It gets worse .... faith schools also set to become MORE selective!

(41 Posts)
jailhouserock Sun 11-Sep-16 22:08:00

With all the many column inches and threads devoted to grammar schools you might have missed this, but it's a huge step backwards in the movement to open up the admissions of faith schools, which was making good headway through the introduction of a 50% cap under the Coalition Government ....

BBC: Theresa May to relax faith schools admissions rules.

Quote: "In response to reports that the government is set to relax rules which prevent new Catholic schools opening in England, a No 10 source said the admissions cap had failed in two key tests:"
"It has failed to make minority faith schools more diverse, because parents of other religions and none do not send their children to those schools......"

But the new rules only apply to new academies, and haven't been in place long enough for anyone to make an objective judgement on that. Of course many new faith schools are going to be most popular with people of their own faith, but if they are successful schools with an inclusive ethos then they can also attract people of other faiths and none, as many successful RC and CE schools already do. These schools need more time to prove they can be welcoming to people of all backgrounds, and certainly should not be let off the hook so soon after opening.

It should also be acknowledged that the Church of England has responded positively to the 50% cap policy by voluntarily opening up many of its established schools too. Let's hope they continue in that direction, but their position in persuading individual CE schools to open up will be very much weakened if the compulsory cap for new schools is removed!

"... But it has prevented new Catholic schools from opening, which are more successful, more popular and more ethnically diverse than other types of state school."

It has only prevented new Catholic schools from opening because the Catholic Education Service has refused to open any until the rules are changed ... they are blackmailing the government and the government are rolling over.

The Government say they want to provide more "choice" but, as all parents know, there aren't enough surplus places in the system for everyone to have a choice. Therefore every time they give a "choice" to one minority group through selective admissions they are removing choice from the population as a whole.

To put all this in context, bear in mind England is one of only a very small number of countries in the world where religious discrimination in school admissions is legal. Countries with strong religious traditions, such as Italy, Spain and Poland, do not have religious discrimination in admissions to any state-funded schools.

Organisations campaigning against the change include the Accord Coalition, the Fair Admissions Campaign and the British Humanist Association. They have many MPs on their side, so fingers crossed the changes won't just be slipped in under the table while everyone is focussed on debating academic selection, important though that is!

cdtaylornats Sun 11-Sep-16 22:19:56

I can see how the cap would disadvantage Jewish and Muslim schools.

ProfessorPreciseaBug Mon 12-Sep-16 05:52:37

A faith school may sound like a good idea... But if it is going to avoid claims of discrimination, the system must allow islamic schools as well as catholic ones..

And of course most islamic schools will always promote integration and tolerance of other peoples culture?

AnguaResurgam Mon 12-Sep-16 06:21:59

It's a bit misleading.

Long established faith schools are not subject to the cap anyhow.

Not many new ones, except Hindu schools, have been established since the policy changed.

This isn't getting much attention because it won't have much effect in practice.

Both major parties support faith schools - biggest expansion since start of state education (also without cap) was under the last Labour administration.

jailhouserock Mon 12-Sep-16 08:33:04

Both major parties support faith schools

Yes, agreed, like it or not, faith schools are here to stay for now. But many MPs from all parties support open admissions to faith schools as the best way to make sure they don't become closed communities.

Long established faith schools are not subject to the cap anyhow.

No, but campaign groups have been lobbying for that - reform takes time, but the direction of travel has been positive until now. The Church of England has been voluntarily moving in that direction as a matter of policy, with many of its established schools already opening up their admissions.

mathsmum314 Mon 12-Sep-16 10:03:01

I am against any selection by faith but if the current limit of 50% is making little impact and the catholic church is willing to build more schools... then we should ban religious selection after the churches have built lots of shiny new schools. smile

GeekLove Mon 12-Sep-16 10:29:17

Faith schools are a cancer as they undermine one of the most fundamental cornerstones of education - Evidence before Ideology.
No child should find they cannot mix with others from different faiths, have a nasty commute and have their intellectual integrity eroded purely as a means to please religious lobbyists.
Ultimately, your faith or none should be a matter of personal principle and freely chosen, not forced down your throat like an unwanted penis.

jailhouserock Mon 12-Sep-16 10:32:47

then we should ban religious selection after the churches have built lots of shiny new schools

Don't assume the Churches are paying for their own new schools. They're not! In the distant past a lot of church schools were built on church land. As the CE/RC churches still own that land they have a lot of power over Education policy. However their new schools are being fully funded by the Government.

The Government want successful, experienced educationalists to run academies, so they are frustrated with the Catholic Church's refusal to open new schools. The Catholic Church want new schools to extend their influence, but are sitting tight because they know they're in a very strong bargaining position.

