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Prayers in school

(64 Posts)
babybouncer Thu 31-Oct-13 21:15:53

DS is in Reception and a few days ago he mentioned something about saying prayers at school. At parents' evening I asked about them and his class teacher showed me the three Christian prayers they say each day (before break, lunch and home time). She obviously doesn't make a big deal out of it (although they do have to put hands together and bow heads) and it is the school's response to the daily act of worship schools have to provide. As a non-Christian, this makes me feel really uncomfortable. I don't want my son to be thanking God for food or asking Him to bless his home. Three times a day also seems excessive.

What do other schools do?
And am I being too sensitive?
But really, prayers three times a day?

SatinSandals Thu 31-Oct-13 21:38:16

You need to read the education acts. Collective worship is he law in all schools but you have the option of removing him. There are no secular schools in England. Generally it is only faith schools that do prayers 3 times a day - but some others will too.

tiggytape Thu 31-Oct-13 21:38:42

It is true that all schools (even non-faith ones) must, by law, have a daily act of worship of a broadly Christian nature so for, many schools, a prayer forms part of this. Three prayers a day though more than covers this and is much more than even some faith schools do.

You are allowed to withdraw your son from collective worhip but you are not allowed to ask the school not to do it at all.

SatinSandals Thu 31-Oct-13 21:39:08

It largely depends on the Head and how they interpret the law.

TheFabulousIdiot Thu 31-Oct-13 21:42:43

Loads of people will now come onto the thread and say that religion In Schools should be the status quo, and the onus is on you to remove him if you don't like it.

However I agree with you that so much praying is ridiculous and IMO all schools should be religion free. Why should the onus be on families without religion to reject the worship. It should be opt in not opt out; the status quo should not be that all kids get dipped with religious worship wether they like it or not.

babybouncer Thu 31-Oct-13 21:45:48

It isn't a faith school. It isn't even a C of E school.

I work in a secondary school that has always refused to do this due to the religious diversity of the school - Ofsted criticise, but the school is still outstanding - the Head talks a lot about spirituality and faith, but never specifically a Christian god.

DH doesn't want DS to be marked out as different by removing him. I'd like them to do just one - or make them a bit less overtly Christian.

What other ways are there to do the daily act of worship?

babybouncer Thu 31-Oct-13 21:46:32

PS. We are relatively religious. Just not Christian.

SatinSandals Thu 31-Oct-13 21:58:52

There is really no difference between faith schools and others because he others are merely non denominational. Secondary schools get around it, largely because they don't have room to get the school together.
I think you need to read the education acts babybouncer, it is quite clear about collective worship and the percentage that has to be Christian etc.

SatinSandals Thu 31-Oct-13 22:01:17

Collective worship here

SatinSandals Thu 31-Oct-13 22:02:38

You can join the secular society and fight it. There are e petitions.

tiggytape Thu 31-Oct-13 22:17:31

It isn't a faith school. It isn't even a C of E school.

That doesn't matter. ALL schools have to have a daily act of worship (this differs from R.E because R.E is neutral whereas worship, by definition, isn't). You say your secondary school doesn't and it is true that many schools avoid it or tone it down to the point that it is barely seen as an act of worship at all - but they aren't supposed to.

What other ways are there to do the daily act of worship?

A single prayer each day. Or a thought for the day referencing it back to aspects of Christian teachings (loving each other, kindness etc). At some schools it is very low-key and more in the form of stories and things to contemplate but at others they have a more overt and includes visits from the local vicar and saying grace etc. It depends on the Head and governors normally. You can find non faith schools that are much more religious in character than CofE ones.

You can opt out and you are of course free to campaign for changes as many do but as it stands, the school are complying with what's required of them more enthusiastically than many but less so than others.

2468Motorway Thu 31-Oct-13 22:19:30

I agree it's annoying and kind of outrageous. I was at primary school a long time ago and we had grace, hometime prayers and daily assembly with hymns and religious stories (some bible, some like Pilgrims Progress).

I can't imagine it converted anyone though I did think about religion a lot for a small child as my family are not Christians. As I got older I just remember being bored. I wouldn't withdraw your child though it is your right but I might raise it with the headteacher in a curious, non confrontational way. It does seem a lot these days for a non Christian school.

