17 February 2008

Early Easter In A Postchristian Country

When the County Council "consulted" interested parties about going to the six term system, those of us who saw immediately what the result might be were not shy about coming forward. But the consultation was as bogus as a Public Enquiry in France about the siting of the next nuclear power station: the powers-that-be had decided.

So this year, the week following the second Sunday in Lent is half term (or the end of Term Three, as nobody says). There follow six weeks of the next half term. This means that schools don't break up for the "Easter" holiday until the week following the THIRD Sunday of Easter, on 7 April.

Good Friday is still a Bank Holiday, and some Catholic schools have made "arrangements" to ensure that Holy Thursday is not a school day either: but according to the rules it should be. And everyone returns on Easter Tuesday for the penultimate week of term.

How many Catholic teachers attend - or rather, attended - the Chrism Mass?


Rita said...

That is the situation I find myself in too!

I used to love attending Mass each day during Holy Week, the chances of doing this under the new regime are remote. Holy Week used to be my retreat, my chance to re-group. Now this horrendous, restrictive National Curriculum exam fest that has replaced teaching, has very little to recommend it. Not even a sensible holiday!

Mac McLernon said...

Actually, I anticipate fewer problems this year, at a non-Catholic secondary school, than I experienced at any Catholic school in which I've taught.

I would prefer that schools (Catholic ones, at least) were closed for the whole of Holy Week, but the argument is that, if they're open, then at least something of the season will be experienced by the children during Masses and assemblies for the end of term. I happen to consider this absolute tosh, of course. These assemblies and what-have-you could easily be celebrated the week before.

However, schools have to provide 190 teaching days to their pupils, and it's a brave Governing Body which can resist the pressure to take the same holidays as the other schools in the locality. That said, I can understand schools being open on the Monday - Wednesday of Holy Week.

What I do NOT understand is why a Catholic school would consider it acceptable to be open on Maundy Thursday. In one school, I actually challenged the Bishop when he visited, asking why it was considered acceptable. His response was "Oh, is the school open on Maundy Thursday? No, we don't actually have a policy on that." I refused to work on Maundy Thursday, on religious grounds, and was made to feel as if I was being unreasonable, and a bit of a fanatic.

This year I have no intention of working on Maundy Thursday. I shall request the day off, on religious grounds. Before Christmas, two of my Muslim colleagues were told that they could have Eid off, even though they were unsure whether Eid would actually occur on the Friday... they were given the day off anyway. One of these teachers also asked for the last week and a half off at the end of term to attend Hajj. This was granted without any problems whatsoever. And I asked for a day to attend a Faith Council meeting: when I explained that it was a religious group with which I was associated, I was told that this was absolutely fine, and that they hoped it would be a good day for me.

Anonymous said...

I will be taking my son out of his Catholic school for Holy Thursday. It is a disgrace.


Anonymous said...

I would hope that the 6 term year might mean better attendance at holy Week ceremonies and Easter Masses, the vast rush to be away during the Easter holidays has left my parish almost server free. For a long weekend i hope to have some servers and yong people in church.