To move my children from their current Catholic school...

(59 Posts)
coni336 Mon 03-Dec-12 14:34:23

I have 2 children one in Year 1 and one in Year 3. They attend our local Catholic school where I also work (makes things 1000 x harder). My 8 year old has come home a few times quite worried and scared about his RE lessons. They have been learning about Purgatory and some other quite scary stories which I think are a bit heavy for children his age.

My husband is totally against religion and he didn't want the children to go to that school in the first place. I am a bit torn as I wanted them to have the discipline and moral teaching BUT I was naive about how much it actually was. So it is my fault entirely and I know you are going to say 'you chose it, you should've know' etc... but anyway now I want them to change schools to another local school that is very good but I am very nervous about making this decision. The other thing is that how do I talk to the head/my boss about it without it affecting my job! Will he expect me to hand in my notice too?? Can I still say 'I like working here but it's not what I want for my children?'
Oh i just dont know what to do...

MsVestibule Mon 03-Dec-12 14:39:58

How do your children feel about moving schools? If you don't feel it's the right environment for them, then yes, you will have to consider moving them.

If your boss/the head (are they the same person?) asks you why, you could just be honest about the reasons why. I really can't see why it should affect your job.

Seabird72 Mon 03-Dec-12 14:43:33

There will always be some lessons that children find hard and scary to learn about. I think it would make things difficult for you at work and I wouldn't move the children just because of one lesson. Ask what exactly is being said in class and try to talk it over with your 8 yr old after school. Point out that this is just what some people believe and that people have all sorts of different opinions. My DD2 gets very upset when she's learning about drugs and bad accidents that can happen to people and she can be very sensitive and cry but you just have to do your best to help them through. The lesson won't last forever and surely they'll be getting onto the nicer Jesus was born type of thing soon??

FlaminNoraImPregnantPanda Mon 03-Dec-12 14:44:22

Sounds to me like they're teaching medieval superstition rather than Church doctrine. Church doctrine is that purgatory is where people are ' immersed in the love of Christ'.

Here it is, straight from the horse's mouth. (Second to last paragraph)

Dead69Girl Mon 03-Dec-12 14:44:34

I withdrew my daughter from RE in year 2 as she was coming home telling me that christanity was fact and teachers were telling her that it did happen

she has only started doing RE again now and she is in year 5

so i think maybe just withdraw them from RE, my daughter got to fun things instead of RE, gardening, reading, ect so she didnt miss out

Good luck

Dead69Girl Mon 03-Dec-12 14:45:27

opps forgot to add, that she goes to a normal school

ReallyTired Mon 03-Dec-12 14:48:45

If you work at the school could you not talk to the RE coordinator before making such a drastic move. Do you have a good relationship with your boss? If your employer values you then they may well suggest a way forward.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 03-Dec-12 14:49:07

>There will always be some lessons that children find hard and scary to learn about.

yes - like about drugs. But (a) that's something real and (b) schools usually manage it in an age-appropriate way.

If your DS is finding RE scary, perhaps you could consider asking him to be withdrawn from those lessons. That might also be difficult for you (and him).

At any rate, you ought to raise the matter of the suitability of these lessons. There may be other kids being unecessarily scared too.

laptopdancer Mon 03-Dec-12 15:26:14

I was under the impression the concept pf purgatory in the catholic doctrine had been removed after Vatican 2! Or more recently. But it has!

bradywasmyfavouriteking Mon 03-Dec-12 15:28:44

Why are they teaching the old testament?

Depends on the situation. If they are focussing what the old testament is about and the thoughts behind it. I would not remove him. There will always be lessons discussing things. Lessons about drugs etc.

If they are teaching that a person who is baptised goes to purgetory and such stuff. Then I would move him. Because that's not what a catholic school should be teaching.

laptopdancer Mon 03-Dec-12 15:32:14

oo look, I am wrong

nonetheless I never learned about it at school (30 years ago!)

