Do we request a RC school as first choice when we are not RC...?

(26 Posts)
MarthasHarbour Sun 30-Dec-12 00:34:25

This is something that has always gone against the grain for me until-we had DS

We are moving to an area where there are some excellent schools surrounding us, so really we are in a good position.

School A is a catholic school, excellent reputation, intake of 90. Just across the road from us.
School B is 10-15 mins walk. OFSTED 1. Catchment school. Really good reputation. We are all but guaranteed to get into this school as they often take out of catchment.
School C is 10-15 mins walk. OFSTED 1. Not catchment but excellent reputation. We havent got a chance - they have a tiny catchment and apparently have 200 applications for 30 places.

We have always been happy with School B. We have never considered school A as it is RC and we follow no religion (although i was christened and confirmed as C of E - DH is christened C of E)

But recently we have seriously considering putting School A down as first choice. My honest reason is due to the proximity to home (2 mins walk) and excellent reputation. I think we might get in as they have a high intake, we have no objection to him attending a religious school, and would be happy for him to have a religious education. The supplementary form does not require a signature or request for church attendance.

Although DH and I would love him to go to school A we also feel a bit of a fraud not being catholic. We just want the best for DS, as all parents do.

Are we complete hypocrites? <dons hard hat and accepts flaming>

RyleDup Sun 30-Dec-12 00:42:01

Well, I'd feel a bit weird sending dc to a catholic school when we're not catholic. Depends on how commited you would have to be towards religion. It wouldn't work for me unless there were lots of non catholic children and the school was aware of, and catered for that.

exexpat Sun 30-Dec-12 00:42:28

If you meet their admissions requirements (so don't need to lie, suddenly turn Catholic etc) and don't mind the religious elements then there is no reason not to.

I can imagine it might be a bit awkward for your DCs if they found they were the only non-Catholics in their classes, not knowing all the prayers & customs etc, but if it doesn't have strict religious entry requirements and it's a good school then they are unlikely to be the only ones. Some Catholic schools set aside a certain number of places for non-Catholics anyway.

wigglywoowoo Sun 30-Dec-12 00:51:20

My dd attends a catholic school and while I believe in god I do not believe in religion which I view as a means of control. I have always been honest about this with them.

As long as you meet the admission criteria then I see no issue with applying for this school, if it is the best one for your child.

wavesgoodbye Sun 30-Dec-12 01:04:12

I have had two experiences of Catholic schools as we moved.

School one - dd was only child not on the list to be confirmed when they lowered the age, all the other children were Catholic, although they confirmed the older class too and only half were Catholic.

School two - (house move) had their confirmation six months later and only five of the class were confirmed. There are a variety Of faiths and no faith at all.

You won't be a fraud, if you like the school and meet their criteria on distance I can be pretty sure they won't be the only child who is not Catholic.

sashh Sun 30-Dec-12 07:03:40

You do know it's not just a religeous education don't you?

Ds will be attending mass, writing prayers as well as saying them and be taught RC view as fact.

Also check on their policy for 'holy days of obligation', these are days when it is compulsory for RCs to attend mass, some schools have a day of for the children to attend mass with parents, others say mass in school. INcreasingly schools are going towards the latter.

If the schools have days off then the half term holidys are shorter. At one point in my (days of the dinosaur) schooling my school had monday and tuesday as half term, were in school as normal on Wednesday and then had thursday of as a HDO and we were back Friday.

FergusSingsTheBlues Sun 30-Dec-12 07:18:29

Im a catholic and went to a RC primary school. Excellent moral grounding. Plus, education is more than exams, cultural education also matters. Id like my son to understand the salient bible stories..parables make great fables. I also want him to know how to behave in a church for the odd time we do go. And yes, some loyalty towards my irish roots as well.

Discipline within the school plus the emphasis on discipline in the religious aspect is the reason they are often great schools.

Mytwobeautifulgirls Sun 30-Dec-12 07:28:01

my dd1 goes to a rc school and the admission policies are very strict you need to be attending the parish church regular so the priest can sign your form to say he recognises you and your child.
and like someone else mentioned its notjust about the odd r.e lesson they do prays am after lunch and at home time they do mass every Friday and harvest festival also carols in gte parish church at crimbo they r very good schools due to restrict teaching and morals. you just need to decide if you want your child brought up that way. also homework and first holy communion which they will need guidance from you.

