to consider sending DC to a Catholic school although I'm an atheist?

(104 Posts)
YoniSingWhenYoureWinning Sun 07-Jul-13 23:12:23

but its exam results are streets ahead of any other school in the area! So good that I think I could let Jesus into my life in spite of not believing in Him...

ParadiseChick Sun 07-Jul-13 23:14:21


merlincat Sun 07-Jul-13 23:14:39

I did it for Ds. I'll burn in hell if there is one.

brilliantwhite Sun 07-Jul-13 23:14:54

i went as far as getting my kids christened to get them into a school and im an atheist , so dont feel too bad.

brilliantwhite Sun 07-Jul-13 23:15:47

see you in hell merlincat .

JakeBullet Sun 07-Jul-13 23:15:53


CocacolaMum Sun 07-Jul-13 23:16:05

I would do it if it meant the best school

merlincat Sun 07-Jul-13 23:16:24

It's a date.

mymatemax Sun 07-Jul-13 23:16:56

yanbu Unless of course you are going to complain about the school being "too religious" onc ehe is there.
You know what you're signing up for!

KnittedWaffle Sun 07-Jul-13 23:17:55

If it's a strict faith school there'll be all sorts of religious aspects to the day that your DC will not be familiar with. Plus, if you don't believe in what is essentially the foundation of the school - its ethos etc - why would you want your DC to go there? (Exam results aside)

JakeBullet Sun 07-Jul-13 23:18:22

Why why why when the whole ethos is based on something you don't believe in?

Fact is that you are parents who are interested and committed to your children's education, they would do well in most schools simply because they have YOU behind them to help. You don't need to compromise your principles at all.

EllieArroway Sun 07-Jul-13 23:19:17

You can't get more atheist than me (I am actively anti-theist) but my son went to religious primary schools. I had no choice & until this country figures out that religion should play no part in state education, quite a few of us atheists are in the same position.

You're not being a hypocrite simply for taking up your child's right to a free education.

But (in a friendly, non-combative way) opt them out of the heavy duty religious crap (if there is any) and don't feel even slightly awkward in making it clear that you are an atheist and will bring up your child to make their own minds up. You'll find most staff don't give two hoots.

AuntieStella Sun 07-Jul-13 23:19:35

For Catholicism, you'll have to be received into the church before your DC can be baptised. It's much harder to fake than other denominations.

Have you actually looked at what preparation that entails? And is time of DC baptism part of the supplementary form?

littleginger Sun 07-Jul-13 23:20:23

I understand why why a religious poster will think its U as it undermines their faith.

However catholic schools get shitloads of funding from government so why should op have to put dc is a school that isnt as good?

I dislike faith schools receiving any government funding. Im lucky i dont live in an area where this is the case so i dont have to go through with a christening as my religious parents wish.


volvocowgirl Sun 07-Jul-13 23:21:12

I went to a Catholic School and received a brilliant education - 11 GSCES, which in the early nineties was a lot in our area (most schools did 8ish). I also learnt the importance of respecting myself through relationship advice (seeing as they didn't want to stress the sex part of sex education). I also learnt about many different religions and cultures, having everything from a Quran to Buddhist art symbols in the RE classroom. We also had more emphasis on the religion as a community rather than religion a control. I'm not a religious person but it gave me faith in other people.

1944girl Sun 07-Jul-13 23:21:16

I an catholic, my DGD goes to a catholic school where nearly half of the children are Moslem.

volvocowgirl Sun 07-Jul-13 23:22:11

Oh, and my parents aren't Catholics either, which was going to be my original point (!) so YANBU.

FunkyNails Sun 07-Jul-13 23:24:30

I went to catholic school (I'm catholic) a large proportion of my class weren't religious and this didn't seem to cause any problems but you were expected to be part of all events. There will be a strong religious content at the school so be prepared for that to be part of school life, anything you attend from concerts to parents evening and DC will probably do more RE than other schools (must say I liked this as it meant less PE grin

squoosh Sun 07-Jul-13 23:25:14

Go ahead but don't then be one of those posters who starts threads about your outrage that they're teaching your kids to say prayers and everything is just a bit too God focussed.

EndoplasmicReticulum Sun 07-Jul-13 23:25:28

I'm an atheist and my children are at a CofE primary. There was no choice though, as all the other local schools are also CofE. Choice was CofE village primary or long drive to nearest non-CofE option.

