Will your child be starting worship this September?

(171 Posts)
LichtenA Tue 26-Aug-14 14:39:40

Christian worship has been compulsory in our state schools since 1944. The law is widely ignored but can cause problems for parents, pupils and even teachers where it is enforced.

As part of their state education, this September, you child could be compelled to participate in Christian worship to a God they may have little or no concept of.

You can sign the petition to end compulsory worship in schools.

GreySpaceInvaders Tue 26-Aug-14 14:49:17

You do have the right to withdraw your child from religious observance - which is what we did.

SoonToBeSix Tue 26-Aug-14 15:02:50

Well if they have no concept of God that's great that the school will be teaching them.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Tue 26-Aug-14 15:06:45

I think it's important that children understand religion, even if they don't practise religion. In effect, schools teach all religions equally (including the C of E school my DDs attended).
Christianity has shaped this country, and its important that it's understood, even if not agreed with.

SugarSkully Tue 26-Aug-14 15:10:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Moid1 Tue 26-Aug-14 15:10:57

I've signed - thanks

Merel Tue 26-Aug-14 15:14:57

For what it's worth, I've signed. The last one I saw of these didn't get more than a few thousand votes however. Not sure if this is to do with lack of advertisement or lack of support from the UK population.

DoctorDonnaNoble Tue 26-Aug-14 17:03:40

Exactly. Teachers can withdraw too. It is compulsory for the school not individual members. At our school it merely consists of a prayer in assembly which people either say Amen to or they don't. No enforcement.

AChickenCalledKorma Tue 26-Aug-14 17:06:34

No-one can be "compelled" to worship anything. Worship is a state of mind and heart. Even if they are "compelled" to say prayers, they can't be forced to mean it.

But they can be required to participate in an act of worship alongside their peers, and begin making up their mind whether it's something that makes sense to them or not. Just as my Christian children have started to make up their minds whether atheism is something that makes sense to them or not. Because once they are out in the "big wide world" there will be lots of new things they are exposed to that might be different from what goes on at home.

Or you can withdraw them. But don't then pretend that you are bringing them up with an open mind.

sashh Wed 27-Aug-14 07:33:07

Middleagedmotheroftwo

This is about praying, not learning and certainly not about understanding.

picnicbasketcase Wed 27-Aug-14 07:38:10

Christian worship doesn't bother me that much because if when the child is young they come home and have questions about why they've been told to pray in school, you can just say 'some people believe xyz, others don't.' And have a discussion about it. They're not being indoctrinated or being forced into a nunnery or whatever.

The only thing is that Christianity seems to be given far more weight than other religions and I would rather they learned about all of them equally. But with some politicians etc still insisting that it's a Christian country, I don't see it changing.

DoctorDonnaNoble Wed 27-Aug-14 11:58:47

They are not compelled to pray. For a start you have a right to remove them from assembly and secondly as I've said at our school no one is policing whether they students actually join in. Most don't. Neither do most teachers. There are bigger things to deal with in schools than this.

TalkinPeace Wed 27-Aug-14 14:03:13

Compulsory RE in schools is one of the reasons why the UK is the most secular country in the world.

I totally support it up to the end of Year 9

My kids loved singing about "little baby cheeses" but never believed a word of it.

BackforGood Wed 27-Aug-14 14:15:37

Vast majority of school assemblies (even in some Church schools) are an opportunity for the whole community to come together. There are usually some notices, quite often a 'moral' story, and sometimes (where the school is lucky enough to have a musician on the staff) a chance to sing. Very often, there is the opportunity to celebrate / share someone's achievement or good news. I think this is a good thing. I can't see what's not to like.

In some schools, there is a prayer, which each and every person in the room is able to choose if they participate in, or just sit quietly for 15seconds to give others the opportunity to do so if they wish.

As others have said, there are much bigger issues in schools if you want to start a campaign.

sashh Wed 27-Aug-14 15:05:00

TalkinPeace

The OP is not talking about RE, the OP is about compulsory prayer.

as I've said at our school no one is policing whether they students actually join in.

That's not the same in all schools though, I understand your primary concern being your own children but what about other children?

Vast majority of school assemblies (even in some Church schools) are an opportunity for the whole community to come together. There are usually some notices, quite often a 'moral' story, and sometimes (where the school is lucky enough to have a musician on the staff) a chance to sing. Very often, there is the opportunity to celebrate / share someone's achievement or good news. I think this is a good thing. I can't see what's not to like.

And that is not what is being asked by the OP.

Worship is compulsory, Christian worship, not Jewish, Muslim or any other. Assemblies are not compulsory. In fact the organisations who are trying to remove compulsory worship want assemblies to continue.

In some schools, there is a prayer, which each and every person in the room is able to choose if they participate in

Only if the school is breaking the law, which many do. But why put teachers in the position of either breaking the law or forcing children to pray?

BackforGood Wed 27-Aug-14 15:21:34

COuld you link to a law which says anything about "forcing children to pray" ? hmm

DoctorDonnaNoble Wed 27-Aug-14 15:24:30

Assemblies are compulsory - but due to most schools being unable to fit their school in the same place OFSTED turns a blind eye. No one is forced to say pray. Is there are single example of a non-faith school policing whether people are actually praying in assembly? Is that even possible to do?
Most of my form seem to have a nap in assembly with their eyes open, often missing important notices as they're not paying attention.

TalkinPeace Wed 27-Aug-14 17:10:31

How on EARTH can you force somebody to pray?

They shut their eyes, they look down and then they think of Bob the Builder, not an omnipotent deity FFS

They cannot be forced to speak

If they are, the school should be reported to Ofsted ASAP for failing to protect its children from bullying by staff

TheFallenMadonna Wed 27-Aug-14 17:15:49

I was actually pretty surprised by how much religion there was in my children's primary school. I teach in secondary schools, and it is certainly not a feature of any of the schools I have worked in.

Although I have a religious faith myself, I am not in favour of religious worship in schools, nor do I support faith based schools.

Candycharm Wed 27-Aug-14 17:19:08

I personally don't really see the issue with it, I think there are far more important things to be concerned about. If parents feel that strongly about it can they not just remove their children from these occasions?

DoctorDonnaNoble Wed 27-Aug-14 17:20:16

Yes, you can indeed just remove your children from assemblies and RSS.

LucasNorthCanSpookMeAnytime Wed 27-Aug-14 17:28:12

Worship is compulsory, Christian worship, not Jewish, Muslim or any other.

Not true - the school can change to a different religion if that suits their better. Or at least they certianly used to be able to - not sure if this changes with the new curriculum.

Only if the school is breaking the law, which many do.

Sorry, not true either smile The school absoluely cannot force children to pray. They have to provide religious worship but they do NOT have to force children to join in.

I am an atheist and I DETEST that there are religious assemblies in schools but have grown to accept it. It's never going to change so I just do my bit at home to make sure my DCs understand that religion is a case of 'some people believe' and not 'this is right/wrong'.

DoctorDonnaNoble Wed 27-Aug-14 17:35:45

Indeed. Jewish primary schools are NOT forced to partake in Christian worship.

NerfHerder Wed 27-Aug-14 17:44:57

I do think there should be a separation of church and state, and that all schools should be secular.

DoctorDonnaNoble Wed 27-Aug-14 17:48:42

I don't think this is current policy for any of the political parties (maybe Greens?) as they would believe it would be a vote loser. I teach in a school which as a 'distinctly Christian ethos'. As far as I can make out that means we have a carol service and Christian prayers in assembly.
My sister came out of a Catholic education unaware that 'Father into your hands I commend my spirit' was a bible quotation - she was singing along to Chop Suey by System of a Down!

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