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
I know it probably sounds really stupid, but I don't mind the school being influenced by the church at all, or that services will happen there, or DD going to those services. It's just that I'm a snob and don't feel like it's 'real' worship; it feels like a Sunday school, all the time. I don't mind DD going (if she gets into the school, iyswim) because I figure she can make up her own mind about what, if any, style of worship she prefers, and I can hack the occasional service at Christmas, Easter etc. It's just the idea of going every week that's filling me with dread.
At any rate, thank you for all the advice. I need to speak to the school now as I don't think I can make any decisions without doing that.
prh47 thanks- reading back what I wrote it does sound terrible, sorry! I should have explained that by hidden criteria I mean not published on the council website -you would have to esque with the school/ vicar for details of what constitutes regular, which would then be given. Just as if you enquired about parish map boundaries they would be given as further info, etc.
And yes, since becoming chair I have now asked that the vicar's report be written, as I too thought a verbal "they've been quite a lot for a while" unacceptable. The written reports are still a bit vague though as the church does a head count each week but not a register, so tend to be backed up by a judgement by the vicar (this bit, an agree with you, is slightly dodgy terrain). I have never had someone actually give dates of their attendance but if they did I can only imagine the vicar would corroborate it as s/he has no written evidence to the contrary. The governor vote comes in when having to decide if the vicar's reference does indeed out them into the qualifying category above the other criteria, which is done on the question "does the reference validate attendance on Sunday monthly for a year?".
But honestly, I do think both the vicar and governors are likely to judge attendance positively if the applicant has genuinely been seen a fair bit for a long time. As I said, we only get a couple of applications a year and most are from people who could not be described as regular church goers by any criteria, who are understandably just desperate to get their kids into their prefered school. One sites the regular church attendance of a grandparent as the soul basis for applying on those grounds, parents and kids had never set foot in church!
DS1 is in a c of e school, I think you should be able to qualify if you go to your preferred service once a month for a year.
To be totally honest I think you need to adjust your judgeypants on saying that "their worship isn't real" just because it's not in the style that you prefer- it may be worth looking up the definition of worship?! Worship comes from the heart and happens within, even though the expression of it externally may differ to how you express yours.
Seriously I don't think you should have any qualms at all about going (perhaps midweek) until the day that DD starts school and then switching back to your preferred church. Even on MN I think you'd have to look very hard to find someone judgy enough to disapprove.
I would also talk to people at the Cathedral where you do go like the Dean, and become part of the "community" or whatever they call it. Most people at Cathedrals do also have a connection to another Church btw.