Inertia Sun 07-Jul-13 23:27:39

Given the degree to which most religious schools take advantage of large amounts of state funding to promote their faith and offer places only to a carefully chosen few, I'm inclined to think that parents should make the system work to their advantage as best they can.

fancyanother Sun 07-Jul-13 23:28:00

I am Catholic, I was brought up a Catholic, went to Catholic schools yada yada. I've always had "ishoos" with the church but, like you, wanted my DC to go to the Catholic school because it had good results and well, we were Catholic. Since my DC have been at the school, my church has become really quite hardcore. I am finding it more and more difficult to justify my being there. I feel trapped in a faith I no longer believe in by my decision to put my child into a school he now loves. I don't know if I even believe in God anymore, but feel trapped in a charade. It's so much more than 'finding God". It involves listening to the teachings of quite a strict religion and knowing your child is learning the same, quite frequently. What about C of E??

GoshAnneGorilla Sun 07-Jul-13 23:28:02

What squoosh said.

Also, if the school is that good, I'd be surprised if you got in.

Our local Catholic school makes it very clear that they view religious education and activities as an integral part of school life and there is no opting out.

BrianTheMole Sun 07-Jul-13 23:28:29

I couldn't do it, I'd feel like a huge fraud. C of E I could, but I was brought up with that, and although I have strayed from it, I would feel comfortable with dc and myself being part of it.

Tommy Sun 07-Jul-13 23:30:53

you won't be able to opt out of religious stuff in a Catholic school.
Your choice but, of course, your child may love it and ask to be have to be ready for that grin

Whippetwarmer Sun 07-Jul-13 23:38:54

I went to a rc primary school for 6 years and I loved it. The nuns were great and we did loads of really creative projects and lots of outdoor learning. BUT there was an awful lot of religious stuff too. From year 4 onwards we would spend a large section of time every day reading aloud from the Old Testament, and the nuns would drum it into us that we would burn in hell if we had sex before marriage etc. there would definitely be no way your child could attend a rc school and 'opt out' of the religious stuff, you'd have to accept that. I am not religious now as an adult and my parents weren't at all religious when I was a child and I don't think enduring all the bible reading and trips to church etc when I was younger did me any harm. It was a very caring environment.

3littlefrogs Sun 07-Jul-13 23:43:41

Most faith schools are voluntary aided and therefore get less state funding than other state schools.

100 years ago the only schools were faith schools. It was the church that built schools and provided education. I suppose it would be possible to close down all the faith schools, but I would imagine it would be expensive to replace them all with new schools built and funded by the state. (The state does not own the buildings or grounds of VA schools, neither does the state fund repairs and maintenance). Presumably the pupils, whose parents are taxpayers, would still be entitled to a state education?

I think it will take time for things to change. The current situation is complex. I think one of the issues is why are so many schools are so poor that nobody wants to send their children to them. That is in spite of having huge amounts of funding, state of the art language labs, computer systems and everything else.

It is mostly parents who make the difference to how a school performs.

I think YABU because you need to look into it in a lot more depth and think it through very carefully. (If your children were not baptised into the catholic faith before they were 6 months old, you wouldn't get in anyway).

littleginger Sun 07-Jul-13 23:55:50

I agree with others that there is no opt out at a catholic school. I went to catholic primary and secondary. At primary we sang hymns in the morning (they were more like nursery rhymes but with jesus in it), learnt parables from the bible (all the ones with good morales etc) and did readings at special masses at parish church but it was nice and exciting at the time. At secondary except for a few assemblies at special times of the year, a mention in the mission statement and R.E., god didnt get a look in!

As this was my upbringing i wouldnt mind my dd experiencing this however if you did not have this then it may all seem very odd. Your dc will be expected to have first communion, confession (lots of repenting for sins) and be confirmed.

Think about it.

OhDearNigel Mon 08-Jul-13 00:10:24

Why why why when the whole ethos is based on something you don't believe in?
Actually one of the principal tenets of church sponsored education is spreading the Word and providing a good education for those that otherwise would be without

Ergo church schools really should only be open to non christians and/or the disadvantaged. Not middle class children whose parents have the wherewithall to manipulate the system

morethanpotatoprints Mon 08-Jul-13 00:21:34

My ds2 went to an outstanding Catholic school.
We moved mid year and ds1 had a place at the community school next door, but wasn't a place there in ds2s year.
If you value individuality don't do it. if you don't want your child to stand out, don't do it.
From what I have heard they are all pretty similar in respect of moulding little kids into an ideal. All the same like little soldiers in a box.
We moved him next door 3 years later when a place was available.
It ruined his education, soul, and sanity according to him.
I feel as though I helped to fail him, even the at the time I had no option.
The school was fantastic for that type of child, heavily oversubscribed and so many parents were envy when they knew how ds2 had gained a place.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 08-Jul-13 00:30:15

Meant to add, the results were the best in the county. Also, we too aren't Catholic but lived in the Parish.
Not sure what the rules are now but the school agreed to ds2 as there were no other schools with places where I could also be on time for ds1 and he was one of 10% non catholic allowed at the time. He was the only one, all the others were heavily involved with the church and whilst they welcomed us at school, mums lovely and friendly ds2 was still an obvious outsider.
Please don't do it if you have another choice.
I'm sure they are brilliant for Catholic baptised children, involved in church and Parish.

