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Religion and Children's TV?

(96 Posts)
Insanityismymiddlename Sun 29-Sep-13 09:47:47

Just watching Mr Blooms nursery and the episode is about the harvest festival, children are singing "all things bright and beautiful" and thanking god for the harvest.

Surely if we aren't allowed to have religion in non dominational(sp?) Schools then it shouldn't be on a children's TV show.

I mean we aren't allowed to celebrate Christmas now a days its "happy holidays" so not to offend other cultures so why is this any different.

Not actually bothered myself we aren't a christian household and have our own religions but just live and let live, I just think its a weird contradiction, AIBU?

exexpat Sun 29-Sep-13 21:16:49

thegreylady - yes, some people choose to apply to faith schools even if they are not religious, in which case they probably have no right to complain about religious aspects of school life.

However, even more people have no choice about sending their children to Church of England schools, because that is all that is available locally, and the places are allocated on distance rather than religious criteria. Atheists do not get priority at non-church schools because of their (lack of) belief.

And in any case, even non-denominational 'community' schools are also obliged to have daily acts of worship. As a non-believer in the UK, the only way to avoid religion in school is to withdraw your child from assemblies, or to home educate. And as a growing proportion of the population has no religion (25% overall at the last census, higher in younger age groups, so probably at least a third of parents of primary-age children), I think the current state of affairs is well overdue for reform.

LiberalPedant Sun 29-Sep-13 21:26:31

How about saluting the flag or singing the national anthem as they do in America?

There is not much singing of the national anthem in schools because it is so hard to sing. And the Supreme Court has ruled that schools can't force children to salute the flag.

kim147 Sun 29-Sep-13 21:38:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StitchingMoss Sun 29-Sep-13 21:47:50

Thegreylady, there is absolutely no evidence whatsover that the fact they are religious has anything to do with their OFSTED rating. Parents don't fight to get into these schools cos they have a daily prayer but because of their results - entirely disingenuous to claim otherwise.

exexpat Sun 29-Sep-13 21:56:39

Oh, and I didn't complain to my DC's old primary school (voluntary-controlled CofE, ie local school with places allocated on distance etc, not religion) about the religious assemblies, because I knew that was the law. Instead I joined the National Secular Society. Although the school was officially CofE, so had to pay lip-service to the church, only a tiny minority of staff and pupils' families were practising Christians.

candycoatedwaterdrops Sun 29-Sep-13 22:05:46

There was no act of daily worship at my school and it was a faith school. Is this unusual?

Catsize Sun 29-Sep-13 22:07:40

Mr Bloom himself is possibly worthy of some kind of worship...

thegreylady Sun 29-Sep-13 22:47:28

Stitching every single decent primary school I taught in, and there were many as I did supply for a few years after early retirement, had a faith affiliation. I also taught in several that hadn't. The difference was very marked. Now that evidence is anecdotal I know as is the fact that locally the Church schools have waiting lists and the CP schools haven't. I am not specially religious myself and my dc are agnostic at most. I can't see any differences between the scools in terms of size, catchment or facilities except that some had a greater or lesser degree of involvement with a church ( RC or CoE) and some didn't. The lovely, caring, high achieving schools were all faith schools.
I am talking in circles, I'm tired and probably wrong. I'm glad my dgc are in church schools ( except for dgd in Turkey).

HorryIsUpduffed Sun 29-Sep-13 23:28:16

I think the popularity of faith schools is partly self-fulfilling. They start off good because they're good, then they get popular because they're good. Once they're popular they increase their proportion of engaged/involved parents, so their results improve/sustain. Meanwhile the other local schools dwindle because all the most interested and involved parents are elsewhere. And that makes the faith school look even better.

In our town the church school used to be the best secondary school for miles, by miles. It still trades on that reputation and is hugely popular. Meanwhile its results have slipped below average for the area and nobody seems to have noticed.

exexpat Sun 29-Sep-13 23:50:07

Round here the popularity and league table position of schools seems mostly to correlate with the general desirability of the areas they are located in, not with their religious affiliation - some of the most popular and over-subscribed schools are community ones. But it's only the handful of Catholic primaries that select on religion in my city, not the CofE ones.

Somehow, any school that is selective, on whatever grounds, seems to be seen as more desirable and therefore it is the more engaged and determined parents who get places, and their children are also more likely to be pushed supported at home, and so the school does well and becomes more desirable etc.

I haven't noticed a particular difference in terms of warmth/caring between different types of schools, except that I have heard rather unpleasant reports about treatment of low-achieving (possibly dyslexic but too young to be assessed) children at a very high-achieving Catholic primary near here.

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 29-Sep-13 23:57:18

OP, your OP sounds as though you don't want DCs to celebrate anything apart from birthdays. You are OK with birthdays?

