Talking to Y1 teacher about how RE is taught

(70 Posts)
Catmint Thu 27-Sep-12 17:48:42

DD school is a non faith school, which we chose partly because we are atheist, but hymns are sung in assembly, which we are okay with. (understand this is mandatory for schools).

DD has just started doing RE, which again we are okay with, in fact it should be a great opportunity to find out about different faiths.

But we are a bit worried because the subject is 'creations' and although we don't think it's creationism that is being taught, we do know that DD has been told to draw pictures of things created by God. We do not believe in God, and we are upset that its existence is being taught as fact (possibly). I know this is a common issue from the thread in Chat.

DD has also told us which of her teachers believe in God - we don't think that this is appropriate information to share with a 5yo!

So, I have made an appt to talk to the class teacher on Mon after school. I have 15 mins. DP is too angry about it, so he will be doing childcare at home.

I am in a bit of a panic that I will come across as attacking people with faith, which is absolutely not my intention! Has anyone had this conversation with school and can you share any tips for it to go smoothly? What should I ask/say? all help appreciated, thanks.

SuffolkNWhat Belgium Thu 27-Sep-12 17:53:00

I would talk with the teacher.

I teach RE and the task about drawing things that God created sounds to me like it was probably draw the things Christians believe God created.

I teach in a faith school but am of a completely different faith and teach RE as if I was an atheist (so no prejudice or we believe involved).

Catmint Thu 27-Sep-12 18:03:06

Thanks suffolk, I have an appt to talk with the teacher, worried about what to actually say.

What questions should I ask, how can I phrase it? Need to practise over weekend so as to appear like reasonable person when really I feel very suspicious of what they are saying to her...I aspire to be the reasonable person...

SuffolkNWhat Belgium Thu 27-Sep-12 18:06:31

I would ask clarification on how RE is taught, whether they are following a locally agreed syllabus and that dogma is not taught as fact, so God created the animals etc.

WofflingOn Thu 27-Sep-12 18:08:20

If the subject is creations, I'd be expecting them to be covering a number of creation myths, not just the christian one, which does put it all into a context of being one of several alternatives.

Euphemia France Thu 27-Sep-12 18:16:30

I'd ask to see the RE plan they're following. Also try to ascertain whether the teacher uses inclusive or exclusive language i.e. is s/he saying "We believe this" and "They believe that", or is s/he saying "Christians believe x" and "Muslims believe y"?

OhSoSimple Thu 27-Sep-12 19:42:44

How do you know they weren't asked to draw things Christians believe God created? And surely if you do not want her to believe then you would support them saying some people (teachers) do not believe in God, that it is a choice for an individual to make?

I would be sure about what is actually being taught a s opposed to what your 5 year old is saying at home. Sometimes you don't get the full picture.

My DCs used to go to a non faith school, however they sang hymns, said grace and prayers, celebrated Christian festivals. It was made clear in the prospectus that they had close links with the local CofE church and what aspects would be taken and used in school.

TwiggysGoneOnHolidayByMistake Thu 27-Sep-12 20:02:00

I would be very worried about this too, but I'd be surprised if it was taught as fact and assume your daughter has just phrased it wrongly to you. I'd go in to the teacher with a "DD told me this and I'm sure it's not true but I just wanted to check..." attitude, rather than a "how dare you teach this as fact" attitude. If you do that then I'm sure you will be fine! As long as you are polite and respectful then it won't be offensive at all - you have every right to make sure that your religious (or lack of) beliefs are respected in school. It would be obvious to me that you aren't attacking faith and I'm sure your DD's teacher will feel the same. I think people are far too worried about offending other people's religious beliefs. You wouldn't feel the same making a polite query about Conservative policy if you happen to vote Labour and religion is no different.

Actually, it very much annoys me that atheism isn't covered in primary schools but that's another issue smile

TwiggysGoneOnHolidayByMistake Thu 27-Sep-12 20:03:53

Btw, I also think it's fine to mention to a 5yo which teachers believe in God. It's simply teaching your DD from the outset that some people believe this and some people believe that...

