Make your experience count

Here is a chance to make our experience in Steiner or any other school count.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission are carrying out a survey to gather information for the government on how religious belief affects our experiences in the workplace and in services we receive including education.

This can include any experience where believing or not believing can mean we are discriminated against in some way.

I completed the survey as a “service user” because of our experience with religious proselytising in our children’s schools. Education comes up as a selection part way through the survey.

My child’s secondary school saw fit to invite a group of Christians in to spend a whole morning with the young people doing activities which in a round-about way directed them towards belief in a god. As parents we knew nothing of this until later on when our child mentioned a video they had watched involving a gorilla. Through lengthy questioning we worked out what had happened.

Since we are not believers we did not see this as a constructive way to spend lesson time.

I guess the school probably ticked a box about teaching religion by doing this but it would have been nice if they had informed parents.

Anyway I am sure we all have our stories to tell, and it would be useful to share them as part of this research.

Anyone discriminated against in a Steiner school through not sharing belief in the the “spiritual science” espoused there, or perhaps questioning the practice of using reincarnation as a framework for running a school would be able to recount their experiences.

The survey can be found here, and only takes a few minutes.

The British Humanist Association provide some examples of experiences which would be relevant, and the National Secular Society say that experiences with schools will count.

 

 

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7 comments

  1. Helen

    Parents have the right to opt their children out of RE and worship, but many schools do not make parents aware of this. In a “faith” school this would be impossible – the whole school day is structured around whatever belief system they follow.
    If your nearest or allocated school is a “faith” school how does this fit in with parental choice?

    • we escaped!

      Just completed the survey.

      We were not aware that Steiner schools pray and chant religious verses. We asked on numerous occasions how they taught RE and they repeatedly told us that impart no particular doctrine. Imagine our surprise when we were informed by an independent source that our son was stood for 50 minutes behind his desk chanting and praying.

      When we asked for him to be excused from such practices, the school told us if he were to be excused he would be viewed as being disruptive.

      When he questioned the existence of god, his teacher quite firmly told him that god did exist.

      To do this behind our backs and without our consent, is disgusting and unforgivable. Brainwashing is what they were attempting to do. Steiner schools have not right to do this, especially when they say the don’t. Steiner is a faith school (cult), they are just sneaky with how they slip it in to everything they do.

      • Helen

        Good that the EHRC are being made aware of this and, I hope, similar examples of discrimination.
        One question in the survey is badly worded;
        The law in Britain protects people from unfair treatment due to their having a religion or belief or having no religion or belief. Would you say the law:
        Should provide more protection
        Provides enough protection
        Should provide less protection
        Don’t know

        These are two different questions requiring different answers;
        We may not agree that people need protection if that means they are able to wear religious symbols at work for example, but we may believe that parents should have the right to a non-religious education for their child.

  2. Jim

    My experience of religious education in school goes back to the 1960s so I wonder how it compares with today. At junior school I had already concluded all that god stuff was nonsense but had a growing love of language and stories and felt it was harmless nonsense. Going to grammar school and becoming a stroppy teenager I decided I’d have none of it and so refused to attend the religious part of morning assembly. I was told that my parents would have to opt me out but I replied that it was my decision and none of my parent’s business. Imagine my disappointment when the head just shrugged and said OK!

    I had recently read “Portrait of the artist as a young man” – you know, the bit with the ranting priest spouting hellfire and damnation to flock of quivering schoolboys, so I was hoping for more of a fight. Maybe even to be an atheist martyr. Instead I felt that religion was all but dead and that I had come too late for the fight.

    It doesn’t look that way now.

    • Helen

      That took the wind out of your sails!
      I was much more of a sheep, brought up with religion too, and the only person in my school not to go to assembly or RE was a Jehovah Witness – I thought she was excluded by the school as a punishment!
      The French have it right keeping religion out of schools completely – it is so difficult to include it without distorting things or offending some people. How difficult would it be to achieve in this country, I wonder.

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