Kt8791 Sun 30-Dec-12 07:31:03

There is a good catholic school near me which I may be able to get my son into but I decided against it as a) not catholic b) most of the children go to the catholic secondary school, which u have no chance of getting into if not catholic and I worried about him having to make a whole new set of friends. Something to bear in mind.

We are Catholic and dd (13) has attended catholic school & ds due to start at nursery in January. There has tended to be the odd one or two they are not Catholics and maybe practice different faith or religion. But on the whole pretty much all in my dd's class made their first holy communion. Church has played a huge part in dd's education & they attended the local cathedral many times during school time. It depends how much you want religion to be a part of your dc's education as at a catholic school it plays a big part smile

anothercuppaplease Sun 30-Dec-12 07:47:38

Have you visited the school?

Do you know anyone who sends their children there and ask them questions about how the school is?

For example, we have a new local school that presents itself as: Name of the School is a non-selective Christian school that reflects the ethnic diversity of the local community; it welcomes children of all faiths and no faith.

Where as other schools state on the front page of their website: 'We are a Catholic School. We strive to be a s sign of Christ's presence in the world. We follow Jesus.

fancyanother Sun 30-Dec-12 07:58:00

My son goes to a Catholic school and I was brought up Catholic, went to catholic primary and secondary school. Even I am surprised at how ingrained and overt the religious side of the school is. I dont know much about a C of E upbringing, but I would imagine it was a bit of a shock to someone not Catholic.

I would put down school B first, then maybe school A. When we were applying for schools, we were going to do the opposite, put down the Catholic school second and put down the school I liked better, but who we were slightly out of our catchment, first. I was told if I did that there was a chance I wouldn't get into either because they place first choices first, so if we didn't get into our first choice, there was a chance we wouldn't get into our second either. I'm glad I did that, as we would never have got into any of the good state schools in our area because of a huge shortfall of school spaces in our borough. We do a 15 minute walk. It's fine.

upinthehills Sun 30-Dec-12 08:05:52

Not religious here - so i would go for B first. Even at normal state school there is talk at assembly of God and i get frustrated when my DS says religious things as fact - cannot imagine what RC school would be like! I would feel that i was overcomplicating my DC life to save 10mins.

sunnyday123 Sun 30-Dec-12 08:59:01

I would look seriously at their admissions criteria. In most catholic schools, every catholic (even those living miles away) get in before non Catholics living next door. In dds school they take 60 and never make it to non Catholics. Last year they didnt even make it to the catholic siblings living out of parish!

3 years ago the school had a low birth rate and a handful of non Catholics got in. However for the past 2 years no non Catholics did, inc their siblings. In dds class, 2 non catholic children left year 2 in July as their younger siblings didnt get a place.

Living close means nothing if not catholic usually. For example, a non catholic sibling living next door to the school didnt get in this year but my youngest did even though we a 3 miles away - because we are catholic.

Also consider secondary school, our local RC secondary rarely takes non Catholics as it serves 5 parishes so all those Catholics get in first plus Catholics from other parishes. Therefore the couple of non Catholics who did get in dds school, will likely have to go to a secondary school on their own! Going to the RC primary usually has no bearing at all.

The religious aspect varies - in dds school they only go to church once per year and its not a very over religious school at all. My friends c of e sounds more full on!

Worth considering as you have another very good option.

LIZS Sun 30-Dec-12 09:03:29

Also investigate the religious element of the education , not just rs/pshce lessons but how that pervades the culture of the school. It could be very uncomfortable to be in a minority especially if the doctrine dominates the timetable . tbh in our area rc schools are very oversubscribed due to the Eastern European population.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 30-Dec-12 09:03:36

I'd look round a and b and put down whichever you like the best as first choice.

If that is A and you don't get in then at least you'd get your second choice of B.

We sent dd to a CofE primary as its the village school. We're not religious but it would be 5 miles to a non CofE school.

MarthasHarbour Sun 30-Dec-12 16:22:33

Posting from my phone so I cant name check. But thank you all for your views, it has given me lots to think about.

I will show DH this thread but am thinking of going for the state school (school B) as first choice. I am disappointed that the state schools don't do nativity plays etc (although understand why), but we can take him to church over Easter and Xmas. TBH I would prefer a CofE education anyway and the local CofE is too far away.