Iactuallydothinkso Mon 03-Dec-12 15:33:14

I went to a catholic school all my life. I'm now in my 40's and not scared of anything! I like to look at it as a basic moral code to live a life by. I did check out with a church of England vicar a few years ago that all unbaptised babies did not, in fact, go to "limbo" and was reassured.

There are a few things I find wrong about the catholic church and this is sort of why I don't attend anymore.

If you are not catholic and did not baptise your children, how come they're in a catholic school? It's quite a serious faith that in school will permeate all aspects. I accept you say you didn't know but it was certainly that way when I was there.

I think you will get away with telling your children that this is what Catholics believe but how you can get round telling them without them feeling perhaps alienated there I don't know?

Janeatthebarre Mon 03-Dec-12 15:33:38

I'm a Catholic and we were thought about purgatory at my convent school. Why shouldn't a Catholic school be teaching that kind of thing?

squoosh Mon 03-Dec-12 15:35:14

Has purgatory gone from Catholic teaching?? I find that hard to believe. I know that they no longer say that babies who die before being christened spend eternity in limbo. They now say that they go straight to heaven.

TeddyBare Mon 03-Dec-12 16:06:31

YANBU. That sounds like it's being handled badly and you need to look in to doing something about that (removing from classes or school) if they can't or won't teach in an age appropriate way. There shouldn't be any consequences for your job but I expect the head teacher will ask why you're withdrawing your dc.

hackmum Mon 03-Dec-12 17:14:33

I do agree it makes it very difficult for you to take the children out if you work there. What job do you do there, by the way? I think in your position I would have a word with the teacher or headteacher and say that your DC is becoming upset by what he's being taught. You could also try reassuring your DC yourself that none of the purgatory stuff is true.

It partly depends on how happy and settled your DC are there otherwise - is the teaching good, do they have friends etc. If you really decide you want to take them out, then I would suggest a suitable white lie to the HT about why you're moving them.

headfairy Mon 03-Dec-12 17:17:04

I think it's limbo for unbaptised babies that's been dropped from Catholic teachings.

Wish I could help you op, good luck

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 03-Dec-12 17:34:58

If you disagree with them being taught the Catholic faith then yes,you should remove them from the Catholic School.

Sending children to a faith school when you disagree with religion is utterly pointless.

FeckOffCup Mon 03-Dec-12 17:37:58

Are you actually Catholic, do you take your children to mass? If you do then they are likely to come across these teachings at some point anyway. If you don't then withdraw them from the school and send them to a non catholic one if it bothers you that much. I wouldn't have thought they could sack you for it, check your employment contract but I doubt it will say you are obliged to send your children to that school.

squoosh Mon 03-Dec-12 17:40:35

Yes I don't see how your decision to send your kids to a different school could jeopardise your job hmm

GrendelsMum Mon 03-Dec-12 17:41:29

I'm Anglican rather than Catholic, so I don't really know anything about what they might be learning re purgatory, but I think I'd start by talking to the teachers about the effect that it's having on the children before you go ahead and move schools. I can't think that a primary level teaching of Christianity should really have the effect of upsetting your children.

On the other hand, as I said, I'm a wishy-washy Anglican so what do I know?

McChristmasPants2012 Mon 03-Dec-12 17:42:14

Is it in your contract that you can only work in the school if your child attends, if not then legally you could get them done for unfair dismissle.

LynetteScavo Mon 03-Dec-12 17:45:26

My DC go to Catholic schools and I would be really cross if they came home worried and scared about RE lessons. I would be addressing the issue with the head.

But you've already made up your mind to move them, and I think that's fine. As a parent you don't have to give any reason for moving schools.

