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So we did not get DS1 into any of the Catholic Boys Secondaries, and the reason was the baptism criteria. This will also be the case for ds2

(168 Posts)

The schools did not take into account our explanations for not baptizing ds1 within the first 6 months. (Which was my dads stroke and helping mum coping and getting dad on his road to recovery was more important to me than a baptism at the time - we organized a blessing for ds1, one which is used for a child that will be baptized, so a stop gap thing sort of)

We are ok for schools for now, as ds1 has accepted an offer to an independent.

But what about ds2?

No matter how often we go to Church, and observe holy days of Obligation, he was also not baptized until it was convenient to get the family together, while visiting my home town. It will mean that there is no point even trying, as this is so important.

And do I even want to send my precious children to schools that have no empathy for people who struggle? I seriously thought we had heaps of compassionate grounds, and our priest said so in his reference, that there were compassionate reasons to accept our son. But no.

Maybe this thread should be in Aibu or Religion / Philosopy but it has made me really question our options and life choices, and whether spending 30 k a year for education for both boys is going to be worth it.

prh47bridge Tue 19-Mar-13 20:38:20

CVMS may be a law unto themselves but the appeal panel must be independent and must decide the case on its merits. If they decide that the school's failure to exercise its discretion over the late baptism is unreasonable and tell CVMS to admit the school has no choice but to comply. If the appeal panel isn't properly independent either the LGO or, if they take no notice of them, judicial review can be used to put things right.

MothershipG Tue 19-Mar-13 21:27:59

Judicial review it is then - trouble is would you want your son to go to a school you'd had that much of a fight with?

Bottom line, they have decided to include baptism pre-six months as part of their entry requirement and they are sticking to this, including it trumping sibs. As I mentioned up thread my neighbour took this mess as far as the Ombudsman and got no where. They also change the entry requirements on a regular basis, just to confuse matters even more.

seeker Tue 19-Mar-13 21:43:10

"Schools like the Oratory, CVMS and Tiffins have such fantastic results that they leave ordinary good comprehensives looking rather lack lustre"

But that's only because they only have fantastic results kids!!!!!!

Haberdashery Tue 19-Mar-13 21:58:56

I think you're being a bit disingenuous to say you didn't expect people to discuss the place you have been offered when you say things like 'I cannot send him to a school which is well known for bullying, and where kids are assaulted on the bus stop', don't you?!

I don't know about other Catholic schools, but I do know that St RR will prioritise Catholics above non-Catholic siblings of children already attending the school so I imagine that others will be similar? In that case, it doesn't much seem worth winning the fight as your second son won't get in anyway on the basis that he doesn't fulfil the Catholic baptism criterion. So you'd have to have the fight again only without the mitigating factor of your family illness to bring into it. Since your second son is unlikely to get in on sibling policy and you think he might not get into an independent, you either need to think about state options for him or tutor him intensively to make sure he gets into an independent (but that might not work).

I think what this thread (and and you all) are helping me realize is that those schools are just not for us.

1. Not sure I want my children in such rigid atmospheres
2. Even though baptism was mentioned in the rejection I am sure they would be able to come up with more reasons:
a) distance to school
b) no siblings or past siblings on roll
c) no flower arranging wink
d) no taking part in reading and liturgy
d) traveled so much that we have not really managed to have any three consequtive years in one parish, etc.

In no particular order.

So, we wont appeal, but will stay on the waiting lists and see!

GuinevereOfTheRoyalCourt Tue 19-Mar-13 22:10:49

seeker - quite!

And ditto the SW London private schools. They're also stuffed full of those kids of ambitious parents.

It can be very hard to be positive about the comps when all your friends are sending their children to these fabulous faith schools/grammars/independents, though. Most children at my dc's school go to the local comp and are delighted with it, but at the local Catholic school the parents scramble for anything but!

seeker Tue 19-Mar-13 22:14:20

It's wierd- it's one of those moments when I think I must be living in an alternative universe. School A is selective and gets fantastic results- well, no shit Sherlock! School B isn't selective and gets less good results- ditto. Why is that so hard for people to understand?

Millais Tue 19-Mar-13 22:19:16

Useful to look at Value Added though in tandem with results.

seeker Tue 19-Mar-13 22:21:57

Selective schools often have not brilliant value added.

SizzleSazz Tue 19-Mar-13 22:33:30

We used to stuff Tiffins at netball grin <local comp>

singersgirl Tue 19-Mar-13 22:36:37

Yes, the reason these schools appear to be so good is not necessarily because the teaching is any better - but because the raw material is more academically inclined. Some of them may genuinely have better teaching, but you need to look in detail at the value add/progress to see whether they really are doing a better job with the children they take in.

