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Schools' religious assemblies 'should be scrapped'

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Morninglover, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Hear, hear!


    The duty of British schools to arrange daily acts of collective worship should be scrapped, a report says.

    The study, for the Arts and Humanities Research Council says such acts, which must be Christian in nature, could discriminate against other religions.

    It adds there is no clear rationale for the duty, and that parents are often unaware they can withdraw their children from religious assemblies.


    The report also highlights how in 2004, the Chief Inspector of Schools for England drew Parliament's attention to the fact that 76% of secondary schools were breaking the law by failing to provide daily acts of worship.
  2. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    FolkFan likes this.
  3. spartacus123

    spartacus123 Occasional commenter

    Schools that are state funded should not be required to carry out an act of collective worship (i.e. worshipping a higher being or deity (as defined in the collective worship leglisation) that is of a broadly Christian nature.

    If you want to worship, go to a religious venue. Or home. Don't expect a school to be forced to carry out an act of worship.

    People would be up in arms if there was a daily act of "atheism" enforced by law. Where the school had to get children to sing songs like "All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, evolution made them all".

    We have science to teach science stuff.
    RE to teach what people believe in their religions.

    Assembly should be used to bring people together, to think how they can be better humans and to think about our world. Not to worship.
    Sally006 and monicabilongame like this.
  4. FlutterPetal_Fairydust

    FlutterPetal_Fairydust New commenter

    That's because it didn't sweetie-pie.
  5. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    snowyhead likes this.
  6. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I don't understand why schools do all this pastoral stuff TBH. I used to work in pastoral and sure, it's light and fluffy... but really you could have kids come in at 9, do their lessons, have short breaks then they go home. No tutor time, no praying, no assemblies...

    Or have another lesson... better use of the time.
  7. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    In my experience of primary schools, it's only been Catholic and Church of England schools that hold broadly Christian acts of daily worship. Most non-denominational primaries have daily assemblies with a SEAL/PSHE theme, but I do agree @lanokia they are, in most cases, an unnecessary interruption to the working day. Many heads expect class teachers to prepare class assemblies to a level that would befit a West End production, which take weeks of rehearsals and time away from lessons.

    I think Wilshaw also lamented the fact that children are rarely taught The Lord's Prayer at school.
  8. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Oh, but that's how teachers and schools fulfil their role as social workers, parents, counsellors, life coaches etc. etc. ect.
    snowyhead likes this.
  9. spartacus123

    spartacus123 Occasional commenter

    Or maybe they are a nice way to come together as a school community, to share news, work etc and to celebrate what the school has done.

    It can be done without "doing God"
    FolkFan likes this.
  10. spartacus123

    spartacus123 Occasional commenter

    School is more than just teaching maths and English. That pesky self esteem, developing the whole self, making children believe in themselves etc - I think it just gets in the way for some people.
  11. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Good points @spartacus123

    From my POV I think a lot of the stuff you list is the responsibility of parents BUT I also accept that one of the secondary roles of schools is stepping in and correcting for bad parenting or when parenting fails.
  12. OnlyOneOpinion

    OnlyOneOpinion Occasional commenter

    "Schools should be able to choose the nature of assemblies. Most seem to anyway. So guide lines should be redrawn to match current practice."

    I agree this should be the case.
  13. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    I am struggling with this. I am no tub-thumping organised religion advocate but I have to say...something in this country isn't working.
    One or two observations:- I recently had to teach GCSE RE and of the syllabus stuff I was given to do, my student had NO idea about anything to do with Christianity - not the 10 Commandments/sermon on the mount etc etc -just about had heard of the crucifixion. However they did have quite a working knowledge of Islam and Hinduism and to a lesser extent Sikhism ( not too much on Buddhism or Humanism) This I think is now pretty commonplace unless you have had a Catholic education/upbringing. Whilst I am no way a practising Christian I do consider much of Christian teaching to be a worthwhile moral code.
    Which brings me to my second part, as I am concerned at the what seems to be lack of moral code amongst so many people. Leading to I think the sort of action we see where 2 teenage girls think it acceptable to smack/slap/punch an old lady in the face on a bus when she remonstrated with them about them not paying bus fare or the young woman with the broken eye socket who tried to point out to some youths that their unsocial and later thieving behaviour was unacceptable.
    I have no wish to see children brought up "in fear of God" which caused me quite some concern and rows with my ex re having my younger daughter christened but I am worried that as so much has been removed .... nothing better has or is replacing it. It is fast approaching that the more minority communities here will be more representative of the "caring society" we would wish the Uk to be.
    ValentinoRossi likes this.
  14. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    @HelenREMfan I think we are so focused on being an inclusive, secular society that RE lessons aren't taken seriously. RE is the only statutory subject, which is why the syllabus are written by local SACRE and not included in the NC - all syllabus have a hefty Christian bias but some teachers of RE, especially in primary, just pay lip service to it possibly because their own knowledge and experience of Christianity is weak.
  15. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    From my experience, the Christian element of the primary RE syllabi tends to be conceptually & factually much deeper than the areas covered in other faiths. I assume this is because those involved in creating such syllabi are assuming that the pupils will have some working knowledge of Christianity as a baseline and teachers will themselves have a wider & deeper understanding of Christianity compared with other faiths, and will therefore be able to enable their pupils to understand at a deeper level.

    All of these assumptions are no longer true (if they ever were). But I think it means many teachers are very worried about teaching Christianity in particular because they recognise their own lack of knowledge & understanding of what they should be teaching, given the expectations. Whereas with teaching other faiths, there is no assumption that a child will know anything about Hinduism, for example, so teaching is at a very basic level, even by the end of Y6. And teachers can cope with this.

    Of course, schools in areas where many pupils belong to faiths other than Christianity will probably have an RE syllabus which reflects this.

    Even when I began teaching, there had been no training on my PGCE on teaching primary RE. I doubt the situation has improved. However, I understood that in secondary RE, numbers selecting this as a GCSE option had increased enormously - until it was omitted from the English Bacc 'favoured subjects' list.
  16. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Problem is that moral codes and behaviour tends to rest on religious principles. Take away the religion and what do you have? The laws of the country (which as we know can be flouted very often without any real consequences), and a society which is focused on the individual rather than social groups, and a sense of entitlement and greed. Behaviour follows suit.

    Religious assemblies simply reflected the society of the time, when by far the majority of children would have known the key points of the Christian story, even if they didn't believe them, because Britain was a 'Christian country'. Now it isn't. So - like 'Thought for the Day' - do we have religious assemblies that reflect all the faiths in some way, or do we get shot of the lot?

    There are two parts to RE teaching - learning about and learning from. We can do the learning about fairly well; it's academic and factual. I think we've lost the learning from aspect because that relies on much more than lessons in a classroom - it requires an element of immersion in the religious thought and praxis where the moral codes are absorbed rather than intellectually acquired, and I think that religious assemblies were an integral part of that absorption.

    At least that's how I see it.
    HelenREMfan and chelsea2 like this.
  17. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Lots to learn from religion, yes, such as:

    child abuse

    etc etc.
  18. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Religion is only incidental to these things, like politics and ethnicity. We should get to the root of the problem: Crimes are only committed by people who breathe. I might have a modest proposal to sort it all out.

  19. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Lots of wars caused by religion, and most religions have (Or still) exhibit the other hates I have listed, amongst others.
  20. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    It's amazing that people still swallow that line.

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