Why do all the decent secondary schools in my area have to be bloody religious schools?

(153 Posts)
StaceeJaxx Sun 07-Oct-12 12:24:51


DD1 is in year 5 and we're starting to look at secondary schools. She's ASD and has an IEP and is on school action plus, so we're even more aware that the school she goes to has to be the right one.

DH and I aren't in the slightest bit religious at all. I was brought up Catholic but I'm now an atheist. We've brought the dds up to just make their own judgement on God. When dd1 started primary school I was adamant that I wasn't going to start going to church just so she could get into a decent primary. Thankfully the school she goes to doesn't require church attendance.

Now we're looking at secondary schools and all the good ones are religious schools! The rest are complete sink schools that I wouldn't send my worst enemy too. So we're going to have to start going to church every Sunday if we want her to have a decent secondary education. Goes against all my principles, and pisses me off so much, but don't know what else I can do?

Rant over. blush

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 16:04:13

say thankyou to that nice Mr Tony Bliar - it was his idea to bring in parental choice but freedom for god bothering schools.
Cameroon is too much of a coward to tell Michael no evidence Gove to change it.

ExitPursuedByAaaaaarGhoul Sun 07-Oct-12 16:06:22

Maybe the answer is in the question.

deleted203 Sun 07-Oct-12 16:11:28

Agree with Exit I'm afraid. Religious schools tend to have a strong moral ethos attached to them and insist upon certain standards of behaviour. They generally attract parents who have the same expectations, and therefore don't end up with a lot of feral kids from sink estates whose parents couldn't give a shit about behaviour, or can't cope with parenting their children.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 16:11:50

religious schools have been able to surepticiously economically select for many, many years.
Its nowt to do with god and all to do with Mammon
our local catholic schools re chock full of sikhs and pagans ....

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Sun 07-Oct-12 16:13:07

it's not about economic selection, so much as it is selecting parents bothered enough about their education to jump through religious hoops.

ExitPursuedByAaaaaarGhoul Sun 07-Oct-12 16:14:34

You don't have to be afraid that you agree with me sowornout grin

LeeCoakley Sun 07-Oct-12 16:22:36

Where will all her current school friends be going?

Are you talking about Catholic secondary schools? Can you suddenly get religious to get into a Catholic secondary? I thought you had to get your children baptised not long after conception to stand a chance of getting into one of these cult madhouses.

Takver Sun 07-Oct-12 16:26:31

I don't think it is anything to do with the religion at all - its simply that they've become the default option for the middle classes, so have lots of children with motivated involved parents.

Where we live the Welsh medium schools are pretty much directly equivalent - they pick up the majority of the concerned-about-education families and therefore get much better results, are excellent for discipline etc - and I've yet to hear that speaking Welsh conveys any moral worthiness on families ;-)

3littlefrogs Sun 07-Oct-12 16:32:04

How do you get into a catholic school if you are sikh or a pagan? (genuinely baffled)

ExitPursuedByAaaaaarGhoul Sun 07-Oct-12 16:38:18

I think they have to take a percentage of other faiths and I am sure that sikhs could show religious intentions. Not sure about pagans though hmm.

StaceeJaxx Sun 07-Oct-12 16:39:39

Actually the 2 schools that I want her to go (either 1, both are good) are CofE schools. The local Catholic secondary is still nicknamed "mothercare". hmm I used to go there, it's gone downhill a lot in the last 20 years.

I'm going to suck it up and start going to choice because I have no other choice really. It just pisses me off that I have to pretend to believe in God so my daughter can have a good education, and it makes me believe like a massive hypocrite!

StaceeJaxx Sun 07-Oct-12 16:40:08

church not choice

LeeCoakley Sun 07-Oct-12 16:41:22

Ours only take other faiths if they can't fill up the places with their own faith. And then, if they are really unlucky, they have to take the non-churchgoers.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 16:42:08

Easy : not many catholics - they would have to fire teachers if they did not fill the place - so they exclude atheists but let anybody else in
Sikhs round here prefer mixed schools for secondary - even though the catholic primary is full of turbans ....

LeeCoakley Sun 07-Oct-12 16:43:00

You have two CofE secondaries? That's rare. Are you from a particularly religious part of the country?

StaceeJaxx Sun 07-Oct-12 16:45:15

Jesus! Feel like a massive hypocrite not believe! hmm

3littlefrogs Sun 07-Oct-12 16:45:34

That is interesting. The catholic schools around here won't admit anyone who is catholic without a letter from their priest confirming that they have attended mass regularly for years. The Jewish schools are equally strict. There was a case recently where the father was Jewish and the mother wasn't, and the child was refused a place.

Anyway - sorry. This is a bit of a hijack and not relevant to the op.

StaceeJaxx Sun 07-Oct-12 16:46:31

Lee, I'm in Liverpool, not particularly religious, no.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 16:51:12

the whole religious schools shenanegins is ANOTHER London Anomaly
out here in the sticks we snigger at the hoops you all put yourselves through

Liverpool and Glasgow are unusual as they are VERY divided cities - as evidenced by their football teams ....

prh47bridge Sun 07-Oct-12 17:42:12

Faith schools do not have to reserve a percentage of places for other faiths but some do. Some give priority to children of their own faith first, then children of other faiths then everyone else. They cannot refuse to admit children who are not of the faith. If there are still places left after all the faith categories then they must be offered to children in non-faith categories.

Determining whether or not a child's parents are of the faith must be done objectively. Schools are not allowed to interview parents to determine how CofE/Catholic/Jewish/whatever they are. They therefore have to rely on proxies such as regular attendance at worship. This does, of course, lead to people playing the system by attending church purely to get a place for their child.

Faith schools may not select on economic grounds, either surreptitiously or openly. Schools have been hauled over the coals for attempting to do so.

CecilyP Sun 07-Oct-12 18:15:54

Religious schools existed long before Tony Blair or Michael Gove, TalkinPeace2, and it was generally religious parents who chose them or who had priority for them.

it's not about economic selection, so much as it is selecting parents bothered enough about their education to jump through religious hoops.

Totally agree and, while people of all social backgrounds may be churchgoers, for a self-admitted atheist to attend church to get the desired school, shows exceptional commitment to their child's education.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 18:18:46

Name me the fully state funded non catholic schools that existed before Bliar got his claws in ....

NB My kids went to a church primary - because that is what the schools generally are away from London

CecilyP Sun 07-Oct-12 18:23:09

Sorry, not sure what you are asking, TalkinPeace2.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 20:47:59

Religious schools existed long before Tony Blair or Michael Gove
state funded religiously selective schools increased MASSIVELY under Bliar and Broon and Cameroon have carried it - very divisive

before Bliar there were Catholic schools but that was about it, not like all of the minority evangelical stuff there is now

prh47bridge Sun 07-Oct-12 20:57:07

TalkinPeace2 - There are no fully state funded Catholic schools and never have been. All Catholic schools are Voluntary Aided schools and have to find 10% of the funding for any capital works (new buildings, etc.). However, there were plenty of Catholic schools that had all their running costs met by the state before Blair. As for fully state funded non Catholic schools (which is what you asked) they obviously existed in huge numbers!

VA schools have been around since 1944. Originally VA schools had to fund 50% of all capital works with all other costs being met by the state. The school's contribution to capital works was reduced to 25% in 1959 and has since been reduced to 10%. Running costs have been met in full by the state throughout.

Voluntary Controlled schools have also been around since 1944. All costs for these schools are met by the state. These are also faith schools but have less freedom than VA schools.

All Catholic schools are VA as are schools of non-Christian faiths. CofE schools are split between VA and VC status.

Nor is it true that schools away from London are generally church schools. I live several hundred miles from London. The primary schools where I live are evenly split - around half are church schools, the other half are community schools. Nationally around 22% of primary schools are VA and 15% are VC.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 21:08:18

but prh as you know better than many, the recent proliferation of state funded religious schools for minority religions and non established Christian groups dates back to Bliar and not before.
And sadly this is resulting in reduced social mobility and options because if a previously secular comp turns into a religious sponsored academy, parents have no real choices
free schools are allowed to have a religious ethos while getting state funding ...

CecilyP Sun 07-Oct-12 21:16:27

I don't know about increased massively. There has been some increase in schools of minority religions. But many areas have, and have always had CofE schools. There have also been a small number of Jewish secondaries. The area I grew up has recently opened a new CofE Secondary, but then it lost one in about 1990.