My colleagues son goes to the RC school so will have a chat with him, I know they love it and only one parent is catholic. The admission form doesn't require a signature or proof of attendance.

Thank you again smile

exexpat Sun 30-Dec-12 17:35:42

Where did you get the idea that state schools don't do nativity plays? Every school I know does. They are also meant to have a daily act of collective worship of a broadly Christian nature, though how this is interpreted will depend largely on the head teacher. There is certainly no lack of religion in most state primaries - personally I think that there shouldn't be any participatory religious activities (RE is fine) but as the law stands, there can be quite a bit.

noramum Sun 30-Dec-12 17:50:54

My DD's school has no RC or CoE connection and has a nativity play, a harvest festival, teaches about baptism, does a church visit, teaches about Easter and also includes the other religions as well, but focus is
Christianity.

While RE is not part of the national curriculum we were told that most LEA have their own rules how RE should be taught and even daily prayers are part of school days.

I am RC and I wouldn't want DD to attend a RC school because I don't believe in their quite restricted teaching. But ai also know that each school is different and you need to know exactly how is particular school teaches it during each day. That the school doesn't require a proof is strange, most are quite strict so it could be that the RC part is less formal than in other church schools.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sun 30-Dec-12 18:02:25

I'm a Catholic, dcs go to Catholic school. Our school is undersubscribed (in some years) and is only about 60% Catholic so non Catholics do get in in droves but other Catholic schools are not like this.

I wouldn't in a million years chose a Catholic school for a non Catholic family. We have weekly mass, they pray at least 4 times a day, there is a shrine in every classroom. They eat their lunch under and enormous crucifix. RE is 10% of the curriculum. There are nuns all over the place. Lots of kids (and parents) have friendships strengthened through the church so non believers can be a bit out of it. In Y6 the Catholic dcs goto the Catholic secondary, the others can't so depending on friendship groups they might end up going into Y7 with no friends. It writes on the slate of who you are and I don't care what anyone says, when you are brought up on the bible it stays with you, forever, you can stop believing, you can change faith, but you can't undo it.

mrz Sun 30-Dec-12 18:04:36

The legal basis of RE in the curriculum of maintained schools
^Every maintained school in England must provide a basic curriculum (RE, sex
education and the National Curriculum). This includes provision for RE for all
registered pupils at the school (including those in the sixth form), except for
those withdrawn by their parents (or withdrawing themselves if they are aged
18 or over) in accordance with Schedule 19 to the School Standards and
Framework Act 1998^.

MarthasHarbour Sun 30-Dec-12 18:31:59

expat I know the local schools in our area (including school B) definitely don't do nativity plays but do teach RE. They do alternative angel or snowman type concerts.

Thanks again, all your advice has really helped smile

admission Sun 30-Dec-12 22:57:17

I would have another look at the admission criteria for the school. Practically every catholic school I know of has in their admission criteria some priority for being baptised and a regular church attender. If the admission criteria does not include any faith priority then I am not sure what the school is asking for a supplementary form for. So please check very carefully before making any changes.
An admission number of 90 is also quite high. So whilst it may give some comfort that you might get a place (and distance criteria will obviously be in your favour if you live across the road) is this a primary school or is it an infant school? If it is an infant then you need to check out what the junior school admission criteria says and whether you will meet that criteria.

BambinoBoo Mon 31-Dec-12 08:31:10

OP. My DS starts school in 2013 so we have been researching too. I would say, definitely read the admissions criteria. All RC schools have them and IME they are very different as they are set by the Governers and the Church so can differ from Parish to Parish. In our case, our first preference for DS will be RC; he isnt baptised RC yet, but I am so we are No3 in the admissions criteria "child of baptised parent living in Parish" (and I need to submit a copy of my baptismal cert with the supplementary form). This is well above "Catholics living outside of the parish" and non Catholics/ children of other faiths. My point is, not all schools automatically take a child because they are Catholic.

MarthasHarbour Mon 31-Dec-12 10:09:37

admission bambino you are both right that the form asks for date of baptism and place of worship. We would be no 7 on the criteria ie non catholic parents wanting a catholic education for their child. The form does not require a signature though. We just thought we may give it a go.

We have decided to go with the state school instead.

Thanks again smile

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