Himalaya Thu 27-Sep-12 20:16:16

Have a look on your LEA 'Grid For Learning' website and see if you can find the 'Scheme of Work' for RE. You will probably find that this is what the school is teaching. On one hand you may be reassured that the school is not actively going out of its way to teach drivel, but on the other hand appalled that schools all over the country teach drivel about religion.

bebanjo Thu 27-Sep-12 20:24:54

if the child is in school to learn and she is learning that "god created stuff" than that is what the teacher is teaching, intentionally or not. if this is not what she is meant to teach or not what she intended to teach then she has not made herself clear to the child . the child is not misrepresenting the teacher she is relating to her parents what she has learnt.

ash979 Thu 27-Sep-12 20:31:14

I'm the re coordinator in my school and actually my degree is in re and I'm atheist! The re should be planned and delivered on s way as others have said, Christians believe this.... I teach reception and we often get into discussions and the children ate interested to hear about adults views. We explain to them x is a Christian and that's why she wears a cross and she believes... But y doesn't believe that she thinks this.... The children can get very philosophical and think up good questions which I believe is all good and it teaches them to listen to others views. Do go and speak to the teacher tho for your own reassurance, they won't be offended that you've asked.

alcofrolic Thu 27-Sep-12 20:48:29

I love these..... (from our RE syllabus, to be explored in KS2):

'What beliefs do different pilgrimages show about what it means to be human?'
or
'Why is there something rather than nothing?'

The whole thing makes me laugh (hysterically).

lionheart Thu 27-Sep-12 21:48:25

I can understand you want some clarification of how Re is taught.

But I am not sure why you think that teachers should not share their own beliefs with children in general.

If a child in the class asks outright, "Do you believe in God, Ms Teacher?" what is it you wish them to say.

Euphemia France Thu 27-Sep-12 22:32:11

I was told at teacher training college by our RME tutor, a secondary RE teacher, that it is not teachers' place to divulge their religious beliefs to pupils, because of the risk of influencing children. Primary children in particular often want to please their teacher, and are influenced by the teacher's personality and what s/he declares to be important.

The tutor was from Northern Ireland, and she never told her pupils whether she was Protestant, Catholic, or anything else, as she saw her job as educating young people about the main world religions and about moral issues. She felt strongly that each religion should be presented impartially and given equal weight, and not through the lens of her own personal beliefs.

I completely agree with her.

Euphemia France Thu 27-Sep-12 22:33:59

Oh and if someone asks me whether I believe in God, as many pupils have, I reply that that is personal and that I don't talk about it at school.

Catmint Fri 28-Sep-12 10:12:46

Thanks everyone, this is all helpful stuff.

I have decided to ask about the syllabus and planning. Of course I am only hearing it from my daughter's perspective - that is why I am going in to talk to the teacher and not writing an outraged letter! I will explore exactly how the subject is phrased.

The class were asked how the world was made. My DD said that lots of dust joined together to form the solar system (surprised & proud that she knew this) and another child said the world was made by God. Both views were written up as having equal weight...while this makes me uncomfortable, I do see that this could be appropriate. But the subtleties in the words which are actually being used in class could make the difference between this being a pluralist perpective (good) and a creationist one (horrifying to us).

Once I have more information, we will decide whether/how to pusue the issue, but I hope it does set our minds at rest!

euphemia I totally agree with your perspective about why it is not appropriate for teachers to disclose their beliefs in a lesson setting in a non faith school. My DD is very eager to please, and I do not want her feeling pressured to agree that God exists. We do not pressure her to believe that God does not exist - we tell her that people believe lots of different things and that what people believe is special to them. We tell her that she can make up her own mind when she is ready. We are honest about our beliefs.

She says that she does not believe in God, but her precious toy cat does. smile

Euphemia France Fri 28-Sep-12 10:22:00

She says that she does not believe in God, but her precious toy cat does.

Fabulous! grin

BabsJansen Fri 28-Sep-12 10:29:15

euphemia I totally agree with your perspective about why it is not appropriate for teachers to disclose their beliefs in a lesson setting in a non faith school

Would you consider it acceptable if she was taught by a teacher wearing a hijab?

