Withdrawing DD from RE?

(261 Posts)
Widget123 Fri 26-Apr-19 12:36:57

I want to see if anyone’s had any experience withdrawing their children from PE? How did the school handle it etc.

My husband and I are both atheists. Our DD is 5 and is extremely interested in the universe and science. She’s now coming back from school very confused thinking that god created the world and asking if he made the Big Bang happen! This is too confusing for her, she naturally believes what her teachers tell her (why wouldn’t she) so naturally she’s taking RE as fact and it’s confusing the hell out of her.

I’m happy for her to learn about god in her own way in the future and find her own path but she’s much too young right now.

I’ve read we have the right to withdraw her from Re so simply want to see if people have had experiences with this.

OP’s posts: |
Paddington68 Fri 26-Apr-19 13:09:36

What work are you planning to set her to do?

BubblesBuddy Fri 26-Apr-19 13:22:12

No experience, but I do know most children work out the differences between Science and God. She might be confused right now but it will not last. It is fairly easy to explain the difference between science and belief. It is also good to be aware that other people do have beliefs that are different to your family doctrine. Withdrawing sends out the wrong messages in my view.

Also RE is about other religions too and in order to understand the world we live in, this is a good thing to have exposure to. Otherwise we do not undertstand the world. Often trips to mosques and temples will be arranged, for example, a bit later on. Also all schools stick to an agreed syllabus for RE. Have a look at it and you will see that it covers other faiths, which in multicultural UK is a good thing.

You could just ask to withdraw from the Daily Act of Worship. I never think withdrawing from the RE syllabus is helpful. It is a bit tunnel vision.

Hollowvictory Fri 26-Apr-19 13:26:00

Firstly check with the teacher what they are actually telling her. It's 'some people believe' at our school and they also cover big bang. Dont accept the word of a 5 year old as being what they were actually told. Are you including all Christmas, Easter activities etc including nativity play etc? It can be quite hard at certain times of year to have no involvement in religious activities it would mean December would be a very tricky month and she'd miss out on a lot. What would she do whilst they are all practising the nativity or having a Xmas party, visit to the church etc,?

jenthelibrarian Fri 26-Apr-19 13:33:53

I offered both kids the option to withdraw but not until secondary age. They were at a small primary so I didn't want to single them out or deny them the fun of the xmas concert.

I did ask that for the nativity play thingies they were real people rather than angels. School was happy to comply.

At secondary my son happily opted out and used the lesson time to do his homework or revision - he was the envy of his class.

My daughter enjoyed remaining in the lesson and arguing fiercely with the teacher.

EntirelyAnonymised Fri 26-Apr-19 13:36:20

I’m an atheist married to an atheist, with atheist children. They all did RE/RS at school and in fact, one did it at A level (where it has more of a philosophy/ethics bent). We just discussed religions in terms of ‘some people believe in X’. When the children asked ‘why?’ (Because they always do), we said it was because it helped them to cope with sad or scary things, or because the stories helped them to make sense of things that science hadn’t discovered yet.

It’s your job to help her untangle it in an age appropriate way.

RS teaches about alternative world religions. Hopefully education increases tolerance. Everyone of any religion (or non religion) shutting themselves off from learning about other belief systems is breeding ignorance and giving zealots of any persuasion an ‘in’.

spreadingchestnuttree Fri 26-Apr-19 13:36:25

I'm atheist but happy for my children to learn about different religions. I would feel very strongly about them being indoctrinated and wouldn't feel happy sending them to a religious school but I don't mind them learning - I see it as part of general knowledge and understanding of the world.


Disfordarkchocolate Fri 26-Apr-19 13:38:40

I still remember the sad money face of the girl withdrawn from RE at my infants school. She'll figure it out, just like she'll figure out that science gets it wrong sometimes and different theories can be based on different interpretations of facts.

Disfordarkchocolate Fri 26-Apr-19 13:52:57

Where did 'money' come from!!!

Benes Fri 26-Apr-19 13:57:11

RE/RS is such a useful subject. It's good for children to understand different belief systems and how that can impact on every day life. The philosophy and ethics side is also fascinating and valuable.

Figgygal Fri 26-Apr-19 14:03:06

What are so scared of?

I'm an atheist as is my dh ds goes to a CoE school and I'd never think to limit his exposure to different beliefs. Despite being CoE they cover other religions and beliefs he's yeAr 2 but already been to a synagogue and mosque on trips. We talk about beliefs being personal and everyone being entitled to them limiting exposure to other beliefs makes you as close minded as those people who indoctrinate their children that their god is the right and only god.

TeenTimesTwo Fri 26-Apr-19 14:08:41

RE should be about learning 'Most Christians believe ...', 'Hindus believe' and not indoctrination.
If she is getting confused then speak to the school re how they are wording things.
(Unless a faith school of course.)

DD2 has no faith, and has just picked RE for GCSE.

InTheHeatofLisbon Fri 26-Apr-19 14:08:56

Former Catholic/current atheist here.

I'm in favour of RE as long as it's a broad range of faiths (and none) being learned about but not stated as absolute fact.

I think my judgement is coloured by the fact I live in the west of Scotland where religious intolerance/sectarian violence is a way of life. So I feel it's important to have knowledge of faiths/beliefs in order to understand other people.

