Has anyone withdrawn their child from religious worship at school?

(59 Posts)

Not RE. I think RE is an important part of a balanced curriculum smile

Just from being made to actually pray every day.

reggiebean Mon 08-Apr-13 14:17:00

Possibly a different point of view than you're looking for, but my mom enrolled me in a christian school, and we had to go to chapel and pray every day, as well as participate in bible readings. I was about 12/13 when I went, and I really resented it. It felt like a waste of time, I already knew I wasn't religious like my classmates, and I hated every second of it. Thankfully, she pulled me out after one year and put me back in a non-religious school.

Don't know how old your kid(s) are, but if they're old enough, I'd suggest having an honest talk with them about how they feel about the religious aspect of it, and then go from there.

gymboywalton Mon 08-Apr-13 14:19:31

in my experience NO child actually prays during prayer time at school
they pick their noses, or peer through their fingers or play with their shoe laces or nudge their pal or chew on the sleeve of thir jumper.

i wouldn't have thought it was worth pulling them out of prayer time AT ALL

Child in question is 10 and quite vocal in her outrage at being told off for not saying the words when the class are told to pray.

Vocal to me, that is. Her teacher hasn't mentioned it to me so I assume DD isn't being furiously vocal to her in quite the same way grin

BikeRunSki Mon 08-Apr-13 14:24:18

I was withdrawn by my patents.But because they were Catholic and school was CoE. Long Story. I am atheist, probably was in my heart then anyway.

ByTheWay1 Mon 08-Apr-13 14:26:43

I WAS a child who was withdrawn from daily worship by parents and I hated them for it, hated them for singling me out as different... hated them for not just letting me do what everyone else did (I didn't know any active church members) and just sitting there "pretending"....

KnitMinion Mon 08-Apr-13 14:30:05

I have withdrawn my son from religious observation at his school. From what he tells me, he goes and sits outside the school office and reads his book. He is quite happy with this arrangement and we do check with him from time to time.

reggiebean Mon 08-Apr-13 14:31:14

My personal thought is, she's obviously smart enough to realise that the words mean something, so if she's choosing not to say them, get her out. Without knowing your religious beliefs, or how much religion factors into your household, it never does a child any good to have it shoved down their throats. Pull her out and explain why. Be sure to clarify that her being pulled out will cause her to be separated from her friends during that time (I know it sounds silly, but when I was young, I thought if I could get out of it, my friends could too smile) and if she's still okay with that, ask that she be given something else to do during that time.

Well, its a CofE primary school (no choice in the matter in these parts) but the new head is really going overboard on the God stuff IMO...

2 hours a week acting out Bible stories, RE weeks that focus on Christian crosses and nothing else, a peripatetic RE teacher coming in this term to teach them all about the New Testament, DD tells me she has learnt nothing about any other religions so far this year shock (but that last year someone came in one afternoon to talk about Judaism), having to write prayers starting with 'dear God' for homework...

Add in telling off children who don't recite prayers every day and I'm feeling its all a Bit Much and that they have no right to make children play daily lip service to a religion they know damn well isn't practised at home hmm

I know DD and I doubt she would care about being 'ostracised' - just curious as to whether anyone else actually does this apart from JWs (only other family I've ever known to do so)

reggiebean Mon 08-Apr-13 14:41:35

I grew up in the US, so afraid I'm not very familiar with CofE specifically (assume JW is Jehovah's Witness?) but always thought it was quite a casual religion (if that makes sense) so am surprised to hear how "preachy" the school is.

What recourse do you have if there's not another school in your area? Have you spoken to any other mom's at your school? Perhaps if there are more than a few of you who feel this way, you can speak to someone about the new head?

gymboywalton Mon 08-Apr-13 14:41:52

i am sorry you CANNOT send your child to a church school and then moan about it being religious

MadCap Mon 08-Apr-13 14:46:57

Of course she can Gym boy, since they are state funded, and the state doesn't provide a choice of schools in every area.

