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"Faith" Schools

(15 Posts)
varian Wed 17-Apr-19 18:05:05

“A Christian school is not where everyone is ‘nice to each other,’ but one that will preach and proclaim the Bible". So says the headmaster of the Church of England Fulham Boys School, Alun Ebenezer, in an interview with a journalist this month.

Attitudes like this in faith schools (which are entirely funded by the tax payer) are all too common. Last autumn this school was also found to have discriminated against a Rastafarian child that it would only educate in isolation until the child's dreadlocks were cut off. Accord notified the Equality and Human Rights Commission about the case. They in turn supported the child in gaining legal redress for how they were treated.

It is appalling that schools can be used to poison the minds of children in this way. Education should give young people the opportunity to explore and examine different beliefs and values, and thus develop their own. It should not be exploited to indoctrinate a particular view.

The outlook advocated by Mr Ebenezer and those who think like him is exactly that which the Accord Coalition combats in its campaign against religious discrimination, indoctrination and division in the school system. If you object to the vision that he, and others like him, set out, please help provide us with the means to defeat it.

paddyann Wed 17-Apr-19 18:27:37

I went to a state convent school a faith school by another name .I was never indoctrinated about religion,there were muslim and jewish girls in my class and we were encouraged to learn about their faiths . (it was a single sex school)
Any good school should be teaching all faiths.The attitude to non catholic schools in scotland is that they are non demominational..thats not so .There is still religion taught and ministers who visit and church services attended .My Catholic parents preferred a school that followed their beliefs.

As a tax paying member of the community surely it is a right to have your child educated in the way you want and if that means a background of the lifestyle of any faith ..without it overtaking all subjects then thats how it should be .
I dont have any "faith" I dont believe in a god ,I brought my children up in a non catholic school to keep my in laws happy...neither of them have a faith .I still believe in the right to choose how your children are educated ,as my granny would have said your religion isn't just for Sundays its a guide for how you live your life .

jura2 Wed 17-Apr-19 18:32:09

for once paddy, I totally disagree with you. Religion is a private matter - not a State one - and the fact is, only a very small number do get the choice.

Any good school should indeed teach about all faiths - and the alternatives- eg atheism or humanism- as being just as valid and moral choices.

paddyann Wed 17-Apr-19 18:37:02

Perhaps thats the case inEngland but in Scotland its the norm to choose between Catholic and non catholic schools ...some choose to send non catholic children to catholic schools and vice versa .There is still a probllem with sectarianism here but thats taught at home ..not in school .

Anniebach Wed 17-Apr-19 18:44:28

Our local Church in Wales school has students who are Abgkicsn, Roman Catholics, of no faith , Baptists, Methodists, JW.

We have one High School,

Witzend Wed 17-Apr-19 18:48:53

In practice, I suspect that many parents choose - or rather hope to - the best school in the area, whether faith or not. I certainly know of Muslim or Jewish parents who've chosen to send their children to a C of E or Catholic school, because its academic record was good.

My dd and SiL, neither of whom is remotely religious, are very pleased that Gdd has been accepted at their most local primary, which is very good and happens to be C of E. I doubt very much that there will be any force-feeding of religion, though I dare say there will be a little of it.

I don't agree with the kind of over-zealous emphasis on religion that you describe, OP, but IMO the main problem with schools in the U.K. is that there are too many poor or failing ones, and too many children are lumbered with the second or third rate.

varian Wed 17-Apr-19 18:53:42

I think that the process of segregating children does have an effect in encouraging bigotry. I remember a survey in NI which found that over 90% of parents wanted to send their children to integrated schools but less than 10% had the opportunity to do so.

As a small child in the West of Scotland, I was separated from my friend when we were sent to different schools, one with a blue uniform and one with a green uniform, labelling us for ever as either "us" or "them".

I believe it is best for all children to be taught together. The religious education syllabus at school should feature comparative religion and humanism.

Devoutly religous parents should ensure that their children are sent to Sunday school or whatever their church, mosque, synagogue or temple provides in the way of religious instruction and back that up with their way of living in the family.

Religious education and religious instruction are two entirely different things.

SueDonim Wed 17-Apr-19 19:08:04

One of my GC has effectively been excluded from most local primary schools because they are CoE while his mother is Muslim. She and ds were pretty much told on the open day that her religion meant their son be the lowest priority for a place and they should look elsewhere.

Dil was totally taken aback by this attitude - she is French so grew up with France's secular education system. She had no idea of the bigotry she would come across and nor did ds, as he was educated in Scotland.

They decided in the end that they wouldn't want their son to be in such surroundings and managed to find a tiny little school, where he is flourishing and children aren't judged by their parents actions.

