C of E school, but I hate the church

(31 Posts)

Our local primary school is not good. At all. There is a C of E primary school also local to us which is better in every way. It's extremely competitive and priority is given to families who attend the church-fair enough.

I'm a Christian, DD is christened, we have tried this church (we moved a few months ago so had to stop going to our old church). I hate it. HATE it. Hate it badly enough that on one occasion I had to walk out of a service. (I did apologise to the vicar and his wife!) It's very evangelical, and I'm just not.

After trying this church a few times I gave up and am now going to the local cathedral. Fine.

The school is popular enough that although they say people who attend other churches get priority after families that attend this particular church, in reality unless you go to this church your child has no chance.

So, do we fake evangelical enthusiasm for the next 11 years in order to get DD into a school that is better in every way, and that we genuinely love? I have no problem with evangelical worship, it's just not for me. I don't mind DD going to services there if she wants to/school organises things.

Or do we carry on going to our preferred church and accept that DD will almost certainly have to go to the other school, that is really quite awful?

I feel like school choices shouldn't be a bloody moral dilemma sad

mam29 Mon 19-Nov-12 11:42:24

I cant speak for school itself as not seen admissions policy.

Buy What I think you saying is

you are are coe
you go church regular
your dd bapised coe.

At dds old rc school yours could be diffrenet

top was baptised children who lived within the parish not baptised kids who go church next door as hey had wide catchmen a lot of rc went o 3-4different churches so their kids still got in,

Do you live within the parish?
please note parish boundries noramlly different to school cathhment.

Bar sibling policy/kids in care you should still top ish on list depends how oversubscribed it is.

Also not that your dds school will have close links with hated church.
all of dds masses, nativitys were in the church.

APMF Mon 19-Nov-12 11:42:43

Women have been faking it for centuries smile Why is faking religion any different. Sit in the pew and just let your mind go to a nicer place. Worked for me as a kid during assembly.

APMF that made me snort!

mam29 we do live in the parish but their rules say that priority goes to families who actually attend the church first, rather than all baptised children in the parish (though they come second I think). I wouldn't mind nativity services, carols, choir stuff etc, I'm just not sure I can hack a service there every Sunday until she goes to secondary school.

RichTeas Mon 19-Nov-12 11:57:52

Spare a thought for the other half of the congregation who are probably not even believers! Honestly, these faith schools should be prohibited.

meditrina Mon 19-Nov-12 11:59:13

Do you have a DH? What does he think of your local church?

DH is an agnostic who comes to church sometimes, doesn't mind it but doesn't love it. He feels similarly turned off by the church in question.

CecilyP Mon 19-Nov-12 12:41:54

From your OP, I am not sure why you think it is for 11 years. Once your child is in the school, no further church attendance is required. What age is your DC? You need to find out how many years of church attendance are required. Also you need to find out (in a typical year) how many children were admitted whose parents attend the parish church and how many attend other CofE churches and take it from there.

mam29 Mon 19-Nov-12 14:13:40

Blimey that sounds really shifty shadey policy.

children of faith baptised and live within parish and you attend another church should be enough to put at top.

Adding an extra layer of faith from an outsider makes the chucrh seem dodgy almost using the school admissions to bribe people to attend that particular church sounds quite wrong.

I admit im fairly laid back coe my kids are baptised and im contemplating going more regularly next year year 3 for eldest as have 2smaller children and hubby who works weekends.

So going twice a month puts me in group 2 for coe seniors.
no guarantees though if the other 200 parents went every week.

Lol at APMF. faking it or more overexagerrating its one of few options I have locally.

I dont like what my mum would describe as happy clappy give me a traditional service anyday.

mam29 Mon 19-Nov-12 14:15:14

last year I sat through a 90min school mass where preist in his 80s went on and on about god bless the little people I thourght it was going to go on forever.

The things we do for our kids eh.

BloooCowWonders Mon 19-Nov-12 14:54:12

Is there a choice of services at the church? Our has min 3 each Sunday, and there's one I avoid like the plague for its happy- clappiness. But the early services are completely different.

I agree, it is a pretty shady policy.

I guess it's not really for 11 years, but I'd feel bad going until she's in and then stopping...

They have one service a month which is book of common prayer and lovely, plus a service early each Sunday that is supposed to be more traditional but actually still involves songs with actions rather than hymns etc. I just can't be doing with shaking my bum and singing that even though it's wobbly, Jesus still loves me. If it makes other people happy that's great, but I can't do it!

Do you think if we go once a month and talk loudly about how much we love the cathedral so it's clear we're church-goers that would be enough?! I'd love to just ask the vicar but I don't think being that open about 'how to get my child into your school' is the done thing!

Katisha Mon 19-Nov-12 17:21:58

Is going to the sane service once a month enough? You need to find out.

suburbandream Mon 19-Nov-12 17:26:54

We used to go to a CofE school - luckily we got in even though we didn't attend that church (we went to another nearby). We went a couple of times to the school's church services on a Sunday but they were dreadful - children running up and down the aisle, parents not interested (clearly only there for the school place) etc. Could you go to a different service at that church at another time? One of the school mums felt the same as me but she used to go to a service on a Tuesday afternoon which she said was lovely.

