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State schools 'not providing group worship' - Comments

MadEd's Avatar Comment 1 by MadEd

A bit of good news on the day a whole load of 'faith' schools open.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 08:35:26 UTC | #867797

davedotcom's Avatar Comment 2 by davedotcom

Perhaps a bigger survey is required to make the results more statistically significant, however surely this must be grounds for reviewing the legislation to make worship compulsory.

I am all for children studying the various religions in an effort to increase community awareness, however to force Christian worship (that’s what it appears to be anyway) is too close to indoctrination for me. Surely enforcing one particular brand of religious worship would lead to less of a community?

I heard this story on BBC Radio this morning and was very annoyed with the Bishop of Oxford. His comments aren’t on the article but to paraphrase, he was saying that as the UK is a Christian country, children should worship accordingly. Wrangled me a bit, but what else should I have expected?

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 09:00:23 UTC | #867803

shemonster's Avatar Comment 3 by shemonster

The Bishop of Oxford, the Right Reverend John Pritchard, said doing daily worship in schools was an "important statement".

Statement of what exactly?

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 09:23:49 UTC | #867807

thebaldgit's Avatar Comment 4 by thebaldgit

Not a definitively large sample group, but still good news all the same. As we all know on this site, the religious, like all brainwashing groups will target the young to get them early and indoctrinated into their way of thinking. Any sign that this is being denied is a very good thing, if the children want to become religious when they leave school then it is their choice but until then leave them alone. Sadly most kids receive their early indoctrination from their parents.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 09:28:10 UTC | #867810

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 5 by strangebrew

Yep the ecclesiastical's will be having severe heart burn on this revelation.

How are they supposed to infect kiddies with woo worship when they cannot get their tawdry little cult myths exposure.

The practice is a rather pompous hangover from a time when xianity was the only game in town. And there was little choice in woo preference...or indeed lack of! And since 1996 it has not been mandatory anyway!

So the Bish of Oxford claiming foul is a rather disingenuous bleat for special pleading.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 09:33:17 UTC | #867812

Rosbif's Avatar Comment 6 by Rosbif

I am appalled. I had no idea worship, and especially to a specific religion, was compulsory in the UK. I had a UK education and yes, we had assembly with hymns and the lord's prayer, but I never really saw it as worship to a higher being, just a compulsory act which gave the deputy-head a chance to survey the boys from underneath the bushiest eyebrows since the chynobal rhodadendrum society started using local manure.

Surely children should be made NOT to worship until 6th form when they can choose to do it at the church of their choice. School is not for religion.

If it's tradition they're after, it was a long standing tradition in our school that the 6th form balcony always replaced the words of hymns with the word "Spam". (referring to the processed meat as the term and indeed e-mail systems hadn't been invented at the time).

I think it would do Britain the world of good to hold on to such traditions, but were I a parent of today, I would object to the head of the Processed Meat Council insisting on compulsory canned meat references in assembly because it was something he thought the country traditioanally ought to believe in. What a silly man the Bish is.

Letting him threaten children-of-christian-parents with eternal hell fire if they don't buy into his fantasy world should be privelidge enough without insisting all children are abused in such away.

I'm British and I would suggest that it is far more in our traditional culture to reject the codswallup and enjoy the architecture and jumble sales that the church offers. Anything more is just silly.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 09:36:49 UTC | #867814

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 7 by Stevehill

Good-ish news, if only there were any hope of the government doing anything about it.

The Bishop of Oxford is right: it is indeed an important statement. In a state school in Tower Hamlets where the population is 95% Muslim, the statement is "fuck you, if you can't be arsed to convert to Christianity get out of Britain, because we have a legal obligation to preach at you every single day".

I'm sure that important statement will do a lot for peace and racial harmony.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 09:41:44 UTC | #867815

Mrkimbo's Avatar Comment 8 by Mrkimbo

Unbelievable that a period of collective child-brainwashing is actually required under British law. I mean, what the hell - is this 1870? Sounds like it.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 09:52:38 UTC | #867818

JustLikeMyPops's Avatar Comment 9 by JustLikeMyPops

The sooner the diet xtians (I'm certain the majority of xtians haven't really put much thought into it and see no reason to take their blinkers off and wake up) realise how they've been lied to, manipulated and controlled the sooner people will stop automatically ticking the C of E or the catholic checkbox on the census and proudly and confidently tick "no religion" instead so that fucktards like the bish here can't carry on claiming the majority in order to insinuate his own particular brand of insane evil on our FUCKING CHILDREN! GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM MY KIDS DICKHEAD!