EllieArroway Mon 08-Jul-13 00:36:17

100 years ago the only schools were faith schools. It was the church that built schools and provided education

Yes. And all hospitals were opened/run by Christians. As were all charitable endeavours.

That's because everyone was a Christian - so EVERYTHING was "faith based". (All the murders, rapes & appalling human rights abuses were also perpetrated by Christians, but let's not mention that bit).

We've moved on and grown up (some of us) & we don't need to pretend that we're working on behalf of some celestial dictator in order to educate our children and care for the sick.

It appals me, really really appals me that anyone thinks it's OK to use state education to indoctrinate children* - and then to have the utter cheek to try excluding the children of free-thinkers who are determined that their children should be allowed to make up their own minds. Disgusting.

*If you tell your child, or allow someone else to, that God is real & this is how "he" wants you to live your life, then you ARE guilty of indoctrination. Sorry about that.

cantspel Mon 08-Jul-13 00:41:35

There is some pretty weird ideas about catholic schools as this thread shows.

My sons catholic school has no idea when he last went to confession nor do they have any interest in ensuring he goes (just as well as he hasn't been in years)
Catholic children are just like any other children of secondary school age. Some are into the goth thing, some are sporty, some are not, some are arty, some a right dramlama's, some are lazy and some are hardworking. We even have gay children all being educated within a catholic school.

So if you are offered a place and you think the school would suit your child then accept it.

squoosh Mon 08-Jul-13 00:43:32

I went to Catholic schools and emerged unscathed!

squoosh Mon 08-Jul-13 00:45:07

I always made a point of refusing confession during school mass, I told them confession was just mind control, that was allowed, even if I did get a vague pursed lip.

bearleftmonkeyright Mon 08-Jul-13 02:26:38

I went to a catholic school, from a catholic family. It seems an odd thing to do if you are atheist. You have to accept that doctrine is woven into all aspects of school life. It is more than just about you pretending to find Jesus. If you don't accept that I think you will struggle to settle your child as you will have no faith in what the school is doing. Yabu.

CheerfulYank Mon 08-Jul-13 02:41:06

It seems a bit odd to me, but then in my country we have the option of non-religious government funded schools. In fact that's all there are. smile

I am deeply religious in my own way but don't believe in government funded faith education.

I wouldn't if I were you, but again I don't really have a frame of reference for how I'd feel about it.

sashh Mon 08-Jul-13 05:03:13


Why are the results the best?

Are they selecting by the back door?

What progress do children make in the school? How many children with SN do they have? Some children with some SN will never obtain a qualification, if they are artificially kept out of the school then this will affect the school's results and effect the results of the school that child attends.

I went to RC schools, I survived, I did not emerge unscathed.

CSIJanner Mon 08-Jul-13 06:22:14

My eldest got into a Catholic primary. There were 30 places, 130+ applications out of which, 45 were from Catholic families. All of the places were filled with Catholics.

My advice - you can apply but would probably want to check the entry criteria before. For LO's primary, the pecking order was foster/children in care, Catholics, siblings of those already attending, everybody else. Apparently CofE is more open, allowing. Those closest to attend and those with attending siblings high in the pecking order,

exoticfruits Mon 08-Jul-13 06:34:43

I would go for it, if it is definitely the best school. Your DC is the child of an atheist- who knows what they will be when they make up their own mind?
I am surprised that there is no opt out- have things changed? My parents considered one for me at 11yrs but would have opted me out.

If it is as good as you say, and so much better than the rest, I would be surprised if you got a place. I would get a copy of the entrance criteria first, find out how many apply for how many places, and how many go to appeal and how many get in on appeal, before you waste a choice.

Debsndan Mon 08-Jul-13 06:59:42

Don't forget as well that if you're not Catholic, the other parents there will be, and may take a dim view of your actions. And at least some of the school gate chat won't mean much to you - preparation for communion, confession, church activities etc, not to mention swapping strong novenas! grin

And I'm laughing at opting out if the religios part - in many schools its not just a subject that's taught, it pervades into absolutely every level and aspect of school life (which is kind of the point of the school in the first place.)

Debsndan Mon 08-Jul-13 07:02:54

Ours is voluntary aided and the school donates 10% of all expenditure to the church and the parents are expected to make up the difference. That was a shock - being told to set up a significant direct debit at our first school meeting!

curlew Mon 08-Jul-13 07:03:51

The results are only good because they are selective.
Education is more than SATs results- are 3 5s worth 7 years of Roman Catholic education, with all that means in terms of a very specific moral and spiritual standpoint?