You certainly can't be sacked for removing your children from the school, but if the head knows why you've moved your children, he may well question whether you support the schools ethos. That's where you tell him you like working there, and are happy to support the school, but it's not what you and your DH want for your DC.

icclebabyjesusheave Mon 03-Dec-12 17:49:08

Move them if you think it's best for them. You can always say it's because you want them to go somewhere you don't teach,

DIYapprentice Mon 03-Dec-12 17:51:46

If you're really uncomfortable about it, then you could use the reason that you don't want your children to be in a position of being singled out because their mother works at the school.

LifeIsBetterInFlipFlops Mon 03-Dec-12 17:51:46

Drastic move for one bit of teaching in one lesson especially as you knowingly put him into a Catholic school.

squoosh Mon 03-Dec-12 17:53:15

Personally I always found the idea of purgatory quite comforting when I was a nipper. If you were sent to purgatory it meant you'd get to heaven eventually, you just needed to endure a few centuries of waiting first.

Sister Agnes said it was just like waiting in the dentist's waiting room for a very looooooooong time.

DID SR AGNES LIE? shock shock shock wink

LifeIsBetterInFlipFlops Mon 03-Dec-12 17:55:27

Sorry that has come across too harshly. It is a massive upheaval though; couldn't you speak to the teacher and clarify what was actually said, then try to defuse it with DS.

PlaySchool Mon 03-Dec-12 18:02:29

I thought the Catholic Church has abandoned the idea of Purgatory. I may not be right, of course.
I think you need to discuss the matter with the school. The problem is that no matter what school you choose, there will be something about it that you do not like or agree with.
Perhaps it would be better to stick to the devil you know.

Vagndidit Mon 03-Dec-12 19:36:47

Seems like a massive knee-jerk reaction, tbh. I don't understand how you can/would want to work somewhere that you feel is exposing your children to disturbing Church teachings? If you weren't fully on-board with the teachings of the Catholic church's teachings in the first place, then why did you choose to send them to the school---other than convenience?

Personally, I would bloody LOVE to work at the same school that my children attend. Moving them somewhere new will uncover inconveniences & complications you probably haven't even thought of. Agree with above poster's warning about "the devil you know."

Annunziata Mon 03-Dec-12 19:47:41

Do you work in the Catholic school?

I personally think you're overreacting.

wigglesrock Mon 03-Dec-12 20:06:51

My children are 5 and 7 (P1 and P4) and they don't do any of purgatory type teachings in their Catholic school. I too thought Purgatory had fallen by the wayside. Dd1 has made her first confession and is making her first Communion next year and nothing has scared her. In fact its all been fairly huggy and fluffy.

squoosh I always imagined Purgatory to be like a really full train station and you'd get there in the end grin

socharlotte Mon 03-Dec-12 23:16:13

Why don't you just withdraw them from RE?

Yabu. You decided on the catholic school- surely with open eyes- you work there ffs.

PlaySchool Mon 03-Dec-12 23:29:53

I don't think you can withdraw from RE in a Catholic school. Their philosophy is "take it all or leave it".

milkandribena Tue 04-Dec-12 00:48:30

squoosh and wiggles I was always told it was like going into a sauna and then a steam room and then back again for a long time then having to get on a bus to go to the pool with the slides. Don't think the nun realised we were a bunch of working class kids who had no clue what a sauna or steam room felt like. Now I'm rather looking forward to it - could do with going to a spa.

Purgatory use to be actual fires that as mortal men we could not imagine but that went out years ago - they are more cleansing in a less like hell sort of way now.

I'm sorry your DC was upset but it is a catholic school you are going to get catholic doctrine. what other scary stories? He's 8. I was terrified of St Pete and Saint Joseph when I was that age. For some reason, I have no idea why (I was also scared of rabbits). they are not very scary at all. But at the time...
Could you explain that sometimes stories are just stories? or that the 'stories' might have a different meaning to some people.