Hm, I'm not sure about weekday services-that's a really good idea. I have Wednesdays off so that would be ideal. Will investigate!

FairPhyllis Mon 19-Nov-12 17:35:28

Is it just the worship style you don't like, or is it the theology? Because I might be able to suck up a different worship style for a bit (think of it as a project in ecumenism) but if I had problems with the theology of the leadership of the church I don't think I'd be able to attend regularly. And that would probably filter through to not being happy with religious instruction in the school anyway.

birdofthenorth Mon 19-Nov-12 17:36:42

I am Chair of Governors at a Popular CofE school. You may be surprised to hear that of about 60 applications per year (small school, intake of 20), only 2 or 3 are usually made under the church-going criteria (of which I can only remember me being granted in the few years I've been doing this, as the hidden criteria is "attended main Sunday service of named church a minumn of once a month for at least a year before the date of application" which normally is not the case- often they have come weekly for a few weeks before application, or have been at Xmas and Easter for yonks).

Their admissions policy should be on your local authority website.

Ours is

1) kids in care
2) kids whose SEN or medical needs can only be met by the school
3) kids who have a sibling in school already
4) regular attenders at our church
5) Kids who live in the parish
6) kids who live nearest school as the crow flies
7) regular attenders at other churches for whom our's is the nearest church school

In reality, most years the line is drawn half way through category 5, so about half the applicants who live in the parish get in, based on nearest first.

So, of you're desperate to get in but not very near, the fact you fit into category 7 wouldn't help you very much. Which leaves chancing it on distance and luck, or going to the school's church some of the time until your first DC is offered a place (not for 11 years- you can worship where you want once you've got that offer letter, and most do --usually nowhere--).

I would check the admissions policy as it should say how they measure church attendence. It does vary between schools - for the secondary it was being on the electoral roll.

If it isn't clear then ring the school and ask. It could be that the monthly BCP would be an option you can still attend the cathedral.

birdofthenorth Mon 19-Nov-12 17:44:00

PS at our school, the regularity of attendance is determined by a reference from the vicar (usually verbal at the admissions meeting) and a majority vote of elligible foundation governors. Which, I'm my experience, means attending twice a month for over a year is wise, as sometimes people who go weekly underestimate how often and how long you've been. I suppose you could document it, but that probably would look a bit calculated!

prh47bridge Mon 19-Nov-12 18:11:18

birdofthenorth - If your school is doing as you say I would strongly recommend consulting with someone who understands the Admissions Code and sorting out your admissions procedures. As described they are unacceptable.

You may not have "hidden criteria". You must use only your published criteria. If you have not published what you mean by "regular attender" your admission policy is deficient. Having hidden criteria is a clear breach of the Admissions Code paragraphs 1.9(a) and 1.37.

A verbal reference from the vicar and a majority vote of eligible governors is not an acceptable way to determine someones regularity of attendance. The church must document it properly and parents should provide a letter from the vicar confirming attendance. You may think this would look calculated but it is the only fair approach. Paragraph 1.8 of the Admissions Code says that your admission criteria must be objective and procedurally fair. Having a vote on whether or not someone is a regular church attender is neither objective nor fair.

If someone chooses to refer you to the Schools Adjudicator over these practises the Adjudicator will tell you to mend your ways.

crazymum53 Mon 19-Nov-12 18:20:48

If the school is oversubscribed then they should publish clearly the no. of children admitted in each category every year.
Usually church attendance is verified by the priest or vicar of the church that you attend using a supplementary form. If you have attended more than one church in the qualifying period then the vicars of both churches may be asked.
You do not say how old your ds is, but if he is close to school age a reference from the church you used to attend before you moved may be needed.
HTH

It's the worship style FairPhyllis. I think what I SHOULD do is suck it up and go. I'm just too selfish and can't bear the thought!

I think I'm going to phone the school and find out what their actual admissions look like as I guess they could be quite different to what they publish as their criteria. DD is only 14 months so it's not totally urgent but I am a worrier!

ShipwreckedAndComatose Mon 19-Nov-12 18:38:28

That just seems so wrong!!

If you are attending CofE and in the catchment then that should be enough...surely people have the right to decide which style of worship they prefer??

Nuts. The whole thing!

tiggytape Mon 19-Nov-12 18:57:11

Each faith school is allowed to state how they define their faith criteria.
Some just say you have to be baptised. Some say baptism and regular church attendance for X number of years. Some say 2 or 3 named churches get priority and others state worshipping at just one particular church gets preference.

As long as they publish those criteria, and as long as they apply them fairly to every single applicant, then this is allowed.

So if OP's school is one that names a particular church as having priority for admission, and if all the places at school are taken by the 30 or 60 children who worship at that named church, then OP would either need to go to the church as regularly as required to fufill the criteria or risk not getting in and go to her local non-faith school instead.

You don't have to fake anything - you just have to turn up. And it isn't 11 years - you can stop going the day you get in but if the school has such an affinity to that church, it is likely every Harvest Festival, Nativity, end of term service, Easter and Mother's Day will be held there or conducted by the vicar from there. If the church's style is uncomfortable for you once a week, it may be worth checking how much it influences daily life at the school.

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