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School prayers

(20 Posts)
Amateurish Mon 17-Nov-14 11:26:20

I've got two kids in the local primary school. It's a CofE state school. I've just discovered that they say prayers three times a day, every day. To my mind, that seems excessive. We are not a Christian household. Is this fairly par for the course, or is this unusual?

loudarts Mon 17-Nov-14 11:28:03

I would think it would be usual in a CofE school

OldBeanbagz Mon 17-Nov-14 12:30:15

Sound unusual to me. My DS just has morning assembly with prayers most days. Not 3 times a day.

OldBeanbagz Mon 17-Nov-14 12:31:33

Not CofE school though, just a bias towards Christianity.

Hurr1cane Mon 17-Nov-14 12:41:56

Sounds usual. I like the American idea of just not having religious prayer in school

AliMonkey Mon 17-Nov-14 12:46:43

I would say it depends! In non church school if would be excessive. If the three times a day is one longer prayer (eg for world or those who are ill) and two short "God keep us safe as we go home" or "thank you for the food you provide" then I think that is reasonable but if all lengthy then that would surprise me.

Amateurish Mon 17-Nov-14 14:43:20

Thanks for the replies. It is one assembly per day with a longer prayer, then grace before lunch, and a final short prayer at the end of the day. There could be more, but this is what the kids have told me about. Seems a bit much for their age. My little lad told me last week that he wasn't friends with people who weren't friends with Jesus. He may have got the wrong end of the stick, but I still find it a worrying thing for a 4 yo to say.

admission Mon 17-Nov-14 17:44:04

In a faith school what you describe would not be excessive, especially given that in any school you are legally required to have a daily act of collective worship.
The bit that would start to worry me is the comment that lad was not friends with people who are not friends with Jesus, that seems an unlikely thing for a 4 year old to say unless it has been said to them by an adult. That is starting to sound a bit like indoctrination and Trojan Horse issues start to raise their head, because they apply equally to all religions not just the muslim religion.

Wellthen Mon 17-Nov-14 19:58:49

Even if you had no real choice because all the schools around you are faith, it amazes me that you didn't both to find this out before sending them. They will promote religion, its their role.

pyrrah Mon 17-Nov-14 22:10:07

Would be very, very hmm about the friends with Jesus thing, but regarding prayers then sounds about right.

DD was at a CofE primary nursery and had a 'bless our friends at work and play' thing at the end of the day and a prayer in the morning. I dealt with the religion bit by reckoning it was worth it for the free childcare.

But I moved her to a primary that covers the worship bit by talking about secular things like being nice to each other.

If you are stuck with a CofE primary as the 'only school in the village' then yes, you are also stuck with a lesser or greater degree of religiosity, depending on flavour of HT and power of governing body. Church is making it increasingly clear that they view primary schools as their hunting grounds... bums on pews being an ever diminishing number in this country they need to get them young!

No such thing as a secular school in the UK so you can get non-faith schools that are massively more religious than many faith schools, but the majority just cover altruism.

Amateurish Tue 18-Nov-14 08:14:43

Thanks for the views, and eye opening to learn that this is normal.

Obviously we knew it was CofE before sending the kids there, and unfortunately we are in the situation where living in a rural area we do not get a local choice. Our village school, and all the local village schools, are CofE. The only real option of avoiding a religious state school is to move - which we are considering.

I was educated in a country with a clear separation between church and school, so I find this state approved indoctrination rather surprising.

Nicename Tue 18-Nov-14 08:25:20

We can't get into local faith schools for love nor money, and they are very very good schools. Grab it with both hands.

Pico2 Tue 18-Nov-14 08:30:50

I'd have a word with the class teacher/ head teacher. You could withdraw them from the prayers, but they might prefer to to tone it down than have that happen.

Amateurish Tue 18-Nov-14 08:59:56

The classes are small, and the school is tiny, so withdrawing from prayers would be difficult and I feel might set my kids apart. I have no problem with the teachers or governors, and I think they do a good job, so I don't think it would be reasonable to ask them to change the level of religiosity. But maybe a realisation that the school is not a good fit for my family.

LittleMissGreen Tue 18-Nov-14 09:20:56

As a Christian the whole 'not being friends' thing is totally bizarre and completely not a Christian teaching.
Prayers, same pattern as at our church school. The prayer before lunch is along the lines of "Thank you for our food and for the people who made it for us. We think of the people who do not have any food to eat".

The school is unlikely to tone down their Christianity - it was pointed out in one of our school's ESTYN (Welsh OFSTED) reports a few years ago that the school did not have a distinctive enough religious influence as it wasn't obvious as soon as you walked through the door that it was a church school from the displays in the hallway. (This was for a school that was graded as outstanding from the separate section 50 church inspection that happened at the same time!)

sugarhoops Tue 18-Nov-14 11:23:31

Sounds about right to me - my eldest has just moved from non-religious infant school to CofE junior and he is complaining about prayers every day - morning, lunch grace and afternoon. The vicar also visits, ALOT (according to DS).

We're completely non-faith (in fact, i'd go so far as to say my DH is anti-religion blush). DH was all for pulling him out of all the religious bits, but I told DH that was ridiculous - I recited the Lords Prayer, in full, every single day of my primary school life and it had the effect of completely turning me off religion as I felt it was dull, staid, old fashioned and irrelevant to my life.

I think when you withdraw a child from something, its makes it more interesting / tempting for that child to learn more about. When you subject them to daily prayers 3 x a day, it could make them realise its, ahem, dull (sorry, another blush, don't want to offend anyone at all flowers)

Pico2 Tue 18-Nov-14 12:38:07

I think it is important for schools in that situation (i.e. no choice of non-denominational school) to recognise that they may have children from families of any faith or none and act sensitively towards them.

I think there can be a tendency to assume that populations in rural areas are homogeneous, but they aren't and you can't tell just by looking at the pupils.

Heels99 Tue 18-Nov-14 12:41:38

Sounds normal. We did this at my school and it wasn't a c of e school.

pyrrah Tue 18-Nov-14 13:27:26

Amateurish - there is no guarantee of getting a non-religious school here. All state schools must, by law, have a 'daily act of collective worship of a broadly Christian nature'. Utterly ridiculous.

What you get is basically dependent on the personal beliefs of the HT and/or governors. The schools in the Trojan Horse scandal were NOT faith schools.

If the HT is an evangelical xtian, you can have a community school with massively more god stuff than a low-key CofE. Also, if the HT changes then the whole ethos of the school can change with them.

There is currently a lot of pressure from the CofE to ramp up and emphasis the religious bits in faith schools.

Nicename - there are plenty of bloody awful faith schools. The good ones tend to be good because it's basically selection through the back-door. The whole having to attend church x times a month discriminates against parents who aren't that organised, work at weekends or don't care about their kids.

Just look at levels of FSM compared with those at neighbouring community schools and how many children attend who don't live locally - it's a absolute disgrace. The good behaviour and results also have absolutely bugger all to do with the actual believing in a god side - again it's due to parental influence and/or the HT's views on discipline. Morals and values are not exclusive to religion.

Nicename Tue 18-Nov-14 13:54:21

Oh I was just talking about the schools where I am - obv there are good and bad schools everywhere. Around here it helps if you are the PM!

I love to see Sunday services when all the young new parents stream out with their bumps and babies. You can tell which churches have good schools attached!

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