Catmint Sat 29-Sep-12 06:28:49

Good point Babs...yes of course I would consider it acceptable.

Disclose was the wrong word. Promote would describe it better. Hard to express what our concern is.

But DD said she is confused about what she is 'supposed' to think, so something is not quite right somewhere.

Context setting would seem to be key..so a teacher should make it clear that their belief is one amongst many, and that the purpose of the class is to learn about them all.

BabsJansen Sat 29-Sep-12 08:11:45

In a way I think you are expecting a lot from a 6yr old. Even if it explained to her that during the course of re in school she will learn about various faiths, she will find this hard to comprehend. Support at home by emphasing the range of beliefs and that there is no right or wrong belief.

Re your meeting. I wild keep it very much as a factual request for how and what re is taught at this stage and the. Follow up as and when you feel issues arise. It will help you better to support dd with faith discussion at home.

Himalaya Sat 29-Sep-12 08:20:47

I don't think teachers can keep their religion or beliefs secret, they just shouldn't teach from one perspective.

The trouble is I think it is hard to near impossible to teach about the subject while maintaining the view that it is equally reasonable to conclude that A) all religions are 100% human fabrications/highly sucessful memes B) there is one true religion but nobody knows which one or C) all religions have aspects of truth about the divine. Similarly with the idea of god(s) a) made up b) real or c) real but so mystical our puny human facilities can't really understand it's nature.

It is impossible to have a consistent thought or make up a consistent sentence about religion/god (s) while holding each of these 3 options as live possibilities.

So then you are left with "Christians believe..." etc...but the problem with that is that Church pews and even vicarages are filled with people who may subscribe to either A, B or C. If some one wears a hijab etc...it is likely that they identify themselves as a Muslim, but their beliefs on god/religion could be A, B or C.

Apart from teaching about religious rituals, language and writings I don't think there are other 'facts' that can be taught.

mummytime Belgium Sat 29-Sep-12 08:24:14

It is a very very important teaching technique, that if you are discussing difficult topics or personal beliefs that ALL beliefs are given equal weight. You never indicate a belief is wrong or impose a value to them. So if a child told me the Universe was created by small green frogs burping, I would treat that as valid as your child talking about the big bang ( with a lot of pinches of salt and care in secondary schools).

The next thing is that your child is still very young, so I would ask questions to ensure the curriculum is balanced over a longer time than one lesson. Also in a modern school it is not practical to hide religious beliefs, in my kids C of E school it is pretty obvious who the Muslim TA is, and they have various other teachers, TAs and parents talk to them about their religious (or non religious) beliefs. By seeing everyday people of different beliefs work together and get along we'll teaches the pupils a great lesson.

AChickenCalledKorma Sat 29-Sep-12 09:39:45

"I believe in God" is as neutral a fact as "my favourite colour is yellow" or "I have a pet cat". The teacher is simply telling the children something about herself, which probably came up during a conversation during RE. This whole "no-one should talk about their faith" thing makes faith seem like some kind of a dirty secret.

As long as everyone also feels totally able to say "no, I don't believe in God" and no-one is saying "you must believe in God", I think you should steer clear of that part of the issue.

But by all means ask about what they are teaching on creation!

Catmint Sun 30-Sep-12 21:23:52

with ref to the point about teacher's disclosing their own belief...DP has just speculated whether an atheist teacher in a faith school would be able to say that they thought that God was made up without parents objecting...

does anyone have a view?

MirandaWest Sun 30-Sep-12 21:28:14

My DC are at a faith school (although VC rather than VA so less overall influence from the church). It is also the only school in the village.

Wouldn't bother me in the slightest if an atheist teacher said they thought there was no God although I do take a relaxed attitude to what other people think. I do believe in a God of some sort - DC don't appear to although quite into the idea of reincarnation.

Catmint Sun 30-Sep-12 21:37:55

Miranda, did you choose the school because it was a faith school? (nosy)

what are VC and VA?

Himalaya I can't find a grid for learning website for our LEA, do they have to have one?

