SPUC handouts in RE class - normal or not?

(31 Posts)
BeingFluffy Mon 08-Oct-12 08:42:03

DD age 13 in year 9 is doing RE GCSE this year - the ethics course. I just found a print out from SPUC in her book and was furious. To be fair to the teacher it was in respect of stem cell research and not abortion, but I don't think the views of those misogynist loons have any place in education.

Should I say something or just grit my teeth?. The RE GCSE is compulsory in her school in year 9.

BonnyDay Mon 08-Oct-12 08:44:59

is it giving the opinion of one side of hte argument? if so leave it

Northey Mon 08-Oct-12 08:46:41

She needs to know the different points of view in order to be able to relate/analyse/criticise them in coursework and exams.

seeker Mon 08-Oct-12 08:48:26

I would want to find out the context- had she written about it? Was it as part of an an analysis of the issues? But I woudn't be happy.......

We quite often did projects on ethical issues and had to examine and present both sides of the argument - is that what she's doing? Have you asked her about it?

BonnyDay Mon 08-Oct-12 08:49:37

i would expect learners to be able to be anti abortion as well as prob - oyu need to give both sides to get top marks

LineRunner Mon 08-Oct-12 08:54:54

I would find out, tbh, whether this was part a lesson giving pupils the skills to deconstruct stuff like the SPUC lunancy, or whether the teacher was promoting SPUC in some way.

My DD had a teacher who told them (only a couple of years ago) that AIDS was made in a laboratory and not sexually transmitted, so unfortinately madness sometimes does creep into schools with a few strange teachers.

Northey Mon 08-Oct-12 08:58:19

Not sexually transmitted? shock What? How did they say it got transmitted then?

Northey Mon 08-Oct-12 08:58:49

Oh silly me. Toilet seats. Of course.

OrangeLily Mon 08-Oct-12 09:00:54

Absolutely normal if being used to investigate both sides of an argument.

Speakers from pro-life/pro-choice organisations can also be invited in o discuss their viewpoints.

LineRunner Mon 08-Oct-12 09:05:13

God knows, Northey. At least DD's class knew the teacher was bonkers.

Even if the SPUC stuff was part of a two-sided debate, I wouldn't want their photos of late stage aborted foetuses being used to argue against all abortions.

That's why I would probably make a discreet enquiry of the teacher and see what response I got.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 08-Oct-12 09:16:40

I would think your DD is old enough to explain to you the context of this material before.

Its a bit hard to do RE without coming across the views of misogynist loons, isn't it?

GrimmaTheNome Mon 08-Oct-12 09:18:06

sorry, that should have been '...before checking up on the teacher'

seeker Mon 08-Oct-12 09:37:08

"Its a bit hard to do RE without coming across the views of misogynist loons, isn't it?"

grin

The ethics part of RE does seem to involve examining extreme views on sensitive subjects. My atheist DS really enjoyed it, particularly the discussion and debating. I suspect though that he picked up one or two opinions that I disagree with, particularly on abortion. I wonder whether he saw the stuff you refer to?

Northey Mon 08-Oct-12 13:26:15

OP's stuff was about stem cell research, not abortion, secretsquirrels.

I might have to remind myself what the objection to stem cell research is actually supposed to be...

BeingFluffy Mon 08-Oct-12 14:07:09

Hi, thanks for your responses. To clarify, the print out gives the SPUC view on embryonic stem cell research. In their opinion it is wrong to experiment on embryonic cells even if hours old because they are human beings. I cannot imagine that SPUC could give a rational or intelligent argument on anything and I was surprised that teacher included it. As far as I can tell he was completely uncritical and was presenting it as a balanced argument.

They are studying the holocaust later in the syllabus. I certainly hope the teacher doesn't include views from holocaust deniers or genocidal maniacs as balance.

Loved the comment about the "misogynist loons" in RE - just about sums it up!

LineRunner Mon 08-Oct-12 14:26:14

Is that not the same argument as the Catholic Church's, that life begins at conception?

Although the Catholic Chrch used to think the soul didn't exist until later, at the 'quickening', I think. (A view which goes back to Aristotle.)

So why not just teach a bit about evolving Catholic belief, I wonder? It has least has some historiographic interest. SPUC are just barking.

Northey Mon 08-Oct-12 16:01:10

I think SPUC are Catholic, aren't they?

crazymum53 Mon 08-Oct-12 19:17:41

The areas of stem cell research that have had most success so far have come from adult cells.
The main issue affecting the use of embryonic stem cells for me is that of consent. If adults want to donate say a kidney for example then they need to consent that they wish to do this. However an embryo cannot consent to this process.