Eyesunderarock Mon 08-Jul-13 07:09:22

Our Catholic secondary does indeed have excellent results, significantly ahead of the other three nearest. Look at the admission criteria, your DC would be about 10th on the list. Anyone who isn't one of the first three categories is unlikely to get in.
So you can try, but if they get in, you may well struggle with the pervasive nature of catholicism. Are they are a feeder school for the secondary?

livinginwonderland Mon 08-Jul-13 07:12:43

I wouldn't. I went to a religious (methodist) school and I was atheist, as were my parents. The school "accepted people of all faiths and backgrounds" but 99% of the kids were religious and I was in a very small minority and it was obvious. I stuck out like a sore thumb and it was horrible. Educationally, the school was good - small classes, good results etc, but it focused so much on religion (daily assemblies/prayers, RE lessons pretty much daily, for example) that if you weren't methodist, or least Christian, you were never going to be a part of it all.

Eyesunderarock Mon 08-Jul-13 07:13:44

OP, are you talking about secondary or primary?

Areyoumadorisitme Mon 08-Jul-13 07:29:21

I wouldn't either.

I went to a catholic primary but a non denominational grammar. My sister went to catholic school all way through. Our family were practising Catholics. There were a few and I mean a very few non Catholics in the primary school.

I remember being totally shocked when I went to the grammar to find that the whole world wasn't catholic and that there was a different world out there. Yes I remained catholic but it really made me think I had been indoctrinated by the catholic school system. I decided then that I wouldn't send my children to a catholic school.

My sister had a good education but I think mine was more rounded. My dc go to non denominational local primary and secondary. There is not a local catholic school but even though mine would probably meet the criteria to get into one they would have to travel to, I wouldn't choose it.

The idea of selecting a catholic school and opting out of religion is also somewhat ridiculous, it is part of the ethos and the way of life. Why would you pick something fundamental that you don't agree with??


Society has indeed progressed from the nineteenth century (due in part to Church-led improvements), but you do not appear to have grown up. There is no reason why parents should be obliged to accept non-religious education, given that it remains the choice of a significant proportion of parents. Given that the majority of religious schools in the UK are CofE. They do not produce legions of terrorists. It is undemocratic to deny parents choice in this respect.

I'm happy to say that my atheist father, while disagreeing with my beliefs, at least has respect for them.

In response to the OP, I am confused. There is more to education than exam results. If you do not believe in God, why would you want to send your child to a school that teaches belief in God, even if its exam results are a bit better?

bearleftmonkeyright Mon 08-Jul-13 07:42:09

Catholic schools, you cannot "opt out" of the catholic stuff. It is woven into the fabric of school life and there will be an influence on what your child actually learns. You have to accept that if you choose a catholic school for your children. Not all are selective.

noblegiraffe Mon 08-Jul-13 07:49:41

Remember the anti-gay marriage petition sent round catholic schools?

I think people in the UK who are used to the CofE really don't know how bonkers the Catholic faith is either.

I went to a catholic school, I'm now an atheist. There is no way I would send my kids to a catholic school.

Doctorbrownbear Mon 08-Jul-13 07:54:44

None of the people I know that send their children to catholic school are remotley religious. Alot of them only got their children christened to get in. I find it hugely hypocrytical but then religion is full of hypocrisies. Just recently someone I know married in a catholic church after not attending since her parents stopped dragging her at 16. She was happy to start going ro mass in the rynup to the wedding. She has not been regularly since. Her husband condemned the catholic faith but was happy enough to marry in a Catholic church. They were quite open about the fact that they were baptising their daughter so that she could eventually go to the local Catholic school and to start brazenly going to mass again in the run up.

bearleftmonkeyright Mon 08-Jul-13 08:01:16

Some years ago I know, I do remember being told in sex education by our non catholic teacher that he was not allowed to discuss homosexuality, masturbation or contraception. We all then had an open class discussion about what we knew with no inference from our teacher. I am so glad my year 6 daughter is going to a non catholic secondary school, armed with all the facts about sex from her primary. I think this is such an important part of a childs education and needs to be done correctly.

MothershipG Mon 08-Jul-13 08:03:08

YANBU And you (none of us) should not be put in a position where this is an issue.

However depending on where you live and the pressure on places you may find it a lot harder than you imagine to get you DC in.

My neighbour got one son into a highly sort out after RC secondary school, his younger brother was refused aplace because he had not been baptised before he was 6 months old. And this is a genuinely RC family that are not just playing the game.

