campaign for fairer admissions to faith based primary schools - your views...

(305 Posts)
hopingforbest Thu 06-Jun-13 22:29:22

... on this http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-22798206?

Farewelltoarms Thu 06-Jun-13 22:37:29

I completely agree, it's a shocker. If you look at FSM figures for popular/oversubscribed faith schools, they are a tiny proportion of those of community schools. Eg most secondaries in Hammersmith have between 40 and 60% FSM. The oratory and Sacred Heart - under 10%. It's indefensible.
However, as a concession I'd be open to 50% faith places and 50% open places as they have in some faith schools. I'd prefer no faith places, but I'm generous like that...

Farewelltoarms Thu 06-Jun-13 22:39:42

BTW I'd move this to education as I think the polarity is worse in secondary schools.

So you want no faith places in a faith school confused

sanam2010 Thu 06-Jun-13 22:48:41

Totally agree with this campaign! I have to fund all these church schools with my income tax and then I can't send my children there. It's extremely discriminatory and, to be honest, racist. In many London boroughs this system just separates white Christian children from other immigrant communities.

But as another poster I'd be okay with 50/50 faith and open places. It's about time they changed the system.

prh47bridge Fri 07-Jun-13 00:57:22

There are many Christian children in immigrant communities.

There is nothing stopping you from sending your children to these schools. You don't have to be a believer. You simply have to meet the church attendance requirement. You don't even have to take part in the service. You can sit there and read the Sunday paper if you like. It still counts.

You do not fully fund these schools although you do provide the majority of the funding. The proportion of funding they have to supply has gone down over the years but they still have to fund at least 10% of any capital costs and insure the buildings.

The land and buildings for these schools belongs to the church (indirectly). If faith schools were not allowed to give any priority to children of the faith they could, in my view, legitimately ask why the government is not fully funding them and why the government isn't buying the land and buildings.

prh47bridge Fri 07-Jun-13 01:02:25

Oh, and even if you don't meet the church attendance requirement you aren't necessarily barred from the school. If there are still places left after all those meeting the faith criteria have been admitted they will be offered to other applicants. The reason many faith schools never get that far is that so many people who are non-believers attend church just to get their child in.

I should also add that not all faith schools are Christian. The majority are CofE or Catholic but there are also Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh faith schools.

Parietal Fri 07-Jun-13 01:05:37

Strongly agree admissions should not be based on faith. Could have some %, say 30%, faith based but not over 50%. If church contributes 10% of money, church can have a say in 10% of places.

ijustwant8hours Fri 07-Jun-13 08:15:33

The conclusion I came to was that, imperfect as it is, as a practical matter for a low income parent like me it was possible to meet the church attendence requirement - but I wouldn't have been able to move house near the school. There isn't an easy totally fair answer I don't think.

sanam2010 Fri 07-Jun-13 09:09:00

Prh47bridge, I don't know where you live but faith schools in my London borough do not only have an attendance requirement but also want to see baptism certificates. And they are all Catholic or Church of England. Even if I am protestant from another European country, I will come behind any CofE England applicant so it is impossible to get into a good faith school (of course on get get into horrible faith schools).

A friend of mine started attending Mass to get her children into Catholic school and the first thing the priest did was to write a letter to all parents asking them to appeal to their MP to block gay marriage. This is the reality.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Fri 07-Jun-13 09:29:28

We should be getting rid of the whole lot of them,we are a multi faith society and given that I am a tax payer I should be able to send my dc to any school I choose.

notcitrus Fri 07-Jun-13 09:39:22

Great idea. I agree though that the fact that churches still own the land and provide significant funding (a new building will be about £10M. So £1 million quid to come from the church) will be a problem. Possibly start by encouraging all church schools to prioritise children who have attended any church, not just St Leafy's in the posh area of town that isn't welcoming to many - which would at least improve the social mix slightly, if only to parents who are organised enough to attend a church fortnightly for two years before applying for their child's place.

And once they realise the sky hasn't fallen in, encourage them to introduce some places open to all, so they better represent their local community.

I believe the few schools of other religions are rarely oversubscribed, but same would apply. Someone pointed out the other day that Jewish schools have practical benefits for pupils being able to provide kosher cooked food and ensure the school day ends so pupils can get home by bus etc before sunset in winter, but there's no reason other schools couldn't support packed lunches or buy in boxed meals, and tweak their Friday timetable, if necessary.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Fri 07-Jun-13 09:49:37

There is no place for faith schools in British society and there shouldn't be a single penny of tax payers money spent on them.