MostWicked Thu 31-Oct-13 23:05:56

I am so glad my kids schools have never done anything like that, I would be appalled. Mind you, my kids would soon tell them how ridiculous it was.
I had no idea schools were allowed to, let alone supposed to!

SatinSandals Fri 01-Nov-13 07:52:48

Are you sure they are not MostWicked? I would have assumed from my children that they didn't had I not known better.

HorryIsUpduffed Fri 01-Nov-13 07:59:06

MostWicked I agree they probably do. I only get the odd glimpse from my 5yo. And that'd in a school known to be paying lip service to the rules rather than jumping in wholeheartedly.

It's a bizarre and anachronistic anomaly. If the regulation didn't exist, it would never be introduced now, perhaps even in faith schools.

AbbyR1973 Fri 01-Nov-13 08:03:18

Do parents really believe that a couple of prayers/ hymns at school and bible stories will turn their children into Christians?
I remember when I was at school we had prayers and hymns in assembly and the vicar came in sometimes to tell stories. My parents even sometimes took me to church. It hasn't made me a flag waving Christian and my religious view point is best described as undecided. Actually what REALLY does annoy me about the religion debate and what causes the most strife in the world is that people hold that their view is the correct one and everyone else is wrong and that includes those who are atheists. This is an area where there is no right or wrong beyond accepting that everyone has different beliefs.
My son's school has a prayer in assembly and hymns and they say grace at lunch plus a prayer at the end of the day. I don't think it's either here or there. I am very relaxed with them understanding what Christians believe. There are children of other faiths in the school that join in just the same.
At the end of the day it's not up to me or school to dictate what my children's view point on religion is. It is up to my children to develop their own thoughts on the matter as they grow up. If they choose to be Christian in their beliefs why would I have a problem with that ( or for that matter any other religion or none at all.)
I really think school has a very small influence compared to what goes on at home and those worrying about children being brainwashed at school are hopefully being just as careful regarding how they impart their own beliefs to their children which are naturally going to have a far greater influence.

SatinSandals Fri 01-Nov-13 08:11:00

I loved a thread on here asking if atheists had become Christians and it was very reassuring to know that people thoughtfully made up their own minds when older and didn't mindlessly follow their parents choice.there were those with Christian parents who were atheists and vice versa, not to mention different religions entirely. I have never found anyone converted by school assembly. The only thing that would have made me fascinated by it as a child would have been a parent who got upset about it. If my mother wanted to withdraw me it must have been interesting! (Much better to stay in and find it wasn't!)

HorryIsUpduffed Fri 01-Nov-13 08:25:41

But it isn't pitched as "what Christians do", but rather as "this is the truth/only way to do things". And that is completely at odds with the RE principle of "teach about" rather than "teach ^to believe^".

"It does no harm" isn't good enough to be a daily part of school life. Everything needs to add value or be unavoidable. Compulsory collective worship in all schools fits neither of those criteria.

StupidFlanders Fri 01-Nov-13 08:28:07

I would withdraw my dcs from that.

SatinSandals Fri 01-Nov-13 08:30:13

It is pitched, generally, as 'this is what Christians believe,' but it all depends on the Head.

HorryIsUpduffed Fri 01-Nov-13 08:33:09

If children are praying to God in Assembly then that's implicitly "this is what we do", surely?

StupidFlanders Fri 01-Nov-13 08:34:36

And I was a child who was converted and feared for my family's afterlife!

AbbyR1973 Fri 01-Nov-13 08:35:25

"Everything needs to add value"... Does it really? And who decides what is " valuable" and what isn't? Surely that depends on your perspective and deciding on whether something is "valuable" or not is rather dangerous. I'm certain you could take almost any subject on the curriculum and hold a debate on it's "value".

SatinSandals Fri 01-Nov-13 08:36:22

You can't have understood it properly - if there is an afterlife it is for everyone!

SatinSandals Fri 01-Nov-13 08:37:40

If there is a God I doubt they are interested in which church/religion you followed or didn't follow. That is human made.

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