MirandaWest Sun 30-Sep-12 21:43:14

I chose it because I liked the school and could find a house here (we moved and I looked at a lot of schools to find some where I liked the school and there were available houses). Some schools I liked were faith schools and some weren't. I suppose because I didn't mind whether it was or not I had more choice.

VA is voluntary aided and VC is voluntary controlled. I'm not sure about the precise meanings but basically the church has more influence in a VA school.

LeeCoakley Sun 30-Sep-12 21:45:30

No teacher would say 'God is made up'! grin

When I was interviewed for my previous job as LSA at a CofE school I wasn't asked about my faith, I was only asked if a daily Christian assembly would bother me. It didn't because I wasn't expected to pray myself. (Am an atheist)

Euphemia France Sun 30-Sep-12 21:46:27

"I believe in God" is as neutral a fact as "my favourite colour is yellow" or "I have a pet cat"

Utter guff.

Himalaya Sun 30-Sep-12 22:03:34

Catmint - I don't know, I just know that mine did and it was interesting, and I've noticed others do.

Try a google search on "your LEA/council name" plus "RE scheme of work" "sacre" or just "religious education" and you will probably (hopefully) find some info on the guidance where you live (is it England? No idea if it is different in S, W and NI)

AChickenCalledKorma Mon 01-Oct-12 11:06:48

Euphemia - why is that guff?

Some people believe in God, some people don't. That is the case in a school, in a workplace, in a supermarket, or wherever. I see no reason whatsoever why a teacher can't answer that question in as straightforward and factual a way as he/she would any other question.

meditrina Mon 01-Oct-12 11:16:33

I hope the meeting tonight goes well.

The think I would expect to hear is that in teaching creations (as you put it in OP), they will actually be covering many different creation stories, and that they have just happened to begin with the Jewish/Christian/Moslem version and that others will follow.

Euphemia France Mon 01-Oct-12 17:35:49

There's a huge difference between a child being influenced to love God and a child being influenced to love yellow.

Teachers have a huge influence on children; we make a massive impression on young minds. Religious beliefs are too sensitive and too personal to be divulged by teachers.

Himalaya Mon 01-Oct-12 17:58:56

Euphemia - I don't think teachers can be expected to keep their religious beliefs or identity secret. What if they wear a kippah, have a muslim name, take a religious holiday off, can't eat sausage rolls, go to the same church as some of the students etc... It shouldn't be a big secret.

The point is they are not teaching their religious beliefs they are teaching the subject RE. I think professionals can (and should) be able to draw the line.

Euphemia France Mon 01-Oct-12 18:17:40

Obviously if you wear religious clothing, etc., pupils will ask you about it, in which case you should answer their questions.

My point is that teachers should not impose their views on pupils i.e. they should not state what they believe, and if some asks they should keep it neutral and avoid speaking in the first person.

So if someone says "Do you believe in God?" a teacher should be at liberty to say "That is private," or "I am a Christian, and Christian people believe in God."

I was fuming when I heard DD's (very experienced) teacher stating that "We believe that Christ died on the cross." That kind of language must be avoided.

My beliefs are no-one's business but my own, so I will keep them secret.

SuffolkNWhat Belgium Mon 01-Oct-12 19:42:45

I teach RE in an VA school (secondary setting) and am of a different faith (Buddhist - so no belief in God)

If the children ask me I say I am a Buddhist and I personally do not believe in a god like figure but that other people do and that means a lot to them and I respect that.

I also support the ethos of the school as part of my job, so I attend assemblies, Eucharists etc

nailak Mon 01-Oct-12 19:53:26

suffolk isnt what you are describing exactly what euphemia was fuming because of

SuffolkNWhat Belgium Mon 01-Oct-12 20:15:34

And if she does not want to share her own beliefs then that is her look out.

By saying I am a Buddhist to secondary aged children I am not trying to convert them or to put down their own beliefs.

I have a policy of honesty in my classroom and that extends to me too.

Himalaya Mon 01-Oct-12 20:38:50

Suffolk - I think that is the best approach.

Euphemia. Yes a teacher should be at liberty to say "that is private" but it would be a bit odd, when students are being asked to discuss their beliefs.

But I don't think your second statement is factual "I am a Christian, and Christian people believe in God."