It's just a matter of who blinks first, and the Government are now planning to blink.

pleasemothermay1 Mon 12-Sep-16 11:08:17

poster GeekLove

My child will be attending the local CofE school

If the others school were better it wouldn't even be in my thinking

And also it's more ethincly diverse that the local non religious primary

People self select here were as the CofE has a large African, Polish and pillipeno population

freetrampolineforall Mon 12-Sep-16 11:19:16

I couldn't get my dd into the almost next door non-faith primary school. It's no "better" or "worse" than the Catholic primary we eventually got my dd into. We are both Catholics and went to catholic comps and primaries ourselves but I would have preferred a non-faith school for my dd. Ironic that Catholic school was the "fall-back" for us. Shortly starting application process for secondary schools and am reluctant to take dd away from her friends. Which means a catholic secondary. There are a couple of non-faith school options (one is highly rated all girls academy) but we aren't in a "feeder" school for them. Actually feel a bit trapped and wish there were no faith schools at all.

blubkins Mon 12-Sep-16 13:53:00

My children go to a Jewish school which has an admissions policy in which allows for 50% of places to go to those that actively practice Judaism and 50% who are not Jewish/secular/atheists. So the admissions goes -> 50% places to those who practice Judaism, 50% by proximity to the school whether not taking religion into account. The school is very inclusive, teaches about all religions and the children have been to churches, temples and have huge termly projects dedicated to the other religions as well as other cultures. None of the families are very religious and there is no pressure to wear any religious garments or adhere to the sabbath or anything like that. They allow children who are Jewish but from non-practicing backgrounds or completely faithless.

About 10% of the children are not Jewish and the school is always trying to attract non-Jews but I have been told by some of the non-Jewish parents that often other people who they speak to about the school who are not Jewish would not consider sending their children their either because they are racist and have preconceived ideas about what the school is and think their children will be forced to be circumcised, have to wear religious Jewish clothes (nobody in the school wears the religious garments as most of the families are not very religious) or will be forced to practice the religion. A fellow parent who is not Jewish has told me that he has heard lots of racist comments about the school and parents saying they would never send their children to a Jewish school etc, so it is not always the religious schools that are narrow minded and uninclusive.

howrudeforme Mon 12-Sep-16 14:17:23

There is a lobby against faith schools. I think its failure to make much headway is due to the fact that it concentrates on atheism and their arguments are very much in the vein of 'fairies' and learning things that go against science' etc.

My objection to them is less to do with the faith element but rather the selection. Faith schools certainly allow more choices for SOME children, but at the expense of other children - particularly those from truly multicultural families with multi faiths, like mine.

My old borough had in excess of 35% school places for faith communities and a handful of community schools. People of faith therefore had more school options and we ware left with the handful of community schools and thank goodness we were in the catchment for one of them.

All these people who say that their Catholic schools are more ethnically diverse - depends on the area - and if the ethnically diverse cohort is largely catholic then it's still segregation.

We looked at Catholic schools - they could not get their heads around the fact that DS's father was Catholic but DS remained unbaptised. I tried to get him into a toddler playgroup at local church to get DS in an a Catholic environment but they were horrified that he was not baptised. No 'try before you buy' - so we were excluded.

We have since moved and we recently took ds to see the local catholic senior school. Nice school in some ways but some of what the kids were saying made me uncomfortable. And yes, there were non white people there - how multicultural! DH came out fuming - he's an Italian Roman Catholic and think this country is freaking bonkers - he did not recognise many fellow catholics - but rather a bunch of people who'd followed the UK 'system' to ensure a school place. We are again excluded at the church will not allow our DS to learn about Catholicism unless first baptised. DH cannot attend mass because he works pretty much 24/7. So ho hum.

Irony is that all Italian schools are pretty much catholic in flavour but will welcome anyone. Not so here.

Perhaps 30 years ago faith school's served the local community but this is increasing rare given the pressure on school places and, given the world is a different place now, I'd say encouraging segregation along faith (culture) is a seriously bad move for the UK.

I'd say the same for increasing the number of grammars - in the past they could lead to some sort of social mobility but not so much these days. I'd say and increase in grammars would just lead to more choices for those with the right economic background.

GlassCircles Mon 12-Sep-16 14:38:23

I'd say encouraging segregation along faith (culture) is a seriously bad move for the UK.

Absolutely - I really can't think why anyone would argue otherwise confused

It really makes me angry that taxpayer-funded faith schools feel that they are being 'so tolerant and kind' in opening up their doors (a crack) to children not of that faith. When in fact they are organisations which conduct religious discrimination from a very spurious position of religious privilege. Grr.

samG76 Mon 12-Sep-16 15:25:39

I'm torn between thinking it's a move in the wrong direction and having some sympathy for anything that annoys Rabbi Romaine and his Accord coalition, who are pretty smug at the best of times.

IceBeing Mon 12-Sep-16 15:30:13

I actually can't bear to think about this because it is so ridiculous.

WTAF is the point of the equalities act 2010, if education (the single most important function of a civilization) is exempt from it.

We will be home educating until such time as religious discrimination is eliminated from the state school system....

0pti0na1 Mon 12-Sep-16 16:35:47

I have no strong feelings about faith schools if open to all, but am against faith schools where religious attendance is a requirement. It clearly breeds hypocrisy with people suddenly appearing at a place of worship to jump through the right hoops, never to be seen again once they've achieved what they wanted. Meanwhile, many with genuine faith who are uncomfortable with that attend church a little less often and don't get a place.

bojorojo Mon 12-Sep-16 19:22:29

The reason the Government is considering the change for new schools is that the Catholic Church and the Jewish Chief Rabbi have refused to sponsor any more academies because of this rule. The Government thinks people like Faith schools, so is encouraging more by this move.