It's a virtuous circle: faith schools select children, selected children get good results, school has reputation for being good, people try even harder to get their children selected, school becomes even more selective...

I also recognise the school your son was offered from what you have said on other threads (which, like other posters, I notice, as I know children at most of the schools you mention) and I don't think your perception of it would chime with most parents' perception. But I accept that this thread is not about your reasons for not wanting that school.

teacherwith2kids Tue 19-Mar-13 22:37:30

To be fair, though, seeker (and as you know I am often with you on these threads), selective schools' value add is affected by ceiling effects (both positively and negatively) and thus is quite hard to compare with that of other schools..

As my DS said the other day (apropos of our localish super super selective, and how he could get the same results as someone there: 'Well, they take GCSEs and I will take GCSEs. The best they can get is an A*, and the best I can get is an A*." It isn't possible to tell from the stats whether the selective school child with an A* got 100% and could have walzed it 2 years early - which is what I mean by ceiling effects.

On the other hand, until recently virtually all superselective entrants will have been reported as L5s, despite the majority probably being higher, so the schools appear to add value whereas in fact it is simply that the levels on entry were under-estimated ...again adding to the unreliability of the results.

prh47bridge Tue 19-Mar-13 23:11:47

PureQuintessence - For clarity, the school cannot use those reasons at appeal.

If the appeal panel decide the governors were wrong to reject your reasons for your son's late baptism they will have to decide if he would have been admitted had he been treated as baptised. This decision will be made using the school's published admission criteria. The school will not be allowed to come up with alternative reasons to refuse admission. If your would have been admitted the appeal panel must decide the appeal in your favour and the school must admit your son.

On the other hand, if the panel decide the governors were right they will then have to consider whether the prejudice to your son through not being admitted outweighs the prejudice to the school through having an additional pupil. Any reasons the school might invent for refusing to admit your son will play no part in this decision. They are completely irrelevant. Again, if the appeal panel come down in your favour the school must admit your son.

If you do appeal the school's case will be that the admission arrangements have been administered correctly in accordance with their admission criteria and your son was rejected as he was not in a high enough category. They will go on to argue that admitting him will cause problems. I would expect them to include stuff about crowding in the corridors, not enough computer equipment and the like. They will not start to invent additional reasons for rejecting your son and they certainly won't include reasons that are not in their admission criteria. If a school behaved like that the appeal panel would be against them from the start.

And although I mentioned judicial review it is highly unlikely you would have to go there. A small number of VA schools refuse to accept rulings by the LGO. According to the statistics I have available CVMS is not one of them.

AryaUnderfoot Wed 20-Mar-13 08:10:20

It's a virtuous circle: faith schools select children, selected children get good results, school has reputation for being good, people try even harder to get their children selected, school becomes even more selective...

Couldn't agree more. I have spent some time teaching in such a school (as well as several others) and this is definitely the case. In addition, such 'good' schools are able to attract better teachers whereas a 'poor' school in certain parts of the country may have precisely zero applicants for teaching jobs in maths or physics.

Unfortunately, this culture can breed a sense of 'entitlement' in both pupils and parents which can ultimately damage the pupils' development. The schools are treated like private schools - we have prayed/paid for this don't you know - and as if they have the resources of a top private school when, in fact, they are still state (under)funded.

High levels of teacher input, parental over-involvement and exam preparation spoon-feeding can create sixth formers with very few independent study skills. The best sixth form group I ever taught was at the local sink comp. The worst was at the highly oversubscribed faith school.

not all faith schools select children. In fact dds is far more ethnically diverse than the local comps. No academic selection at all goes into it but it is a top performing school (high discipline, strong work ethic and perhaps parents do self selection because of that?)

Copthallresident Wed 20-Mar-13 15:28:06

Kitten No academic selection at all goes into it but it is a top performing school (high discipline, strong work ethic and perhaps parents do self selection because of that?) If you read the thread it is not about faith schools selecting academically, it is about the criteria they use to select on faith unintentionally discriminating socially and culturally, because some children do not have parents who had the knowledge and resources to meet them. Op for instance, delayed baptism, though the child was blessed, for reasons of family illness. For some other cultures early baptism is not the norm. Some parents facing the demands of deprivation simply do not have the time to attend.

Your post rather makes the point that faith schools do select....... and as I and other posters feel, that is contrary to a Christian ethos.

<stepping out of thread as feeling way oversensitive today>

<pats kitten on head>

there there. Easy to be sensitive. wink

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