A new Christian school is opening in the Dudley area of The West Midlands, in Gornal, in September of 2021. The King Alfred School represents the re-birth of classical Christian education in Great Britain. This great news comes from Mark Koscak, Development Director for Providence Academy, a classical Christian school in Johnson City, Tennessee. Mark is also very active as a mentor and a consultant.
Mark writes: What can we learn from looking back at previous revivals in learning? Another word for revival is the French term renaissance, and when you hear that word renaissance, it is hard not to think of the European Renaissance. The European Renaissance certainly was a revival of learning.
The Renaissance: A Rebirth in Learning
The fall of the Western Roman Empire dramatically affected Europe. During this era known as the Middle Ages, many ancient Greek and Latin texts were lost to western civilization for centuries.
There was a collapse of learning, along with the loss of government institutions and technical capacity. Without the ancient texts and an understanding of things previously learned, educational efforts were negatively impacted.
The Renaissance period in European civilization immediately followed the Middle Ages. It was a time of revival for classical learning. The Renaissance led to a search for the ancient texts, the duplication and distribution of those texts, and a hunger to learn from the wisdom of the past. With the recovery of the classics and classical studies, the world was primed for a renaissance.
A rebirth of learning came with the access to the classics and the lessons from Cicero and Virgil, Plato, Aristotle, etc., and the result was an explosion of artistic, political, scientific and intellectual growth.
The intellectual movement that came to dominate human thought during the Renaissance is called Humanism. The Humanists wanted to understand the wisdom of antiquity and wanted to use the classical texts as their source.
The hunger for copies of the classics that had not been available for centuries, fueled a desire to develop faster methods of duplicating books. The development of the printing press aided the process of disseminating the ideas of the Renaissance and the works of classical writers throughout Europe.
In an article titled, How Did the Renaissance Influence the Reformation, authors Sandvick and Wheland share “The Renaissance is often seen as a secular and even pagan movement that was in many ways anti-Christian.
This was certainly the case in Italy, the birthplace of the Renaissance, where the Humanists were particularly worldly and had little interest in the Church.” The Renaissance gave secular humanism a platform to influence the world.
However, The Northern Renaissance was different from the Southern Renaissance in a crucial way: “The Northern Renaissance was much more religious in its concerns than the Southern Renaissance.”
The Northern Renaissance and the quest to go back to the ancient sources for knowledge led to the Reformation, as the Bible, and not man’s word, became the reference point for understanding.
We can see from the Renaissance that a revival of classical studies without God led to secular humanism. However, a Christ-centered, classical revival led to the Reformation. Are there others revivals of classical and Christian education that have led to cultural renewal and can give us hope for today?
An Anglo-Saxon Renaissance
Prior to the European Renaissance, Anglo-Saxon King Alfred the Great led the way to another rebirth in education. The White Horse King, by Benjamin Merkle, notes that King Alfred the Great “saw the deplorable state of his own education, and the general level of ignorance found through-out his kingdom,” and realized that he and his people no longer studied the scriptures or valued the heritage of learning.
He saw that England “was slowly devolving into a pagan nation.” It was clear to Alfred that “Wessex would have to humble herself and look for help outside the kingdom. He began a search for the best Christian scholars that could be enticed to Wessex to help that nation rekindle the flame of Christian learning.”
Alfred used these scholars to build the Wessex library, to revive learning in the Latin language, to translate the great works, and to translate parts of the Bible into the common vernacular. His efforts led to a great revival in literacy. Albert's goal was nothing less than the literacy of every free man within his borders.
Alfred hoped to awaken a lifelong passion for learning in the heart and minds of his people. Alfred's efforts led to “the greatest literary renaissance ever experienced in Anglo-Saxon Britain.”
The blessings of this rebirth in classical and Christian education led to cultural renewal in many ways, including the creation of a legal code that would grow into what we know today as English common law, the foundation for our western legal system.
A Renaissance for Today!
Today, a new movement of classical Christian schools, a rebirth of classical Christian education is sweeping across America, and this movement will soon affect Great Britain! The students in this movement are learning the Western Canon, they are learning the trivium (grammar, logic and rhetoric), and they are learning about Jesus!
These students are reading the great books, learning Latin, and studying apologetics. The flames of learning are being rekindled!
The impact of this education in the United States is causing ACT (American College Test) scores to skyrocket. The average ACT score for these students is 25% above the national average. The classical Christian education is giving students a 25% leg up on the rest of society, but that is only part of the good news.
Even better news is that these students are also receiving a Christ-centered education that helps them to develop a Christian worldview.
The King Alfred Classical Christian School will be opening in Gornal in September of 2021. The King Alfred School represents the re-birth of classical Christian education in Great Britain.
Join the classical Christian movement as it comes to Gornal! Here are the contact details:
King Alfred School
Lake Street Church
Lake Street, Gornal DY3 2AU
Read about King Alfred the Great! Imagine what God might be doing today in the Black Country! God is doing a mighty work in Gornal, and this is your chance to be part of it. The King Alfred School will open in the fall of 2021. Join Him! Invest in the next renaissance!
Mark Koscak is Development Director for Providence Academy, a classical Christian school in Johnson City, Tennessee. Mark is also very active as a mentor and a consultant.
 Clinton Sandvick & Edward Wheland, How did the Renaissance Influence the Reformation? Dailyhistory.org
 Benjamin Merkle, The White Horse King, Thomas Nelson, 2009, 182
 The Classical Christian SAT Advantage, The Classical Difference, Vol 2, No. 3/Fall 2016, 15