If people want a religious education for their child, they should pay for it.

TerriBull Wed 17-Apr-19 19:15:12

I went to a catholic school and was completely indoctrinated with utter drivel. One early memory aged 7, when we were all being prepared for our First Holy Communion with unblessed hosts and were being told how to swallow them with a warning "if we bit into them we would be biting Jesus' legs off" shock Even at 7 I found that a bit hard to swallow, no pun intended, but I was still left half believing, after all we were being instructed by an adult.

Moving on to my convent school aged 11, the nuns displayed massive prejudice against the protestant pupils, behind their backs, ironically they were the ones that paid for the privilege of being educated there. They'd file out of class when we the catholics were being dragged off to the chapel for mass on one of the innumerable saints days, they'd be barely half way down the corridor when one of the nuns would utter something along the lines of "let us pray together for their souls to save them from eternal damnation". We were endlessly doing the Reformation in history, it was a quite a while before I discovered that Mary Tudor wasn't the illustrious monarch as portrayed by our nuns, one actually said during a history lesson "she may have had a few protestants burned but it was no more than they deserved" shock The nuns at my school were either Irish or French, the latter were completely okay but the Irish ones were mean spirited, almost without exception. They also did their damndest to plant a subliminal dislike of protestants in our minds. I can't think of one English or French teacher who would have done that. In retrospect I don't think they should have been working with children. However, as we know it's not only Christian schools who indoctrinate the young in things they shouldn't shock

My perception of how catholic schools are now has changed somewhat, they seem to be a cut above. My husband's grown up grandchildren went to state catholic schools in West London that are exceptional with massive waiting lists. Must be doing something right these days.

NanKate Wed 17-Apr-19 19:30:55

My two grandsons go to a C of E school. They are encouraged to learn about all faiths and no one is left out. They are very lucky to go there.

Anniebach Wed 17-Apr-19 19:45:25

This headmaster says ‘ it’s a school where ‘not everyone is nice to each other ‘ ,

is there a school where everyone is nice to each other ?

M0nica Wed 17-Apr-19 20:00:21

I went to 6 catholic schools and all were open minded. My secondary school had a large group of jewish girls attending it because the CodE grammar school would not accept them.

Yes, I had some antodeluvian catholic teachers, but DH went to standard state schools and the stories he tells me about his schools and some of his teachers, doesn't suggest there was much to choose between them.

Urmstongran Wed 17-Apr-19 20:50:06

I wish religion of any order would keep its beak out of education. Families who wish to practice their faith can do so in their own time. France is a secular society and keeps religion off the curriculum. That, in my opinion, is how it should be.

Just an aside (some would say not relevant but hey ho) 29 people have died this evening on a coach trip on Madeira. Beyond awful to contemplate. This will be news for tomorrow. Yet the Notre Dame fire that (fortuitously) killed nobody, will be in the news for weeks. Yes, I appreciate the history and the symbolism here but it makes you think doesn’t it?

LullyDully Wed 17-Apr-19 20:54:16

As a supply teacher in the 1970. I visited two catholic primary schools in the East Enc. In one the Head teacher ( a nun wearing grey) told a story, in assembly, of two children who missed mass to mudlark by the Thames. They were drowned because of their poor choice.

The next week the Head at a different school took me into her office. She told me that a little girl in the class had lost her brother. She took my hand and told me to give all my love to that girl for the day.

People are all different, not just because of their religion.

BradfordLass72 Wed 17-Apr-19 21:29:49

My elder boy told his grandma (my Mum) that his teacher picked him up by his hair, threw him against a wall and told him he had a black heart because he couldn't remember the Catechism. He was 5.

I went immediately to the Principal who confirmed his story and said she condoned these actions. My son never went back.

I don't blame Catholicism, I blame that teacher and whoever supports such cruelty - but I have heard so many similar stories since.

Ten years later, at a State school, my younger son, although never punished himself, was, with his classmates, made to witness his from teach forcing a boy to crouch beneath the teacher's desk, where he was regularly kicked.

When I heard this, I went into school and told this man I would report him if I heard of any such treatment of any child, my own included.

'But they made me do it,' he bleated, 'they won't do their work properly and I'm not allowed to hit them anymore'.
These children were 7 years old.

I then went to the Principal who didn't seem to care and who told me I was hysterical.

Now anyone who knows me would never use that word.
I don't do hysterical - but 'cold fury' I will gladly accept.

That term, six teachers left my son's school, because they had tried to change things - and failed.

I don't deny that isolated incidents continue but in general, NZ schools have a zero tolerance policy to violence and bullying in any form. I hope this is upheld, it certainly is in my dgs's school.