DefiniteMaybe Mon 08-Jul-13 08:03:34

I'm an atheist and my son goes to a catholic school. I chose it because all 4 schools within walking distance are rubbish, including the catholic school, and it's the closest. We got in despite being in the 8th and final admission category.

Eyesunderarock Mon 08-Jul-13 08:04:56

Makes you wonder why the results at most catholic schools are so much better than the rest though.
If they are selecting on faith and not on IQ, then is it that the average catholic is cleverer than the rest? The difference is significant enough to have a bearing on parental decisions, so why is it the case?
Our local catholic primary is the most ethnically diverse of the dozen.


My two non-RC daughters attend an RC primary school here in NZ. I keep a sharp eye out for bonkers stuff, and am happy to say I haven't encountered any.

curlew Mon 08-Jul-13 08:08:27

The single most important factor in a child's primary education is parental involvement. If you have to jump through a hoop to get into a school, regardless of what the hoop is, the results will be better, because only parents who are committed to their child's education will go to the trouble of jumping through the hoop.

It's only over subscribed faith schools that have better results.


Another NZ comment: it is generally accepted that RC schools in these parts outperform state schools with similar demographic make-up.

Why is this? Not sure, but I will say that the discipline at my daughters' school is very good, without being at all strict. There is very little nonsense in the playground or in class. Also, most parents will have deliberately chosen that school over the (normally nearer) state alternative, so they are possibly self-selecting to a degree.

Eyesunderarock Mon 08-Jul-13 08:14:00

Thank you. I've never understood the ranting about 'They do better because they are selective' when the selection criteria doesn't involve academic performance. smile

hackmum Mon 08-Jul-13 08:15:12

Eyes: "Makes you wonder why the results at most catholic schools are so much better than the rest though."

But they're not. People often say this but without the evidence to back it up.

Anyway, I don't see why the OP would burn in hell. I'd have thought the church would be pleased to have a child from a non-believing family they could indoctrinate into the faith.

bearleftmonkeyright Mon 08-Jul-13 08:17:19

You can have ethnically diverse catholic school. You can have gay children in a catholic school. But do not expect a catholic school to celebrate Ramadan. Lent will be observed though. No they do not monitor when your child went to confession. But there will be school mass on holy days of obligation. Do not think you can send your child to a catholic school and it ignore Catholicism when it suits you. It will not happen.

Perhaps they're not into indoctrination,*hackmum*.

Twattybollocks Mon 08-Jul-13 08:22:57

If you are going to be upfront about it and just apply without going to church etc on the off chance that they get a place (my local catholic was undersubscribed and we got in quite easily) and you don't mind your child listening to sermons, attending mass and being taught Christian principles then yanbu.
If you are going to tell massive porkies about your faith, and go to church etc for the sole purpose of getting them into the school then yabu. Nothing wrong with not believing in God, that's your prerogative. Nothing wrong with wanting your child to have the best education you can provide them with.
Lying about it? Everything wrong with that I'm afraid.

VikingVagine Mon 08-Jul-13 08:24:54

We're atheists and both our DCs go to a private catholic school (we're in France). Homosexuality just isn't discussed so it's been an issue so far. The only issue I have is that I have to tell my children not to believe everything their teachers say! DS (11yo) is old enough to sort out belief from fact, it might be trickier with DD as she's not yet 4yo.

VikingVagine Mon 08-Jul-13 08:28:19

Oh and when we went to interview for a place they didn't ask about our faith, we just said that we held Christian values.

Debsndan Mon 08-Jul-13 08:30:40

Curlew "The single most important factor in a child's primary education is parental involvement. If you have to jump through a hoop to get into a school, regardless of what the hoop is, the results will be better, because only parents who are committed to their child's education will go to the trouble of jumping through the hoop."

^^ This.

Our local RC school is the only one for miles, the catchment is huge and people travel long distances to get there. If the parents are willing to do this AND meet the stringent faith selection criteria AND support the local church then they're probably fairly committed to their child's education from day one.

LittleFrieda Mon 08-Jul-13 08:31:33


Naebother Mon 08-Jul-13 08:33:25

Yabu but you know that.

What if they start to really believe?
What about the devout child you are depriving of a place?
Be prepared too that most parents will know each other from church. You'd better be an Oscar worthy actress.

mrsjay Mon 08-Jul-13 08:36:09

there is nothing wrong with sending a child to a school that you want BUT please dont come here moaning about it being to catholic our RC dont expect children to be christened will this school expect it, and how would you feel about morning mass etc, I know a few non catholics who sent their dc to the high school and they are exoected to go to mass,

Not sure what is worse, being a hypocrite, immoral ( think a life in deception to secure a school place from a child of a true catholic family, is immoral), or an atheist. Your choice obviously.

