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Does your children's school have a religious assembly every day?

(60 Posts)
reddaisy Fri 03-May-13 22:58:43

I am an atheist. Our DD is due to start primary school in September and her school is not a CoE school but it holds collective worship assemblies every day of a Christian nature. I am firmly of the belief that schools should be secular. I know I can withdraw her from assembly but DD would not thank me for that and offer our own views at home (so far I have managed to explain that some people believe in God, that a lot of people don't and that she can decide what she thinks herself)

What is normal in schools these days? I think daily collective worship is excessive and frankly is pisses me off that my DD will be indoctrinated in this way at school.

Hulababy Mon 06-May-13 20:25:55

DD goes to an independent primary, which has a CofE leaning, and yes - they have a daily assembly which is religious, involves prayer and hymns.

I work in an infant school - state, non church school and with a very truly mixed intake. We have assembly 3 times a week but there is no religious element at all. No prayers and all songs are generic assembly type songs and no reference to any form of god, etc. They talk about moral/ethical type stuff, just without a religious leaning.

They do, however, do a Christmas nativity and they recognise Easter too. We also have an Eid party, and we cover Diwali and Hannukai too, and Chinese New Year - all outside of RE lessons due to the nature of the children's backgrounds.

Haberdashery Mon 06-May-13 20:18:00

No, just a normal community primary.

Haberdashery, is that a church school?

Haberdashery Sun 05-May-13 23:22:24

Not all schools make their collective worship explicitly religious or explicitly related to any one religion. DD's school has prayers in daily assembly, for instance, but the children are invited to 'pray to your god if you have one and if not then think about the words of the prayer'. As the prayers tend to be of the entirely uncontroversial nature of being grateful for having good things in our lives and being compassionate towards others, I don't have a problem with this, as an atheist who considers those principles worthy and important.

jamtoast12 Sun 05-May-13 21:14:46

Our rc school only has assembly once per week!

Whathaveiforgottentoday Sun 05-May-13 13:20:36

As an atheist I dislike the inclusion of religious worship in schools but the secondary schools I worked in loosely adhere to the regulations but have a moral theme in form and assemblies. I'm not so sure of the practise in primaries but I do know that my dd spouts some stuff about god, but we discuss it and hopefully over time she will learn to evaluate it for herself. as a previous poster says, better to know your enemy.
Also, I said the Lord's Prayer every day at school yet I'm totally atheist so clearly did me no harm at all and in fact I miss the singing as schools no longer sing hymns. Still love 'when a knight won his spurs'.

exoticfruits Sun 05-May-13 10:35:55

Faith schools have to teach all religions in RE.

noramum Sun 05-May-13 10:31:01

DD (non-church school) has a daily assembly but it is not religious every day. Additionally they have RE lessons where they cover the main religions so she came home with the story behind Diwali, Hannukah, and Ramadan in addition to Easter, Christmas and recently Noah's Ark.

At the moment, she is nearly 6, she believes in God. But I think she believes in him equally like she thinks the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Father Christmas are real.

Neither DH or I are religious but I respect religions and I want DD to learn about them. As long as she is also taught that people don't believe in god and some believe in different ones I don't care if the school teaches RE.

Some of her friends grow up in religious families and DD asked why we didn't arrange a christening for her. We explain that we believe each person can make their own minds up when they are adults as long as they know what they want and learned about it.

exoticfruits Sun 05-May-13 10:29:41

Unfortunately so much is written about faith schools that people assume that schools that are not faith are secular. In reality there is little difference and it is quite possible that a non faith school can be more religious than a faith school. It depends largely on the Head.

ReadytoOrderSir Sun 05-May-13 10:13:48

You're right - I used the wrong word. I simply meant a state school that had no affiliation to any faith or church.

exoticfruits Sun 05-May-13 07:35:22

There are NO secular schools- they are non denominational. (This is the problem - people don't understand)

ReadytoOrderSir Sat 04-May-13 23:40:48

Daily collective worship is the law .... but of the four schools I know well (through own DCs and work) ...

CofE school does daily Christian worship with prayers, Grace at lunchtime and end of day prayer too.

Secular school A does assembly 4 days per week that included some element of 'quiet reflection' that seemed like a prayer but never actually mentioned any specific god. Once a month the local Minister came in to do a Christian assembly.

Secular school B does assembly 3 days a week and hurridly introduced a prayer when Ofsted arrived, much to the bemusement of the pupils! Various local church groups came in at different times of the year, with a wide range of faiths covered.

Secular school C does assembly 4 days a week with no sign of any quiet moment or god. Local minister comes once per term, but is fairly light-touch.

ReallyTired Sat 04-May-13 22:06:00

If you came when your son starts year 12 he could do the international bac.

