Inclusive assemblies on the cards for Scotland - will England be next?(21 Posts)
Way to go Scotland! Surely Parliament can't ignore this Groundbreaking call to make school assemblies inclusive?
Let's hope England goes down the same path towards making our Community schools the inclusive places they should be, with an overhaul of the laws on compulsory Collective Worship.
Many schools are ignoring these laws anyway, but parents don't always know what a school's approach is until their child starts there, and even if they do, it can change overnight with a new Headship appointment.
Doesn't surprise me that I haven't been inundated with people leaping in to defend the current legislation.
I hadn't seen that article.
As you say, Way to go!
My kids are atheists and have always sat through religious assemblies which have not relevance to their lives or beliefs. I would love to see them reviewed and changed.
Totally support this!
Next thing is the state should stop funding religious-based schools.
Home and places of worship are the only places where religious practice should be allowed.
And I say this as a NON atheist.
There's a wee bit more to this story. The Church of Scotland are now saying that they were only signing up with the humanists to change the name of religious observance to "Time for Reflection", but not to change any of the content of it. But, curiously, the press release in which they said this has now gone from their website, and their stance seems to have softened. There's a lot of polarised debate about this inside the church so it's one to watch.
On a related issue, in Scotland the church has a right to representatives on the Education Committee. A petition is going through the Scottish Parliament to end that too.
I'd have no problem with the religious assemblies at my kids' school if they weren't just Church of Scotland. If they mixed it up with other Christian, atheist, Muslim and maybe some other philosophies it would be fine. I really don't like how they are being taught that Presbyterianism is the only religion.
Thanks for the update taking. Many (all?) English councils have church reps on their local education committees too.
Is England more multicutural than scotland? I don't know which country has the highest proportion of non christians.
I feel that head teachers in consultation with parents should decide how much worship is in a school. I am not sure that a humanist minority wanting to drive god out of schools is inclusiveness. Do we know what muslims or hindus think of assemblies. The muslims and hindus I know in real life are not that unhappy about their children saying prayers.
Hmm, good luck to them finding a consensus in that sort of consultation.
All major religions, and non-religious moral traditions such ad Buddhism and Humanism, collectively have so much in common that there really isn't any need to divide people by promoting one above another.
"Hmm, good luck to them finding a consensus in that sort of consultation."
There would never be a consensus of opinon on how much (if any) religion should be in school. If 99% of parents want their children taken to church during school time then the 1% would be out voted. A family in the 1% would exercise their right to withdraw their children from school worship.
A democracy goes with the majority opinon. If you want schools to stop having religious assemblies then you need to lobby MPs to change the law.
" A democracy goes with the majority opinon"
Schools should be inclusive rather than democratic.
"Schools should be inclusive rather than democratic."
Foisting secularism on parents who want their children to go to church is not inclusive. Many dictatorships are very anti religion.
Thankfully we live in a democracy that tries to find a balance between everyone's desires and opinons.
“You can please some of the people some of the time all of the people some of the time some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”
I don't believe that it is ever possible to be 100% inclusive of everyone's wishes. Democracy is not perfect, but its better than the alternative.
" Foisting secularism on parents who want their children to go to church is not inclusive."
Inclusive assemblies focus on the many core moral values that families of all religions and none have in common.
RE lessons (should) teach about all major religions and non-religious belief systems.
Outside of school families can focus on worship, in the religion of their choice, or choose not to worship if that is their choice.
Well said, preswim. And good for you, Scotland. I hope Wales goes the same way before my daughter goes to school.
"Inclusive assemblies focus on the many core moral values that families of all religions and none have in common. "
That is your opinon and plenty of parents do not share your opinon. Different religious groups have different core values. For example some christians, muslims and Hindus are deeply opposed to sex outside marriage or homosexuality.
Not all people share the same cultural values as the UK. Many core moral values of humanists are deeply influenced by christianity even if they don't believe. We have laws to agree collectively what we deem morally acceptable.
"RE lessons (should) teach about all major religions and non-religious belief systems."
Is that the current state of affairs.
"Foisting secularism on parents who want their children to go to church is not inclusive."
I don't see what your point is, reallytired - no one is stopping parents taking their children to church, just proposing that religious worship should not be imposed in schools, which as far as I am aware are not the same thing as churches.
Also, what has compulsory religious worship in schools got to do with democracy? The rule was imposed decades ago, and has never been an election issue or the subject of a referendum.
If we didn't have compulsory Christian assemblies in school now and someone proposed bringing them in, do you really think a majority of the population would vote for it? I really, really doubt it.
" That is your opinon"
No, its a fact.
" Different religious groups have different core values"
Some are different. Some are the same. They all focus on treating others as you would expect to be treated. They all focus on kindness and compassion towards our fellow citizens.
It is the common values that inclusive assemblies focus on.
" Is that the current state of affairs."
If schools ate teaching in accordance with the National Framework for RE then yes, it is. But its not compulsory, and some schools don't follow it.
I didn't read it as foisting secularism on people, more just an agreement on the role of school and the appropriateness of religion in that sphere of life. It isn't as if taking religion out of something automatically puts an anti-religion message in its place.
ReallyTired, I think England is more multicultural than Scotland with regards to the proportions of different ethnic groups and beliefs but Scotland has lower levels of church attendance and a different relationship with the church (church of Scotland is not an established church in the way CofE is).
Ask your MP to put forward a motion to allow schools themselves to decide their religous character. The present law on christian worship is flouted by most schools in the UK.
"If we didn't have compulsory Christian assemblies in school now and someone proposed bringing them in, do you really think a majority of the population would vote for it? I really, really doubt it."
I don't know. I suspect that most people are fairly apathetic about religion. I imagine a lot of people would abstain if there was a referdum. Its not a subject that many people feel strongly about. If there was strong feeling among the MAJORITY of people about religion in schools then the law would be changed.
People aren't that bothered if their children get religion inflicted on them. You can be sure that there would be resistance if adults were forced to attend collective worship at work everyday.
There is a high percentage of cultural christians in the UK. Muslims and Hindus I met in real life are not that bothered about school assemblies.
"Foisting secularism on parents who want their children to go to church is not inclusive. Many dictatorships are very anti religion."
Nobody is stopping anyone from going to church. The issue is about bringing the church into schools. There's no need for the hyperbole about dictatorships.
And an absence of religion isn't the same thing as "foisting secularism". The schools aren't and won't be preaching against religion. They would just not be doing religious observance. Meanwhile, in Scotland at least, Catholic schools do teach against atheism.
At the end of it though it's really about children's rights, not ours. They have a right to a broad enough education in religion that they can make their own choices as adults, and not just the ones we want them to take.
"Ask your MP to put forward a motion to allow schools themselves to decide their religous character."
Yes, that's one thing people can do. However, there's a campaign group that are already making a lot of headway in this area, so people can support them too if they feel strongly about it. Its members are a coalition of religious and non-religious groups, including teaching unions, and they have a lot of distinguished supporters too, including parliamentarians.
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