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Compulsory worship

(14 Posts)
Cordychase Wed 24-Jun-15 18:31:48

I wondered if any other mumsnetters felt the same as me with regards to the religious assemblies in our state primary schools. I think they are irrelevant, uninclusive and indoctrination by stealth. I would describe myself as a humanist. I was appalled when my then 5 year old came home from school one day telling me that God loves us. This statement then lead to a conversation with her about religion and peoples beliefs which I felt she wasn't ready for. I felt like the school has ridden rough shod over my choice not to indoctrinate her in to religion, but when it forms part of the national curriculum there isn't much that can be done. The national association of governors recently voted and agreed it should be removed, also some church leaders, the bha and the nss.

TeenAndTween Wed 24-Jun-15 18:56:16

You can withdraw your child from collective worship. Go in and sign the forms. However, this may involve also missing nativity plays etc, so don't come back and moan they are missing out on them.

It is however important that children learn about different religions in the form of religious education. That is separate. This should be taught as 'Christians believe' not as fact.

Heels99 Wed 24-Jun-15 18:57:21

Withdraw then.

TeenAndTween Wed 24-Jun-15 18:57:51

There is also no reason why a 5 year old can't be taught that different people believe different things. Just the same that you presumably teach her that different families have different rules when e.g. she says 'why can't I have a TV in my bedroom' or whatever.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 24-Jun-15 19:06:56

This comes up on MN regularly and many of us agree. Withdrawing your kid from an integral part of the school day is a crap solution that is mostly only taken up by parents e with an opposing religious belief ( eg JWs).

However last weeks guest post was by Charles Clark , discussing proposals to reform religion in schools. It comes to the conclusion that the requirement for collective worship should be removed.

Basketofchocolate Wed 24-Jun-15 19:09:39

It's why we avoided the CofE schools near us, but they are the best performing, so perhaps there is something to it! smile

However, DS's school does indeed have visits from some organisation with 'family' in the title - I forget what it is and they come in and talk about God in a very Christian-sounding way. He does also do RE as a subject and that is in Yr1 and he does know about other religions.

I do sometimes feel wistful about hymns at school when I was a kid. We were not a religious family, but I did love a good sing-song every morning smile I think it's a great way to get kids together and a good thing to do to be happy (and good lung development?). They do singing at school, but once a week and only in some terms.

PlayingHouse Wed 24-Jun-15 19:10:34

My 7 year old was horrified to find out I didn't believe in God yesterday.

I was almost as shocked to learn how strong her belief is. Apparently God is all around her at all times.

I suppose the school play a small part but think brownies is a bigger influence.

I had to explain that it was fine for her to believe in God, the same as it was fine for me not to believe in God.
I also explained different religions believe in different Gods.

This whole conversation stemmed from reading 'Little House in big woods' so you can't really keep religion away from her. It's everywhere. Educate her and let her believe what she wants.

Cordychase Thu 25-Jun-15 09:04:02

I know I can withdraw her from the assemblies, but this is not an acceptable solution for me. Why should my child be made to feel different due to an outdated and unnecessary part of the curriculum?

I agree that religious education is necessary in our schools, but this must be delivered in an unbiased way with the same amount of attention paid to all religions, with no particular focus on one. The current compulsory worship assemblies are obviously promoting christianity, state funded schools should not be used to promote any religion.

We do talk about religion at home, when she brings it up. Thankfully through our discussions she is of the opinion that gods are man made, through using logic and reason. As a side note I have never told her what to believe, but I have told her very candidly why I dont.

I would have loved her to attend brownies, but havent because of their focus on christianity.

Heels99 Thu 25-Jun-15 09:21:53

My dds love brownies. Christianity has never been mentioned! They don't promise to to duty to god anymore they promise to 'follow my beliefs' which could be anything. Girls from all sorts of religions are brownies. What a same for your dd to miss out because you have a prejudiced and outdated view.

If you don't like what they are teaching in school speak to them about it. My friend didn't like the Christian influence at her dds school she moved her to a different school.
You have lots of options other than moaning.

Lweji Thu 25-Jun-15 09:25:49

I fully agree with you, OP, and I am Catholic.

I prefer state schools to remain neutral religion wise. And that to include not believing in any deity.

Can you talk to the head and governors about it?

AuntieStella Thu 25-Jun-15 09:27:40

I think there will only be momentum for change when people do vote with their feet and withdraw their children.

It just won't have the momentum necessary to get it the parliamentary time required otherwise.

But it's much more to do with the actual school and it's ethos than the wording of the law. Not only can schools secure a variation is the major faith is not Christian, but the actual wording is something like 'broadly Christian'. That, plus the very woolly stance of the CofE means that just about anything can count.

But if you have a head and governors who think their current ethos is the right one for them, even if the law was amended, it wouldn't necessarily mean any change whatsoever, because removing the requirement is nit the same as banning, and a I very much doubt the government could go that far when over 25% of state schools are actually owned by religious organisations.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 25-Jun-15 11:12:31

OP, here's a link to the guest post thread I mentioned. You'd probably find the document it references in its OP of some interest.

There's usually some helpful information on the BHA website.

usual hmm at people thinking that changing schools is likely to be a realistic option. If you've already chosen a non-faith school that really could be frying pan/fire!

Lweji Thu 25-Jun-15 11:14:16

I still wouldn't expect any worship at a non-denominational school.

It shouldn't depend on the head or governors.

tiggytape Thu 25-Jun-15 13:03:26

I still wouldn't expect any worship at a non-denominational school.

The law requires that they provide it so it would be strange to expect them not to comply.
The Head and Governors may influence the nature of the daily worship but not the fact that it takes place. This applies to all state funded schools not just "church schools"

Parents can withdraw a child - that is fine
And schools can apply to change the nature of worship so that it isn't predominantly Christian if enough agreement exists that a shift to a different faith would be better (eg in a school with a majority of children from another faith).
They cannot however, as a whole school, just decide to opt out. If the law changes, then of course that would be different but telling the school it shouldn't be allowed won't help as they have no choice but to do it.

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