Religious and other holidays tap into a very human need to celebrate the passing of time. They make us remember people, sadness and happiness and they are a shared experience. The 4th of July is an example of this.

StitchingMoss Mon 30-Sep-13 06:42:52

Ah so faith schools achieve better results because of god do they? Or is it that Christians are just more caring people than us atheists and so their kids do better at school? hmm

What a load of nonsense.

MiaowTheCat Mon 30-Sep-13 08:39:07

Hang on... there's a PLOT to Mr Bloom?! I thought it was just 20 minutes of eye candy and fantasising about what you'd like to get up to with him in the potting shed!

Cbeebies covers pretty much every major religion's festivals as they come around - at the moment we're into autumn and harvest festival season so that's what they're doing... no doubt we'll be into Diwali soon enough and everything else in between that I've forgotten about (I tend to mentally tune out a lot of the stuff on beebies).

Go find something else to be offended about.

BTW one of the schools around here with a high proportion of Muslim pupils sings All Things Bright and Beautiful - they simply have slightly altered the "Lord God made them all" line to say "God made them all." Same area of town have the great moneysaving solution to celebrating things without going down that stupid "Winterval" route - they stick the lights up and change the second line of them through every winter religious festival as they roll around over the course of the weeks!

thegreylady Mon 30-Sep-13 10:47:53

Nope Stitching nothing to do with 'better results because of god' but everything to do with a calm structured atmosphere with emphasis on caring for other people and regularly coming together as a community to celebrate time honoured festivals. A church school is usually affiliated to a local church and pupils become accustomed to the sense of belonging, not to a religion, but to a place. They are 'centred' and I know I can't explain very well. I know that children love taking part in Harvest Festivals and Nativity Plays and it is good to feel a sense of something bigger than humanity whether that is God, the cosmos, nature or whatever.
Church schools usually work, maybe 'why' doesn't matter.

kim147 Mon 30-Sep-13 10:51:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsFruitcake Mon 30-Sep-13 12:29:40

If 98 parents out of a hundred are happy for their dc to attend a daily assembly which may include a hymn or a prayer and 2 are not;the easy solution is for the two to read quietly in a classroom with a TA.
The solution is not to get rid of the assembly to accommodate the 2.

Couldn't agree more, thegreylady

exexpat Mon 30-Sep-13 12:55:49

Thing is, I don't think 98% of parents are necessarily 'happy' about religion in assembly, they just put up with it because it's the status quo. If there wasn't already a tradition of religion in school assemblies, how much support do you think a campaign to introduce it would get?

kim147 Mon 30-Sep-13 13:06:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HorryIsUpduffed Mon 30-Sep-13 13:13:00

If there wasn't already a tradition of religion in school assemblies, how much support do you think a campaign to introduce it would get?

This. It would get fuck all support for schools which aren't officially linked with a particular religion (that is, for most schools).

I think the only reason people don't make more noise about it is because they don't realise it happens. I had NFI before my PFB started (wrote to the head for a clarification of the school's interpretation of their obligation in order to decide whether PFB should be withdrawn).

When I was at primary school (1980s/1990s) we only ever had religious songs at Christmas, and in any case I only encountered a nativity in Reception. In assembly we sang songs about animals, or Beatles classics, not hymns, and we never ever had prayers. I don't know whether the school was breaking the rules, but because that's how I grew up I assumed that was the default "not a church school" state school position.

StitchingMoss Mon 30-Sep-13 15:07:38

What utter nonsense thegreylady - so non faith schools don't provide any of that??

I can't even begin to describe what a patronising heap of crap that is. We don't belong to church but we have a very strong sense of community and belonging, as do our boys.

I can't bear this high minded superior attitude - it's one of the things that totally puts me off religion.

And as for most parents supporting religious assemblies - judging by lots of posts on here a lot of parents aren't even aware they happen so could hardly be described as supportive.

Parents aren't aware of a lot of what kids get taught at school - I was in an RE lesson once where we had a visiting vicar and one of my Y6s asked him about the Da Vinci code. His reply was that the DVC was a story whereas the Bible was fact shock. I had to point out the "some people believe" it's fact as I couldn't let it stand!

Insanityismymiddlename Mon 30-Sep-13 19:06:31

Dione I have my own religion and I celebrate the relevant holidays, my DCs choose to join in on these celebrations and will continue to do so unless they disagree with them and they find their own paths, I also discuss other people's beliefs with them and try to teach them that just because I don't believe in it doesn't mean its wrong.

I find it ridiculous that just because I disagree with the way a show was presented to young children and that I also disagree with the daily act of worship in schools that you assume I don't have anything to celebrate other than birthdays.

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