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Withdrawing from RE lessons in Secondary

(67 Posts)
astranova Sat 19-Nov-16 17:25:43

At the moment by DD gets 1 x 50 minute period of RE per week. I've been looking carefully at the timetable for the week and really wish she could do either more Art (currently 2 x 50 minute lessons a week), Music ( 2 x 50 minute lessons) or Drama (1 x 50 minute lesson a week).

I know some people think 'it's only 50 minutes' and it's not all about religious worship but I honestly think she's aware enough about all the main religions having celebrated Diwali, visited Sikh temples and Mosques and doing all the usual Christian stuff around Easter and Christmas during her 7 years at primary. We've instilled non-religious values of personal morality, fairness, tolerance into her from a young age and she's clued up about issues such as sectarianism and religious bigotry.

I don't mind at all her being in a church for the Christmas and Easter end of term celebrations and have never withdrawn her from these during Primary. However, now we are in secondary I really think she would be better served having a lesson in Politics or Economics (unfortunately not on offer) but failing that she could practise her cello or piano or just do something else!

Has anyone else had any luck in withdrawing their child from RE lessons in a non-denominational secondary (as I believe we are entitled to?).

Saucery Sat 19-Nov-16 17:30:52

It's like any other subject - there is more to build on from Primary level. Closer examination of faiths including how some may twist them out of recognition to serve their own ends etc.

AllPowerfulLizardPerson Sat 19-Nov-16 17:30:55

It's perfectly straightforward, but your DD won't get anything else taught I t he time (it'll be a free period in the library or something).

I have to say, your school's RE curriculum sounds unusually crap, and much more like a foundation primary school course.

The norm at secondary is for it to be more akin to philosophy and ethics. As your school is failing to provide that (and without it, passing a GCSE well is remote) then opting out is a sensible choice in those specific circumstances.

chemenger Sat 19-Nov-16 17:34:33

I think you can withdraw from worship but not from RE if it is a set subject. Personally I think it is valuable to understand other people's way of life and what they believe. In secondary they explore different aspects of religion from what is done in primary, obviously the children are older so they can look at more interesting questions. Itisn't really practical to design an individual timetable around a parent's whim, either, what if other parents think art is a waste of time, or modern languages?

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 19-Nov-16 17:34:43

How old she? I suspect it has changed but in the olden days you only got RE in S1 and S2 before you move onto your chosen subjects?

Saucery Sat 19-Nov-16 17:35:17

Probably ties in with Prevent legislation for schools too.

Eolian Sat 19-Nov-16 17:38:07

Whatever your views on R.E. I'd be astonished if she got to do a different lesson instead - timetabling won't allow for that! As a pp said, she'll surely be sent to the library with some work to do. Withdrawing your child (usually from collective worship, not a timetabled lesson) is normally only done if you have strong anti-religious views, not because you think your child would be better served by spending their time doing something else. Otherwise I'm sure lots of parents would be asking to withdraw their kids from all sorts of subjects which they didn't personally regard as useful. Hand-picking the curriculum isn't generally allowed!

prettybird Sat 19-Nov-16 17:42:00

At secondary, it's not "RE" - it's "RME" - the M standing for Moral. As such, it's actually a good subject. It wasn't indoctrination - it was genuine education.

As far as I recall, it's an integral part of the BGE, so a formal part of the S1-S3 curriculum. Ds is an atheist like his parents wink but still found it interesting.

Maybe it was just well taught at his school.

yumscrumfatbum Sat 19-Nov-16 17:48:23

I think RE is a really interesting subject. We are a non religious family. When my eldest DS did his GCSE's last year it was a compulsory GCSE at his school. It isn't now but my younger DS chose to take it because he is interested in studying Philosophy and ethics later on and the mode syllabus covers these areas

StBosco Sat 19-Nov-16 18:32:22

You can withdraw your child from religious observances. You are not allowed to withdraw your child from RME.

Section 2
Religious and Moral Education in non-denominational schools
It remains that schools and local authorities must provide religious and moral education in non- denominational schools to every child and young person in accordance with legal requirements. This is statutory for all pupils attending primary and secondary education and includes those in S5 and S6. Children and young people deserve the opportunity to have this taught in a meaningful and progressive way.

www.educationscotland.gov.uk/images/rmerercletter_tcm4-650439.pdf

And timetabling would certainly not allow for another lesson.

meditrina Sat 19-Nov-16 18:35:09

Slightly wrong emphasis there, I think.