I will grant that that religious selectivity has increased - having to prove your faith to get into oversubscribed schools, but the previous government did go some way in curtailing the worst excesses.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 21:18:44

in my town four comps closed to be replaced with two happy clappy academies
they are non selective intake
BUT you have to accept their ethos
and the academy chains are getting bigger by the day ....

prh47bridge Sun 07-Oct-12 21:25:44

It is not the case that state funded religiously selective schools increased massively under Blair and Bown.

It is true that Blair introduced the ability for faith schools to become academies. There are 8 sponsored Catholic academies and 122 converter academies. And I admit to forgetting about these in my last answer in that they may be able to get full capital funding from the state. Of course, most years a school will have no capital spending at all.

Prior to Blair all faith schools were either Christian or Jewish. This has been expanded to include other faiths. However, the number of schools of other faiths remains vanishingly small.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 21:33:25

Oasis have 19 academies
United Church Learning Trust have 20 academies
Emmanuel Schools Foundation has 4 academies

those are all schools that previously were NOT specifically religious

deleted203 Sun 07-Oct-12 21:56:03

Actually, we have a local CofE secondary school which has certainly been in existence since at least the 1950s looking at the photos hanging in school corridors. So long before Blair. And it's a state school, always has been.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 22:00:03

LEA CofE schools are indeed long standing
but the academy chains are a new thing that is growing FAST

ExitPursuedByAaaaaarGhoul Sun 07-Oct-12 22:31:17

I would have thought Liverpool was a pretty religious place, compared to others.

What chains for the academies?

prh47bridge Sun 07-Oct-12 23:34:25

Oasis, United Learning Trust (NOT United Church Learning Trust) and Emmanuel Schools are NOT designated as faith schools and do not give priority for admissions based on faith. They all have a Christian ethos but, as they are not designated as faith schools, there are limits to what they can do.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 08-Oct-12 12:25:44

they may not be designated as faith schools but by golly they look like it once in the door - DH is working at one well away from here soon ... will have more info then.

rosabud Mon 08-Oct-12 23:45:46

Just wanted to point out that you don't have to pretend to believe in God to get into these schools. You only have to attend church which is not the same thing. It's very irritating for church-goers/ Christians who suddenly find themsleves in the midst of a congregation full of people who are there in body but don't seem actually bothered abut worshipping. Ironically, it may become a bit like being a pupil who genuinely wants to learn but is attending a sink school full of pupils who are disruptive and are there in body but not in spirit.

BabsJansen Mon 08-Oct-12 23:48:54

As your dd has an IEP and diagnosis doesn't that enable you to be higher on the entry criteria regardless of your faith?

Himalaya Tue 09-Oct-12 00:01:01

Read the school entry criteria - you may get priority for SEN . I don't know if it's easier to get a Statement than to get religion though, but maybe a Dr's diagnosis will do.

prh47bridge Tue 09-Oct-12 10:18:11

A statement naming the school always guarantees admission. Having needs that fall short of a statement may get you higher priority but some faith schools put non-faith children with special medical needs ahead of other non-faith children but behind all faith categories.

StaceeJaxx Tue 09-Oct-12 20:40:49

Actually on the admissions is does say a child with a statement where the school is named in the statement is guaranteed a place. I'm just wondering if we could try and get her a statement? Thanks for pointing that out. thanks I'll have word with the SENCO.

assumpta Thu 11-Oct-12 17:42:41

So what is your dds own judgement on God?

WynkenBlynkenandNod Thu 11-Oct-12 18:37:56

We're in the situation where our catchment school is a CE VA one and generally all the children at the first schools go there, good SATs etc. I don't want DS to go, we're not religious and his sister went through it and had a nightmare which I don't want to go through again. I want him to go to our nearest non church school which is a couple of miles away but we're not in catchment and aren't likely to get in.

donnie Thu 11-Oct-12 18:40:23

try not to be so insulting in the thread title please; it isn' t too difficult you know.
I agree with exit and sowornout.If you hate religion that much please don't turn into a monumental hypocrite and steal a school place from someone who would appreciate it and does have faith.

Himalaya Thu 11-Oct-12 18:55:31

Donnie - imagine how insulting it feels to read the list of priority criteria for your local state school which basically amounts to 'your kind is not welcome here'.

StaceeJaxx Thu 11-Oct-12 18:56:43

assumpta dd1 believes in god. We've never told either of them not too, they learn about god and different religions in school. We tell them that different people believe different things, that we don't believe in god but if they believe then that's fine. I want them to make up their own minds and not have it rammed down their throats (like I did) but it looks like I might not have a choice in that now. hmm

donnie I apologise if you find my thread title insulting, although I'm not sure which part is insulting. confused I don't really want to turn into a "monumental hypocrite" but I'm not really sure what else I'm supposed to do? Why should my child suffer a crappy education because we're not religious? She already struggles so much academically, (she had the reading level of a 6-7 year old at almost 10). I'm not about to let her just fail completely in some sink school when she goes to secondary.

donnie Thu 11-Oct-12 19:00:26

don't be so ridiculous Himalaya. I would never dream of applying to a Muslim or a Jewish school because my dds are Christians, not Muslims or Jews. Do you actually think for one millisecond that any of us feel insulted by that? don't be so disingenuous.

Why would anyone slagging off religious schools want to go to them? Why all the hypocrisy and lying, pretending to be of faith whilst simultaneously whining about 'bloody religious schools'?

Do tell. Are you insulted by all religious schools? or just the Christian ones?

TalkinPeace2 Thu 11-Oct-12 19:02:44

Personally I am offended by ALL religious state funded schools - both those that have religious selection, and those that hand every new child a bible no matter their background.

It is a great shame that in cities with shortages of places parents have to lie to get their kids in - and children have to learn about hypocricy in year R

donnie Thu 11-Oct-12 19:04:59

nobody 'has to lie'. People make a conscious choice to lie and be hypocrites. Don't muddy the waters.

StaceeJaxx Thu 11-Oct-12 19:06:21

Donnie I'm not slagging off religious schools. confused I'm moaning because all the good schools in my area are religious schools, all the non religious ones are shite. That's what I'm moaning about. I don't have a problem with religious schools, I do have a problem with them being the only decent ones about!

TalkinPeace2 Thu 11-Oct-12 19:07:56

in parts on London children have the choice of lying or a 50 minute journey to a sink school.
That does not seem much of a "choice" to me.

Whereas if all schools had equal entrance criteria there would not be the religious segregation and lack of social mobility that are creeping across the land.

StaceeJaxx Thu 11-Oct-12 19:09:34

Exactly TalkinPeace2, well said!

donnie Thu 11-Oct-12 19:10:46

ok then Stacee I accept you are not slagging them off per se. If you reread your thread title though, you might perceive its rather pejorative tenor.

Anyway whatever people think, religious schools are not in any danger of disappearing in the next few years and I as a parent who actively brings her children up with a faith, am glad and relieved.

Himalaya Thu 11-Oct-12 19:11:41

Yes i am insulted (if that is the right word) by state services discriminating on the basis of religion.

Some people want to go to religious schools because it is their local school, some because it has a particular academic speciality or they like the school or because they think it would be the best place for their child's SEN.

Personally I wouldn't. But I think it is shocking that state services are allowed to discriminate this way. Many of our hospitals were historically religious foundations, but I would be insulted (wouldn't you?) if they started sending Muslims, atheists and the non church attenders to the end of the line. I dont see why it is acceptable in the education sector but unacceptable in healthcare.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 11-Oct-12 20:02:28

You are very welcome to bring your children up in any faith you like.
But for six hours a day, five days a week, thirty days a year, all children should be equal.
If parents want a religious education, they are welcome to go and pay for it.
But all selective schools exclude and deny opportunity to the deserving.

AngelEyes46 Thu 11-Oct-12 22:43:24

I am assuming that those that don't agree with faith schools also don't agree with selective schools on ability or independent?!

TalkinPeace2 Thu 11-Oct-12 22:47:36

indeed I am utterly against academic selection in taxpayer funded schools.

The independent sector is for the teeny part of the country who can afford it - and is often a reaction to the insanity in state school admission systems.

homework Thu 11-Oct-12 22:55:42

Hi just wondered what area of Liverpool your talking about . When I looked around school a couple of years back , my child also has some sen needs . We found that a lot of school that people say are poor have actually turned themselves around . Please look at a lot of different school , go with an open mind and speak to the senco to see what they offer in support for your child . Sometimes the school may have improved a lot but seem to keep a bad rep just because of where they are situated and there's nothing they can do about that . I personally also think we lucky in Liverpool that so many of our school got rebuilt before the program stopped . Remember you can look over boarders , I live in one brough and my child goes to secondary school in another .

homework Thu 11-Oct-12 23:07:32

If you don't want to say openly you can pm me and I tell you about the schools we look at and there was ten of them . All different faiths , we where looking for best deal sen wise. Which was more important to us than faith. We a very mixed faith family .

