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Does your school include non-religious world views in RE teaching?

(46 Posts)
hamburgercheeseburger Sat 14-Jun-14 13:27:13

On the back of this other thread I'm wondering to what extent schools include teaching about Humanism, Buddhism, and other non-religious world views in RE?

My DCs aren't taught about it at their CE primary (although there are many children from non-religious family backgrounds who go there). I'm assuming most community schools include it.

itsasunnydaysomewhere Sat 14-Jun-14 18:40:54

No. It's all which religion do you believe in which is especially annoying as morals are directly related to belief in teachers eyes. Ie no belief then no morals. Have told them when they start including all aspects (believers or not) then I will start including RE in the subjects that I care if they do their homework/revise for.

Teacher has realised we are at stalemate and we just politely ignore each other. At least I don't get chased round the hall at parents evening by her wanting to give us a "progress" update anymore �� I'm all for RE but only when it's inclusive

MillyMollyMama Sat 14-Jun-14 20:31:14

Shame you dictate to your children about what they must or must not do, itsasunny. They might enjoy the agreed syllabus, despite your views.

SueDNim Sat 14-Jun-14 20:36:10

Milly - I'd have a problem with a teacher implying that we are an amoral family due to our lack of religion. That isn't part of any syllabus, but a particular teacher's approach.

Olivevoir Sat 14-Jun-14 22:03:58

Morals aside, surely Religious Education is what it says on the tin...educating about religion ie What Christians/Muslims/Hindus etc believe. Last I heard, humanism wasn't a religion and therefore can't be included in Religious Education. Morals etc get taught elsewhere in the curriculum eg PSHE. Humanism is surely implicit in the science curriculum?

tiggytape Sat 14-Jun-14 23:14:35

My DD was taught about Humanism last term - older years of a regular primary school and part of RE lessons.

She also knows about atheism. They created a table about what people with faith / no faith might believe about different moral, social and science issues. They also covered naming ceremonies as the Humanist alternative to Baptism.

joanofarchitrave Sat 14-Jun-14 23:19:36

Oh dear, I've no idea.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 14-Jun-14 23:32:13

At dds school RE is split into the study of different religions & ethics/philosophy.

Dd is atheist and contributes enthusiastically.

tiggytape Sat 14-Jun-14 23:39:58

Picture - that is how DD is taught too.
Some lessons they are labelling the layout of a Synagogue or learning the pillars of Islam.
In other RE lessons they are debating how Humanists, Christians and Buddists may feel about funerals, crime and the human duty to look after the earth!
I think it is fantastic - it even draws out the quieter children to get involved as they can all get very animated about it!

hamburgercheeseburger Sun 15-Jun-14 06:49:55

Olivevoir: "Morals aside, surely Religious Education is what it says on the tin...educating about religion ie What Christians/Muslims/Hindus etc believe"

But it's not, is it? It has a much wider remit than that. The current national guidance on RE teaching says .....

"Religion and beliefs inform our values and are reflected in what we say and how we behave. RE is an important subject in itself, developing an individual’s knowledge and understanding of the religions and beliefs which form part of contemporary society.

Religious education provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong, and what it means to be human. It can develop pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity, of other principal religions, other religious traditions and worldviews that offer answers to questions such as these.

RE also contributes to pupils’ personal development and well-being and to community cohesion by promoting mutual respect and tolerance in a diverse society. RE can also make important contributions to other parts of the school curriculum such as citizenship, personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE education), the humanities, education for sustainable development and others. It offers opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development, deepening the understanding of the significance of religion in the lives of others – individually, communally and cross-culturally."

Of course there's a debate to be had about whether the title "Religious Education" is appropriate, given that wider remit. In other words, it's the name on the tin that should change, not the content.

NorthWards Sun 15-Jun-14 14:21:40

Schools seem to pick one of the major religions to study, then they do the various topics based on that religion. I asked DS and he says you are meant to include lots of different viewpoints in the exams, and that he always puts Atheism because it is easy to talk about the views! He was on the OCR board, which exam board probably affects the teaching style.

Back at Prep/Prim there seemed to be more of a focus on different religions, presumably due to lack of an exam syllabus to follow.

mrz Sun 15-Jun-14 14:37:43

The RE curriculum is determined by your local SACRE which should include members from various backgrounds

hamburgercheeseburger Sun 15-Jun-14 15:10:00

Mrz, yes it should, but the SACRE doesn't always include non religious world views. See this other thread about moves to restrict the SACRE membership:

Igggi Thu 19-Jun-14 18:12:11

How much time do you think schools get to spend on RE? I would agree a variety needs to be taught, but if your expectations are that six religions plus humanism should be taught, that just won't happen!

hamburgercheeseburger Thu 19-Jun-14 18:22:22

Why not Iggi? Some schools manage it. Presumably they just carve up the time available to make sure they cover everything. As I said, this is national guidance, so has been appropriately thought through. It's just not statutory (yet). Hopefully it soon will be.

Igggi Thu 19-Jun-14 19:40:27

So you will end up with a lot of breadth, and almost no depth (eg a ceremony from each belief system). If it came with a recommendation for more time for RE them great, but I don't think that's the case.
Everything you study in school means something else you leave out, unfortunately!

Igggi Thu 19-Jun-14 19:42:11

this is national guidance, so has been appropriately thought through.

mrz Thu 19-Jun-14 19:42:25

six religions plus humanism over SEVEN years of primary school

Hakluyt Thu 19-Jun-14 19:44:12

But surely the reality that many people are non religious is a crucial part of RE. Particularly in the light of the recent surgery showing that more than 50% of the population of Britain are non religious?

Hakluyt Thu 19-Jun-14 19:45:51

Survey, not surgery., obvs.

Igggi Thu 19-Jun-14 20:14:27

Very happy to include humanism, no problem with that. Big problem with idea of having to include all religions (well you could have one lesson where you mentioned them all, would that count?) Problem with the one-per-year approach is a lack of progression. So say you learn something age appropriate about Islam in S1 - well that would be it, you would never move beyond a really basic level of understanding of it. You could look at a festival from each religion each year, I can see that, but not "a study of.."
There are also students from other belief systems who could ask why they aren't mentioned - the Bah'ai, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Pagans... We'd need to cancel the rest of the curriculum.

Igggi Thu 19-Jun-14 20:15:56

Baha'i, I should have said.

Hakluyt Thu 19-Jun-14 20:18:05

How about atheism?

Igggi Thu 19-Jun-14 20:22:46

What about it? Atheism comes into work on belief in God, obviously, so could look at this in context of argument "Does God exist?" Other than that atheists don't all have the same opinions, can't say "this is how atheists celebrate the birth of a baby" etc. Hence why Humanism is looked at instead I suppose.

hamburgercheeseburger Thu 19-Jun-14 21:00:35

Igggi, the idea isn't to include all religions and world views, just a broad range that are common in the UK: "The phrase ‘religions and worldviews’ is used in this document to refer to Christianity, other principal religions represented in Britain, smaller religious communities and non-religious worldviews such as Humanism. The phrase is meant to be inclusive, and its precise meaning depends on the context in which it occurs, eg in terms of belief, practice or identity."

Hakluyt, by definition, non-religious = atheistic. e.g. See definition of Humanism.

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