Hi all good Mumsnet people, this is my first post :-)
My partner and I have a 2.5 year old daughter and we are looking to move to Hertfordshire later this year. We're looking to find some good schools first, then look for houses second. However we have encountered a real headache in terms of schools and we are hoping you guys can help us!
Basically we have something that appears to be a most unusual requirement; we are looking for a school where the pupils don't do worship and prayer as part of their daily routine.
We know it is possible to opt out of collective worship but we don't want our daughter to be the social outcast, having to stand up and walk out of assemblies 5 mins before they finish so the other kids can pray without her. We'd rather try to find a school where the kids don't have to pray, full stop.
We have emailed a number of school heads in a number of areas we've been interested in (Welwyn, Welwyn North/Digswell, Cuffley, Hitchin, St. Albans) and so far every head that has taken the time to respond have confirmed that not only do they pray as part of their assemblies, many even invite Christian church groups in for an hour a week to teach the kids. Coming from countries where church and state are more separate than here, we are horrified and we're getting increasingly desperate.
From speaking to friends, I know many others are out there who aren't overly keen on having their kids preached to / prayed with etc. If you are one of them, or - even if you think a little bit of prayer is ok - if you know about schools that are more lax about prayer/worship, could you please let us know where we should be looking? We can be flexible on area as long as we find a good school...
Collective Worship forms part of the National Curriculum http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/schoolethos/a0064979/collective-worship - I'd be very surprised if you found a head teacher who would say that they don't do anything religious. In practice, I am sure you will find that some schools will embrace it more fully than others, but that is all. Please be aware that schools will cover other religions, not just Christianity, for example, my children visited the local sikh temple. If you don't want your child to participate, you have that right, but you won't find a state school that completely ignores religions and whether you like it or not, Christianity is part of this country's culture.