Shagmundfreud Fri 12-Oct-12 00:20:18

Angel - schools that select on the basis of ability are equally accessible to clever children from all faiths.

And I think you'll find it's the CHILDREN'S intellect they're interested in, not the parents'.

Faith schools on the other hand base their selection on the parent's faith, not the child's.

It would be fairer if they ignored the parents church going and instead focused on how religious the child is.

ICantStandLosing Fri 12-Oct-12 01:03:06

It might be too late to start attending church. Where I live you have to have at least 2 years' attendance when you apply, ie you have to start attending at the start of year4.

BooksandBrunch Fri 12-Oct-12 09:25:49

@Talkin2peace - Must admit, I'm a bit confused by what your saying also. My siblings are aged 55, 53, 50 and 48 and all attended separate catholic schools. They've been around for donkey years. Where I lived in SE London there were tons of church schools for many years of all denominations. Where specifically has there been this massive increase?

Are you more referring to the fact that his kids, along with many other politicians kids, attended a highly sought after catholic school and therefore raised the profile of them? Just stabbing at a guess.

BooksandBrunch Fri 12-Oct-12 09:46:35

LOL...Ignore my post. Just realised there was a next page and you went into greater detail theresmile

DialMforMummy Fri 12-Oct-12 09:51:48

I agree that discrimination on the basis of religion is incomprehensible.
They don't discriminate the tax payer's money that goes into their budget though, do they? The fact that people feel that they have to cheat the system by going to church when they don't believe makes me very angry. I am not angry at the people, but more at the system itself.
I don't feel quite the same way about selective education although I feel that an entrance test that could not be tutored for would bring more equality.

CelticPromise Fri 12-Oct-12 10:04:54

I'm Catholic and DS is baptised and will be going to the local Catholic primary, which is our nearest school, if he gets in. Despite this I'm against religious schools altogether- yes it's handy for me that he will be taught about RC faith at school but it is open to me to do it myself! All children should go to their nearest school, possibly subject to a bit of balancing to ensure a social/academic mix. I'm choosing the best option for DS within the current system, but I think the system is stupid. So I'm with you OP, it's a crazy situation, and there should not be any sink schools full stop.

homework Fri 12-Oct-12 10:30:25

My question is why do people say a school is a sink school if they never stepped in the building . School change many work very hard for there pupils . Not every school has a good rep and these school do tend to take a lot of children from poorer areas . That's like saying just because you don't have the money to live in a nice area of the city your a horrible person . Everyone wants the best for there children on the main . There's good and bad everywhere , you may find that a so called sink school would help , support and be more compassionate to your daughters needs than some of the high flying schools in Liverpool. This isn't London most parents about 95 % get there first choice here and nearly everyone gets one of there three choices . Only when you put down three school you have got no chance of getting into does it cause a problem . Also there are I sink schools in all faiths in people's eyes , mostly on previous reps or where school are situated in the city. My response is look round the schools .

DialMforMummy Fri 12-Oct-12 11:10:51

A sink school IMO is: poor exam results, poor reputation, poor behaviour of children, high turnover of staff, poor Ofsted report.
Most of it you can judge (not always reliably, granted) without stepping in the school.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 12-Oct-12 13:22:45

:-) Books and Brunch

homework Sink schools - the figures speak volumes when you are used to reading such things, and driving past the door at kicking out time tells you even more.
AND schools that are selective by religion should be stopped (and sorry but that includes the Catholic schools unless they want to go fee paying)
AND Academies that are run on Evangelical Christian Lines - even though they do not select - should be forced to publicly admit that they are not inclusive.

I do NOT advocate the banning of RE in schools (as is done in the USA)
as I utterly believe that compulsory RE lessons are the BEST way to encourage atheism.
BUT that every school should have to teach about all religion and belief systems as equal fairy stories.

If you want other than that for your kid, do it in the other hours of the day, or pay.

homework Fri 12-Oct-12 15:58:51

Every school has some children whose behaviour you could call in question at kicking out time , even the best schools in the area . That isn't just sink school . Most school have worked hard at improving there results in Liverpool . There are very few schools here who haven't improved over time and in the whole city can only think of a hand full that get truly offal results . Most schools in Liverpool put a lot of hard work into there pupils and offer a lot of other opportunities . Not every child will pass loads of exams . I agree that every child should have a good school to go to , and loads of school especially in Liverpool are trying to offer this to there pupils , and I'm not a teacher .

TalkinPeace2 Fri 12-Oct-12 16:07:25

I do not know about Liverpool schools, I'm at the other end of the country. BUT. Its less a behaviour thing than an attitude thing. The tidal wave of kids coming out of my DCs school is VERY intimidating - but it is good natured. Others are not and the staff do not care. THAT is what marks out a sink school.

homework Fri 12-Oct-12 18:36:55

My child school isn't religious , more because we where looking for a school that would support the child with there learning . Not saying that there hasn't been any problems , there have , it's taken time to get support in correctly to where my child most needs it . Also allowing for them to have some independence , whilst still being encouraged to achieve . My child in one of the lower set and there are times that other children can be disruptive but according to there friends this happens in there school also and there in top sets. Some children like to be disruptive weather there in the best school in Liverpool or there most local school . Every school will have some problems , it's how they respond to these that matters not what faith a school happens to be. You can only judge another school by looking round , seeing what's on offer , speaking to both the kids and there parents , and if your lucky enough to have time going back the following year to see if and what has changed. Grades can and do get inflated by schools and ofsted means little more than the paper it's wrote on. Your own judgement should mean more to you and if you like a school make appointment to go back and look another time . When there not putting on a show , a good school shouldn't have a problem with this , they may ask you not to visit on an exam day for disturbing those children , but this also gives you time to watch for behaviour as no doubt your cover at least one break . If there unhappy to do this I would then wonder why .

AngelEyes46 Fri 12-Oct-12 20:19:47

Shagmund - focusing on how religious the child is would go back to about 10 years ago when school were allowed to interview. I was interviewed (many moons ago) and I don't remember it being too bad but I'm still not sure whether it's a good thing

StaceeJaxx Fri 12-Oct-12 20:39:31

homework have PMed you.

TBH I couldn't give a flying fig about exam results, or league tables etc. For me it's all about the behaviour and attitude of the pupils, the way the school treats the kids and the ethos of the school.

homework Fri 12-Oct-12 22:40:18

StaceeJaxx have pm you back , sorry about lateness of time we where doing science homework on my child's computer . Lots of homework this weekend .

kerrygrey Sat 13-Oct-12 06:15:15

TalkinPeace3 - "I utterly believe that compulsory RE lessons are the BEST way to encourage atheism."

This is so very true! I remember RE lessons at school and becoming vehemently anti-religion because I hated what we were taught there (and the teacher) It was some years before I could again consider religion in a reasonable frame of mind.
Perhaps atheist parents who worry about indoctrination should take heart..

aufaniae Sat 13-Oct-12 06:21:26

Is moving an option?

StaceeJaxx Sat 13-Oct-12 15:04:35

aufaniae no unfortunately it's not. sad We would love to move, but we live in a HA house atm, there's no way we could afford to rent privately.

chloe74 Tue 16-Oct-12 17:56:11

Religious schools are allowed to select by the back door, everyone needs to be more honest and admit its what we want. Until then we will be stuck with Bible bashers sad

Thankfully Gove has been brave enough to allow Free Schools so at least intelligent parents can fight back until we can have more Grammers.

prh47bridge Tue 16-Oct-12 19:03:48

Religious schools are definitely not allowed to select by the back door. They must use only their published admission criteria to determine entry.

Free schools must also obey the Admission Code so they have to publish clear admission criteria and stick to them. Again, selection by the back door is not allowed.

chloe74 Tue 16-Oct-12 23:01:25

Religious schools might not be allowed to select but they do! The Priest has the authority to pick who he wants in 'his' school and its usually parents who have 'donated' most to the church funds!

CelticPromise Tue 16-Oct-12 23:03:26

That isn't true. The priest can tick a box to say the parents meet the practising criteria or not. That's it.

