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Attempt to establish a secular school - article in Grauniad

(157 Posts)
UnquietDad Wed 03-Oct-07 10:42:41

This came up in the blasphemy thread but I think it deserves a discussion of its own.

here tis

Me, I'm quite happy for my children to go to school with the children of Jews, Christians, Muslims, Seventh-day Adventists, Apocalyptists, atheists, agnostics, don't-care-ists, Worshippers of the Great Spaghetti Monster and people who believe the Royal Family are lizards and we should all wear turquoise. But some of them don't want my child to go to school with theirs.

wheresmysuntan Wed 03-Oct-07 13:03:13

I read this article in the Guardian last week and was furious - why wouldn't a secular school be 'politically' feasable? There was a very good letter (can't remember which day) pointing out that it is likely that the political problems are all to do with the idea being thrown out by the House of Lords which is full of unelected Bishopsangry. It is outrageous that those of us who do not believe in God are expected to tolerate an educational system which allows for religious propaganda ( and indeed indoctrination) but no balancing athiest perspective.
I think it is about time all STATE schools were secular. If people want a religious aspect to their children's upbringing they should provide it themselves by going to church and Sunday school.
The vested interest groups love to point out how churches established so many schools - but that was in the past. It should not be beyond the wit of government to come up with a system of buy back. They seem to be able to compulsorarily purchase land for roads why not to secure a fair education system for all ? I would vote for the first political party to advocate secular state education - I wonder if David Cameron reads MN ?

niceglasses Wed 03-Oct-07 13:11:41

This is my old school. I think this headteacher (not my old one obv) is pretty inspirational and I agree, I don't see why it isn't possible. I think its just a knee-jerk reaction.

UnquietDad Wed 03-Oct-07 13:14:47

I don't even see why we need to call it "secular".

The problem is that the religious always take an "it must be all about me" approach - an awful lot of people simply see the whole thing as being about as relevant as tealeaf-reading and fairies, and give it about as much thought.

Kaz33 Wed 03-Oct-07 13:15:52

No arguments here, good article and inspired parents. What a huge shame that religion not only continues having a lot of say in education but that it is getting worse.

Think I would vote for any party that says - lets stop the increase in faith schools grin

CountessDracula Wed 03-Oct-07 13:16:10

Well I guess they just don't like the thought of being excluded based on their religion

Just as those of us who are not religious have our children excluded from church schools for which we pay taxes

So as I am vehemently anti discrimation on the basis of religion I think I would agree that this secular school is a bad idea, it is as bad to exclude people because they are religious as it is to exclude people because they are not.

CountessDracula Wed 03-Oct-07 13:18:07

I'm pretty damned sure that my dd's non-church primary school doesn't have a "daily act of religious worship" though hmm

UnquietDad Wed 03-Oct-07 13:18:30

CD, yes, exactly what I've been saying on all the faith school threads and what I say in my first post here.

CountessDracula Wed 03-Oct-07 13:19:08

oh sorry

didn't realise!

TheQueenOfQuotes Wed 03-Oct-07 13:19:54

"Just as those of us who are not religious have our children excluded from church schools for which we pay taxes"

you may be from some - but not from the majority - we have children of several different religions attending the church infant school. One of the parent governors is an active believer in the Ba'haii(sp) faith. The parents of the two muslim children let their children attend the "acts of worship" as they follow their Islamic beliefs at home.

The problem is that the religious always take an "it must be all about me" approach"

ermm - I don't know what religions these people that you meet with the views follow - but certainly Christianity is NOT all "about me" hmm.

Anyhow - I have to go out to town and DS3 is wanting milk (again LOL) so I'm gone.....

CountessDracula Wed 03-Oct-07 13:20:36

Well around me you are
totally excluded

coffincarrier Wed 03-Oct-07 13:22:31

hold on, where does it say anyone would be excluded from this school on the grounds of faith?
It certainly doesn't say so in this just says they would be taught about religion in an unbiased way, without an act of daily worship.
how would anyone be excluded in that scenario?