It does seem a bit of a leap to take them out of school especially as you can legally withdraw them from RE classes. You may get some looks if you send them to a faith school and take them out of the faith bits. Especially as they wont just do RC but other religions as well. Would you with draw them from those as well?
But it is your choice. They cant sack you for it and if asked you could always make up a story.
It does seem a bit extreme though

TheNebulousBoojum Tue 04-Dec-12 01:38:27

socharlotte, you can't withdraw from RE lessons in a Faith school. RE in a catholic school has the same weighting as science in curriculum time, it is a core subject and even has its own OFSTED inspection.
If you move your children, it should have no impact on your job at all, OP.

FlimFlamMerrilyOnHigh Tue 04-Dec-12 01:47:59

I find it hilarious, as someone who was brought up a catholic and went to a catholic primary school, when all these posters say, why don't you withdraw your child from RE. I don't think that would go down very well with the local priest grin

Seriously, though, OP, if you feel that there is an important clash between your and your DH's world view, and the one that's being taught at the school, then yes, move them. Or you could talk to them at home and explain that religion is what some people believe and it's up to each individual to decide what they believe themselves.

NickECave Tue 04-Dec-12 16:31:26

Honestly why would you send your child to a Catholic school without understanding what Catholics believe and what they will teach your child as god-given fact! I had a Catholic upbringing and Catholic education and there is no way I would let my child near a Catholic school given that both me and my husband are atheists. Catholics, like any other religious group believe that their view of the world is the only possible true view, handed down by the word of God and they are not going to teach your child that it is only one of many possible and equally valid ways of viewing the world.

LynetteScavo Tue 04-Dec-12 17:29:19

NickECave, that is certainly not my experience of Catholic schools.

My children have been taught what Catholics believe, but are also taught what other people believe. They are taught very strongly that they should respect other peoples beliefs.

You can indeed withdraw your child from RE lessons in a Catholic school. I have received a letter home informing me of this, but also telling me it would make the head teacher sad. (Which made me grin - he was a not very good, IMO, acting head)

And I don't think the OP is really bothered what the priest thinks.

ChocHobNob Tue 04-Dec-12 17:37:26

In a Roman Catholic school the religion isn't only taught in RE lessons. It is in every aspect of their schooling. Registrations, assemblies, normal classes. But the condition of going to a Roman Catholic school is you follow their faith, so I would be surprised if they allowed pulling out of religious teaching, not to mention how much time in a day it would be.

socharlotte Tue 04-Dec-12 17:38:36

The school may not like you withdrawing your child from RE but it is your legal right

School Standards and Framework Act 1988

1)If the parent of a pupil at a community, foundation or voluntary school requests that he may be wholly or partly excused—
(a)from receiving religious education given in the school in accordance with the school’s basic curriculum,
(b)from attendance at religious worship in the school, or
(c)both from receiving such education and from such attendance,
the pupil shall be so excused until the request is withdrawn.

sashh Wed 05-Dec-12 03:41:09


My experience too.

Although I believe the NC means they hve to learn about one other faith.

SomersetONeil Wed 05-Dec-12 04:39:44

Are people seriously suggesting withdrawing children attending a Catholic school, from RE lessons...?

44SoStartingOver Wed 05-Dec-12 05:34:48

Surely this is something to take very seriously.
Even at primary, they are going to be influenced by teachings about roles of men and women, premarital sex, evolution, contraception, even terminations of pregnancy I guess. How are they going to make sense of catholic views on homosexuality if you believe differently? Roman Catholics still don't like that right?

I think I would be very uncomfortable with a clash of beliefs like this and think it will become increasingly difficult.

SomersetONeil Wed 05-Dec-12 07:23:54

But this is the point; me too, 44So - which is why I'd never choose a Catholic education for my kids to start with.

To choose one, and then withdraw your child from the integral part of that education - RE - just seems a bit mind-boggly to me. You really have to withdraw them from the school entirely.

PlaySchool Wed 05-Dec-12 10:01:29

Are people seriously suggesting withdrawing children attending a Catholic school, from RE lessons...?