AngelEyes46 Tue 16-Oct-12 23:15:32

Our church asks you to sign in so that the priest has proof of practice (some people don't like to make themselves known). Also baptism is a big factor (history can't be changed). Religious schools follow their admission criteria but many people think it's unfair as they feel it's not an even playing field. If you don't follow a faith, why would you want your dc to go to a religious school - it baffles me!

prh47bridge Tue 16-Oct-12 23:59:39

chloe74 - That is simply untrue. Any school that is behaving as you say is clearly in breach of the Admissions Code and would get into all kinds of trouble. I can't say it never happens but I have yet to come across a church school that behaves in this way.

chloe74 Wed 17-Oct-12 09:49:12

prh47bridge - obviously we have experience of different schools. In my part of the world its widely known to go on. Explain how rich parents with high achieving children from the other side of a city who only started going to church a few years ago get into a religious school. Whilst genuinely religious parents who live near the school but are less affluent with under-performing children can not get into the school. Not just one or two family's but its how whole schools are filled. Then on top of that the rich kids are given free travel whilst local kids who are barred from the school and are forced to travel further, pay for their own fare. A priest should have no say over which kids go to what school, they are not accountable and have no educational experience. Its called discrimination and selection by the backdoor.

tiggytape Wed 17-Oct-12 10:05:46

If there is no distance criteria (and there isn't always for religious schools) then it is perfectly possible for religious people from further away to get a place over and above people who live close to the school. In fact this is pretty normal for faith schools. As long as the school publish their admission criteria and stick to it religiously (pun intended!) then that's fair enough.

If as you suggest poor people who qualify more highly for a place according to the published criteria somehow get pushed out in favour of rich people that don't qualify then this is totally against the rules. But I would be very surprised if that was going on and everyone knew about it since any poor person pushed out illegally who then appealed would win. And any complaint made would be totally upheld and the schol forced to change. O.K not everyone complains or appeals but you'd think if this had been going on for years at least one person might have raised it!

If however you are saying their criteria is legal but sneaky then that's another issue. Some people believe having any faith criteria sorts the motivated and educationally aware parents from those that don't know enough or don't care enough to go to church and get a place at a 'good school'
One example might be schools that define 'faith' as going to church for 2 years as opposed to ones that define it as baptism before age 1. The first category is wide open to being exploited by motivated, organised parents whilst the second definition, it might be argued, sorts the truly faithful from those who only go to church when they find out about schooling options. Basically though, the school can choose how they define it as long as they apply that criteria equally to every person who applies.

prh47bridge Wed 17-Oct-12 11:08:05

chloe74 - In addition to the points Tiggytape makes, it is quite possible for families further away to get places based on their child's special medical or social needs (although there should only be a handful of such children in a typical year) or sibling links, and there may also be other ways in which people can get priority. I would have to know which school this is in order to give a full list but they definitely cannot give priority based on the amount donated to the church or school.

Also some church schools prioritise people living in particular parishes. They cannot choose the parishes in such a way as to exclude poorer people and they must include the school's own parish, but it is quite possible that the boundaries are drawn in such a way that some people who live a long way from the school have priority over people who live relatively close to the school, particularly if the school is located near a parish boundary. If they are blatantly ignoring their admission criteria as you suggest they should be referred to the Schools Adjudicator. As Tiggytape says, such practises would lead to large numbers of successful appeals and could ultimately lead to the school having its funding withdrawn.

On the transport issue you are mistaken. Free school transport is provided by the LA. The school has nothing to do with it. There is no way they can get the LA to provide free school transport just because they want the child to attend their school. The LA will only provide free travel to these "rich kids" if the church school concerned is the nearest school with places available and is over 3 miles from home by the shortest walking route. Some LAs used to provide free transport for children to go to the nearest faith school even if it was not their nearest school if the parents had a religious preference but that has now been withdrawn pretty much everywhere due to costs. Note that I am assuming you are correct about these children coming from well off families. Children eligible for free school meals have additional entitlements to free transport.

Similarly the local kids are entitled to free transport if they are going to the nearest school with places available and it is over 3 miles away by the shortest walking route. If they are eligible free school meals they may be entitled to free transport to the nearest faith school even if it is not their nearest school.

prh47bridge Wed 17-Oct-12 11:19:48

Final thought for the moment.

If this school was blatantly breaking the rules as you suggest I would expect your LA to take action. Applications go to the LA who then send a list of applicants to the school for them to sort into priority order based on their admission criteria. The sorted list then goes back to the LA who decide what offers are actually made. Whilst the LA will not check the order given by the school fully, I would expect them to notice and start asking questions if the school was blatantly ignoring its admission criteria in the way you suggest.

chloe74 Wed 17-Oct-12 14:22:45

I agree and accept your points.

Perhaps I can best sum it up like this. In the same way as millionaires can legally pay less tax than their cleaners, rich parents can legally manipulate the system to gain entrance to exclusive religious (state funded) schools. And every time they do that a less well off child is denied a place.

Its immoral and wrong.

The sooner we get back to honest selection by children's abilities the better this country will be. Most of us are faced with the choice of pretending to be religious, relocating or remortgaging to get a decent education for our children. I would even give up my job and home school before I would condemn my child to a 'sink' school.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 17-Oct-12 14:30:51

please let go of your wish for ANY form of selection - as THAT is what creates sink schools.
sending ALL of the children from an area to the same school and allowing the school to educate each to the best of their ability regardless of creed or colour or ability is the best way.

crazymum53 Wed 17-Oct-12 15:02:21

chloe74 Rich parents do also take advantage of the grammar schools system too (in grammar areas houses are often more expensive and they can afford 11+ tutoring) so there is no evidence that this would be any fairer.
For the benefit of the admissions experts, look at this other thread http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/secondary/1583070-Secondary-school-Horfield-Bristol and at the Bristol LEA website for details of the admissions criteria for local faith schools.
This is my LEA and I can confirm that free transport to faith schools is no longer provided (this could apply to some existing pupils as it was only stopped recently).
Yes using church attendance could be open to abuse, but these schools have had to stop using criteria such as baptism as this discriminates against denominations that do not practice infant baptism.

radicalsubstitution Wed 17-Oct-12 16:53:18

The only 'fair' way of allocating school places is by lottery.

Selecting by religious affiliation favours intelligent, middle class parents who have the foresight to start looking at admissions criteria when their children are in the womb and make damn sure they tick every box.

Selecting by ability/11+ favours intellignet, middle class parents who have the financial means to either pay for private tutors, pay for private primary education where common entrance preparation is taught as standard or spend weekends/evenings tutoring their children themselves.

Selecting by radial distance from a school favours intelligent, well-off parents with the foresight to research league tables and the financial means to pay the inflated value of homes in the cathment areas for the best schools.

In our borough:

3 bed semi in catchment for worst performing secondary school - 220K
3 bed semi in catchment for best performing secondary school - 370k

Allocation by lottery is the fairest system, but is totally impractical in all but the tiniest of LEAs.

There is no great solution, other than by providing a massive over-supply of school places and allowing parents to 'shop around' thus causing 'failing' schools to sink into the mire entirely (like supermarkets). I can't see this working either.

At the end of the day we have to do what is best for our children, and let other families worry about theirs. Sad but true.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 17-Oct-12 17:12:29

Lottery systems result in kids being bussed all over
and a LOT of the variation between schools is due to the vicious spirals of "parental choice" as brought in by Bliar - certainly my sink local school would not be a sink school if its 'missing' 500 kids reappeared.

The 'superzip' problem in the US is less likely to happen here because UK society is less unequal than the US.

Sorry but radial distance all the way IMHO.

If nothing else because "catchments" would flex each year with cohort size
so buying a house would not necessarily get you in as it would depend on the ages of every child in your street.

No need for a huge oversupply of places. Just enough places for every child in an area and then the schools divvy them up.
The ban on LEAs increasing the number of schools HAS to be overturned as well.

heronsfly Wed 17-Oct-12 17:17:05

Donating to the collection each sunday definitely dosent give your children priority when applying to schools.
My children are at a highly over subscribed Catholic secondary school and we can only afford to put a few pennies in the plate each week.
But, we are at mass each sunday and on days of Holy obligation, I teach Holy communion classes, and my children have all been baptised, taken first communion and been confirmed.Also,we are all actively involved with the parish community. Thats why my priest signed our application forms, not because of how much I have donated.

chloe74 Wed 17-Oct-12 18:56:42

Nobody is talking about the fact that all children are different. The only way to ensure clever kids have a good education is to have academically selective schools. The only way to ensure children who are more vocationally talented is to have less academic schools but of an equally good standard. Simple.

The idea that one size fits all is ludicrous. Shoving all kids into the same school makes everyone equal, at the bottom. The government should stop forcing education ideology onto kids and let the parents decide whats best.

Choice, choice, choice, is the only way to go.

radicalsubstitution Wed 17-Oct-12 19:11:55

The major flaw to your theory is that how do you differentiate between the academically gifted, average and 'not academic' children at age 11? These systems become very much biased in favour of the children of parents with the means to push their children through the 11+ examination.