This is a london state school that offers the IB

There are a handful of others. The IB would prepare your son better for a US university.

teacherwith2kids Sat 04-May-13 22:00:26

I am an atheist brought up in a very Christian family.

I teach RE, and used to take collective worship weekly. I have no problem with this, and nor do the schools - including the C of E one - that I have taught in. I do not proseletise(sp??) for my lack of belief, but I teach RE as an interesting academic subject, and treat collective worship as an opportunity to explore all kinds of interesting moral issues and moral and religious stories from a variety of faith traditions and none.

Interestingly, I have a militantly atheist pupil in my class (her choice, not her parents'). She attends daily collective worship, and contributes fully in RE. I occasionally discuss with her, as an aside, at breaktime etc, what her views are on something that was discussed in assembly: 'It's important to know my enemy' is the usual tone of her response....

ReallyTired Sat 04-May-13 21:59:57

Lot depends on what the head teacher is like. One school I used to work at had no religion whatsoever. They had assemby but used to sing beatles songs and talk about beinb nice to each other.

My son's old head teacher was very religous and the school was very christian inspite of being a community school. They used to say prayers everyday for various people in the world. My son's school now has a temporary head and the first thing he did was to scrap the prayers and all hymns.

Unfortunately school choice is a myth. Many parents just thank their lucky stars their child has a place at a school.

Wellthen Sat 04-May-13 21:51:46

I have taught in faith and non faith schools. In both I found genuinely religious children were in the minority, even if they came from religious families. Many children question the beliefs of others (respectfully) and a few are atheist. All these children have had daily (ish) acts of worship since they were 4. I teach in upper key stage 2 so these children have been 'indoctrinated' for a few years.

Based on anecdotes like these you cant argue that the children are being indoctrinated - it has no impact whatsoever on their beliefs.

breatheslowly Sat 04-May-13 15:28:08

I'm happy to go along with the "I believe" line, but it is quite unreasonable that the school is not doing the same.

Elibean Sat 04-May-13 13:31:05

And I agree with Exotic Fruits - and bring mine up accordingly. They have held various beliefs at various times already (aged 6 and 9) and they certainly don't always coincide with mine, nor their school's!

Elibean Sat 04-May-13 13:29:54

OP, I attended collective worship assemblies every single day of my school life (primary and secondary) and it influenced me not a jot.

I did like singing the hymns, and sometimes felt a bit 'different' because my family wasn't Christian, but in this day and age that part would have been fine I suspect!

BackforGood Sat 04-May-13 13:29:48

Excellent posts by ExoticFruits

exoticfruits Sat 04-May-13 13:21:48

I wouldn't present something as 'truth' at home- it is very subjective. Much better to make the distinction 'I believe','Christian's believe' etc - with and 'when you are older you will decide for yourself'. Although having said that mine were only about 8 yrs when they decided they didn't believe in God.

Phoebe47 Sat 04-May-13 13:18:58

I think even Ofsted sometimes interpret "collective worship" fairly widely - going from my experience anyway. I teach in a school where the children represent several faiths and none. We do not say an actual prayer at the end of assembly but the children are reminded about being kind to one another/ being a good friend/ doing their best in class etc. We have whole school assemblies twice a week and separate infant and junior assemblies on the other three days. During our last Ofsted I lead an infant assembly which was observed. We did not say a prayer at the end but children were reminded in our "Lets remember" moment about being kind/everyone should have a friend/doing good work etc. Ofsted gave me very positive feedback about the assembly and it was mentioned in the report in very positive terms. No mention of not having a prayer.

exoticfruits Sat 04-May-13 13:18:06

You do have the right to withdraw them.

exoticfruits Sat 04-May-13 13:17:01

I bring mine up to question absolutely everything, including me. Thinking for themselves and not going with the crowd is one if the best things you can give them. I have arrived at my own belief system and, although I bring them up according to my beliefs, I was conscious before they were born that they are their own person and not mine to mould - they will form their own opinions.
I have a friend who is a vicar's DD- she is an atheist. I equally know a vicar who took himself off to church at 11 yrs because he had never been taken and was curious. They both still have an excellent relationship with their parents. I don't see why people have an obsession that their DCs must think the same as them- we are all different.

BackforGood Sat 04-May-13 13:14:11

Legally, all schools are supposed to have a daily act of collective worship. the interpretation of that varies widely.
tbh, even at my dcs Church School, it's hardly something I would equate with indoctrination, and they are far more likely to use a formal prayer or worship song than non Church schools.
IME of Primary schools generally, there will be some kind of 'moral' story, and often a moment to pause and be thankful that we have enough food to eat / have a school to attend / have families that love us / or maybe to think about the people that don't.... (see above). Those with faith can thank their god for that, those without can just sit and appreciate the things they have that perhaps not everybody does - whether they thank their parents for that, or fate, or something else.

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