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Withdrawing Children

Another good article from the NSS on the pointlessness and possibly damaging nature of religious schooling and RE.

It mentions something in relation to the rights of parents vs the religious requirements of schools:

Yes, parents can exclude their children from such lessons, but as we have seen at the NSS, few would actually do it. Even the most passionate secularists are unwilling to make their children into the odd ones out in class.

When my children first started Primary school I considered withdrawing them from compulsory prayers (but not RE) but did not do so. Partly because of the reasons the NSS suggests (it is probably bad enough being a 4 year old in a big school without being marked out as different from everyone else) but partly because I soon learnt about the local Secondary situation and thought that this might play against my chances of getting them into the school of my choice.

As far as I know, no-one at my children’s primary has been withdrawn from prayers: I think some children whose parents are Jehovah’s Witnesses have withdrawn their kids from RE (but not prayers) as they do not want them to learn about other faiths….

Here’s a thought: what if when, and if, both my children are at the faith Secondary school I withdraw them from RE and/or prayers? I believe the law would be on my side. How would the school react?

(I think it unlikely, however, that I would do such a thing for some of the reasons already stated. Unless – and this is important – either of my children asked me to.)

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  1. Stonyground
    11/06/2010 at 7:25 pm

    My daughter (Now 13) went to a CofE primary school, in our area we had a choice of three primary schools all of which are CofE. When she was accepted, we received a letter informing us about the school which mentioned that we were welcome to discuss withdrawing her from religious stuff. The letter gave no impression that there would be any kind of problem if we requested withdrawal but we declined to do so.

    Our thinking on this matter is that we wanted our daughter to make up her own mind and not impose our worlview on her in the way that the followers of the various religions do. This was offset by the knowledge that the government (the current one appears to be no different) seem to believe that parents want known falsehoods to be taught in publicly funded schools and if enough people sent their children to religious schools with the caveat that religion was left out of it, they might actually get the message that we don’t.

    She now attends a technology college, her and everyone that she knows consider religious education to be the most tedious and pointless item on the school timetable. I have for a long time considered religious indoctrination in schools to be wrong but incredibly useful for the secular cause because it produces atheists.

  2. Martin
    13/06/2010 at 7:18 pm

    My 9 year old daughter is at a CoE school and at no stage was the possibility of her being withdrawn from prayers ever raised. She’s been there 4 years now and she never tires of telling me that morning prayers is the most boring and useless part of the day. Mind you, she dispensed with the notion of “god” even before she gave up hoping santa clause was real!!!!

    Her next school will also be CoE and I think her RE teacher will be in for a hard time!!

    I’ve been an atheist since I was about 12 but at no point have I ever disparaged any religion in front of her. But what I did do is show her the value of scepticism and of never taking anything on face value.

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