1. Berenice
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    Berenice Member

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    Need Help from British Members Who were in A Faith HS the Past 10 Years

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Berenice, Oct 16, 2011.

    I am looking for people who were in a British Faith highschool during the past decade or so. Preferably a catholic school, but CofE, etc. is also fine. I need information on content of Religious Education, collective worship attendance rules and how sex-ed differed from the regular national curriculae. I'd be particularly interested in people who - while in a Faith school - decided to turn agnostic or atheist during their puberty and how this was received by their high school. If wanted, privacy is no problem. Just pm me.
     
  2. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I don't know if this helps you at all, but I am a pastors kid. My father has been one for thirty-five years and is currently an Anglican Bishop. I also went to a private Christian school until fifth grade.


    With that said, I am Agnostic. For no other reason than that my father never forced me to go to church, he feels you will get nothing out of it unless you want to be there (which is true). He and my mother let me make my own choices with belief in a religion and do not judge me at all for being Agnostic.
     
  3. Berenice
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    Berenice Member

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    Thanks for offering, but no, it doesn't help, unless you went to a Faith school in the UK :D I didn't and I learned only recently that Faith schools have/had the permission to adapt their curriculae in RE and sex-ed to their preferences and that some of them had rather narrow-minded opinions on what pupils may or may not do in the department of collective worship and personal faith.

    My female prot has to be on a Faith high school, as there are only such in her district and I can't have her (for plot's sake) be carted around the town by her parents. So now I need input on this from someone who actually was on a Faith school fairly recently to balance my information. I've tried the classic route and asked a few schools for past curriculae but the response so far is more than lukewarm and I need info faster than end of next year or two.
     
  4. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Well, I tried. Good luck :p
     
  5. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    That doesn't sound credible for the UK. Local authorities are legally obliged to provide State education reasonably close to every child or to provide transport for the child. And by the way, faith schools are only allowed to set their own syllabus for RE, although there are no statutory requirements in the national curriculum for PHSE (which is where sex education would fall), only guidelines, so any school can set its own curriculum on that subject (or not address it at all).
     
  6. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    That doesn't sound credible for the UK. Local authorities are legally obliged to provide State education reasonably close to every child or to provide transport for the child. And by the way, faith schools are only allowed to set their own syllabus for RE, although there are no statutory requirements in the national curriculum for PHSE (which is where sex education would fall), only guidelines, so any school can set its own curriculum on that subject (or not address it at all).
     
  7. Berenice
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    Berenice Member

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    I am aware of this, this is what I asked about, if you read my OP (I need information on content of Religious Education).

    All schools in the immediate area of where the novel takes place are Faith schools. I verified. Transportation would mean lengthy and quite dangerous carting her across town into an area and to schools which her parents would never condone. The setting is real (in the North of England), and as I said, verified.

    I just yesterday talked to parents livid about (tax-funded) Faith schools which bar their (not baptised) kids from attending even though just across the street, with alternative state schools half an hour away by bus. These were from the South, so it looks as if the problem still is quite serious. Enough anyway for me to need basic background info into the curriculae.

    I also recently talked to a teacher whose children 2 decades ago went to Faith schools and there were marked differences then already. According to her differences still may be quite extreme, but she as well was unable to provide direct, recent information so far.

    I don't need any, I need those of catholic Faith schools :D
     
  8. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    You also asked about how sex-ed differed.
    If it's lengthy then the local authority would be legally required to do it. If it's to an area the parents don't want her to go to then that is credible.
    There is certainly controversy about state funding of faith schools, although it is only partial funding. The religious organisation always subsidises them too. But my daughter had to travel for half an hour by bus to get to her school (in London), not because the nearby schools were faith schools but because that was the nearest school. If those faith schools were not there the kids of those parents you spoke to would still have to travel for half an hour to get to school.
    Perceived as quite serious, but I suppose that is enough for fiction (including that particular genre of fiction, politics).
    Try looking at the websites of some Catholic schools. For example, this is the link to the RE curriculum of an RC primary school near where I used to live. Sorry I can't find a secondary school, but hey, this is your research :D
     
  9. Berenice
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    Sure, because it does differ. From being practically non-existant, to starting much later than appropriate, to misrepresenting facts, to e.g. being homophobe and representing abstinence the sole method of contraception. That's all been done, as far as I was able to verify and that is - at least IMHO - a distinct difference from what is established scientific facts (which tends to be what you get in state schools).

    Half an hour across a town like for instance Blackpool certainly would be legal for the authorities but not advisable for a young kid, regardless of what the parents think. And that's the situation in a couple of towns according to my research so far. The "authorities" won't build schools e.g. because state schools are situated in dubious or dangerous areas.