People who call themselves Christian/Muslim/Hindu or whatever may believe in god, they may have doubts or they may just belong to that culture and continue it's traditions. I don't think it is possible to factually say "Christians believe..." although I know this is commonly his it is taught. My DS is convinced from his RE lessons for example that Christians believe in Adam and Eve, because no one makes a clear distinction from the start between what the bible says, what various churches teach and what individuals actually believe.

mummytime Belgium Tue 02-Oct-12 05:46:00

My teenage daughter often argues when she is taught in RE that "Christian's believe", as quite often what comes next is incorrect for her own beliefs. I just hope she takes what she is taught about other religions as much with a pinch of,salt.

nooka Tue 02-Oct-12 06:00:20

I also think that there is a big difference between telling a secondary school age child who you might teach a couple of times a week that you happen to be a Christian (assuming that they ask or it is relevant to what you are teaching) and a primary (especially infant) school child if you are their class teachers. Small children tend to idolise their teachers, so Mr/Ms X's belief holds a huge amount more weight. I can remember my dd at five or six getting very cross with us for disagreeing with her teacher on some religious matter. It was extremely annoying. Now she is 12 she is much better positioned to make her own mind up about things (and of course that may still be the complete opposite of our opinions, but it's her thinking she is reflecting not someone elses).

Himalaya Tue 02-Oct-12 07:16:03

Mummytime -

Yes that's what I mean - saying "Christians believe" or "Muslims believe" or whatever isn't accurate information for those children who don't belong to the religion in question, and is telling those children those children who do that this is what they should believe .

bowerbird Tue 02-Oct-12 10:41:22

I don't understand this idea of a teacher not revealing their faith because it might influence young children. There are a lot of influences out there.

My DD's (fantastic) teacher wears a hijab, so clearly is a practising Muslim. What on earth is she supposed to do, hide this fact? It's part of who who is.

Catmint Tue 02-Oct-12 20:26:05

Have now had the meeting and the situation has developed...

Had the meeting, was at pains to explain we are not attacking the school but wish to understand what is being taught so that we can support at home.

Was assured that the school does not tell the children what to believe. I Made the point that we are aware that DD knows the faith of some of her teachers from things that they have said, eg "worms aren't horrible, they are God's creatures" and that we think it is good that children are able to experience different points of view & beliefs but that it makes us uncomfortable because she is so eager to please...(we are a bit conflicted on this point & it would have been good to understand the school's policy on this issue. We could probably have been persuaded either way).

The teacher wasn't able to give me any information, she would consult with the HT and get back to me.

So she called me at work this afternoon. She has consulted with the HT who asked her to convey to us that the teachers do not tell the children what to believe. I made the point that that might be the case, but it does not legislate for a child who thinks they have been taught what to believe.

The HT has said that we can't have a copy of the syllabus. This means that we do not know what they are teaching, and we have no context in which to provide support at home, which is what we have been asked to do.

Is this normal????

AChickenCalledKorma Tue 02-Oct-12 20:34:11

Euphemia - are you seriously suggesting that it's OK for a hijab-wearing Muslim to say "I believe in God" but it's not OK for a Christian, simply because they don't have any obvious outward signs that the children might pick up on. Isn't that a bit like saying it's OK for one kind of faith to admit to its existence, but other faiths should be regarded as some kind of mysterious secret?

I'm also interested to know whether you would think it's OK for a teacher to say "I don't believe in God." Because primary school was the first place that my children became aware that some people don't believe in God. I don't have a problem with that ... it's part of growing up and becoming aware of different people's beliefs.

But I'm curious to know whether you would regard a teacher expressing atheist views as being as unacceptable as a teacher stating that they, personally, believe in God.

Hulababy Tue 02-Oct-12 20:36:25

Each LEA has an agreed RE syllabus apparently - google and you should find it for your area.

bamboostalks Tue 02-Oct-12 20:37:22

You need to get a real problem love.

Euphemia France Tue 02-Oct-12 20:38:50

Euphemia - are you seriously suggesting that it's OK for a hijab-wearing Muslim to say "I believe in God" but it's not OK for a Christian?