Are you also going to join mass 3-4 times per year with the other families? Support harvest festival? What about year 3, when the class start preparing for their first holy communion, what will you do then? Come clean, or let your child prepare for a ritual where he takes the flesh and blood of Christ? Commune with a God you dont believe in?
You want to do that to your child with a clear conscience?

Will you partake in all religious aspects of school life, iron Church linen, help with the annual Church fair, make a friend of Father, and sigh your child up as an alter server, as the game to secure a secondary RC school place is a long and committed one...

bearleftmonkeyright Mon 08-Jul-13 08:49:22

Would you convert to Judaism or become Muslim to secure a childs place at an equally outstanding faith school? I really don't get sending a child to a faith school if you don't believe at all in the faith.

Llareggub Mon 08-Jul-13 08:50:19

My DCs are at a Catholic school. We moved here and I had to find a place for my year 1 child. The only one that had a space was the catholic school. There was no discussion of our beliefs and my 2 children are now happily settled there.

It is a lovely, diverse school with a real family feel. The staff are very welcoming and they all know the names of my children after only 5 months. It feels very different to our old school. My children get a bus to school and the parents make an effort to meet up once a term for social events. We also meet up at weekends.

I am not a Catholic but I would describe myself as a Christian. I haven't been asked to iron linen or go to church.

mrsjay Mon 08-Jul-13 09:01:37

OP R C will get priority over non Catholic children I think that is how it works ?

JakeBullet Mon 08-Jul-13 09:10:52

RC will get priority but in my son's Catholic school around 60% of children are not Catholic which I think makes for a healthy mix, they DO get good results but no more so than other schools in the area.

Personally speaking I think it is madness that parents have to jump through hoops like this for what is a right for all children - a decent education.

Eyesunderarock Mon 08-Jul-13 09:15:51

If there are places, anyone will get in, however there is usually quite fierce competition for catholic secondaries. This is the admissions policy (edited) for our local one for dealing with waiting lists.
Oversubscription Criteria
Pupils with Statements of Special Educational Needs where the school is named on the Statement, the governors
will offer places using the following criteria in the order stated:
1. “Looked after, or previously looked after” Catholic children. Evidence of baptism will be required
2. Baptised Catholic children who are enrolled at the time of application in one of the named Catholic deanery primary schools Evidence of baptism will be required
3. Baptised Catholic children who are not enrolled at the time of application in one of the named Catholic deanery primary schools. Evidence of baptism will be required
4. Children who are under instruction in the Catholic faith. Evidence that such instruction is in progress provided by the priest responsible for the instruction programme will be required. A letter of confirmation from the priest should be attached
5. Other “Looked after, or previously looked after” children
6. Other children who will have a sibling attending the school in the School in September 2014
7. Other children who are enrolled at the time of application in one of the named Catholic deanery primary schools.
8. Children of other Christian denominations whose parents attend a church which belongs to a
“Churches Together” organisation and where the Priest, Vicar, Minister or recognised Pastor has signed the Priests section on the Supplementary Information Form.
9. Any other children.

Fairly comprehensive, and standard for other catholic secondaries who have waiting lists.

curlew Mon 08-Jul-13 09:17:55

"If there are places, anyone will get in"

And the results will not be any better than any other school in the catchment.

Eyesunderarock Mon 08-Jul-13 09:21:12

It seems to depend on how many of 'any other children' curlew.
I've not come across a catholic school without a waiting list.

bearleftmonkeyright Mon 08-Jul-13 09:23:31

Noone puts a gun to your head to force you to go to mass. But that is missing the point. You are child will be influenced by a belief system that you do not believe in. It will affect education and pastoral care.

TNETENNBA Mon 08-Jul-13 09:23:50

Or me it would depend on how good the school was. I am an athiest and your DC still get taught religious stuff at supposedly non faith school.

We lived overseas and my DCs had to go to Faith Schools. Their prep school was Catherlic and a lot of their high school education was in a Christian school. The schools were pretty hard sell and my kids wasted a lot of time being taught things that were irrelevent to them.

Faith school should be disbanded ASAP

curlew Mon 08-Jul-13 09:24:03

That's the point. It's the waiting list that's significant- not the Catholicism.

DontmindifIdo Mon 08-Jul-13 09:27:55

One thing to remember, Catholic schools unlike CofE schools, tend to be more schools of that community. If there are options of other schools in the area (just not as good results wise), then it's an active choice rather than default of only option available, so itwill be much more reflective of the church population. You might well find your DCs 'miss out' from not being involved with the activities of the church community outside of school. It can be hard to be the only family not involved.

hackmum Mon 08-Jul-13 09:32:40

OP, the thing is this. Catholic schools in this country are voluntary-aided, which means they set their own admissions rules. The majority set rules that give priority to baptised Catholics, children who attend church three times a month and, if it's a secondary school, those who have received their first holy communion. Sometimes secondary schools also give priority to children who have attended Catholic primaries.