    That's a no argument countering the situation I described. Additionally there are enough Faith schools which are quite thoroughly tax-maintained.

    I'm not writing a novel dealing with politics in case you were fishing. And you started that debate here (which lately seems to be perceived by more and more people). I am only seeking proper background info for my main female protagonist. It will have consequences where from she gets her sex-ed or how teachers and friends treat her once she decides to become an atheist.

    Yes it is. So why are you trying to turn it into a political debate?
     
  10. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    There wasn't such a thing as a 'faith school' in England until about 10 years ago. I went to a convent school which was for both day girls and boarders. I left in 1977, but the school is hardly changed at all, although now the junior section is co-ed. It was not state funded in any way, like most schools of this type. It was registered as an 'independant school'. This is still basically what 'faith schools' are, it's just a new buzz word. They have to follow exactly the same national curriculum as other schools so that its pupils are prepared for the nationwide exams, but they can have extra religious studies according to the faith--or not have any, since I think normal state schools are obliged to include religious instruction. There are a few unregulated schools, but they do not count in place of normal schools.

    There are no 'high schools' in the UK. Pupils attend a Secondary School from the age of about 11 to 16, and stay on at the same school for an extra 2 years to do other exams for university, or they go to a College of Further Education, or a Sixth Form College after the age of 16.
     
  11. madhoca
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    The post came up double, for some reason
     
  12. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    be careful: homophobia isn't a matter of fact, it's a matter of opinion. A pretty odious opinion, in my view, but still an opinion. And the teaching in faith schools has been misrepresented in the media -- the UK media has been successfully sued for reporting that faith schools were teaching ID as fact (which they are not allowed to do). You are doing the right thing trying to find people who have been to such schools, please try not to fall back on what you have read reported. Oh, and check very carefully what is being taught about sexual abstinence. It is the only method that is 100% effective (give or take that one supposed case that Christian faith schools will teach about in RE). If they are teaching that abstinence is the only method that is sufficiently effective, well, that depends on what the individual considers "sufficient", which is again a matter of opinion, not scientific fact. That's not to say that you can't take the story in the direction you want to, but there's a danger of it turning into polemic.
    How young do you mean? I used to do half an hour across a rough part of Liverpool from the age of 7, which frankly was a lot more dangerous than most of Blackpool is now. My daughter met up with a bunch of friends at the bus stop -- travelling in a group is safer than travelling alone -- and had a mobile phone, which I didn't have when I was a kid. And the other side to 'the "authorities" won't build schools e.g. because state schools are situated in dubious or dangerous areas' is that the authorities don't refrain from building schools just because there is a faith school in the area.
    It doesn't counter the situation you described about parents not wanting their daughter to go into the area where the State school is. It does counter the argument about the faith school being the only reasonable choice. Oh, and all faith schools in England and Wales (I don't know about Scotland) as a minimum have all infrastructure provided by the faith organisation, which is a pretty large chunk of the cost of running a school.
    I only raised the issue because what you described seemed to me to be a completely implausible scenario. Now you have introduced the fact that the parents don't like the part of town the State school is in then it becomes more plausible, but I still think that your story will be better if you try to understand the situation from all sides.

    For what it's worth, we took our daughter out of State school and put her into private school because we were not happy with the standard of education she was getting. The private school we put her into was a Methodist one, which turned out to be perfectly happy with her and some of the other pupils turning to Wicca.
     
  13. madhoca
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    Re: the content of the religious education lessons, the school would teach the accepted doctrine (Jewish, Catholic, Anglican, Sikh, whatever) that was the principle faith of the school. If that is what you believe anyway, where would there be a problem? Most faiths (including Sunni Muslim) are pretty enlightened these days. And although the lessons are compulsory, they really aren't a big deal generally. Just a bit of a bore going to Benediction for 15mins every night, for example. There were no would-be nuns at my school! We also learnt about other religions as part of general knowledge.

    As to sex education, I expect we could have taught the nuns a few things... there was nothing outside the Biology class, which actually didn't skimp on any of the graphic details. By the time we were 15, I remember us debating issues like sex before marriage, the pill, and homosexuality, with no coercion to agree with any fixed viewpoint--and like I said, this was back in the 1970s, so I don't imagine the education there is less liberal now...

    I feel you are attempting to take a very extreme and unusual model of a 'faith school' and normalise it--why? And as has been said, it really doesn't work that there are no regular schools in the area. Faith schools are free to pick their pupils, and why not, since actually they get very little taxpayer or state money. If they get some, well my parents paid taxes for funding state schools and we went private, I have never set foot in a British hospital but I've paid loads of tax etc etc what's the problem with some people?
     
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