Advanced search

Why do non religious schools sing about Jesus and God?

(100 Posts)
DairyNips Fri 07-Sep-12 18:01:31

This is a genuine question. My ds1 has just started school in a lovely primary school. I went along to the welcome assembly today as the headmistress was talking about it being a lovely school full of love for each other and the love of God. When I have attended assembly's in the past (ds went to nursery there), the children have also been singing songs about Jesus and how great he is etc.
Now, it was the same when I was at school but I just wonder why it is this way? Why do non religious schools choose to sing about any particular belief system? Isn't it a bit biased? Also, doesn't it make an assumption on behalf of the children that they all believe in God/Jesus etc?
Personally, I went to Sunday school yet never actually chose to do that.. I now don't follow any religion, I have my own beliefs about certain things but that's as far as it goes.

I just think children should be allowed to make up their own minds without being made to sing about one religion in particular. Btw I'm totally up for children being taught about all religions and I think this is important.

Any thoughts on this?

OP’s posts: |
exexpat Fri 07-Sep-12 18:04:47

It is the law that all state schools have to have a daily act of collective worship of a broadly Christian nature. So even non-church schools are actually religious, just not affiliated to a particular church.

I think the law is outdated and inappropriate, and I support the National Secular Society's campaign to abolish it, but I can't see it happening any time soon.

sleeze Fri 07-Sep-12 18:06:09

Collective Worship is legally required to take place every school day and ‘shall be wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character’ (1988 Education Act).

exexpat Fri 07-Sep-12 18:07:14

By the way, they will normally be taught about other religions in RE, and depending on the head, may have assemblies involving aspects of other faiths, eg at Diwali or Eid, but the God/Bible stuff is compulsory (though some heads are more enthusiastic about complying than others).

ReallyTired Fri 07-Sep-12 18:08:01

Its the law of the land. Many community schools are far more religous than faith schools. How relgious a community school is depends a lot of the head teacher.

i am surprised that the national secular society has not set up an free schools.

DairyNips Fri 07-Sep-12 18:13:01

Wow, I didn't know it was the law! How strange! I'm not against being a Christian or Christians themselves but I would like my son(s) to choose who and what they worship confused

Obviously, as his parent I will teach him there are many religions and faiths and its up to him whether he follows one or not. Still find it all a bit strange though!

OP’s posts: |
ZiaMaria Fri 07-Sep-12 18:13:02

I think that you can remove your child from the collective worship though. Althoguh this proabbly would mean them missing out on assemblies and things.

DairyNips Fri 07-Sep-12 18:19:51

Yeah, I seem to remember children leaving my assembly when I was little, probably for this reason. I don't want to single him out, he's settling really well so I'll let him join in. I'll just have to make sure he knows it isn't the only option iyswim.

OP’s posts: |
alcofrolic Fri 07-Sep-12 19:54:33

Most of our staff are ungodly. We learn the odd hymn over the year, but most of our assemblies focus on morals and values rather than god. The odd Bible story fills some of the Christian gaps. We also work on the formula that one visit of a happy clappy priest = 5 religious assemblies.

So, job done.

jabed Fri 07-Sep-12 20:01:47

I really wish I knew what peoples problem was with this. I love to hear the children singing in assembly each morning. If for any reason I am not in assembly (duty or similar) I often hear the singing drifting across the ground. Its beautiful.

Assembly gives a good feel for the day. A sense that the world is right and everything in it has a place. Its a punctuation point between getting into school and the start of the day. I think it gives structure.

It is possible to remove a child from RE or assembly. Most times I have found it is JH who do this. From a purely teaching point of view or tutors point of view, parents who remove kids are a PITA! If you dont believe it, it does no harm. Or are you just desperate to impose your views on the rest? I can understand the JH view but its still a PITA.

My view would be, if you dont like it, find another school.

I am not religious but I am happy for my DS to be given a Christian education. I think the moral and character essentials are there. Its not as rigid as some religions . I prefer it to the current atheistic religious priciples around. Christianity might be accused of having been involved in many atrocities and disputes across twomilenia but I would say that Atheism has managed to cause as many deaths in less than one hundred years and no one notices.

Attitudes to religion are one thing that really get my back up.

DairyNips Fri 07-Sep-12 20:22:22

Jabed I agree with assembly and I think the singing is lovely, I just don't see why they have to follow Christianity.

I never said I don't like religion or that I will remove him, I just find it a little strange he doesn't get any choice in this.

I don't think it's fair of you to say people who remove their children are a PITA, what is a PITA is that one certain religion has been decided on for all children to sing about and this obviously excludes some children who have different beliefs.

I don't think it does any harm as such, it's just not very fair is it? They don't make all schools sing about Jehovah for example, I don't think any religion should take preference. I would even be happier if it was a different religion for every assembly or none at all but with lots of info about religions through RE.

OP’s posts: |
alcofrolic Fri 07-Sep-12 20:28:24

Your child should be receiving lots of info about various religions through RE lessons (a statutory requirement).

DairyNips Fri 07-Sep-12 20:38:23

Yeah I figured that alco smile I'm really not that bothered about all this in the grand scheme of things. I just think its a bit strange it's the law.. I was just intrigued as to why it is this way and now I knowsmile

OP’s posts: |
ReallyTired Fri 07-Sep-12 20:39:07


My family attend church every sunday and I can feel empathy with those who do not share my beliefs.

"If you dont believe it, it does no harm. Or are you just desperate to impose your views on the rest? I can understand the JH view but its still a PITA.

My view would be, if you dont like it, find another school."