It would be downright weird and the DCs would wonder why they couldn't be in class with everyone else. I don't see how it would work practically even if it is legal. Where would the children go? Would they just play with lego in the corner?

The OP hasn't been back....

Pilgit Wed 05-Dec-12 10:45:13

For what its worth, the catholic teaching on homosexuality is that being homosexual isn't wrong - practising it (i.e. committing the sin of sodom) is what is wrong. Whilst this is the official line there are some significant pieces of discursive work undertaken by catholic theologians that posit the view that the interpretation of the bible on this point is incorrect as seen through a prejudiced eye. The central point being (and I paraphrase massively) that the sin of sodom is rape - not homosexual sex. Whilst this has not changed the party line on the issue, it is a matter of debate and as such I have faith that the catholic church will change its position on it (although that will probably not happen in my lifetime - the catholic church taking 100 years longer to accept things than the rest of society!)

squoosh Wed 05-Dec-12 11:19:48

I grew up in a Catholic household and attended convent schools and I actually really enjoyed religion class as a time for debate. It wasn't a matter of 'sit there and absorb this doctrine', or if it was I didn't notice as I was too busy disagreeing with many issues.

milkandribena Wed 05-Dec-12 12:43:11

440 shock horror you can learn things in school that go against what you are exposed to at home.
It's very easy to make sense of some RC rules and then be told differently. I went to catholic schools, was raised catholic, still am catholic but still at a very young age manage to grasp that my family didn't agree with some views of the catholic church.
It requires actually talking to DCs out of school. But it isn't hard.
There are lots of Catholics who have no problem with contraception (i imagine not what they were taught) what all those 2 children catholic families only had sex twice (?) it's something like 60% of usa married Catholics

(also what evolution? it happened that's the party line. there is something about god creating souls and him starting it all off. But there is no conflict between genesis and science. RCC are a lot of things but we aren't literalists)

We aren't robots. you can be exposed to catholic teaching and then a alternative view and make your own mind up.

squoosh Wed 05-Dec-12 13:10:50

Yep evolution is taught in Catholic schools. The Old Testament isn't really a 'thing' in Catholicism.

PlaySchool Wed 05-Dec-12 14:26:01

The Old Testament isn't really a 'thing' in Catholicism. We were taught that the New Testament kind of superseded it.

44SoStartingOver Wed 05-Dec-12 15:06:10

I think there is z big difference between learning about faiths and beliefs other than those from home. But in my contact with two catholic schools, that is most certainly not what happens there.

It is rc faith first. Which as a non catholic does not suit me at all. I'm sure it's fine for people who want a Catholic education for their child. I find it bewildering that people choose rc schools for discipline etc

squoosh Wed 05-Dec-12 15:41:25

Obviously it's Catholicism first, it's a Roman Catholic school!

Oblomov Wed 05-Dec-12 15:57:25

I am also still waiting to hear what job OP does and why she hasn't approached the RE teacher direct to get the teachers version of events.
It doesn't matter what the topic, be it purgatory, drugs, abortions or anything else, you don't want your child scared witless.

44SoStartingOver Wed 05-Dec-12 15:58:38

That was my point. If you don't want the rc faith to have priority, why choose a school that makes it priority?

Oblomov Wed 05-Dec-12 16:00:08

I too, love the discipline at ds's school. Catholic schools are reknown for it, so why would it be odd to choose a school based on that. It is one of the core values that matter to me: love, friendly, discipline, manners, good academically etc etc etc.

44SoStartingOver Wed 05-Dec-12 19:12:29

I just dont see that good discipline =rc, even if rc= is taken to mean good discipline

SomersetONeil Wed 05-Dec-12 20:27:09

"Catholic schools are reknown for it, so why would it be odd to choose a school based on that. It is one of the core values that matter to me: love, friendly, discipline, manners, good academically etc etc etc."

But surely it takes a special type of disingenuity to then have a problem with the religious teachings of the religious school you specifically chose for your children's education...

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