I didn't say that.

Hulababy Tue 02-Oct-12 20:44:15

I don't see a problem with children being aware of what faith a teacher is or is not. I do not think most children really have an issue with this tbh. I work in a very multi-cultural school with a massive variation in religions followed - by staff and children. It will be very obvious to some children that we have staff who celebrate Eid or Divali for example. They will then know the faith of that teacher. Likewise I would have no issue with a teacher saying "I am christian and believe in God." So long as a teacher is not saying this is what YOU should be believe and no other way is right then I see no issue at all.

Catmint Tue 02-Oct-12 20:51:49

Thanks for your input bamboo, you have added so much to the discussion.

If you're not interested, don't post FFS, this isn't in Chat!

bamboostalks Tue 02-Oct-12 21:01:33

If you could only see how far up your own backside you actually are, then you would realise why the school do not want to release the scheme of work to you. That is the most helpful thing anyone could say to you. You are making the most enormous mountain out of a non existent molehill. This 'dilemma' is a load of nonsense. I actually feel so sorry for our overloaded teachers having to give up their precious lunch hours to deal with this self important navel gazing. Give it a rest will you so they can focus on teaching our children to read and write etc not pander to egos like yours.

Catmint Tue 02-Oct-12 21:12:16

bamboo, you are very rude. I wonder if you would have said that if I happened to be a Christian or Muslim?

Don't bother answering, by the way.

AChickenCalledKorma Tue 02-Oct-12 21:31:15

Euphemia - apologies - no you didn't quite say that, now that I re-read. But you did say that a teacher wearing a hijab should answer children's questions. I don't think "that's private" is really a valid answer to the question. It's a bit like saying "mind your own business".

Still interested to know whether you think it's OK for an atheist teacher to tell a Christian child that they don't believe in God. And if so, why is that different?

AbigailS Tue 02-Oct-12 21:41:22

If you are that worried about RE being taught in your child's school you can formally withdraw them from the lessons. You need to contact the school if you want this to take place.

This term the requirement for schools to outline all their curriculum on their websites starts. The information should appear fairly soon, if they have not uploaded yet.

Catmint Tue 02-Oct-12 21:58:27

Thanks Abigail - we really do not want to withdraw DD from the lessons, we think RE is a very important and worthwhile subject.

But we want to know what is being taught. grin

SuffolkNWhat Belgium Tue 02-Oct-12 22:03:55

Catmint have PM'd you

Hulababy Tue 02-Oct-12 22:14:23

Catmint - which LEA are you in? They will have an agreed RE scheme that all schools in the area should follow. This should tell you at least a little of what will be covered, although not specific lessons.

BTW there isn't really any sch thing as a non faith school in England. All state schools, if not a designated specific faith school, follow a broadly Christian approach.

Pyrrah Tue 02-Oct-12 22:41:44

I would contact your local SACRE and ask them for a copy of the syllabus and tell them that the HT was not prepared to give you a copy - they will be very interested to hear this I can assure you (used to sit on a SACRE as a BHA member).

AbigailS Tue 02-Oct-12 22:51:15

Did you not have any luck googling your local authority agree syllabus religious education? I've tried it for half a dozen LAs and all have come up with one. That may help give you an idea.

Ruprekt Tue 02-Oct-12 23:00:53

I would imagine that nothing is being taught as fact.

As it is not a faith school it will simply be 'Some Christians believe that Jesus is gods son. Some Christians do not believe that.'

'The Jewish faith worship in synagogues.'

'the symbol of Christianity is the cross.'

Nothing is taught as fact. It is about sharing beliefs of others and having respect for other faiths.

I walked into a classroom in Y1 last week and was put on the spot by the teacher and asked to talk about my faith (as a JW)

I simply said that I believed in Jesus, was a Christian and asked the children where some Christians believe god lives. One replied 'Outer space' and the other said 'Heaven.'