But all state community schools have a broadly christian assembly. There is no option to find another school, unless you suggest moving country. I don't see how removing a child from religous worship is imposing your views on others. Surely having a broadly christian assembly is imposing a religous view on hundreds of people.

Are you suggesting home education?

DairyNips Fri 07-Sep-12 20:49:55

Exactly reallysmile

OP’s posts: |
jabed Fri 07-Sep-12 20:50:49

But all state community schools have a broadly christian assembly

IMCE,what passes for Christian assembly in many state schools isnt. There are very few who do the real deal these days. I can think of many locally to me who dont even have anything that passes as an assembly.

So I would think finding a school which isnt so into keeping the law would be pretty easy.

AllPastYears Fri 07-Sep-12 21:10:37

I agree with you DairyNips. I know it's the law, but I don't see why we should have such a stupid law hmm. And for those who say, "Well you can remove your child from assembly," I don't think it should be acceptable to have it as the norm to attend, and to have to request non-attendance. Personally, I don't think religious worship has any place in schools - religious education, sure, but worship, no.

AllPastYears Fri 07-Sep-12 21:13:43

jabed, "I am not religious but I am happy for my DS to be given a Christian education. I think the moral and character essentials are there. "

I am a very moral atheist. Are you saying that religious people have a monopoly on morality? And as for the beautiful that a reason for indoctrinating children? hmm

alcofrolic Fri 07-Sep-12 21:15:01

Teachers can also 'remove' themselves from religious assemblies.

Pantone363 Fri 07-Sep-12 21:23:14

I remove my kids, or actually they choose each term if they want to be removed (they haven't said no once)

It's outdated, ridiculous and wholly divisive to force small children to sing songs and pray to a god that the vast majority of them don't believe in. They are a captive audience and tbh it pisses me right off that schools ar still in the dark ages with this stuff.

Anyway, DD and DS leave for the happy clappy bit, they play in reception with the JV kid and some other atheists and some Plymouth brethren kids. They love it and don't feel excluded at all. In fact it's more inclusive than the assembly in the first place!

ravenAK Sat 08-Sep-12 04:31:14

'If you dont believe it, it does no harm.'

Might as well be the Satanists' Bible or Mein Kampf or Barbie's Fairy Tale Collection then, surely?

Any of the above could be presented to my dc in assembly, by people whom they're taught to listen to attentively, & if the kids didn't happen to have been brought up to believe in such nonsense, no harm would be done?

Don't be so monumentally silly. Firstly, children are impressionable & vulnerable, & secondly, it's not easy for them to compartmentalise 'Mrs Loon is to be ignored when she's banging on about the imminent advent of Great C'Thulhu, but I have to take her seriously in Maths'.

'From a purely teaching point of view or tutors point of view, parents who remove kids are a PITA!'

Nope. I've been a form tutor for 14 years. Never found this a PITA. A minor logistical issue, swiftly solved by giving the kid work to do under the supervision of a colleague whose tutor group have a different assembly day. Not rocket science...

OP, yanbu. Comes as a shock to many of us when the first starts school! grin.

exoticfruits Sat 08-Sep-12 07:13:44

I can never understand why people think there are non religious schools unless they didn't grow up in the UK. If they did I can only think that they went to a church school and imagined that the rest of us had something different. There is very little difference - generally a church school will all go to church on occasions and they will have the vicar in school regularly and often have prayers at the end of the day and grace, but a non church school sometimes does that too.
I think that schools ought to make it plain before they start. The Directgov site tells you everything that you need to know about your DC starting school but they fail to mention it. You will find it all in 1998 Education Act.

talkingnonsense Sat 08-Sep-12 07:20:29

Also, it's because those are the songs that are there- schools have the hymn book ( likely come and praise!), of they have a pianist she knows the tune. The ungodly staff know the words- so everyone is singing the same few songs. It has a nice historical continuity at harvest for example- maybe still we plough te fields and scatter, probably broad beans are sleeping in a blankety bed, in 90% of primary schools at the same time of year.

jabed Sat 08-Sep-12 07:40:26

This is one of the few countries in the world that expresses a faith nationally. There are many secular ones. Unlike many of those secular countries this one also allows you to express your views. You will find religious expression and religious indoctrination far stronger in some of those countries too. In others many people actually select faith schools for the religion ( and I do not mean RC either)

If you dont like the country, leave.

I intend leaving by the way but not because of the religious assemblies in schools.

As for what is taught in those broadly Christian , or any other religion here these days, it may as well be satanism. Its not taught correctly.

As for those who profess a moral atheism. There is no such thing. You got the values from elsewhere. I am always very wary of moral atheism.

Those are just opinions, which in this country, I am still entitled to and entitled to express. You dont have to share them. You dont have to shout them down either. I accept yours. I just do not agree.

Good day.

BeingFluffy Sat 08-Sep-12 07:53:29

OP - I think it really depends on the school. In the state primary my younger DD attended they had assembly but it used to be on a theme - such as poverty, ecology, etc. They often sang but it was very rarely about Christ or god. They did have a gospel choir workshops one year which formed the basis of the Christmas performance for the whole school, but that was a one off. Younger DD learnt the usual Christmas hymns but that was in choir and for a special performance at the town hall. In the independent primary both my DD's attended it was very similar.

At both the state secondaries my DD's attend, the assemblies are of a secular nature. They consider the big questions of what it is to be human but god doesn't really come into it, except in a very abstract way. They do a Christmas choir performance but it is only for children who want to sing and attendance is not compulsory.

By the way, RE GCSE is compulsory for all in year 9 in DD2's school. They teach the ethics course and religious belief is a fairly small part of it. There is a higher propertion of muslims than christians or non believers at the school.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in