If the school is popular, the chances of them having room for non-Catholics are minimal. Obviously if the school is unpopular, they'll move down their list of criteria and end up taking non-Catholics. However, the key thing is that if you want to get into a popular Catholic primary, you will have to have your child baptised. In fact, some Catholic schools have got wise to parents experiencing conversions when their child gets to the age of three and give preference to children who were baptised when they were a baby.

In other words, it's not like a C of E school where you might be able to get away with starting church attendance when your child is about two. You have to do it properly.

JakeBullet Mon 08-Jul-13 09:37:24

...and in some schools baptism has to take place within three months of birth.

You may already have missed the boat.

Preciousbane Mon 08-Jul-13 09:42:24

How will you feel if your dc fully embraces Catholicism?

Many of the oversubscribed Catholic secondaries say you have a duty to give your child a Catholic education, and having attended a Catholic primary, along with having done first holy communion, and mass 3 times per month plus holy days of obligation is a requirement.

For a faithful Catholic, this is not hard to do! The priests reference that will support your application will outline any amount of voluntary work or ministry within the Church, be it cleaning, Reading, flower arrangements, gardening, etc. This will count when the secondary has more applications that fulfill the criteria than places.

But for a lack-luster fair-weather "Catholic" this becomes harder.

Many of the not very Catholic children from my dc primary did not get a Catholic secondary place. (Us included, as our son was not baptized within 6 months - this is a top criteria)

So, for a primary place, your child will need a Catholic baptism (primaries are often not so strict regards to how soon after birth your child was baptised) and a reference from a Catholic priest.

Unless you go for a community place, which will be around 10% of the intake for many Catholic schools, and then the geographic catchment will count in your favour - ie you live very near.

badfaketan Mon 08-Jul-13 09:46:11

I'm doing that.I'm atheist but DH has some belief and DCs baptised C of E.
I keep my views to myself though.
It's a good school,our nearest and I'm grateful.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 08-Jul-13 11:47:57

No of course nobody forces the dc to go to church on a sunday, but they are alienated from their peers if they don't.
children who attend school need to feel as though they belong to that community, and parents should agree with school ethos otherwise they may become at odds to their childs education.
Knowing what I do now, there is no way I would agree to it with my dd, even though she is a completely different character to ds2, she still wouldn't fit in as we aren't catholic.
How are non Catholic gaining places anyway, we were told we were a rare case and it didn't happen often. in some Catholic schools names on on their list from birth and dc are Christened within a couple of months, attendance has to be regular and verified by the Priest.
Are the rules/criteria becoming less stringent?

squoosh Mon 08-Jul-13 11:52:16

'No of course nobody forces the dc to go to church on a sunday, but they are alienated from their peers if they don't.'


That's just not true.

OrangeJuiceSandwich Mon 08-Jul-13 12:29:37

DS goes to Catholic school. We are Catholic and go to Mass every Sunday and Holy days. I really, strongly, hate the idea of non Catholics taking the places of Catholics at a Catholic school.

We chose his school because of the link with our church, because I want him to say prayers 3 times a day at school and make his First Holy Communion with his class. I do feel it's a bit of a slap in the face really for the parents for whom the Faith actually is really important that people will get their 5 year old baptised and pretend they believe so they can get into a school.

Would you do it if the school was Jewish or Muslim? Or is it ok to take the piss out of a Catholic school as it's 'close enough' to the religion of your childhood or once 20 years ago your best friends cousin was a Catholic and she was lovely so it'll be fine?

OrangeJuiceSandwich Mon 08-Jul-13 12:33:41

Oh and to those who will send their children to a Catholic school but would opt out of the religion aspect. That's like sending your child for a horse riding lesson but saying they must never get on the horse. Unrealistic and a little bit barmy.

rempy Mon 08-Jul-13 12:43:12

Results will be the "best" because it is selective - the clue is the fact that it is a CATHOLIC school.

Our local catholic primary school is 97% white, has a minute minority on free school meals, and an equally miniscule percentage of "english second language" at entry. You can bet it has considered which of the already small number of catholics in the city it was going to admit, and it can refuse as is it's wont - it is not held by the same admission rules as your local comp.

If you are really an atheist, and value the concept that education should be devoid of indoctrination, don't send. If you have any moral/societal issues with the core aspects of the catholic religion (deification of the mother, the untouchable right to life of the foetus - lets not forget the recent events in Ireland).