And to all you Jedi's out there, who are governments going to take seriously, someone who chooses "No religion" or someone who appears to want to ruin the census rather than have an actual opinion by claiming to worship Star Wars? Yeah it was funny for a while but we need the numbers to try and make a real difference and reduce how much the church tries to interfere with every living person on the planet.

Rant over, apologies in advance.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 10:00:22 UTC | #867820

inquisador's Avatar Comment 10 by inquisador

comment 7 by Stevehill

In a state school in Tower Hamlets where the population is 95% Muslim

Surprisingly the correct figure is reportedly 36% according to this link. And it's not like the MCB to minimise the figures.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 10:01:27 UTC | #867822

Graxan's Avatar Comment 11 by Graxan

Despite the usual posturing and obscurantist waffle by those attempting to explain this result including the perfunctorily interviewed Bishop of Oxford, this simply shows that the average British person is uninterested in participating in such a questionable activity as deity worship. Assuming the results are accurately representative of the public, then it is an excellent reason-affirming piece of news for the UK. The sooner we end this pre-medieval nonsense in public life the better things will be.

I'm hoping that public discourse among parents in this country allows this trend to continue and I for one will be sure to apply pressure at my children's school to remove these attempts at indoctrination.

@ Comment 6, Mr Roast Beef, I'm shocked you didn't know this. Are you french perhaps?

@ SteveHill, Hi Steve, I'm sure you're close to the mark on this one, however, I for one will shed no tears for the removal of the practise of Islam, whatever non-violent form that takes.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 10:10:25 UTC | #867823

delToro87's Avatar Comment 12 by delToro87

Elaine Smith, head teacher at St Matthews Church of England Primary school in Blackburn, where 96% of the pupils are Muslims, said talking about faith regularly was beneficial.

Another example of casual labeling of children with the religion of their parents or culture that they come from. This really needs to be made a big deal of, I think it is despicable to refer to a group of people, who are as young as 4 and at the oldest 11, to be '96% muslim'. They are far too young to know what they think!

On the wider issue, it seems daft to have this as compulsory any longer, and its no surprise to see many schools not enforcing it. Its probably not as dangerous as some people are thinking, the schools I went to seemed to adhere to the law, especially my primary school, but the assemblies were far too weak to have any serious threat of indoctrination. I suppose at the time when asked I would have said I was christian, but then again I was probably too young to know, I think I thought all people had a religion, and it depended where you came from. But I was able when older and more confident to reject it all. I think most people, if all the religion they get is at school (i.e. not church going families) can do this quite easily.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 10:13:02 UTC | #867824

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 13 by aquilacane

The Department for Education states that all maintained schools in England must provide a daily act of collective worship which must reflect the traditions of this country, which it says are, in the main, broadly Christian.

Defiant is also a tradition of the country; so, good luck with that.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 10:22:18 UTC | #867826

Barry Pearson's Avatar Comment 14 by Barry Pearson

Comment 8 by Mrkimbo :

Unbelievable that a period of collective child-brainwashing is actually required under British law. I mean, what the hell - is this 1870? Sounds like it.

That was long after the Age of Enlightenment!

Did you mean to say "what the hell - is this 1670?"

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 10:23:56 UTC | #867827

epeeist's Avatar Comment 15 by epeeist

Comment 2 by davedotcom :

I heard this story on BBC Radio this morning and was very annoyed with the Bishop of Oxford. His comments aren’t on the article but to paraphrase, he was saying that as the UK is a Christian country, children should worship accordingly. Wrangled me a bit, but what else should I have expected?

I found him somewhat ingenuous in that he claimed 71% of the population identified as Christian, this is taken from the 2001 census. However, it is known to be a loaded question in that it directly asks "what is your religion".

Much better information is available in the British Social Attitudes Survey, an extract of which can be found on this page. Note the fact that only 43% identified as Christian and only 8% of those who identify as CofE attend services each week.

Given these figures his claims look substantially different. Given it was John Humphrys who interviewed him I would have expected him to be grilled rather more thoroughly

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 10:39:01 UTC | #867828

Slugsie's Avatar Comment 16 by Slugsie

I endorse this flouting of the law. Keep it up schools!

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 10:42:31 UTC | #867829

Sara12's Avatar Comment 17 by Sara12

How old are 6th form kids? Is that the equivalent of 6th grade in the US? 6th graders are roughly 11.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 10:48:59 UTC | #867831

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 18 by Cartomancer

It's the British way though, isn't it? Keep the archaic laws around as a quaint reminder of former times, but let them slide quietly into obscurity. I keep a crossbow handy just in case I am forced to walk the streets of Coventry at night and happen to chance across a marauding Welshman, but sadly I doubt I'll ever see that one honoured in a court of law. Which is just as well really, because it's the longbow I should have been practising with every sunday...

