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Compulsory staff Mass attendance

(50 Posts)
Mmmmmcoffee Fri 14-Jul-17 06:48:54

This is new to me, wondered if anyone had experience of this.
I work in a faith school and happily follow the bit in my contract about 'upholding the Catholic ethos of the school'. Attend Mass with the pupils when required etc. I'm not Catholic but did attend a Church school of another denomination and have absolutely no issue with the existence of faith schools.
There's an INSET day next year and half the morning is a mandatory staff Mass in the Church attached to the school. Not sure why this seems an unreasonable expectation. TAs are normally only required to attend statutory training in Safeguarding etc and that is usually done as a Twilight.
It just seems odd that they are making it compulsory for all staff, one third of whom are not Catholic.

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Chillyegg Fri 14-Jul-17 06:56:24

Yep id be really really upset with that! They cant force you to that. Its not ok especially when im sure there will be lots of other things to crack on with.

StealthPolarBear Fri 14-Jul-17 06:57:57

Well it is an inset day, are you not doing what they want you to do on that day

MaisyPops Fri 14-Jul-17 07:01:04

Part and parcel of working in a Catholic school I'm afraid. I don't think Non Catholic people can be too surprised that there's a religious element to Catholic school life. You arent being forced to takr communion because non-catholics cant in a catholic church.The mass is probably part of the whole community thing a bit like what is done with the children.

Mmmmmcoffee Fri 14-Jul-17 07:02:15

Thing is, they are paying us to be there. TAs get to claim extra time, which this is. Tbh I'd probably go in anyway, lots of stuff to do and not claim for it, just to be ready for the children coming back in the next day.
I just think it is kind of false, when they know many of us aren't Catholic, can't take Communion in that Church and there are no children to show we are upholding the ethos etc. And a bit of a waste of money when budgets have been cut so much. I won't say how much the TA bill will be, but I do know what it could pay for that we need but can't have!

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Eggandchipsfortea93 Fri 14-Jul-17 07:04:44

If its a weekday that you're usually there, I think you shouldn't be too irritated (as you say, its a faith school, if it wasn't I'd see it differently). They are paying you to be there I assume? So not unreasonable to want staff to all go to a mass. Odd, but its part of working somewhere to sometimes do things that seem odd or pointless.

Mmmmmcoffee Fri 14-Jul-17 07:06:46

Oh, I know, Maisy, there are things done differently to other schools and I am absolutely fine with that. I hadn't come across a compulsory Mass outside of working hours with no children in attendance, that's all.
Stealth, we wouldn't necessarily always be there on an INSET day. Mandatory courses are twilights if at all possible and paid extra time (not that a lot of us bother, having an idea of just how dire the budget is). Courses we think will help our PD we can attend and up to discretion of SLT whether they are paid or not, but we tend to go anyway as we are a conscientious lot!

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chocoshopoholic Fri 14-Jul-17 07:07:10

Our diocese, not the school, pays for our TA overtime for the evening Christmas services.

MaisyPops Fri 14-Jul-17 07:09:32

I hadn't realised that you wouldn't already been in, sorry.
My thinking was that they can direct you on a training day how they like.

If they're paying the overtime and it's central to that sense of school community for them, then I think they can do it (though it's a bit odd). Personally, I'd rather have glue sticks for my classroom. But as choco has said, maybe the diocese is paying the overtime not the school

Eggandchipsfortea93 Fri 14-Jul-17 07:11:10

If its an inset day, surely they'd have been paying everyone anyway (if it had been left as a school day). Also staff wages are normally a completely different budget from equipment etc. So not sure how you think they could have used the money to buy supplies? You can't just declare that one of the term dates is now an inset, and that you're not paying people for it.

mohuzivajehi Fri 14-Jul-17 07:11:34

He who pays the piper calls the tune. They have a contract with you that you will teach on teaching days and attend INSET days and that is all, so turn up and sit through it and after a couple of hours it will be over.

I don't think it's an unreasonable thing for them to do, though I don't think it will have the impact that they hope for. From the PoV of the Catholic faithful running the school, they have a group staff who are a mix of Catholics and non-Catholics who have agreed to uphold the Catholic ethos of the school, but in normal operations the masses and other opportunities for prayer are all run with the majority of the congregation being school pupils - so sermons/homilies/talks would be short and accessible. Just once a year holding a mass during which the sermon/homily can be actually addressed to adults, and during which the Catholic ethos of the school can be elucidated without needing to keep everything in child-accessible language, doesn't seem unreasonable.

Rhubarbtart9 Fri 14-Jul-17 07:12:21

That's a bit crazy for an inset day. You'd think they would understand that you need to get on lots of other stuff. You'll have a list as long as your arm I suspect they underneath it is the assumption that most of the staff are religious - which is a big assumption.