TheQueenOfQuotes Wed 03-Oct-07 13:24:50

coffin - I agree it doesn't say anywhere in that article that children would be excluded....

UnquietDad Wed 03-Oct-07 13:26:18

Let me explain the "all about me" comment - in context of my post of 13:14:47 it's clearer. People think, when we want to take faith schools out of the equatiion, that we are having a go at religion and that is somehow unfair. That's not the case. Just want it to be irrelevant to where you go to school.

coffincarrier Wed 03-Oct-07 13:28:21

no, and it is absilutely not what this initiative is about.
discrimination on the grounds of religion is a Very Bad Thing and the lovely Dr Kelley has no plans for that AFAIK
I think it does the CofE no favours that they continue to allow religious discrimination in their schools tbh.

TheQueenOfQuotes Wed 03-Oct-07 13:31:59

aha - I understand what you mean now.

However, speaking as someone from the otherside of teh coin to you - for most people their religion (whether it's Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh or Rastafarian (sp)) isn't just a "one day a week" thing - it's part of their entire life. Their whole life is about being a "insert any religion" not just going to church/sunday school on a Sunday. Like it or not - Christianity is still the largest religion in the UK - so therefore more children are going to be partaking in Christian religious activities.

And I must add - I've never yet met anyone who's become a Christian as a result of the "daily act of worship" etc at school - but I know plenty of people who come from a Christian family who are no longer a Christian after taking part in them smile

TheQueenOfQuotes Wed 03-Oct-07 13:34:40

"I think it does the CofE no favours that they continue to allow religious discrimination in their schools tbh."

Actually AFAIK it's more the Catholic schools which are more discriminatory in the selection of pupils - obviously there are some exceptions - but most CoE school are not so selective.

UnquietDad Wed 03-Oct-07 13:35:16

And people should be quite free to practice whatever form of worship to whatever deity/entity they choose - irrespective of how much baloney I, and other rationalists, feel it to be - however many days a week and hours a day they wish to do so.

It should be completely irrelevant, however, to the entry/admissions policy of any local state schools.

UnquietDad Wed 03-Oct-07 13:35:33



coffincarrier Wed 03-Oct-07 13:38:12

no and the Catholics do themselves no favours either smile
ah well, it will ever happen, but we can dream.

TheQueenOfQuotes Wed 03-Oct-07 13:41:57

yes but it's not just "faith" schools which have different entry/admissions policies.....I know of children who haven't got into their chosen (local) school because there wasn't enough places.....that particular school year there was a VERY large number of younger siblings and they came first infront of catchment......and I know our local area takes

"Pupils who have a Statement of Special Educational Need or children who are in public care." as the first priority in admissions.....

Marina Wed 03-Oct-07 13:43:18

I think the school sounds like a great idea and I am disappointed with the C of E, of which I'm an active member, response to Dr Kelley's suggestions.
I wish the UK would follow the French model of making all state provision secular, with belief systems and faiths taught as part of a secular humanities curriculum.
Those of us who did want an overtly faith-based education would have to go the (hopefully) independent route.
I have to say though, what would all you atheists do once the churches had withdrawn from state education provision altogether wink? Would you have to find another justification/rationale for all your digs at Spaghetti Monsters and the like?

Blu Wed 03-Oct-07 13:47:07

Whether you want your own child to attend a religiously-based school or not, surely you must agree that to put obstacles in the way of a non-religious school is unfair and undemocratic?

This is not an 'anti-religious' school - simply one in which worship plays no part, and religions are studied as subjects, along with major schools of philospohical thought.

coffincarrier Wed 03-Oct-07 13:47:50

how true Marina
I reckon we would get the Bishes out of the House of Lords.
that should take a few years grin
did you see that seminar by Jan wotsit (CofE spokeperson for education and such like) saying ID should be taught in schools? I reads it in the TES but I can't remember her name now

Marina Wed 03-Oct-07 13:48:14

Oooh, Blu said the P word! I'd love it if philosophy was on the National Curriculum - another thing we could do with copying from the French wink

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