I can't say I'm too fussed about this archaic "collective worship" requirement, because the evidence clearly shows that it doesn't do anything. In fact it probably even helps to turn children off religion, because it's such a jarring, unnecessary and formalistic imposition on their day. Perhaps it's different in faith schools, where the teachers actually believe the guff they're spouting, but for the majority of normal schools it seems harmless enough to let it slide quietly into obsolescence without making a fuss. What could be more British than that?

Well, okay, they could replace it with a collective requirement that every child has a cup of tea and a biscuit at least once a day during school time. That would be more British. English anyway, the Scots and Welsh could replace the biscuit with a piece of shortbread or lessons in how to pick a stray crossbow bolt out of your clothing respectively. They can keep the collective worship in Northern Ireland, since religious sectarianism seems to be an authentic part of the culture over there...

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 10:56:21 UTC | #867833

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 19 by Vorlund

Splendid!

This legal requirement permits several important lessons to be acquired by children

Laws which aren't enforceable are bad laws

Laws which require people to suspend reason are bad laws

Laws which are designed to manipulate or socially engineer people need to be questioned

Laws which are bad can be opposed by free thinking individuals

Laws which are badly thought through can have unintended consequences

Laws which are bad have often been thought up by people with ulterior motives and feeble minds

Laws which cause disputes are not conducive to the central premise of law (dispute resolution).

Boys and girls, to recognise shit you have to smell it at least once otherwise you might think it was shino. Now go to your classes and dodge as much shit as you can

Here endeth the first lesson.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 11:05:51 UTC | #867834

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 20 by Cartomancer

How old are 6th form kids? Is that the equivalent of 6th grade in the US? 6th graders are roughly 11.

No, it's not the same thing. Sixth-formers are 16-18 year olds. It's called the sixth form because, traditionally, we tend to split education into Primary (5-10) and Secondary (11-16) and start counting again from 1 when the children reach secondary level, because it's a separate building with separate teachers in a separate place (so 11-12 year olds are the first form, 12-13 year olds the second form and so on). Teaching of 16-18 year olds (non-compulsory, so somewhat set apart) generally took place in the same secondary school as the teaching of the 11-16 year olds, which is why those two years are generally labelled as "sixth form", following on from forms 1-5.

To further confuse matters there are also "sixth form colleges", which only take students from 16-18 and don't have any pre-16s at all, but they're still called sixth-form in honour of the system outlined above. Then there are Further Education Colleges, which are very similar and teach the same things as sixth-form colleges, but tend also to have a wider range of other courses, adult education programmes, and are in general less like schools in ethos and character.

And finally the whole first form, second form, third form system is considered rather archaic these days, and generally the province only of the public schools (i.e. the oldest private schools) and the other private schools that consciously imitate them. In most state schools one would refer to "year seven" for 11-12 year olds, "year eight" for 12-13 year olds and so on. Though "sixth form" often remains for post-16 as an archaic survival, and it is very rare indeed to talk about "year twelve" or "year thirteen" in Britain (though Australian schools do tend to use these terms instead).

Confused yet?

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 11:06:08 UTC | #867835

Aztek's Avatar Comment 21 by Aztek

""What we believe as a country."

Except that a country doesn't believe in anything. Even the population does not have a uniform belief. So which belief should be taught? Reverend John Pritchard, you fail at thinking.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 11:06:54 UTC | #867836

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 22 by Stevehill

@inquisador

Surprisingly the correct figure is reportedly 36% according to this link. And it's not like the MCB to minimise the figures.

Sorry - I was refer to the school population, not the borough as a whole: my post was ambiguous. There are individual schools (not only in Tower Hamlets) where 90%-plus of pupils are demonstrably not Christian. Giving their parents a right to opt out of act of Christian worship which the school is in any event legally obliged to perform is just barking mad.

I don't doubt these schools actually do no such thing, and just do something vaguely communitarian to keep the peace. But it only takes one fundamentalist Christian parent to bring a legal challenge on behalf of his "only Christian in the school" child, and a court would have no option but to tell the school to comply with the 1944 legislation. Alienating several hundred Muslims who would then be excluded from Assembly.

