C of E indoctrination at school?

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wolfsbane
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Re: C of E indoctrination at school?

Postby wolfsbane » 18 Sep 2010, 07:57

I dont have a major problem with teaching christianity at school but i would like them to focus on the other religions/spiritual paths with the same sort of time scales. In another post i started about my duaghter joining the Christian Club at school which i think i didnt put inot words correctly due to the stress it causes me. They had a little get together in a class room with the inticement of cake & Hot chocolate. It wasnt until the Children arrived that they were told it was a christian group and they all had a prayer session. I dont see them inviting the children out into the school fields to sit in a circle and pray to the earth goddess.
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Re: C of E indoctrination at school?

Postby Ghostrider » 18 Sep 2010, 08:07

I dont see them inviting the children out into the school fields to sit in a circle and pray to the earth goddess.
Ahhh... I think a parental organized picknick is in order... :innocent:
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Re: C of E indoctrination at school?

Postby LoonyLuna » 06 Jan 2011, 10:54

Greeting to One and All,

One of my friends daughters came home from (a different) school recently, convinced her Mum was evil becuase her teacher had expressed negative opinions about Paganism.

Does anyone have any experience of this? How do you all go about balancing your own family teachings with the sometimes opposing views taught by their teachers and peers?
My two boys went to a C of E primary school, my eldest (who is now almost 12) was about 6 or 7 at the time. There was a new head and his wife teaching at the school, they were hard core bible thumpers (on the surface at least anyway, but that's another story!), the wife taught my eldest, and would very often quote the bible at me, (My son has Aspergers, and at that time he wasn't getting the help he needed from the school), anyway... because I'm a divorcee (they loved my ex husband as he had remarried and would agree with everything they said, another long story)... anyway, this carried on for some weeks, until my son came home in tears... he said that his teacher has told him that I'm "going to burn in hell" (her exact words apparently!) because I don't believe in God. At that point I was gobsmacked, it's bad enough inundating average school kids with this stuff, but to tell an Aspergers kid this is beyond belief! I sat him down and explained that that was her view because she was a Christian (and explained about heaven and hell etc which he knew about anyway) and that my beliefs were different, that I couldn't "burn in hell" as I didn't believe in the devil and hell, and that what someone believes about God/Gods/Goddess/Goddesses is very personal and that it is wrong of people to make others believe something simply by making "threats" or because they want to impose their views on others.

He was still really upset for a long time over this, I never said anything to that teacher as it would have caused no end of trouble for my son. But needless to say neither of my boys identify as a Christian, they will find their own path as they grow up. My youngest is still at that school, but that head and his wife have long since departed (he was later struck off the teaching register for life after misappropriating school funds, there were other allegations but they were kept quiet and later dropped as there was insufficient evidence.. they are now "spreading the word" to tribes in Africa).

Faith schools in this day and age, should not be allowed. Faith should be keep out of the running of education, and kept in RE classes where all faiths are given a fair hearing, and then the kids can choice want faith they want to follow.
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Re: C of E indoctrination at school?

Postby whitehorse » 11 Aug 2011, 00:53

My daughter (5) attends a Church of Wales (like C of E) school. This is the closest school to our home and I am not so principled (I dislike the notion of faith schools generally) that I would make things very difficult for the family to take her to a 'secular' state school further away.
I would never be worried about C of E indoctrination. I think there is absolutely nil evidence that the C of E has ever successfully indoctrinated anyone beyond the age of...say...13. If any otherwise normally functioning adults today are wandering around as Christian brain washed zombies because of the C of E, I'd eat my hat. People become 'brainwashed' because they partly want to be, or because of mental health, or family issues that make them particularly vulnerable to any group. The C of E doesn't brain wash people, though it does rather arrogantly consider all the population to be just lapsed Christians (but then again this is probably because in surveys so many English people keep saying they are C of E when they never in fact darken the door of the Church.) The C of E is in terminable decline by the way. In fifty years my guess there will be very few Anglicans left or at least just as many, if not more druids! (Perhaps we should offer to be 'state religion')There is no evidence that C of E schooled children are significantly more likely to become committed members of the church. All you druids who were once Anglicans are a case in point. I'd be really suprised if any around here' has genuinely struggled' to flee the cult of their local vicar.