I am dead against giving children labels such as 'vocationally talented' in year 6. What you are basically saying is 'you're thick, and so we're going to teach you how to pluck a chicken'.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 17-Oct-12 19:29:16

I think you will find that the kids in top sets at comps do rather well thank you.

I personally object to you implying that my children will end up at the bottom.

Choice means EVERY child gets every opportunity - ONLY comps can provide that.

chloe74 Wed 17-Oct-12 21:01:39

radicalsubstitution - its you that denigrates vocationally talented children, myself and other countries like Germany give equal merit to those skills. Also it doesnt have to be at 11, the age of 14 seems to be becoming adopted by many countries for this selection.

TalkinPeace2 - kids in top sets can do well at comps but its usually in spite of the school not because of it. They do ten times better when at selective schools. Telling kids they are A* material does not make them well educated, and that's whats been happening in schools for the past generation, grade inflation. And it means kids come out of school unable to read and write.

Comps mean every kids gets the same choice, ie must do better wrapped in the lie of wow you got an A. We need to get rid of comps, give parents real choice and watch our kids soar.

Farewelltoarms Wed 17-Oct-12 21:12:27

They really don't do 'ten times better' in a grammar than a comp. Research suggests that which school a child goes to only accounts at most for a ten per cent variation in education outcome - the rest is all pretty predetermined by gender, parental education/affluence etc. The child that can get into a grammar will likely do just as well in the top set at a comprehensive. Don't confuse the overall results of a grammar school with the overall results at a comprehensive. Compare those of the high achievers. I'd guess that the difference between the outcome of high achieving child at a good grammar and a good comp is negligible.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 17-Oct-12 21:26:04

STOP insulting my children and their friends.
You are talking UTTER bollocks about what goes on in good comp schools.
If they really were as dire as you say, how come a bus load from the sixth form college went to Oxbridge last year.

And Grammars are narrow
they exclude sports stars
they exclude artists
they exclude musicians
they exclude children who mature a day too late for the test

No, comps do NOT give every child the same chance.
In DCs school, only the top 30 academically do Latin GCSE as its not appropriate for the others
only the top 60 automatically do triple science
only the top 90 automatically do double English

I'd rather the sports and art and music that my DCs can do in their spare time than any selective school populated by children whose parents only expect them to "soar"

radicalsubstitution Wed 17-Oct-12 22:15:35

kids in top sets can do well at comps but its usually in spite of the school not because of it

As a (highly rated) teacher in a (highly rated) comprehensive school I find that comment insulting.

TalkinPeace2, I am ashamed (as a Christian who obviously believes in fairy stories) to say that I agree with you on this one - Chloe74 you are indeed talking bollocks.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 17-Oct-12 22:19:07

Fairy stories are fine by me! I went to CofE schools till I was 18 (private)
and I am absolutely certain that compulsory RE in schools is good for education.
I just do not think that church going should be a selection method for schooling.

JustGettingByMum Wed 17-Oct-12 22:41:55

chloe74 you really are talking tripe

Nephew-educated super selective grammar in Birmingham
Godson-educated super selective grammar in Kingston
Son-Educated good comp in Wiltshire
All 3 boys have practically identical GCSEs and A level grades
All 3 applied to study science degrees st RG unis, ironically 2 unis were even the same uni
All 3 got offers from their chosen unis -except nephew who was rejected by one
And all 3 now at their first choice uni studying either maths, mathematical engineering or engineering

The difference between them is that DS is much more able to appreciate the qualities of others whether artistic, sporting or just generally being a good friend because he has not been brainwashed into believing you should judge people by the narrow marker of their academic ability

(apologies to other parents with dc at grammar schools who are also able to look beyond academic ability as a measure of a persons worth)

hungrylabrador Wed 17-Oct-12 22:53:45

"I just do not think that church going should be a selection method for schooling."

No - especially when it's the parents' faith which is being assessed, and not the child's.

Makes about as much sense as academic selection on the basis of the parents' intelligence rather than the child's.

I think if they are going to select on grounds of faith, they need to start using lie detectors on children. Only select those children who genuinely believe in god. That would rope in quite a few children from atheist households, like mine. (they also believe in the tooth fairy!)

chloe74 Thu 18-Oct-12 11:42:35

Using the basic measure of 5-plus A*-C grade GCSEs including English and maths, the average percentages of pupils reaching this level from Grammar Schools is 97%, but from Secondary moderns its only 32%.

TalkinPeace2 – I have never once mentioned your children, the fact that you are taking a public debate personally is really an indication that your vulnerable on the facts.

Why would a sporty kid go to an academic school, they should go to a sports school. Why would an artistic kid want to go to an academic school, they should go to an artistic school. Why would a musical kid want to go to an academic school, they should go to a musical school. You are making the point well that children should be allowed to go to a school that selects for their individual needs. Choice, choice, choice. If a child is a year late being able to pass a selection test, then an all round comprehensive school is probably best for them until they discover what their talents are. I really don’t understand why you are against parents of academic kids giving them the best environment to succeed. Why should a child with a great scientific mind waste his time painting a picture, or banging a piano when its blatantly obvious to everyone they have no artistic or musical skill, and vice versa. Maximise strengths, don't force everyone to be average.

JustGettingByMum – You can always pick individual children out to prove a point. So many kids now get A’s at GCSE because the exams have been so dumbed down its impossible to tell who the clever ones are, lets get academically rigorous tests. Its only people like you who are fixated on measuring a child's worth by their academic ability. Every child has talent and should be allowed to develop them at the school best suited to it. One size does not fit all, choice, choice, choice.

A parents ‘faith’ should not be used for selection to a school, neither should the child’s. Children are not born with faith and do not have a religion, it is forced upon them by their parents. Selection should be based on talent, academically, artistically, musically, and sporting etc that children are born with. Religion is something that should be taught in church and not in schools.

tiggytape Thu 18-Oct-12 12:09:19

Using the basic measure of 5-plus A*-C grade GCSEs including English and maths, the average percentages of pupils reaching this level from Grammar Schools is 97%, but from Secondary moderns its only 32%.

Which is a bit of a meaningless statistic in telling you about the chances of any individual child. Assuming the children in a secondary modern fall into a 'top, middle and bottom' group (relative to their classmates) - how do you know that the 32% figure doesn't prove that the entire top group gets good grades
i.e 100% of bright pupils in secondary moderns get good GCSEs as opposed to 'only' 97% at Grammar School.

A grammar school is effectively one very big 'top group' so if you want to know how well other schools do in comparison, looking at the grades their bottom group achieves tells you nothing.

As an aside - we have grammar schools within commuting distance yet the non selective secondary schools here get anything from 55% - 90% on the measure you are using. Most send several children to Oxbridge each year as well.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 18-Oct-12 13:38:11

Sporty kids to sporty schools
arty kids to arty schools
musical kids to musical schools
Sorry, what planet do you live on.
There are no specialist state schools any more - did you not notice the change in Government a couple of years back?
And in many areas there are only one or two schools - the rest of the UK is not like Islington you know.

You also clearly do not know the difference between a Comprehensive and a Secondary Modern.
My DCs Comp got 78% in your GCSE measure. The comp up the road got 90%

Only half of the Grammar schools in Kent got your magic 97% figure. One in fact only got 89% - less than a Comp.

Get your facts right.

chloe74 Thu 18-Oct-12 16:31:51

Those are not my figures they are from THE CAMPAIGN FOR REAL EDUCATION.

I can only base my opinion on experience of schools in my area. Of the three nearest by distance State comps they entered a grand total of 0 % of children into the five English Baccalaureate subjects last year. Top set or not if you have a brainy kid they would have a wasted education at those schools. And that is not even talking about the results, just the number of kids who actually entered the exams. So the mythical top set at these schools cannot even do a basic minimum of Maths, English, Science, Language and Humanities. God forbid that they even wanted to excel.

As for specialist schools, after doing the rounds of school open days I found there were schools that specialised in subjects (Sport, Music, Art, Religion etc) and were allowed to select a percentage of students based on abilities in these areas. The only type of selection they weren't allowed to do was on academic ability. That's discrimination in my opinion.

PS I will admit I don't know the difference between Comprehensive and a Secondary Modern, please enlighten.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 18-Oct-12 17:06:49


PS I will admit I don't know the difference between Comprehensive and a Secondary Modern, please enlighten.
Maybe you and the campaign for real education should find out what is actually going on first.

