Issues in Faith SchoolsWatch
As part of my Citizenship campaign for GCSE, a few others(AspiringLawyer01 ) and I are raising awareness of issues in faith schools around the country. Our main concern is religious indoctrination. Our research has found that, although religious education is required to be taught in schools, there is no set curriculum. This means that schools could theoretically neglect to teach any belief other than their own, or, at the very least, other beliefs could be somewhat glossed over. We think this could lead to intolerance and ignorance of other cultures and religions. For our campaign, we would like to hear about student's experiences with faith schools around the country. Has anyone got any experiences to share about their time at faith schools? What was the education on science like? What was taught in religious lessons? Were you encouraged to question the religion the school practiced? Any opinions from anyone, faith school or not? I would be grateful for any responses!
Science: Normal science. No religious teaching
Religious lessons: A bit of everything
Question school: Absolutely not. 2 hours of songs of praise a week. I got a letter home for bringing in "tarot" cards that I got of a kids magazine that predicted boyfriends. We were all given bibles and used them regularly.
Opinion: I would have preferred to go to a non faith school.
That said my high school (grew up in Sussex. We have First, Middle, High no primary/secondary/juniors etc) was just as bad and it was a regular school. Our RE teacher would teach us like... this is what Jews believe.... BUT IT IS WRONG. He was a devout Christian and I feel very strongly that if you're religious and teaching RE you should keep your personal opinions out of it.
I also don't think that we should abolish faith school. It's good that parents have the choice of where to send their child and if they want their child to be religious then there's is no problem with that. After all in society we trust parents to raise their children adequately.
For our campaign, we would like to hear about student's experiences with faith schools around the country. Has anyone got any experiences to share about their time at faith schools? What was the education on science like? What was taught in religious lessons? Were you encouraged to question the religion the school practiced? Any opinions from anyone, faith school or not? I would be grateful for any responses!
My primary school prioritised taking local Catholic pupils but there were a lot of people of different denominations and different faiths in the school. Despite this it was pretty Catholic, in that there was lots of hymn-singing, attending Mass at school and saying prayers at the start and end of the day. My secondary school was less diverse but was quite laidback in most aspects, even though it was a convent school with a nun as the headteacher. She was a very cool, chilled-out nun who recognised that over 90% of the school were not practising Catholics (despite being Roman Catholic on paper), so she didn't make it a huge deal. I had a lot of respect for her for that
My science lessons were as normal as they would have been in a non-faith school. We were taught evolution from Year 7 onwards. When we told our science teacher that their information was conflicting with what we were being taught in RE (i.e. that God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th), the science teacher just said "we're the ones teaching you the right thing". Then in Year 8, the RE teachers turned round and were like "oh what we taught you last year wasn't true, it's just a story to illustrate that God created the world"
Our RE lessons very much depended on the teacher. In Year 9 we learnt a tiny bit about other religions but not very much at all. It was very much a Roman Catholic-centred syllabus. This was especially true by the time GCSE RE came around (which was mandatory in my school, not optional): for my year group, we did a GCSE syllabus that was entirely about Christianity, but we were taught mostly about Catholicism and not much about other denominations. My RE teacher for GCSE was completely bat****-crazy Catholic and so she'd treat all other denominations as if they were complete heretics For my sister's year group (the year below us), they changed syllabus so that it was a solely Catholic GCSE syllabus
Only one RE teacher really permitted questioning Church teaching and doctrine (like I said earlier, what RE lessons were like really depended on who was teaching you). I did talk to a nice friendly non-crazy RE teacher about how the school was trying to indoctrinate us, and she denied it
I think an important thing that many people forget when they wave words like "indocrination" about is that just because you are being taught certain things in a certain way, does NOT mean you necessarily just swallow that whole and believe it. So even though some RE teachers were clearly bonkers and were trying to indoctrinate us, none of us believed a word they said
Having attended faith schools myself, I do not think we need to shut down/get rid of faith schools BUT I do think that there should be some kinda OFSTED-like offshoot/body that closely monitors what is taught in science, RE and PSHCE lessons in ALL faith schools (I mention PSHCE coz we were not really taught about contraceptive options in my school)