What we really need is a few fundamentalist Christians to bring such cases, simply to expose the absurdity of the status quo.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 11:08:14 UTC | #867837

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 23 by drumdaddy

I'm proud to say that I raised my son in reason. I explained to him the concept of 'superstitions' and as we encountered them he learned not to swallow things whole without chewing. A child's mind is the precious target of all agendas. It appears that the majority of English parents are well aware of this.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 11:10:56 UTC | #867839

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 24 by Jos Gibbons

Not having group worship daily in assemblies was the only aspect of my school Ofsted complained about. Since about half the pupils had Muslim families, you can understand the avoidance of Christian prayer.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 11:12:58 UTC | #867842

delToro87's Avatar Comment 25 by delToro87

I can't say I'm too fussed about this archaic "collective worship" requirement, because the evidence clearly shows that it doesn't do anything. In fact it probably even helps to turn children off religion, because it's such a jarring, unnecessary and formalistic imposition on their day.

Agreed, I think that's probably why I disliked religion from an early age, I associated it with the most boring bits of school. Worst of times - Wednesday mornings, hymn practice! Urgh!

Though "sixth form" often remains for post-16 as an archaic survival, and it is very rare indeed to talk about "year twelve" or "year thirteen" in Britain (though Australian schools do tend to use these terms instead).

Don't think its rare to refer to year 12 and year 13 at all. Sixth form refers to them collectively, but within it is important to distinguish which stage the pupils are at.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 11:14:32 UTC | #867843

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 26 by Vorlund

Comment Removed by Author

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 11:17:47 UTC | #867844

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 27 by Cartomancer

Don't think its rare to refer to year 12 and year 13 at all. Sixth form refers to them collectively, but within it is important to distinguish which stage the pupils are at.

In my experience, which has, admittedly, only been at FE colleges and Sixth-form colleges, the two years are generally called "AS" and "A2" rather than 12 and 13. More traditional schools tend to use "lower 6th" and "upper 6th". But there may well be some currency in 12 and 13 on these shores that I am unaware of.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 11:20:37 UTC | #867846

Sara12's Avatar Comment 28 by Sara12

Comment 20 by Cartomancer :

How old are 6th form kids? Is that the equivalent of 6th grade in the US? 6th graders are roughly 11.

No, it's not the same thing. Sixth-formers are 16-18 year olds. It's called the sixth form because, traditionally, we tend to split education into Primary (5-10) and Secondary (11-16) and start counting again from 1 when the children reach secondary level, because it's a separate building with separate teachers in a separate place (so 11-12 year olds are the first form, 12-13 year olds the second form and so on). Teaching of 16-18 year olds (non-compulsory, so somewhat set apart) generally took place in the same secondary school as the teaching of the 11-16 year olds, which is why those two years are generally labelled as "sixth form", following on from forms 1-5.

To further confuse matters there are also "sixth form colleges", which only take students from 16-18 and don't have any pre-16s at all, but they're still called sixth-form in honour of the system outlined above. Then there are Further Education Colleges, which are very similar and teach the same things as sixth-form colleges, but tend also to have a wider range of other courses, adult education programmes, and are in general less like schools in ethos and character.

And finally the whole first form, second form, third form system is considered rather archaic these days, and generally the province only of the public schools (i.e. the oldest private schools) and the other private schools that consciously imitate them. In most state schools one would refer to "year seven" for 11-12 year olds, "year eight" for 12-13 year olds and so on. Though "sixth form" often remains for post-16 as an archaic survival, and it is very rare indeed to talk about "year twelve" or "year thirteen" in Britain (though Australian schools do tend to use these terms instead).

Confused yet?

Actually as soon as I hit submit, what you wrote in your first paragraph came to mind as most likely. Everything I know about the British school system comes from this site, watching Doctor Who (random, occasional comments about A Levels, apparently required to get into college?) and the reasonable assumption that JK Rowling modeled Hogwarts on the UK system. Hehe, nerd ;)

I am curious about the teaching of 16-18 year olds as non-compulsory. In the US, at least in New York State (all the states can make up their own rules) kids are allowed to drop out of school at 16. Is that similar to what you meant? KInd of off topic so I'll leave it at that.

That being said, I agree then with whoever said that, as a base minimum, kids shouldn't even be offered the option of such in-school worship until they are old enough to opt out.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 11:29:16 UTC | #867848

Muldanian's Avatar Comment 29 by Muldanian

I'm surprised that religious worship still takes place in schools at all. I left school in the late '80s, but the daily assembly at my school had already been stopped by then. So, I had thought that it had ended in all schools. It wasn't as if the school I attended was very multicultural, as it was in an area which was almost entirely white. How schools in areas where there are students from many different religions still maintain an assembly, which is of a Christian nature, I've no idea. The only students who opted out of the assembly were the Plymouth Brethrens, of which there were many in my school.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 11:44:22 UTC | #867851

Sjoerd Westenborg's Avatar Comment 30 by Sjoerd Westenborg

Early child indoctrination is actually in the Brittish legislation? No offense, but that sucks.

Tue, 06 Sep 2011 11:50:05 UTC | #867852