ImNotCute Mon 08-Apr-13 14:56:55

I wholeheartedly agree with madcap. My dd is in a C of E school but it's not what we chose, it's not our 1st choice school but the one we were allocated. Anyway, EVERY state school in this country is required by law to have a daily act of worship.

DD is only in reception and I've not withdrawn her but may do in future. There is one child in DDs class who is withdrawn already, I think she's from a Muslim family.

gymboywalton Mon 08-Apr-13 15:05:19

church schools HAVE to have a christian ethos
they are not only inspected by ofsted, but are also inspected by a church schools inspector who will be looking at criterai like this

How well does the school, through its distinctive Christian character, meet the needs of all learners?
2. What is the impact of collective worship on the school community?
3. How effective is the religious education?

You can complain as much as you like but if they weren't providing good christian based worship , they would be in trouble with the diocese who provide part of their funding.
.

MadCap Mon 08-Apr-13 15:11:54

IMO religious schools should be entirely private and paid for by either the parents, religious organisation or some combination of those two. They are by their very nature exclusionary and have no place in the state education system.

SuffolkNWhat Mon 08-Apr-13 15:13:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SuffolkNWhat Mon 08-Apr-13 15:17:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Its not VA. Just a CofE state primary.

I'm mid way through a letter to the head about it, just umming and aahing over whether to make a point by telling them if they don't tone it down then DD will be removed from acts of worship. I'm also making my feelings on the lack of balance/diversity to the RE curriculum very clear indeed and am looking at links now on what should be covered so i can be sure of my ground in that department.

gymboywalton this is THE school locally. There is no choice. Therefore they can blimmin' well make sure it caters to the needs and backgrounds of the families that use it as IMO that is more important than what some religious bods from somewhere else think.

Are there other non-christian families you could join forces with, QOFE? Because if there are a lot of you, it carries more weight to complain that the new head is forcing one brand of mythology on DC at the expense of others and fostering discrimination (which it is).

Mmmmm not really. There's only about 15 sets of parents (and only 33 pupils - this is a tiny school) and most of them are unbothered - I've broached it with the ones who supported me on the Samaritan's Purse thing at Christmas but they have shrugged it off so I am on my own with it I think.

Wellthen Mon 08-Apr-13 17:00:07

I think you're going in a little strong. Address the issue for what it is: your child was ordered to do something that should be a choice.

Who told her off? I would go to this teacher directly and ask if it is a 'school rule' that the children say the words. Explain politely that non-christian children do attend church schools and shouldnt have to pray as long as they are being respectful. If it is argued to be a 'school rule' then I would think about withdrawing.

I don't think the issue is the praying itself as some posters seem to think. Your daughter is clearly mature enough to separate the beliefs of the school and her own beliefs. Saying prayers is fairly common practice in many c of e schools. There is no evidence they are shoving anything down anyones throat.

Wellthen Mon 08-Apr-13 17:01:51

The RE curriculum does depend on the agreed syllabus but in all state schools there is always a greater weighting to Christianity. Its a rule. I agree its potty. But please dont attack the Head for having a curriculum weighted towards Christianity because they have no choice.

All schools in the country are required to have a daily act of worship. This includes the ones that are not church schools. As has been said upthread ofsted is looking for this. You are within your rights to remove your child from acts of worship. In a small school it will single out your child but if you are determined that your child is not going to be asked to pray then that seems to be your only option.

The school assemblies I've been to in church and non church schools are ones where the children don't recite prayers other than the Lord's Prayer and thinking about it I haven't heard them do that for a while. Most assemblies have quiet time where everyone is invited to be still and prayers are said by whoever is leading the assembly. Those that don't want to engage learn to be still for a few minutes which is good thing to learn.

Maybe you could ask to go into school and observe an assembly if you are so concerned about it.

I know what sort of daily worship they are doing (been to assemblies, listened to my DD etc) and it is over and above what is compulsory - its also far more religious generally than church schools attended by my friend's children.

I have no problem with my DC being educated about all faiths and learning about their rituals etc, including by first hand experience. But I feel like the current head is basically promoting and pushing Christianity with no balance or diversity or other faiths being discussed, which wasn't the case when DD started under a different headship 3 years ago.

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