DH and I have not been brought up with any religion and are really atheists in reality, but we are thinking about where to send 4yo DS to school in 2018. DH went to private school (Anglican) and I went public, so he has a preference to send him to private school. I'm sure it's partly about the "prestige" of being able to say his kids are in private school, as DH's father still brags about having put four kids through private education. I'm not interested in it for bragging rights, but part of me feels like it would help DS to find a "better" peer group (which in itself feels like a snobby thing to say!) than public schooling might.
Our kids aren't christened and we feel that to do so would be ridiculous and hypocritical, so we already face a hurdle even being accepted into a private school. We can tolerate some religious education, as it's often just teaching people good values and we can help our kids to understand that faith is up to them, but would really rather it not be rammed down their throats.
Has anyone else been in a similar boat in making this decision?
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17-09-2016 14:46 #1Senior Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2011
Private school for non-religious children?
17-09-2016 15:13 #2
Private school for non-religious children?
In my experience there is a wide variety of importance placed on your religious background depending on the specific school.
For example, there is a catholic school near us that only takes children who have been baptised and whose family is actively involved with the local parish.
In contrast, there are non denominational private schools near us or others that are more relaxed that accept you if you and your children 'show respect for the Christian values of the school'. Meaning you can be of any religion or atheist.
Probably best to do some research on school around your area :-)
17-09-2016 15:16 #3
Yep - we are the same except I went to the private school and DH did not, my brother also went to DS school and even though our school says it's Anglican it's not really religious as such ( not like the Catholic schools are ) the kids do 30 mins of Christian studies a week and chapel at the end of term and special occasions , the class room teachers don't bang on about religion and honestly it's no where near as religious as people think
Most private schools are the same , DS is not christened ( it's not a pre requisite in our school) I think only 2 kids in his class are christened ( we all had this discussion at our last parent dinner!) and we have a huge multicultural school population with many religions ( the head of our P and C is a Muslim and the school respects the Muslim and Jewish holidays and festivals as well as the Christian ones)
At the end of the day it was the only part of the school we were not 100% happy about but the other 99% of the benefits outweighed this ( plus having experience with the school we knew religion is not that big of a deal - it's more tradition )
The "prestige" thing honestly is very old fashioned, these days it's not as rare for kids to attend non government schools and you will find both parents are usually working so they can afford it so no one really cares or says things like that any more!!
17-09-2016 16:56 #4Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jun 2006
My kids go to a small Anglican School. We chose the school because we think its the best local school for our kids. I didn't want to be a hypocrite and lie about our faith so was quite clear when we enrolled that we support the underlying values of a Christian based education but our children are not baptised/christened and we don't practise any particular religion at home. They were totally fine with that. The kids have a period of 'RAVE' every week (religious and values education) but aside from Easter/Lent/Christmas they seem to focus much more on general values rather than religious teachings and it's very low key. I would say most families at school actually fall into the same category!
17-09-2016 19:54 #5
DD goes to an Anglican school, but DH and I are atheists. Her school doesn't have any requirement for her to be religious, just attend RE lessons and chapel. They don't push the religion too heavily and it doesn't come into the other non-religious subjects.
ETA none of her friends attend church outside of school either.
18-09-2016 06:50 #6Senior Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2011
Wow, these responses are so interesting! I had a look at the websites of the various schools in our area and found that they all have an opening comment about God being at the centre of everything they do. I was instantly put off! I had better do some asking around to see which schools are more relaxed.
I agree with the comment about the "prestige" not being there these days, but my husband has had it so drilled into him by his father that it's hard for him to see. My FIL feels it's one of his most brag-worthy achievements.
18-09-2016 09:43 #7
DD is at an independant Christian school. From the beginning the school made it very clear that Christian education and God are a large focus in their learning. For example DD needs to take religion as a subject all the way through school. She does assignments on Christian religion, beliefs and is expected to have a firm knowledge of the bible. Every event we have attended at the school begins with prayer as well as assembly.
Check with your school what their expectations are and if you are uncomfortable with it then it's best to find another school.
18-09-2016 11:30 #8
I've been a relief teacher in a Catholic school and had a placement in an Anglican school. The Catholic school by far hadca much more entrenched religious tilt - daily prayer to start the day with the prayer blanket, candle, thanks (has a special name), this took 15-20 min each day. 1 hour a week of religious ed. Grace before eating. Religion entrenched into wellbeing sessions etc. Lots of prayer at assembly. It was a lovely school with lots of strong values I liked (giving, caring, etc) but as an agnostic it was very overwhelming to me. I believe Catholic schools prefer if children are baptised and know to become an ongoing staff member you need to do a special course in Catholic Ed and have letters from your priest etc. The rest of the curriculum and methods of teaching were similar to the govt schools.
The Anglican school was much less religious. A prayer to start assembly, 1 hour religious ed a week and maybe practising the prayer now and then (like you would the national anthem). I was spoken to at the start of the placement to ensure I didn't cover content that included witches, Halloween and a few other pagan-based things I now can't remember. The school was one of the most highly regarded in the area but I would not have sent my child there as it was very workbook based with minimal differentiation whereas I like more opportunity for inquiry based learning.
Perhaps ask for info on schools in the area you are looking at and people may be able to give you more specifics about how much focus/time is religion based.
18-09-2016 12:49 #9
I work as a relief teacher in several private high schools. They all had varied religious practices ranging from daily prayer to bible study classes. Two schools prefer to only hire practicing Christians and were ok that whilst I wasn't Presbyterian, my catholic-Ness was accepted.
If you don't want much daily prayer I'd suggest Anglican before Catholic. And definitely not a 'Christian college'.
18-09-2016 21:49 #10
I have often thought there was a need for a not for profit secular group to set up private schools. After reading a few threads on here I'm now convinced there is a need for it.
Just not really sure how to make it happen.
I went to a public primary school and an Anglican high school will DH went Catholic all the way through. Luckily our local public primary looks very good for DD, not sure what we will do for high school, but I've got 9 years to think about it (maybe ill have set up my school idea by then).
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