Atheism should have the same rigor as faith - you don't believe it so don't facilitate it or go along with it when it suits. That's just wishy-washy. If faith is a core aspect of your life, and you hold it dear, and you want your children to continue to live a life of faith during their time at school, send them to a faith school. If not, don't.

Tommy Mon 08-Jul-13 13:12:26

I agree with your last paragraph rempy although you're not quite right in some of your popular assumptions about the Catholic faith. Also - our (inner city) Catholic primary is very ethnicaslly mixed - Keralan and Goan Indian, Phillipino, African, West Indian and Polish and other E European. It is certainly not some middle class idyll.

rempy Mon 08-Jul-13 13:17:44

Mmmm, I don't understand why our Catholic primary isn't more mixed, given that the city is, but I would suggest that it is to do with selectivity, which is what I was trying to imply.

Midwives and doctors in Ireland allowed a woman to die, with her dying foetus, rather than abort. That is the current societal expression of papal opinion on birth control. That is not a "popular assumption".

tmae Mon 08-Jul-13 13:23:11

I went to a Catholic school but have atheist parents etc. but you didn't have to be Catholic to attend as long as you were in a certain learning stream so don't know if it is quite the same issue. I never had any issues with the Catholic emphasis, I also never had to do anything particularly Catholic, a couple of trips to a church but it was an interesting learning experience in my opinion

SsimTee Mon 08-Jul-13 13:25:35

I'm a Catholic and my daughters were christened Catholics unfortunately, but since we don't practice, I'd feel a hypocrite sending my children to a Catholic school.

badfaketan Mon 08-Jul-13 13:28:16

our catholic primary is exactly like Tommy has described and is inner city.As well as many ethnicities it also welcomes other religions, some are Muslim,all attracted to the strict rules and good pastoral care.
The admissions criteria have not relaxed.Catholics first,then other religions.We have not taken a Catholic's place.

tmae Mon 08-Jul-13 13:31:38

Also I will add they never tried to convert me! Unless I went to a very un-Catholic school (I was taught maths by a Nun so would suspect not!) I wouldn't worry about your child being indoctrinated into a faith you don't want them to join, unless of course that was due to me qualifying for the non-Catholic stream so they put less emphasis on faith etc.

crescentmoon Mon 08-Jul-13 13:32:25

yes badfaketan, iv known alot of muslims apply for catholic primary schools and secondary schools because of the strictness. then CofE. i think its good if you are in the mindset of 'it takes a village to raise a child' i.e dont mind your kid getting told off!

SHarri13 Mon 08-Jul-13 13:41:36

Where we live you have to be baptised, regularly attending church and have the priest sign form to confirm this. If you tick all of these boxes you might get a p,ac as long as you're close enough geographically. At another RC school down the road you need to do all of above, live one one of 5 streets and baptise your baby before they are 3 months! Scary stuff. I suppose it puts lots of non-RC people off the whole thing.

We're on the wait list for Ds1 and he's done a year at our second choice school but will hopefully get a place at the RC school in the next couple of years.

AYBU? No, unless there's the strict criteria as above.

SHarri13 Mon 08-Jul-13 13:45:46

Forgot to add, we are RC and attend mass at least 75% of the time.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 08-Jul-13 18:17:02

It depends how how stridently atheist you are.

Religion will be a part of your child's daily life if they go to that school. Is that something you can be comfortable with? Will you be comfortable with your child possibly ending up a follower of the Catholic faith rather than being an atheist like you?

If the answer if no to either of those then you should send your child to a different school, regardless of great exam results.

RoxyFox211 Mon 08-Jul-13 18:56:58

Yabu. I was tempted with dd but don't want to set a bad example of decieving people to get what you want from life. Just dont think it's right really.

sheridand Mon 08-Jul-13 19:06:31

I wouldn't. Certainly my experience teaching in a secondary Catholic school taught me that a) kids still get pregnant, even more so because they're not taught anything about birth control b) being gay as a teenager is the worst thing. c) sex education is null and void, as it's generally glossed over by the RE teacher d) Christian Aid week lasts forever. e) It's all a huge big nonsense, so why would you expose your kid to it if you didn't have to?

For me, my problem really came when I was unable to answer any of my form groups questions about their bodies in PSHE, as the RE teacher had to stand in and answer any that might contravene Catholic teachings ( ie: taught you not to be mightily guilty about your body).

Nope, don't do it. Move instead.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 08-Jul-13 19:06:35

OP, unless your child is happy in this school which is completely in the hands of God, because that's how the school see things, your dc won't be one of the ones getting the good results. what do results matter at this age anyway? The only testing is a school assessment SATS.
I can't believe that people would put results of a school before their child's happiness.

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