LineRunner Mon 08-Oct-12 19:33:57

SPUC says it works with 'the Christian churches and the Muslim community' on its website.

cricketballs Mon 08-Oct-12 19:53:53

"They are studying the holocaust later in the syllabus. I certainly hope the teacher doesn't include views from holocaust deniers or genocidal maniacs as balance"

just as others have stated.....students have to give a balanced argument about these issues having looked at all sides to the issue; why deny your dc of hearing what they have to say and then using their own opinion on the matter (there is more than enough evidence to not support these views) and isn't it better that your dc come to this conclusion on their own?

LineRunner Mon 08-Oct-12 20:00:44

All depends on how it's presented.

'There are people who have denied the holocaust and here is the history of these groups and the reasons why they are discredited'

is very different from

'There may be evidence that the holocaust might not have happened'.

kerrygrey Mon 08-Oct-12 20:31:15

For goodness sake! Holocaust, abortion, stem cells, God. Allow your teens to make up their own minds even if their conclusions differ from yours.

BeingFluffy Mon 08-Oct-12 20:34:22

Yes, Cricketballs and why not get a representative from the flat earth society while they're about it and someone who thinks people with certain "racial" characteristics are superior/inferior.

LauraEFC Mon 29-Oct-12 17:30:42

Hi BeingFluffy,

I work for Education For Choice, we're a project dedicated to providing young people with evidence-based information on pregnancy and abortion. Unfortunately SPUC (and other groups) do give misinformation about abortion in their school materials, and we have concerns about the kinds of images young people would find if they use their website for research.
www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/23/abortion-what-children-schools

SPUC claim not to be a religious group so they will not officially be presenting a religious viewpoint on abortion (or other issues such as stem cell research).

Please do get in touch if you'd like more info or want some free resources! efc@brook.org.uk

BeingFluffy Mon 29-Oct-12 18:29:31

Thank you Laura. In this case it was in regard to stem cell research and was a print from their website. I was a bit annoyed as I don't think that vile organisation have a view worth hearing on anything. Perhaps the teacher was just being lazy.

I don't think the class have covered abortion (yet!) but if they do use handouts from SPUC for that I will go absolutely mental.

Thank you for letting me know about your resources.

radicalsubstitution Mon 29-Oct-12 20:15:00

I think it is very important that young people understand and are able to explore why some ethical issues that, to them, seem very straightforward can cause such issues.

Governments around the world have had to be quite careful in the way they write legislation governing embryonic stem cell research. I think the George W Bush administration were pretty against it (couldn't say for certain). I don't see any problem in presenting the arguments on both sides. These pressure groups are not going to go away and, even though their opinions may be utterly barmy, teenagers need to understand them.

Many of these children, like me, may end up in an unfortunate position where treatments involving embryonic stem cells are the only treatments for their, or their families', medical conditions. They need to understand what some, seemingly barmy, opinions around this are.

BeingFluffy Mon 29-Oct-12 20:31:02

That is just the point. The argument is not "balanced" on both sides. SPUC are a lunatic women hating organisation. I think there are probably good reasons why some people are opposed to stem cell research, but objecting on the grounds that a small cluster of cells a couple of days old are a human being is not a terribly rational argument, particularly coming from an organisation whose only wish is to ban abortion.

radicalsubstitution Mon 29-Oct-12 20:46:06

I agree BeingFluffy, but there aren't any pressure groups that I know of that present a balanced argument. It would pretty much defeat the object of being a pressure group.

It is the job of the teacher to select appropriate resources for teaching that present both sides of an arguments they are discussing. If you feel that the teacher is not presenting the arguments in a balanced or neutral manner, then that is something worth raising.

Incidentally, the SPUC opinion on the 'soul' of a cluster of cells is pretty much identical to that of the RC church - a hugely powerful body worldwide, and capable of putting a huge spanner in the works concerning global co-operation on embryonic stem cell research.

cricketballs Tue 30-Oct-12 10:41:48

Whilst I appreciate this discussion has moved on I have only just read your reply to my point Beingfluffy...

Yes, Cricketballs and why not get a representative from the flat earth society while they're about it and someone who thinks people with certain "racial" characteristics are superior/inferior

just like kerrygrey stated surely we should be encouraging free thought and allowing teens to "make up their own minds even if their conclusions differ from yours" and if this means that they are exposed to viewpoints that you deem to be dangerous then so be it; but it will allow them to come to a conclusion themselves for their own belief system.

As a teacher I would have hoped that your DD's teacher had explained that this was just one particular point of view from one organisation and not a scientific fact and that there are other points of view held by many others and offer these to them. Then explain that only use this as part of a whole investigation rather than base their conclusions on just this material.

If this wasn't the case then that is where I think your argument should lie and not that your DD should never be exposed to it

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