And I've just checked the DFEE data for 2011 - sorting by 0% ebacc, and LEA and school type.
Where do you live? As it does not appear to be in England

tiggytape Thu 18-Oct-12 17:14:15

chloe74 - I think all you have proved is what most on MN already say - there is no such thing as a typical secondary modern, grammar or comp. It varies hugely all over the country. There are good schools and poor schools but you can't even define the categories really:
- Grammar = might take the top 2% or top 8% or top 20% or top 50% of children from either the local area or from several counties. Might achieve outstanding exam results or only those comparable with a good comp elsewhere
- Comp - might teach 3 languages plus Latin and enter all children in the top and middle sets for the EBacc and succeed in getting them all though or might be a low achieving school in an otherwise wealthy area that opts for GCSE equivalents that don’t mean a lot but makes their scores look good
- Secondary Modern - Defined as whatever is left when the top group children have gone to grammar but in some areas less than 10% of top group children get a place at grammar school and therefore the top groups in these schools are populated by children with level 5 and level 6 SATS results so are effectively comps.

What you get and how well it suits your child's ability levels is purely down to luck and geography in the state system. There is no universal standard and that's why some comps beat some grammars and some Secondary Moderns take children that in another county would be at grammar.

radicalsubstitution Thu 18-Oct-12 17:48:35

The only type of selection they weren't allowed to do was on academic ability. That's discrimination in my opinion.

I hate it when people throw the term discrimination around in this type of context.

Try getting a job as a disabled person in the workplace, or the parent of a child with multiple SN trying to access suitable, or someone in their mid-fifties trying to find employment. Then you can talk about discrimination.

radicalsubstitution Thu 18-Oct-12 17:49:38

access suitalbe education of any description.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 18-Oct-12 19:54:38

you are a teacher - I thought all the selection / specialist college guff went out in 2010 . . .. .

And yes, not being able to get into a selective school is a PITA, but there are ways round all things for parents of non disabled children.
Once a child does not fit Gove's mould, you are stuffed.

chloe74 Thu 18-Oct-12 20:02:49

I live in the south west where there is 80 Schools in the LEA.
10 % of these schools entered 0 or 1 % of their children into the basic 5 subjects, unhappily I live close to some of those schools. I don't have a sporty, artistic or musical child but he is very enthusiastic about science. Yes I am accused of the crime of being a pushy Mum and I do 'coach' my child (mainly because the Primary school they are at doesn't stretch them). But I would have done that in whatever area his talents were, be it football, art, music, or (I think someone mentioned) chicken plucking. What is so wrong with wanting better for you kids and trying to achieve it? I accept in some areas they have good 'comps', but they don't have one we can get into.

We don't have Grammar or Secondary Moderns Schools here and the nearest academic school you would need to be a millionaire to buy a house in the catchment area. If we had an academically selective school in the area my child would almost definitely get in. I don't understand why other parents are so happy to force me to throw my child on the scrap heap of life by denying them a decent education. Why are some parents so afraid of choice?

It make me sick to think my only options are to pretend to be religious, lie to everyone and tell my child to lie to everyone. Or attempt to go private with the risk that I might lose my house.

radicalsubstitution - I know all about discrimination, however I choose not to use it as an excuse. I am not bleating on about how I should be given special treatment, I will fight for what is best for my children its just depressing that other parents are actually opposed to me trying to get a good education so my children can overcome their background on their own.

I hate it when someone uses discrimination as the excuse to drag everyone down to their level.

radicalsubstitution Thu 18-Oct-12 20:08:39


I think very few specialist schools ever selected based on 'ability' in their specialism. If they did, it was normally based on an LEA policy.

I am, alas, a lowly teacher and not an expert on admissions. I think schools can still call themselves 'specialist' but am not sure if there is any funding available for it any more.

Specialist school status all seemed a bit of a waste of time to me. I knew of one specialist computing school where GCSE computer studies/science wasn't even offered until a year after it was awarded specialist status in maths and computing.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 18-Oct-12 20:34:55

In Cornwall, NOT ONE normal state school got 0% in the Ebacc (I am excluding all special schools)
In Devon, NOT ONE normal state school got 0% in the Ebacc
In Somerset, two state schools got 0% in the Ebacc, but one of them is tiny.
In Dorset, NOT ONE normal state school got 0% in the Ebacc

Where did you get your information from?
Mine came from the data set downloaded from the DFE website.

chloe74 Thu 18-Oct-12 20:39:28

I was told that the funding for specialisms was withdrawn because, as you say, schools abused the system and weren't actually using it for their specialism. However schools are still able to specialise and select for 10% of their intake in that area. Just not academically.

radicalsubstitution Thu 18-Oct-12 20:58:05

Chloe74, I have absolutely no problem with you doing, or wanting, what is best for your child. I mentioned, in an earlier post, that (almost all) parents must do what is best for their child and should not feel guilty about it.

You have, however, made some very sweeping comments about comprehensive schools, and education in general, that I have found quite offensive. I work in a comprehensive school that prides itself on setting and maintaining extremely high standards for all students.

Not all students choose Ebac subjects, because some choose to study full course RE which is not classes as a humanities subject. Most do. The destinations for our sixth formers post-18 speak for themselves, as do the successes for many students who choose vocational pathways at 16.

I feel that teaching a broad ability range at school helps me to improve my teaching. I do not feel (personally) that schools that narrow their intake or teaching age too much are necessarily able to attract or retain the best teachers. I love teaching A level and would never teach in an 11-16 school - neither would I teach in a sixth form college. I wouldn't like to teach in a single sex school, so the local grammars (yes, there are some) would be out for me.

I do not know what I will do when DS reaches secondary admission time. Of all the multitude of crimes I have committed in my time as a parent, having low expectations or aspirations is not one of them.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 18-Oct-12 21:04:14

However schools are still able to specialise and select for 10% of their intake in that area
Link please ....

chloe74 Thu 18-Oct-12 22:11:31

TalkinPeace2 - Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are all part of the South West of England, I do not live in any of the four areas you mention but I am not narrowing it further because this is a public form. My information came from personal experience but my facts are backed up on http://www.education.gov.uk/.

I have been told at open days about specialism selection but just goggling it gave me a link: http://www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk/help-and-advice/choosing-a-school/school-admissions/391/state-school-admissions-how-to-secure-a-place

radicalsubstitution - I apologise if I have made sweeping statements, my only information is for my local city and my comments about schools have been informed by them. The only national policy I would advocate is to separate state funding funding from religious schools. Apart from that Choice choice choice.

I hope to get my kid into a Free School this year, my fingers are crossed... it has a broad social mix, overwhelming parent support, and has attracted amazing teachers (only compared to my other local choices). My worry obviously is if I don't get in we face life changing decisions.

tiggytape Thu 18-Oct-12 22:26:41

chloe74 - doubtless you live near some schools that are not suited to your child and some poorly performing schools as well. This is not the norm and certainly not a national picture but it is true that parents lack choice. Many areas now are oversubscribed and parents do not have a realistic choice of schooling at all. Selective education is not necessarily the answer. The grammars nearest to us for example take the top scoring children with no reference to any catchment area. Over 1500 level 5 and level 6 children apply from a 40 mile radius for 150 places. Every year 9/10 of these very academic children fail to get offered a place (a lot of them pass the 11+ but you have to be in the top 150 scores to actually get in). It is easy to assume academic child = dead cert for grammar school but only in a few areas is that the case. Forcing religious schools to close by withdrawing funding would not help the situation at all regarding choice. We need more schools not less and the reason that there are so many religious schools about is that state ones were built to supplement this network not the other way around.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 18-Oct-12 22:28:25

Good Schools Guide is biased opinion not fact.
LEA link please or remove the allegation.

Bristol : One Academy and one Foundation school had 0% ebacc - it has 6 with 1% which is pretty poor admittedly
Gloucestershire : One at 0%, 2 at 1%
Wiltshire : Two schools at 0%
Isles of Scilly - their school got 15.8% Ebacc.

Yes, Bristol is a problem area. Two Oasis Academies is a bit of a giveaway ...
BUT do not judge the rest of the country by one City

tiggytape Thu 18-Oct-12 22:59:56

And not to defend all these schools because doubtless some are not pushing hard enough but the EBacc was applied retrospectively.

Most teenagers given half the chance will drop their MFL in favour of something they enjoy can put less effort into and the schools used to let them. Afterall 10 A grade GCSEs is 10 A Grade GCSE's so why make them do something they'll get a C for instead?

But then overnight it wasn't as good anymore. Sudenly 10 A Grade GCSEs minus a MFL are worth less to a school in the EBacc sense than 7 C Grade GCSEs that include a MFL

prh47bridge Thu 18-Oct-12 23:25:38

Not getting involved in this particular discussion but Chloe74 is correct that schools with a specialism can select up to 10% of their intake based on aptitude. If they have multiple specialisms they can still only select up to 10% of their intake on aptitude - they don't get 10% for each subject. Admissions Code paragraph 1.24 refers.