Schools have to provide it.

But parents can ^opt out ^of it for their DC (one of the only two subjects where this is allowed, the other being SRE).

prettybird Sat 19-Nov-16 18:52:08

Must check with ds, but I'm pretty sure that he - now in S5 - no longer has timetabled RME. Don't know if his core PSE time covers this legal requirement. confused

Definitely still had it timetabled last year (despite doing 8 Nat 5s) - but it wasn't on his interim school report this year (whereas it was included in his report last year).

I don't see why, if they can now choose to leave school, it should still be a legal requirement - even in non-denom schools confused

WankersHacksandThieves Sat 19-Nov-16 20:02:21

I've done the opposite, I've withdrawn them from the worship element (Religious assemblies and attendance at cathedral at Christmas and Easter) at their request btw. We are all atheists. However, we discussed removing them from RME and they both elected to keep going as they get quite a bit out of it, especially DS2 who likes the moral debates etc.

On a practical level as has been said, you wont get am extra lesson timetabled. In our case it's not impactive at all as we are talking 2 church ceremonies (they just come home) and some missing parts of assembly (come of which they now just stay for if they can't be bothered leaving).

iirc, you need to withdraw from each element separately in your letter to the school as in you need to name that you are withdrawing from Religious education and/or Religious worship.

DS1 in S5 no longer gets timetabled RME but does still get one period of PE.

Lidlfix Sat 19-Nov-16 20:21:01

Most of my colleagues who teach RME (junior phase) and RMPS (senior phase) are atheists. Easy to take pupils out of observances timetabled classes not so much. Not really ideal to have (even the most trustworthy pupil) not timetabled to a class. Timetabled teachers don't appreciate having extra bods to be responsible for especially in practical subjects where numbers are tight.

Megainstant Sat 19-Nov-16 20:25:26

In secondary here, RE is often called philosophy and ethics. Dd1 is an atheist but is taking it for a level and would like to study it at degree level. It's a great subject.

prettybird Sat 19-Nov-16 20:26:01

I think ds' school skirts on the edge of legality as I don't think even their weekly assembly has any religious element. It might include a moral compass though - and given that there will be a large proportion of practicing Muslims, as well as Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, they could claim to be reflecting the profile of the school.

No PE in S5 - although there is plenty of encouragement for those in school teams, who are allowed out of class for matches/participation in competitions.

Megainstant Sat 19-Nov-16 20:28:16

You aren't serious about withdrawing them from RE and expecting the school to provide special art lessons for them confused

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 19-Nov-16 20:29:54

Prettybird. AFAIK there is no requirement for collective worship in Scottish schools, just time for reflection.

prettybird Sat 19-Nov-16 20:31:34

....and the Christmas and Easter trips to the local church are very much optional. School remains open and the pupils who don't go are supposed to stay in class hmm

prettybird Sat 19-Nov-16 20:34:22

Itsallgoingtobefine - I thought that technically there still was, but it is so hedged in caveats (like reflecting the local and school community) that in practice, if they don't want to, they can get away with not doing it.

WankersHacksandThieves Sat 19-Nov-16 20:34:50

Just a thought as well, as a family of atheists we probably discuss religion more than a family of faith, and it's no bad thing to have discussion and debate in school too. I think it's a good thing for young people to have access to these discussions outside families and places of worship as it allows them all to see different viewpoints and not necessarily blindly go along with their families beliefs (or lack thereof).

SuperPug Sat 19-Nov-16 20:35:27

All powerful and mega, that's exactly it. The new GCSE requires pupils to look at religion as well as Philosophy and Ethics. It's a great subject, encompasses history, politics etc. and is certainly becoming more popular and very different to Religious Instruction.
Fair enough if you're not happy with the content of what is being taught but in 2016, it should very much be like the above.

WankersHacksandThieves Sat 19-Nov-16 20:36:43

There technically isn't enough room in Cathedral for the whole school anyway so I am sure they are glad that a sizeable element of the pupils simply disappear on the walk.... grin

StBosco Sat 19-Nov-16 20:39:17

The new GCSE requires pupils to look at religion as well as Philosophy and Ethics.

wink Scotsnet. Wee clue.

I've nothing to do with RME, happy to be corrected.

IHaveBrilloHair Sat 19-Nov-16 20:41:41

My very atheist DD is taking it for nat5, it's not just religion in it's pure form.

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