It opens up discussion and you get some GREAT answers!!

cansu Wed 03-Oct-12 08:10:57

I think you are being a bit OTT wanting to look at the scheme and it won't help you with any remarks you think the teacher may have made about things like ' gods creatures'. Re often involves lots of talking about belief and what values we have. Whilst teachers make every effort to be sensitive to the beliefs and non beliefs that children or indeed anyone may have it isn't really possible to control exactly what everyone says. I think the fact that you have some strong feelings regarding religion is colouring your view of this. Although bamboo has put it much more strongly than I would I do think she is right that you need to back off and relax a bit. You have told the teacher how you feel she will undoubtedly think of this when she is speaking to the children and that really is it. If you need more then I think you may want to consider withdrawing your dd so you can control what she learns about RE. Bear in mind though that she she will hear things in stories and belief crops up in the playground, in other curriculum areas and in assembly. All schools which are non faith usually have a broadly Christian approach and most say prayers in assembly and at harvest and at Christmas etc. your dd will hear about Gods creatures there and it won't be prefaced by 'Christians believe..'.

Himalaya Wed 03-Oct-12 09:09:27

"worms are god's creatures" is religious belief (as well as being insufferably twee).

Why can't they say worms are really important for mixing up the soil.

aamia Wed 03-Oct-12 23:42:52

On your LEA's website will be the scheme of work. It's supposed to be taught as 'Christians believe...' 'Muslims believe...'. ALL thoughts/beliefs have equal weight, whatever they are. That's the joy of a non-faith school. I guess you could campaign for one for atheists only?

nooka Thu 04-Oct-12 07:35:09

As has been said before there is no such thing in England as a non-faith school as by law all schools are supposed to be broadly Christian. My children certainly weren't just given the 'some people believe line' (although this would be 4-5 years ago now) and class teachers can be hugely influential, small children often believe everything the teachers says is true. The trouble is that having the syllabus won't give you very much of an idea of how the teacher approaches religion, and if she is herself quite religious (or say a TA or regular visitor) then this will come out n all sorts of ways.

The trouble is that there isn't very much you can do about it and unless you want to home school you will probably have to put up with it, continue with telling dd your own views and encourage her to think about things herself and wait for the influence of school to lessen.

radicalsubstitution Thu 04-Oct-12 08:29:23

very nicely put cansu.

As a Christian teacher of Science in a Church of England secondary academy, I have some great discussions about scientific theory versus the Bible. My students' beliefs range from atheist to fundamentalist.

Whilst I am always very careful in the way I let these discussions 'flow', I thank the Lord that, as a teacher in a faith school, I am free from the intervention of the Dawkins brigade.

mummytime Belgium Thu 04-Oct-12 09:18:19

The arguments that young children tend to take as "totally true" anything their teacher says, or they "think" their teacher has said, is just as true with say, English as RE. It is something they grow out of, and something you may have to counteract, but it isn't some kind of universal imprinting (otherwise there would be no atheists).

TwiggysGoneOnHolidayByMistake Sat 06-Oct-12 11:49:37

Dawkins brigade? hmm I hope that's not a term for atheists.

radicalsubstitution Sat 06-Oct-12 12:11:22

No, not a term for all atheists. As with people of any faith (or lack thereof), there are plenty of atheists who are perfectly tolerant of other people's beliefs. There are many who are quite happy to accept that life involves taking part in activities that don't fit their belief structure - such as attending friends' baptisms/weddings and allowing their children to take part in nativity plays or Christingle services through brownies etc.

By 'Dawkins brigade' I am referring to the extremist atheists who treat anyone who has a religious belief as though they are somehow intellectually retarded and incapable of rational thought.

Unfortunately, Dawkins will be remembered by the vast majority as the 'atheist nut' rather than as the brilliant evolutionary biologist that he is.

Catmint Sat 06-Oct-12 15:35:59

We found out that our LEA has an RE adviser, and he has sent us a copy of the agreed syllabus. He says that he has never heard of a school refusing to allow parents to see the syllabus and/or scheme of work.

So now we have to decide what to do about this...(weary sigh).

The syllabus looks fine, we are not unhappy with what is in there, as long as the actual teaching is good quality our concerns are allayed. and having the information means that we can talk to DD, knowing what she has learned and help her make the most of the subject in a way that fits with our family values.

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