I'd be rather more worried by some of the fee paying conservative evangelical schools that are being independently set up - there is one near me in Caerphilly - I am confident that OFSTED (the school inspectors) can prevent any flagrant abuses of position in the state faith school. In the C of E/Church of Wales I imagine any problems are due to individual zealous teachers rather than the C of E institution.
By the way, I don't consider my kids pagan or druid. They are just kids. Kids don't have 'a faith' don't belong to any faith or tradition. They are generally too young to make real decisions about abstract ideas and membership of groups; they lack 'informed consent' until they are teenagers. Their doubtless appreciation and involvement in our faith practices are mostly about pleasing us and having fun with the family...just because my kids might like what i do for Samhain doesn't make them 'pagan'. I would never insist they are pagan or atheist or Christian. I am with Richard Dawkins on this point, in rejecting the notion of labelling children as 'christian', 'muslim', 'pagan' according to what their family do or believe.

As for children doing Christian prayers, well within certain parameters, I see no problem with my child saying Christian 'grace' at meals for instance in school. Obviously I am not going to reinforce that at home (though there is arguably a place for a pagan 'grace' don't you think? interesting idea...thanking Mother Earth for her bounty..). honestly I believe kids think nothing of it, and if they discuss it or do the prayers at home it is an opportunity for me to say that people have all kinds of prayers etc and no one kind of prayer is 'right'. After all In pagan circles I am often involved in stuff and rituals where people are calling on all manner of deities that I have no particular affinity for, knowledge of, or 'belief' in. I accept other people's 'gods' (including Jesus of Nazareth) in the sense of tolerating and accepting what is their ultimate concern, symbol of good, picture of the supreme mystery etc.

Of course there are 'bad' Christian groups out there. Generally they have nothing to do with the C of E. Obviously there are some wacky evangelicals in the C of E, a minority thankfully, so I do watch out for these types. I would not accept children being asked to sing or pray stuff that reflects a particular evangelical out look, that seems to encourage religious commitment to a set of doctrines, certain notions of moral guilt,encouraging kids to 'become born again' and that malarky. Do be alert for that.

By the way I have taught my daughter a slightly different version of 'Lord of the Dance' that old C of E sing song staple:
My alternative refrain lyrics are: "Dance then where-ever you may be, I am the druid of the old oak tree!"

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Re: C of E indoctrination at school?

Postby MPutnam » 15 Aug 2011, 04:02

Emmao,

Here in the United States, the public school system has very little Christian, or any other religious practices. That has not been always so. I can remember prayers in school and Bible reading in my early years. The government promoted " Separation of Church and State " policies have changed much concerning religion in the US public school system. Now with private schools that is another matter entirely.

James
Hawthorn, I'm not sure where exactly you're at in the US but I know that down in the south Georgia "bible belt" public schools are still very Christian oriented. My high school held a Christian prayer before every athletic event, PTA meeting, graduation, etc. The year after I graduated I heard that the new principal would often pray before pep rallies and even during meetings with students. Often times youth ministers would wander the halls during lunch to hand out tracts and invite people to services. Och, just to think about it starts to make me foam at the mouth...
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Re: C of E indoctrination at school?

Postby Huathe » 15 Aug 2011, 05:08

MPutnam,

Maybe things are starting to reverse a bit. With all the hullaballoo in the media about leaving prayer out of schools and government facilities, that surprises me. I know the majority of people in the US proclaim Christianity but many do not actively practice the religion and don't really care, still I often hear churchgoers proclaim " They kicked God out of the schools. ".

I have not attended a public school since 1983 and then Christianity in schools was weak. I can remember it being much stronger in the late 60s and early 70s when I started school.

Maybe the " Bible Belt " is stronger in South Georgia than here in Western North Carolina. :shrug:
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Re: C of E indoctrination at school?