Brycie Thu 18-Oct-12 23:31:09

I'm so sorry I have not read the thread. Are you sure that it would make that much of a difference. Our local faith school 6th form didn't ask for any belief commitment at all on application.

prh47bridge Fri 19-Oct-12 00:20:31

Sixth form entry uses different criteria than Y7. The primary consideration is whether the GCSE grades are good enough. At Y7 most faith schools give priority on faith grounds. In general you are unlikely to get admitted unless you meet the faith criteria, in part because so many parents go to church just to try and get priority for their child. If no-one did that you would stand a much better chance of being admitted without meeting the faith criteria.

chloe74 Fri 19-Oct-12 10:11:02

Thank you prh47bridge for that link proving my point, I wasn't able to find it and didn't want to give the names of my local schools to prove it directly.

The fact that EBacc was applied retrospectively was a stroke of genius because it stopped schools manipulating their curriculum to look good in league tables. It has given us a true reflection of a schools performance. I personally don't like to rely on league tables and trust my own experience of the school from visits, word of mouth, behavior of pupils etc. Am actually hoping to get my child into a school that inst in the league tables yet.

The point about dropping useless subjects is very relevant, there is a lot of time wasted teaching nonsense. I suppose you could say if a child is no good at maths then its a waste of time teaching him it, but there are a core of areas that a child should learn, as a minimum, to have any chance in the modern world. English, Maths, Science, Humanities and MFL are a pretty good basket to have and every child should learn these to start with. Education should be enjoyable but you still have to learn the basics whether you enjoy them or not and a good teacher can usually make most subjects enjoyable.

One aspect that has skewed league tables has been the use of exams 'equivalent' to GCSE's. What a con that was and I am glad most of them have been dumped.

If you stopped schools selecting on faith they wouldn't close. The church don't own them and they certainly don't pay for them. It would be a simple matter to resolve, declaring that all schools receiving state funding are secular and religion is taught as part of an ethics/philosophy/politics class (delete as appropriate). In reality nothing would change except the admissions discrimination forcing families to pretend to be something they are not. I remember as a child being forced to go to something called a 'Sunday school' which was run and funded by the church (also a bible study class in evening). Whilst it sends shivers down my spine to remember those lessons, should a parent decide to indoctrinate their children this is the way to go and not expect tax payers to fund it.

tiggytape Fri 19-Oct-12 10:54:59

If you stopped schools selecting on faith they wouldn't close. The church don't own them and they certainly don't pay for them.

That is incorrect. The church does own the land and sometimes all the buildings too. The state pays 85% towards their capital costs but the church pays the rest. Understandably, this combined with the value of their assets is a huge amount of money that the state would have to find in order to buy out thousands of these schools to fully own and control them. If we're going to spend that kind of money, most people would rather they just opened new schools to improve choice.

muminlondon Fri 19-Oct-12 11:33:56

Since Tony Blair the state pays 90% of the capital costs and 100% of the running costs. Historically buildings were owned by the churches but faith schools set up recently have tended to be leased from the council (e.g. a 125-year 'peppercorn' lease), which is also the case for new free schools. The church/mosque etc. has paid towards renovation and refurbishment, sometimes more than the 10% minimum.

muminlondon Fri 19-Oct-12 11:39:30

Sorry, I mean free schools can lease buildings from the council but funding comes from central government so a church setting up or sponsoring a free school in the form of an academy doesn't need to pay anything. But admission policies have to have 50% open places.

tiggytape Fri 19-Oct-12 12:01:59

A lot of faith (most) schools are pretty old though and so own their assets.
I appreciate new schools being set up have different structures, funding and admissions and that's probably as it should be given the changes to the world now and how it was decades or centuries ago when the church took it upon itself to educate children when the state did not.

JustGettingByMum Fri 19-Oct-12 12:51:48

chloe74 In response to your reply to me:

"You can always pick individual children out to prove a point."
Indeed, but given your astounding ignorance, I was attempting an illustration to demonstrate the point that a comprehensive school education is not second rate.

"So many kids now get A’s at GCSE because the exams have been so dumbed down its impossible to tell who the clever ones are, lets get academically rigorous tests."
Perhaps you have direct experience of teaching at GCSE or A level ? Or perhaps you have a child who has sailed through his GCSEs, AS exams and A2 levels? Then you are qualified to say that in your opinion your child found the exams easy. But it appears your child is still in primary school, and I am guessing has never sat any external academic exams, so your rant is based on what you read and hear from politicians like Michael Gove hmm

"Its only people like you who are fixated on measuring a child's worth by their academic ability. Every child has talent and should be allowed to develop them at the school best suited to it."
So are you proposing for example, sporty kids should go to sporty schools? Those with a flair for music or drama should go to performing arts schools? And those who are academic should go to academic schools?
How will you judge their success?
Sporty = former pupils taking part in the Olympics? Current pupils in GB squad and looking at taking part in the 2016 Olympics?
Musical/dramatic = acceptance at music conservatoire? Or at performing arts colleges at 18? Perhaps having former pupils as recognised actors on TV?
Academic = acceptance at top rated Unis?

Those pesky comprehensives are doing it again - I can tick all the above boxes at DS school. As I am sure can many other people. Although I'm not sure what you would do with the multi-talented people with both fantastic academic grades, and also a wonderful talent in sport or music!
Oh I know, you could send them to a school that nourishes all their talents - like a comprehensive perhaps.

"One size does not fit all, choice, choice, choice."
Indeed, and that's why I chose to send my children to a catholic comprehensive school. We moved 20 odd miles from an area with a stronger academic local school to the area we live in now because that continuation of the catholic faith is important to me.

JustGettingByMum Fri 19-Oct-12 12:55:37

Re the debate on funding faith schools, the government would have to meet the cost of educating these children wherever they are in school, so a thousand atheists sitting in a catholic school will still cost the same to educate as a thousand catholics sitting in the school.
In the same way as a thousand girls sitting in an all boys state school, will cost the same as a thousand boys sitting in an all girls state school.
Or, perish the thought, a thousand untutored 11-16 year olds sitting in a grammar school.

muminlondon Fri 19-Oct-12 13:20:46

We have a complete mess now and it's getting ever more complicated. We have the established VA schools, many with exclusive admissions, new free schools - - many of which are also faith schools - although a quarter of them are undersubscribed. Meanwhile councils aren't allowed to set up their own school unless it's a free school or academy, even if there is a dire place shortage, as Coventry council has found recently. But most academies, if they don't have a link with a religious organisation, are part of a chain. Chloe74 is right that their results are showing few improvements once you strip out 'equivalents' - similar results to secondary moderns on Ebacc too, about 8% for those open 5 years. LA comprehensives have much better results than these. Where they don't, it is probably because they are close to grammar schools so they are also like secondary moderns with a small top set, or in an area with lots of private schools and faith schools, and don't stand much of a chance on intake.

There's never been a level playing field but that would not be solved by more grammars or more faith schools. Or privatisation of academy chains, which a right wing think tank has just proposed. They've had that for 15 years in Sweden where there were no private schools, faith schools or selective schools (the new free schools still can't select in ability) and it has resulted in empty places, more cost to the government and no noticeable improvement on standards.

OneMoreMum Fri 19-Oct-12 13:22:21

Re the 0% Ebacc situation, our local school (thankfully not the one my DSs go to) got 0% because they did not offer Geography or History at GCSE, only Combined Humanities (which doesn't count for EBacc). Don't get me wrong it's not a brilliant school but not as bad as the 0% might infer at first glance.

I believe they are now bringing in seperate humanities, and triple science for the first time so I think they have got the message.

radicalsubstitution Fri 19-Oct-12 15:20:05

Just to muddy the waters even further, church (or any faith) based schools that convert to Academy status no longer have to fund 10% of the cost of capital projets themselves. As tiggytape rightly says, many of the older church schools already own their own lands (or it belongs to some form of trust), so the legal complications of converting to academy status are significantly fewer than for a LEA maintained school.

muminlondon Fri 19-Oct-12 16:18:37

But ex-voluntary aided faith schools which convert to academies don't have to change their admission policies whereas new academies must have a more open admissions policy. It would be good to have more open places in all faith schools / on the other hand some people may not choose them at all and shouldn't be forced to if that's the only provider. So it's probably going to remain a muddle.

chloe74 Fri 19-Oct-12 22:40:50

JustGettingByMum - If you don't like what other people are saying you just insult them. I think you need to go back to a proper school and learn some manners. Yes my child is still in Primary. The facts about England's education system are simple, grades keep increasing whilst we plummet down the international league tables. Dumbing down/grade inflation call it what you will it needs fixing. I am not saying the teachers or the pupils are not trying hard just that they are being let down by the system. Not quite sure that your comment about how to judge children's success if they go a specialist school, ummm... the way they always have ? Why are you so desperate to force all children to go to the same type of school. Give parents choice and the best school will flourish be it Comprehensive, Academy, Free or Grammar. Your ideology to force everyone to be like you sounds like a dictatorship. And for the record your a hypocrite saying send all children to the local comp when you moved house to get close to a good school.

