To my daughter's school for a parents' evening. A decision on GCSE options is imminent. She wants to do RPE, that's religion, philosophy and ethics. I'm not convinced at all - not just about the subject, but about religion and ethics being natural partners.
So we queue up to see the religious studies teacher. She's a hot ticket. The longest queue in the place. Plenty of time to read the posters on the walls. Many of them are decidedly anti-religious - Richard Dawkins, someone called George Carlin, and indeed a one word comment on religion and faith from Salvador Dali ("Fish") with which I feel some sympathy.
The course is largely about Christianity and Islam. Is there are any underlying religious or faith ethos, I ask? Not at all, the teacher replies - 'Myself, I'm a humanist'. Does humanism feature in the GCSE curriculum? No, but she has mentioned 'the Association' in the current year's syllabus. This, it transpires, is the British Humanist Association - which I sometimes think is determined to give humanism the trappings of a religion. But I'm kind of won over.
I tell my daughter I'm going to blog about the parents' evening. She's horrified. I'm under injunction not to mention her name - or her teacher's name - or her school's name. 'Do you think you're some kind of Tim Dowling' she scowls. 'Except people read what he writes!'
I'm put in my place. But, dear daughter, if you are reading this ... gotcha!!
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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