Postby Duellist » 23 Sep 2011, 16:32

My wife and I (both Bards of the OBOD) just had to sign up our daughter for the local school. It is supposedly not a CoE school, but their prospectus does talk about teaching morality and social responsibility through Christianity. Their one concession to other religions in RE is apparently a section on Judaism. I would not worry, but an atheist friend sends their son there and he apparently was induced to pray with the others. A Muslim friend of my wife also had issues with the school directly contradicting her own religious teachings.

I am lucky to have an intelligent and strong-willed child, but what can we do when our faith (and hers, such as she has one) disagrees with her teacher's lessons? Do we tell her that teachers can be wrong, undermining her trust in the teacher?

I am tempted to go for a school-governor position (since it was mentioned) if one arises while she is there, just to see if I can shake things up a bit.

We have been lucky that her pre-school were fascinated by the idea of druids and supportive. Despite being in a small village, they were really open. In the end though, there was nothing they needed to do differently and they even put us to shame with their rather druidic lesson-plans; with all the farms nearby, the preschool is very in touch with the cycle of the year and the kids all plant, cultivate and eat their own food from strawberries to potatoes.
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Re: C of E indoctrination at school?

Postby illion » 24 Sep 2011, 08:07

Duellist :hiya:

We are much in the same situation as you. Our son started school this autumn, and he has attended a forest kindergarten before. They were so close to nature that I think his heathen-druidic background from home were affirmed in his every day life - without anyone preaching this for him.

I have been thinking about how this religion thing will turn out when these things will be worked with in school. The different holidays, and so forth. I have not made a big issue out of that we are different than the rest, but I have told him that everybody is different. I've told him that everybody can believe in what they want, and that nobody can prove that their right. That nobody should change their faith, just because someone else says they should. I have told him that he can believe in Thor, even though his friends believe in Jesus. But I did not talk to him about this before he came home and told him that somebody said that elves did not exist.

I want him to understand that he should accept others faith, but stand strong in his own. I think it is important to have good conversations about it.

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Re: C of E indoctrination at school?

Postby Duellist » 19 Oct 2011, 13:31

It seems that I was worrying for nothing; we just found out that the second-closest school is much better. While they do have links with the church, the head-teacher was saying that it is more of a community involvement than anything religious and they do not promote any religious views. Better than that, they are working toward becoming a 'forest school' because they already promote outdoor play (one day a week, rain or shine, is apparently devoted to outdoor learning) and have some pretty impressive and only semi-tamed school grounds.

The reason I mention it is that this school was always there, but I had no idea about it. It was just a small school in a neighbouring village that I would not have even looked at if there had not been an open morning today, just written it off as a tiny school (8 children to a class) which probably didn't have many resources. It looks like checking out all the options, even the ones that don't look like much, really paid off. It does seem like the traditional schools of our childhoods are being given a run for their money, with all the Montessori, Forest School and other assorted new thinking. Maybe challenging the typical school environment will help shake up the CoE links too.
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Re: C of E indoctrination at school?

Postby illion » 20 Oct 2011, 04:28

Congratulations with finding a forest school. I just love the philosophy of learning outdoors. As long as my son has the chance to be out in nature, I just know that he will learn whatever he needs to learn anyway.

"Nature is the best teacher"
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Re: C of E indoctrination at school?

Postby Phyto » 02 Feb 2012, 14:06

Very interesting topic and some really insightful posts (really enjoyed the one about the C of W and also becoming a governor - thank you). Something that is also an issue is teachers having to teach when it's not their own faith. I have several friends and family members who have had to teach the wishy washy Christian stuff they do in C of E schools who are atheists or another belief and they know most of the parents don't go to church, nor the children and wish it could just be left out, other than paying mindfulness to all beliefs and none as a way of sharing diversity etc. I'm also aware of parents whose children go to C of E schools but whose Christian faith is to a much deeper level than offered at the schools and they find it irritating too because it doesn't go far enough (which is maybe why it's dying out). It does seem a shame - I think it's good to have a moral framework in schools and also an awareness of other beliefs and also of atheism but that doesn't have to be C of E.

Home education is a useful option for those who find it really difficult with a school but yes definitely approaching the teachers, the Governors and checking on what legislation is in place if you find that any of the teachers are overstepping their remit and pushing their personal beliefs on is a useful avenue as previously mentioned.
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