1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Parental challenge to 'Witch Child' - HELP!

Discussion in 'English' started by frangwe, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. Greetings,
    I am a n English Subject Leader, off sick today. Have just had a phonecall from a young member of my Department. He is about to start teaching '"Witch Child' to a Year 8 class, but a parent has asked for her child to be withdrawn from the lessons on the grounds that they are Christians, and the book promotes witchcraft.
    I don't have a copy of the novel at home, and I have never taught it myself. I read it years ago, and don't remember it 'promoting' anything, but it was beautifully written, if I remember rightly. I have used an extract from it on my creative writing scheme of work.
    If anyone has any comments or advice, I would be most grateful, as I need to sort this one out as quickly as possible. The Headteacher is not in school today either, which is unfortunate.

  2. Spassky

    Spassky New commenter

    Fittingly, it's more about moral panic and 'witchhunts' than promoting the dark arts.
  3. That's pretty much what I thought! I was also thinking about 'The Crucible', which we also teach... I wouldn't say that exactly 'promotes' witchcraft either!
  4. Spassky

    Spassky New commenter

    Good luck with it - if someone has made up their mind it might be awkward.
  5. thequillguy

    thequillguy New commenter

    There isn't TOO much issue I imagine with a child working from a textbook in the library for 5-7 weeks or so. However, this precedent wouldn't be one that would bode well for future parents 'getting' their way, and for the effects of separating the child from their peers.

    I imagine the parent has made their decision based on the title of the book alone. A conversation that enables them to save face might sway them, especially if you speak about how well they are doing in class and that being separated might harm them. I've had something similar, and the parent ended up just wanting to be heard and reassured - they did call up though, rather than issue an edict. Good luck! And maybe get someone from leadership on side if necessary.
  6. I had a very similar situation about 5 years ago when I was an NQT, although I had several parents complaining and threatening to withdraw their children from my lessons.

    I had absolutely no support from my HOD, who told me to stop teaching the text, even though I had started it and just written an entire SOW on it. Instead, I rang each parent individually to hear their concerns and address the issues. As stated by a previous poster, they all believed (mistakenly) that the novel promotes witchcraft. One even thought I was going to take the class into the woods and chant spells?!!

    I explained rationally that the novel did not in fact promote witchcraft; instead that it was an exploration of hysterical attitudes towards witchcraft and that it was a historical reflection of what did happen in this period. I also pointed out that it was no different to what their children had been learning about in History. Each parent retracted their complaint and agreed to let their children remain in the lessons, seeing as the novel is historically educational etc. Addressing and challenging their concerns directly would be the best approach here, as it would seem that they are making a judgement without knowing the facts.

    Hope you get it sorted!

Share This Page