You never know you the staff mass might be a mass pretence. You could turn up turned up to a mini jazz festival

Eggandchipsfortea93 Fri 14-Jul-17 07:15:25

Thanks for the further info OP, but unless its also a private school, I v much doubt the head can choose to divert money for TA wages to use for glue sticks (and even there, I think it would be very unusual to treat the budget as one big pot of money which he can spend however he chooses...).

Mmmmmcoffee Fri 14-Jul-17 07:21:44

To clarify, as maybe I didn't put it as clearly as I could have - teachers and HLTAs have to attend all INSET for no extra pay as it's in their salary already. TAs are informed of relevant courses and asked to attend and claim extra.
I think it may well be a case of a New Broom, MaisyPops, coming from the Governing Body and the Diocesan Report (although I did have look at that and there wasn't anything overtly mentioned)' Maybe the Diocese is paying for it? We go to Christmas events, Leavers' Mass, First Holy Communion in our own time and don't claim. It really is a lovely close knit community I am happy to be part of . Hackles just rose a compulsory Mass on a day we wouldn't normally go in.
Rhubarbtart, the Priest has an amazing voice so it is a pleasure to listen to him!

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user1495884620 Fri 14-Jul-17 07:24:08

If a lot of the staff aren't Catholic, perhaps they want to provide some training on the religion so that those staff not familiar with the faith are better able to "uphold the ethos of the school" and also to have some understanding of the pupils cultural and religious identity.

Mmmmmcoffee Fri 14-Jul-17 07:25:13

Eggandchips, fair enough, I know that's true about the budget. It could pay for a training event for a fair few TAs in a specific area, of which I can think of several we have asked for but been turned down. Cascaded training is cheaper, after all. <eyeroll>

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Mmmmmcoffee Fri 14-Jul-17 07:27:44

I'm as familiar with the faith as anyone can be without converting, User. Same is true of all of us, I think. Small, close knit community, all have links with some Church, there's Churches Together etc. Plus we have training on delivering the Collective Worship and RS.

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Mmmmmcoffee Fri 14-Jul-17 07:56:16

Just to add, it's optional for all other staff, admin, welfare, cleaning etc.

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GrasswillbeGreener Fri 14-Jul-17 08:16:21

Sounds like it could be worth pointing out to someone that TAs are paid extra to attend these days in the spirit of "just confirming that this is what is wanted" or something. Better ways to word it I'm sure!

Mmmmmcoffee Fri 14-Jul-17 08:24:12

Someone has, Grass grin and was told curtly it was compulsory and paid. Thing is, if it was worded as "There is X training on Y date at Z time. Prior to this there will be a special staff mass and everyone is welcome whether baptised Catholic or not" it would hardly be an issue with most of us. It would be nice and inclusive and in keeping with all the other events we attend in Church.
Paid bums on seats is all about the appearance though.

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9toenails Fri 14-Jul-17 08:36:39

It's the sort of bonkers you must expect at a catholic school I'm afraid. If you're getting paid, though, I'd just go along for the money. Take a book, or have a laugh with a friend. God will be fine with that, no need to worry about hellfire.

Eggandchipsfortea93 Fri 14-Jul-17 08:45:22

Take a book, or have a laugh with a friend.
That really would be rude and disrespectful - much worse than not going, I suspect that it would cause you to be seen unsuitable to work in a faith school, even if the kids aren't attending that particular mass...

Mmmmmcoffee Fri 14-Jul-17 08:48:50

There are staff who have been there 10-15 years 9toenails, going Eh? (Catholic ones too) so it's a new sort of bonkers. grin
Pretty sure God wouldn't see any worth in compulsory attendance. Not at all worried He will look into my heart and judge me on being C of E and wanting to add the last two lines to The Lord's Prayer. I do like the hymns, admittedly.

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Balfe Fri 14-Jul-17 08:56:02

What date is it? Is it a holiday of obligation?

Our staff are all Catholic, which I admit is slightly different, but I do think it's important to go as a staff. Taking the kids is so stressful!

Mmmmmcoffee Fri 14-Jul-17 09:00:23

Date might be a bit Outy, Balfe, but I will check if it is a date of obligation as we do take the children on those days if school open.
Agree about stressful. It's amazing how many ways a 6 yr old can mess about with a kneeler grin.
I think I have seen schools where all staff must be practicing Catholics, but this isn't one of them. Hope it isn't going that way as I looked into doing the RICA course but couldn't reconcile myself to some of the attitudes of the wider Church. Not that the C of E is without flaws but that's what Imwas born into and I still loosely observe.

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