The Australian Educational Researcher

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 1–15 | Cite as

‘…we don’t bring religion into school’: issues of religious inclusion and social cohesion

  • Amanda KeddieEmail author
  • Jane Wilkinson
  • Luke Howie
  • Lucas Walsh


This paper examines the approaches of cultural and religious inclusion at one small state-funded primary school situated in suburban Australia. The school community is experiencing high levels of racialised, gendered and religious conflict. Through case study data from leaders and teachers, we illustrate the potential and limitations of these approaches and consider their location within the notions of secularity and Christian privilege that characterise Australia’s public education system. The paper is situated within the context of current anxieties around social conflict and unrest especially in relation to religious racism or Islamophobia and amid calls for the introduction of a multi-faith education in Australian public schools. Against this backdrop, we highlight key tensions and difficulties confronting schools in their efforts to be inclusive towards creating a climate of social cohesion.


Cultural and religious inclusion Social cohesion Multi-faith education 


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Copyright information

© The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research for Educational ImpactDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia
  2. 2.Monash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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