But I wouldn't be happy with one faith being touted as absolute fact,no.

YetAnotherSpartacus Fri 26-Apr-19 14:10:48

Have a look at the curriculum. If it is genuinely about religions, belief, tolerance etc. (and if so why isn't atheism included??) then yeah maybe - but my guess it is teaching religion as fact (God did x, y, z) in which case it's bollocks and best avoided. Never know - if you withdraw her you might start a trend.

DontMakeMeShushYou Fri 26-Apr-19 14:10:52

This is too confusing for her, she naturally believes what her teachers tell her (why wouldn’t she) so naturally she’s taking RE as fact and it’s confusing the hell out of her.

You are going to have to talk to your daughter and find a way to explain it that means she isn't confused. If you withdraw her, you will have to explain to her why she is being withdrawn. She's confused because you've told her one thing and [she thinks] the school have told her something else. If you can't explain the reason for her confusion (Mummy and Daddy believe this happened but some people believe that happened) then she'll just be equally confused as to why she's doing something different to the rest of her class when they do RE.

maxinespalour Fri 26-Apr-19 14:32:00

Do you not want your dd to have a good understanding of different faiths? Re covers many religions and my dc learnt a great deal from it. We're a non religious family but I'm happy for my dc to be exposed to any religion

GoldenBlue Fri 26-Apr-19 14:41:39

My family are atheists and the children have not enjoyed RE as both had teachers with strong Christian beliefs who disapproved of our lack of belief. The children have felt undermined and disappointed with the approach to the subject focussing 80% on Christianity with a few dips into other religions but no consideration for other belief systems.

This week we had a teacher change and for the first time ever my DS came home having enjoyed an RE lesson because it was focussing on discussion of the whole classes views and ideas about the Big Bang theory. It included religious and non religious beliefs.

I wouldn't mind if time was spent introducing a high level view of all religious belief systems and alternatives and then focus on ethics and morals to help understand other people's belief systems but I hate the idea of trying to push religion on children. The kids feel that u less they were prepared to argue pro religion in their essays that they would get marked down. Even when using the 'some people believe' option.

If I ruled the world no one under 18 would be allowed to participate in any religion. They can choose to explore religions as an adult once they have learnt how to critically analyse facts.

SchrodingersUnicorn Fri 26-Apr-19 14:51:20

RS teacher here. Since the vast majority of Christians in the UK believe that the creation story in the Bible is a myth that explains that God created the world, but not how, I'd be more worried at the accuracy of the teaching. So yes, your DD is spot on - most UK Christians believe God made the Big Bang. Start from there and have a chat with her about your beliefs and where you agree and disagree with this viewpoint. They'll be learning lots of religions though I would imagine, and it's great for them to understand different beliefs.

Redpostbox Fri 26-Apr-19 23:43:00

OP I think it's good your DD is hearing a different point of view to yours. She has a chance to hear the other side of the story. She can make up her own mind rather than be indoctrinated to your view.
She is much more likely to believe what you say than a teacher but it's good she is exposed to other viewpoints and has a chance to decide for herself.

user789653241 Sat 27-Apr-19 07:57:49

I think a lot of parents go though this with their children, Atheist or not.
I am neither an atheist nor religious, but did worry when my ds was younger, of the impact, since young children believes what teacher say, and my ds tends take everything literally.
But they will grow up and start to see it in a different way, and start to understand the difference between belief and science.

Downthecanal Sat 27-Apr-19 08:01:18

I have the same issue with my five year old. She insists God is real.

I just go along with it as in ‘oh right, really’...She also believes in the tooth fairy and Father Christmas.

IHeartKingThistle Sat 27-Apr-19 08:10:18

I know it's a long way off but RE is still a compulsory GCSE here!

ltk Sat 27-Apr-19 08:15:30

Don't withdraw your child from RE. This is what education is: being exposed to contradictory belief systems and working out the world in your mind.

Reassert your own views at home: There is no God, no one needed to make the Big Bang happen, etc. Explain your views on the world and how humans came to be in a positive way. Just talk to her lots about humanism and evidence and fact over faith in child-friendly doses and ways.

You don't have to pretend that religion is a valid belief theory of the world. Just to respect others and their different views.

And do investigate a bit on how RE is taught at the school. It should be an academic lesson and not religious preaching.

bellinisurge Sat 27-Apr-19 08:30:04

Not sure what your child is being taught. My dd went to Catholic primary - we are technically Catholics but couldn't get her into the non Catholic primary we preferred- and while Catholicism predominated, they learned about other faiths and, like, me, my dd was able to spot any zealots among the teachers and take their pronouncements with a pinch of salt. We talked science and the Big Bang at home when we weren't talking about more important things like CBeebies programmes.
If anything, she came out of it more sceptical and dismissive of religion. She is now in a non- religious secondary and Christianity is just another philosophy to study.

YetAnotherSpartacus Sat 27-Apr-19 08:41:08

OP I think it's good your DD is hearing a different point of view to yours. She has a chance to hear the other side of the story. She can make up her own mind rather than be indoctrinated to your view

Then RE should include long sessions on atheism taught by philosophers who are atheists and who also teach about thinking and critical thinking to save the poor wee lads and lasses who are indoctrinated by believer parents in Church every Sunday (and so on, repeat as appropriate for other faiths).

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