It seems I was wrong to suggest the absence of the Pope from my daughter’s education was somehow down to “a fascinating blind spot in the C of E curriculum”. What rot. It’s the national curriculum that’s to blame. And not really to blame, either, as Religious Education Key Stage 1 (Ages 5-7) looks sensible enough to me:
Breadth of study
During the key stage, pupils should be taught the knowledge, skills and understanding through the following areas of study:
Religions and beliefs
b at least one other principal religion
c a religious community with a significant local presence, where appropriate
d a secular world view, where appropriate
e believing: what people believe about God, humanity and the natural world
f story: how and why some stories are sacred and important in religion
g celebrations: how and why celebrations are important in religion
h symbols: how and why symbols express religious meaning
i leaders and teachers: figures who have an influence on others locally, nationally and globally in religion
j belonging: where and how people belong and why belonging is important
k myself: who I am and my uniqueness as a person in a family and community
Experiences and opportunities
l visiting places of worship and focusing on symbols and feelings
m listening and responding to visitors from local faith communities
n using their senses and having times of quiet reflection
o using art and design, music, dance and drama to develop their creative talents and imagination
p sharing their own beliefs, ideas and values and talking about their feelings and experiences
q beginning to use ICT to explore religions and beliefs as practised in the local and wider community.
So on reflection it probably isn’t a conspiracy by the state to ignore our Catholic heritage or the Pope. Probably.
And if my daughter has no knowledge of the Pope, she also has no knowledge of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
There’s plenty of time for our children to learn about the trouble and strife religion causes. For the time being they should just concentrate on ‘using their senses and having times of quiet reflection’ and most of all 'using art and design, music, dance and drama to develop their creative talents and imagination'.