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atheism and religious school

(49 Posts)
nobodysbaby Tue 01-Oct-13 13:39:39

Can anyone help me to answer this question? In our catchment there are 2 secondaries; 1 undersubscribed C of E, 1 oversunscribed secular. If dd is allocated the religious school, can ee appeal on the grounds that we are atheists with firm opinions about secular education? We had mo choice at primary, as we are rural and all the primaries within any reasonable fistance are C of E.

MerryMarigold Tue 01-Oct-13 13:42:10

Probably not if she went to a CofE Primary. If your beliefs are really that strong, I would move so as to not compromise them. However, I really think a CofE school is hardly going to indoctrinate her! Kids do what their peers do, generally.

MerryMarigold Tue 01-Oct-13 13:42:50

Also, it would be hard to prove you are atheists. It may look like you were making it up to get her into the better school.

FreckledLeopard Tue 01-Oct-13 13:45:29

As far as I'm aware, no state schools in this country are secular. They all must have an 'act of worship' in them. The extent to which a school complies with this varies, but there are no 'secular' state school in England and Wales. So I don't think you could argue or appeal on those grounds.

exexpat Tue 01-Oct-13 13:49:48

No. Atheism gives you no priority in non-denominational schools, even though being a church-goer gives you priority at some church-linked schools (it is not fair but that is how it is - the National Secular Society is campaigning against the system).

And what FreckledLeopard said about no schools being actually secular anyway.

nobodysbaby Tue 01-Oct-13 13:49:51

I don't thimk it would be hard to prove, we have identified ourselves as atheists on official forms since she was born. We really did have no choice at primary, all rural primaries here are CofE, and even our nearest of those is a half hour car journey! I know they won't indoctrinate her, but why should she have to put up with a school based around an ethos eith which she does not agree? Would you say the same if ee belonged to another faith?

nobodysbaby Tue 01-Oct-13 13:50:21

Thanks all.

exexpat Tue 01-Oct-13 13:56:25

Lots of non-Christians get allocated to CofE schools, including Muslims, Hindus etc. Christianity is still seen as the default position, and is part of the school life even in non-church schools. I think it is unfair and outdated, but I don't think you would stand a chance of using that as a grounds for appeal.

sonlypuppyfat Tue 01-Oct-13 13:58:03

It seems to be quite hard work avoiding religion doesn't it, I don't think children "catch it" by going to a faith school.

nobodysbaby Tue 01-Oct-13 14:42:48

Thanks gor that link Exepat.

Talkinpeace Tue 01-Oct-13 15:51:30

Secondary schools are generally much more low key in their 'god' stuff than primary (other than the Katlick ones of course)
DCs primary sang songs every day
secondary its maybe once a term

pick which battles need to be fought
CofE UK schools are not a big one IMHO

MerryMarigold Tue 01-Oct-13 20:02:56

I'd say these days schools tend to be multi faith rather than secular

Talkinpeace Tue 01-Oct-13 20:06:05

not in the shire counties ....

MerryMarigold Wed 02-Oct-13 08:10:43

Ah, now I remember why I'd hate to live there!

curlew Wed 02-Oct-13 08:12:17

"Also, it would be hard to prove you are atheists. It may look like you were making it up to get her into the better school."

Surely not! grin

MerryMarigold Wed 02-Oct-13 10:00:26


TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 02-Oct-13 10:02:17

Wouldn't ring very true if you sent dc to the CofE primary, I wouldn't think!

Quite like the idea of people Suddenly Losing God to get into better schools, though grin

curlew Wed 02-Oct-13 10:07:05

A Crisis of Faith when the kids approachteenage years, need yunless and you start reevaluating your life in the light of new realities.........

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 02-Oct-13 10:18:12

Fossils and facts...

MuswellHillDad Thu 03-Oct-13 09:07:26

I think your household views will easily outweigh any theist (nonsense smile) at the school. Mine are at Catholic primary and my son is admirably skeptic and scientific about the whole thing. He's a born atheist.

That said, the whole system sucks. Didn't people move to America all those years ago because they wanted the separation of church and state? Things haven't moved on much since the Boston Tea Party. Why churches get charity status is still beyond me. Why churches control 20,000 schools in the UK is beyond me too.

VillaVillekulla Thu 03-Oct-13 09:18:36

I'm afraid I don't have the answer but I'm totally sympathetic to your concerns.

I wouldn't be happy at all if the only choice for DD was a faith school. You should check out the Campaign for Fair Admissions. I think the National Secular Society would be able to advise on this. They have various briefings on their website including this one.

Talkinpeace Thu 03-Oct-13 11:56:54

If only separating church from schools had not had exactly the opposite effect in the USA
atheists do not get elected to public office there ....

Kenlee Thu 03-Oct-13 12:08:37

I went to a C of E school....it was great....singing songs in assembly ... feeling at one with God...

Then I grew out of it....

Hey but my RE teacher said to not believe in God is a choice....To do good is the only choice we should never need to ponder.

Funny thing is I always thought of the UK as a Christian country.... with Christian values....So why shouldn't your child be taught these values in school?

BTW Im an atheist now...

MuswellHillDad Thu 03-Oct-13 12:12:30

Talkinpeace - how true! It amazes me how Republicans exploit misguided beliefs that their constitution was meant to enshrine Christianity and that there are so many deeply god fearing Americans. Ughhh!

However, the debate here is about schools and I think state schools in the US are considerably more acceptable to the middle classes than in the UK. Whether that's related to the separation of church and state is debatable but I wish we had it here too.

Talkinpeace Thu 03-Oct-13 12:34:30

Once you take into account the number of kids in private school (higher than in the UK) and home educated (the same proportion again), sadly I think your optimism is misplaced.
Many of the HE kids are rabidly evangelical and most catholic and other strongly religious kids go private, as well as the rich.

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