In my experience, parents like good schools but many parents do not want overly religious ones where they do not support the religion. C of E schools can be very exclusive if they are Aided schools but open to all via a wider catchment area if they are Controlled. A few years ago the Diocesan Education Officers around here were trying to get the Controlled schools to become Aided to assist choosing who they wanted to attend (nice, clever, middle class Church goers) at the expense of the non Churchgoing parents.

Do non Catholic children really want a Catholic ethos at school? Or a Jewish ethos, or indeed an Islamic ethos if they are not of that faith? Possibly not, but many parents can put up C of E if it is the local school. My DDs went to a C of E Controlled school and the C of E input was fairly lightweight during the daily act of worship. The Churchgoers on the Governors (Foundation Governors) appeared to feel they were a cut above the rest of us, however. Some sort of club running the school.

howrudeforme Mon 12-Sep-16 19:47:30

For me it boils down to some kids having more choice at the expense of other kids.

It's a free for all. Recently a local v. popular free school decided to change it's admissions because it was oversubscribed. There were going to be a few feeder schools. The primaries that were not chosen were angry and they were faith schools. It was pointed out at they were not chosen precisely because they were faith schools and so many children could got get in. So this new school has sort of positioned itself as a god free school?

Our systems are mad - they benefit a few and so many children fall by the wayside. No cohesion at all.

chocorabbit Tue 13-Sep-16 13:21:44

There are not enough school places, yet some children can be ferried to the local CofE school in Mercedes and BMWs and take school places from poor local children who then have to travel by bus every day over a mile away, often with the mother missing several busy buses as there is no space for the buggy and sleeping baby. And in the meanwhile the baby will need another feed and it could take over 2 hours just one way. Not all people have childcare. And all this inequality paid for by the tax payer!

Scaredycat3000 Tue 13-Sep-16 13:56:48

humanism.org.uk/what-you-can-do-to-help/contact-your-mp-to-oppose-plans-for-a-new-generation-of-100-religiously-selective-schools/
There is a sustained fight for our DC's by these Government supported cults. It is clearly stated in the big books of stories, Jesus said bring the DC to me, and Welby's glad my god changed his mind so bastards could wear dresses and lots of gold too plans to use their privileged access in our schools too indoctrinate our DC. Clearly all written down in black and white from their own sources. Religion should be getting less privileges, not more. Religious segregation from 4 yrs old with be nothing but damaging for our society. But most of the Conservative voters that these policies are designed to get their vote will be long gone by the time the full horror of their desire to rip our country half way back though the 20th century really hits home.

chilipepper20 Tue 13-Sep-16 13:58:20

There is a lobby against faith schools. I think its failure to make much headway is due to the fact that it concentrates on atheism and their arguments are very much in the vein of 'fairies' and learning things that go against science' etc.

the british humanist association is one such group, but they don't focus on atheism. Perhaps others do, but I don't know of any.

The focus is on fairness, desegregation and science. things we should no doubt support.

For me it boils down to some kids having more choice at the expense of other kids.

There is no way around it: parents who are catholic or CofE simply have more school choice for their children than I do. I think one way around this is to have o school applications a "faith" and "non-faith" box. if you select "faith", you go to the bottom of the pile for non-faith schools, which is exactly what happens to people of the wrong faith or no faith.

Scaredycat3000 Tue 13-Sep-16 14:10:13

^For me it boils down to some kids having more choice at the expense of other kids.

There is no way around it^

There is a very, very simple easy way round it. No Government funded faith schools. All schools for all children. RE becomes part of History lessons, these are the main faiths some people believe in. What you then wish to or not teach your DC in your own time is your business.

chilipepper20 Tue 13-Sep-16 14:14:08

There is a very, very simple easy way round it. No Government funded faith schools. All schools for all children. RE becomes part of History lessons, these are the main faiths some people believe in. What you then wish to or not teach your DC in your own time is your business.

sensible but radical. I totally agree, but the resistance you will get from people in the UK is going to be high.

I'd start with removing selection.

Scaredycat3000 Tue 13-Sep-16 14:37:17

I agree chilli except the radical bit. We are one of two countries that have government funded Faith schools.
Living in an area where the only choice is a faith nursery, an infant faith school, a juniors faith school or a faith high school. I struggle to find any parents who attend church. A couple of parents that like the faith bit, but not a religious family, and many that have problems with faith being forced on their family, but just accept it. Yet the faith version of ofstead always reports that parents say the schools aren't religious enough. So who are they? I'm sure you're quite right there would be uproar, but it would be from very loud minority, a minority with privilege.

chilipepper20 Tue 13-Sep-16 14:50:13

I agree chilli except the radical bit. We are one of two countries that have government funded Faith schools.

I am completely on your side in principle. Also, I sincerely doubt there are only two countries with this property (what's the other one?).

I totally agree with you, but it is radical for this country and that is where the change would take place.

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