Family’s concern over RE teachings

Amble school pupil Kieran Dixon and his mother Anne-Marie.'Picture by Jane Coltman
Amble school pupil Kieran Dixon and his mother Anne-Marie.'Picture by Jane Coltman

The parents of an Amble schoolboy have taken steps to remove their child from religious education (RE) lessons after growing concerns the school was not cooperating .

Stuart and Anne-Marie Dixon have taken their son, Kieran, out of RE lessons at James Calvert Spence College, South Avenue (JCSC), claiming that the school would not cooperate with parents on religious teachings.

Kieran now sits out of the lessons and also school assemblies because they have religious elements.

He is placed in a room with children who either have been excluded from lessons or are in the same situation as Kieran.

Mr Dixon said that teachers at JCSC were not disclosing what his 12-year-old was being taught as his son had started asking questions about religion.

He wrote to the school asking what topics were covered in RE lessons and after getting no response to his request he wrote to them again and asked for Kieran to be removed from lessons, at which point the school replied.

Mr Dixon said: “The school will not cut out or omit Islam from his teachings.

“My argument is that if the governments, leaders of countries and politicians can’t work out or solve the Islam or Isis problem, how can the school expect my son to understand it?

“He has seen all the horrors going on in the world with Islam on the television and media sites, so how can the school teach this as a religion?

“My son is 12 years old, he does not need to know about Islam. It has nothing to do with being prejudice or racist, me and my family have many Muslim friends.

“If the school was to cooperate with parents a bit more and let us, as parents, decide what parts of religion are taught to our kids, this argument would not be going on and my son would not feel like a pawn and discriminated against for being Christian.

“He believes in Father Christmas, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny. His school has taken all this away from him.

“The school have responded by now placing him in solitary confinement with a book, not only for his RE lessons but also for morning assembly.

“So now he is classed as a outcast by his friends, just for being British and Christian.”

Alison Smailes, Administration Manager at JCSC told the Gazette that the relevant teachers were unwell this week and were unable to comment but said this situation was a ‘first’ for the school.

Mrs Smailes said: “The guidelines according to Northumberland County Council are that we have a responsibility to teach Religious Education and all areas of that from across the whole of the world.

“We have a responsibility to share every religion, which is set under Northumberland County Council and National Curriculum guidelines.

“We teach all areas of religion so students can make responsible decisions as they grow up.”

“We teach all areas to avoid extremism not influence it. We have to follow National Curriculum guidelines and it’s actually in our prospectus.”

Mrs Smailes also said that a syllabus can be sent out to the Dixon family.

The Dixons stressed that they are not racist, they were just concerned that the school were ‘not informing us what they are teaching my son about Islam’.