, the national director at CrossTeach, said the group was a charity and worked with schools under constant supervision, observing school policies and national guidleines, where applicable.

He added: “Whilst we note the strong comments made by Mr Daniel Turvey, Headteacher, in support of our workers and activities, Crossteach is very disappointed that, after 16 years of supporting the school, our work will no longer be available to young people at St Johns CE Primary School, Tunbridge Wells.

“Wherever possible we work in partnership with local churches and we reflect their teaching, always aiming to be sensitive to the local context, and recognising that churches vary. We teach mainstream Christianity.

“In 16 years of Christian schools work no teacher has ever raised a concern that something has been said that could be interpreted as in any way ‘hateful’ or ‘extremist’.”


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