If you want a faith school you fund it.

The nearest 2 schools to us are CofE yet hardly any of the local kids are religious sooooo we have to tolerate a religion we don't believe in if we want our kids to attend their local community school oh and fund it!

We should be encouraging all faiths to mix,segregating children in the basis of religion is wrong.

But why do you want your child to attend a faith school?

Blueskiesandbuttercups Fri 07-Jun-13 09:54:02

Because I want my kids to go to their local school which is in their community and town with the children they have grown up with from birth.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Fri 07-Jun-13 09:55:34

I positively don't want my kids going to a faith school but we have no choice.

Community is far more important to me than any faith.

I didn't realise CofE schools did this. Thought it was just them Catholics. I got my DD into a local school with no questions asked.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Fri 07-Jun-13 09:58:01

Oh and our school is not that great( satisfactory), it's a myth that a church school automatically = an Outstanding school.

Far too much time spent on religion and not enough on the basics but if you want your kids on grow up as part if a community you have to tolerate it- it's so wrong!

Blueskiesandbuttercups Fri 07-Jun-13 09:59:37

Ours takes anybody but my point is this campaign needs to acknowledge how wrong faith schools are.It's not just admissions in some that is wrong but the whole concept.

Desiren Fri 07-Jun-13 10:30:02

I think faiths schools have a place and my children have all attended faith schools I do not attend church but my oldest DD's father attended church not CofE and she was still accepted it was over subscribed but it. Criteria is more about involvement then attendance

prh47bridge Fri 07-Jun-13 10:35:01

For posters who are not aware of this, some faith schools already limit the number of places awarded on faith criteria. New faith schools cannot award more than 50% of places on faith criteria.

sanam2010 - A requirement for baptism certificates is not unusual in RC schools but it is very unusual in CofE schools. I don't remember seeing such a requirement even in London. And the fact the priest writes to you asking you to appeal to MPs about something the church is against is not surprising nor is there any requirement for you to take any notice. See also my reply to notcitrus below regarding your comment about protestants from other European countries.

notcitrus - Through assisting people with appeals I get to see the admission criteria for a lot of schools from all over England. From what I have seen I believe that most CofE schools give priority to anyone attending any church that is part of Churches Together - that covers pretty much all Christian churches in England. Quite a few, possibly most, CofE schools give such families equal priority with families attending CofE churches. Families attending non-CofE churches and living within the parish often have priority over families attending CofE churches but living outside the parish. It is unusual to specify one particular CofE church as the only one that gives priority. Some CofE schools also give priority to children of other faiths. Again, a family living within the school's parish and worshipping in a non-Christian faith may take priority over CofE children living outside the parish.

prh47bridge Fri 07-Jun-13 10:40:19

Just for clarity, a faith school cannot simply refuse to admit children who are not of the faith. They can use faith-based criteria to give priority but if there are insufficient children meeting the faith-based criteria they must admit children who don't meet those criteria. That is the law.

PostBellumBugsy Fri 07-Jun-13 10:50:03

I do not think the state should fund faith schools. All state schools should be non-denominational. The state is there to provide a fair framework of education for all children & should not favour those of any particular faith.

If parents want their children to have faith based education, then they can set up after school clubs, saturday clubs or summer camps.

titchy Fri 07-Jun-13 11:02:41

Please don't use the 'my taxes pay for this and I can't access it' argument - it totally undermines what you are trying to say. You don't get o pick and choose what your taxes pay, other than very notionally when you vote. I can't access elderly case support but don't moan about my taxes paying for them.

What we should IMO be arguing is for the UK to be a secular state. It is not, and damn well should be. Turkey and the USA, constitutionally at least, are secular and if they can manage that so can we!

PostBellumBugsy Fri 07-Jun-13 11:10:02

titchy, there is some point to that argument about tax though. We pay taxes to have all children educated & some children are denied access to their nearest school because they are the wrong faith or not of any faith. It is not based on income or means testing or anything like that - just pure religious discrimination. I don't use the NHS very much, because I enjoy good health, but at least I know that when I do need to use it, I can go to my local GP, local hospital and they won't turn me away because I'm not CofE!

Completely agree with your argument on secular state though.

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