I think the idea of the new Free schools is great and I am supporting them. We could go further and allow streaming in schools it might go some way to helping academic children.

JustGettingByMum Sat 20-Oct-12 08:25:09

Dear Chloe, I apologise for calling you ignorant. To be fair, I was basing this on a number of your posts in this secondary education thread, a subject on which you seem to have a scanty knowledge, but are happy to assert that those in comprehensives do well in spite of the system, and those in the top stream at a comprehensive would do 10x better at a Grammar school (I'd love you to post a link to the Grammar school that gives students 30 Grade A A2 levels at the end of year 13).
My ideology makes me sound like a dictator? Just to clarify, that's the ideology of supporting comprehensive schools, a system introduced by the labour government, so I guess you could call its supporters socialists. But I'm sure you know that hmm
Finally you say I'm a hypocrite for moving to an area with a better school.
Perhaps if you had paid attention during your English comprehension lessons in school, you might have noticed that actually I did the exact opposite. I moved away from an area with a better performing school to one with a lower performing (catholic) school. So I guess that makes me the opposite of a hypocrite, a quick search on google suggests the following definition as being the opposite of a hypocrite - honest, sincere and true.

CecilyP Sat 20-Oct-12 10:46:41

The facts about England's education system are simple, grades keep increasing whilst we plummet down the international league tables.

I don't think you could call it plummeting - although the newspaper headlines imply that - the UK is one of many countries which rank around the average, where the scores of the countries ranked from 10th to 30th are much of a muchness.

We could go further and allow streaming in schools it might go some way to helping academic children.

Who told you that streaming is not allowed?

tiggytape Sat 20-Oct-12 10:53:55

Streaming is allowed in schools but setting is the norm
Streaming is placing children into one ability group for all subjects
Setting is placing children into appropriate ability groups for each individual subject.

Setting is considered better than streaming since being good at maths is no predictor of being equally good at French, Geography and P.E
It is much better to be assessed on a subject by subject basis and this is what most schools do even at primary levela and almost certainly at secondary level.

chloe74 Sat 20-Oct-12 16:26:24

JustGettingByMum - I accept your apology.

There are lies, damned lies and statistics. My evidence of how well a school is doing is based mainly on speaking to the teachers, other parents, reputations, and the children at the school. Yes I look at the figures but they are used by schools to manipulate the facts in their favor and its really hard to get at the truth. I have spent six years explaining that my child is bored at school because they are not being stretched, and every time I have got the same answers. Differentiated material is provided (just not up to a level that stretches him), he still has to show that he can do the simple tasks (every though they proved that two years before), there isn't enough hours in the day to provide for every level of ability (but they have an inordinate amount of time for them to write prayers), we have several disruptive kids in the class there's nothing we can do, we have to focus on the low performers....

On paper its a good school but they don't push any children into level six sats exams as they say its a better use of resources to spend on the level threes. I am not going to sit by and let the same happen at secondary school but the problem is that once you are in a LEA school the parents have no power to change things. I tried joining the primary school board of governors, there was a space free that they had been unable to fill for the past year, but as soon as everyone found out I was an atheist several parents from the church stepped forward and organized a campaign to get one of there own elected instead of me. I was on the waiting list for a, further away but secular primary, for six years but because we already had a school place we were always at the bottom of that list and never got in.

When I said kids at selective schools could do ten times better, it was an expression. I didn't realise parents here took everything so literally. It is my educated opinion that if you put a group of people of a similar level of ability together they are more likely to reach a higher level than a group if filled with a multitude of different abilities and disruptive elements etc. Olympic athletes don't train with beginners, they need competitors to push them harder. The England football team doesn't train with the local pub team. Orchestras don't play with just anyone who can hold a violin. NASA doesn't work alongside high school kids. I don't get the reason why anyone would advocate otherwise unless its social engineering.

How can it be good for a low performing child to know he will never be the one to work out the answer first in a class. Wont that demoralize them so much they would give up trying? How can it be good for a high achiever to know he is always the one to get the answer first, so he gets labeled a nerd or teachers pet.

Are all comprehensives really comprehensive?. One nearish me is very exclusive and its impossible to get in unless you own a very expensive house very close to the school. In effect its a grammar school. The school itself even pays for outside tuition for the children. If academic selection was allowed then children who don't have rich parents could access it. In my opinion that would be progress. Selection by wealth is as bad as selection by religion. Give everyone a fair chance and allow more selection by ability.

JustGettingByMum - Your attempts to justify your hyprocrasy don't wash. You advocate that everyone should go to a comprehensive state school and selection shouldn't be allowed. However you moved house to circumvent the comprehensive idea and used selection by wealth (moving house) and selection by faith. The excuse you use to justify this is that your selected school follows your beliefs (I never said you moved to a better academic school). So its ok for you to use selection for your children but you think everyone else should be barred from using selection to follow their beliefs of an academic upbringing? Exactly like all those hypocritical Labour MP's who forced millions to go to 'bog standard' comprehensives while sending their kids to elite private schools. Their words not mine.

hy·poc·ri·sy (h-pkr-s)
n. pl. hy·poc·ri·sies
1. The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.

Plummeting or gently sliding?

In 2000 OECD ranked England 8th for maths, 7th for literacy and 4th for science.

In 2009 England was ranked 28th for maths, 25th for reading and 16th for science.

I was told by a teacher that streaming is not allowed anymore. I admit I was misinformed probably because no state schools in my area do this. Setting is used but mostly in English and Maths. I also accept that a child being bright in Maths and English does not necessarily indicate a talent in foreign languages but I would imagine it makes it a lot more likely.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 20-Oct-12 16:46:47

As has been ascertained, you live in Bristol.
DO NOT judge the rest of the UK system by the shambles that is still to be sorted out round your way.

OECD rankings are a waste of time space and paper.
They reflect approaches to learning that do not reward lateral thinking

South Korea - classes of 90 rote learning
Finland - everybody brought up to a standard but no effort to stretch the bright above it

And actually for Science, the most recent data set shows the UK at 11th.

JustGettingByMum Sat 20-Oct-12 17:35:36

Chloe, the point of comprehensive education is that you don't need selection.

Olympic athletes don't train with beginners
Indeed they don't, but there are very few (I think none) at age 11. Those that are Olympic hopefuls, train with the relevant GB squad at weekends, evenings and during school holidays. But they still go to an ordinary school. And they do still play sport with their classmates and in school teams.
From your post it sounds as though your DS is very academic. In the same way, you could look at academic enrichment activities such as those offered by Kilve Court which is fairly local to you

In my LEA there are 21 secondary schools, of these 3 are catholic and none were within a sensible travelling distance of where we lived previously. Hence we moved, to a cheaper area, with a catholic school.

Finally, why on earth have you posted my name as an internet link?

chloe74 Sat 20-Oct-12 18:12:59

JustGettingByMum - You never answered the point that don't agree with selection for academic ethos, yet its ok for you to use selection to further your religious ethos?

You have no right to research and disclose my geographical location on a public forum when I had specifically stated I did not want that. Can you please redact that sentence in your last post or I will report it.

Yes my child is very academic and most of their progress has been achieved outside of school, because he enjoys learning. Yet I am labeled a 'pushy' parent. I have done everything I can to get them into an academic secondary school yet am denigrated and told to send him to the local 'comp' where his talents will be wasted. The only answer I can see is selection, private school (which I don't think I could fund for 5 years), or moving house to a different city. When comps are good they work well but when they are bad they are a disaster. Allowing selection would be part of the solution when the comp is bad.

chloe74 Sat 20-Oct-12 18:16:32

ps Indeed there are few Olympic athletes at age 11 however there are a lot of kids different levels of ability, which is my point. And every level of ability would benefit from working with peers of a similar level. Of course in all other areas of life they would still mix, hang out and play.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 20-Oct-12 18:25:15

When comps are good they work well but when they are bad they are a disaster

But when they are TRULY comps, there are rarely a disaster.

JustGettingByMum Sat 20-Oct-12 18:27:20

You have no right to research and disclose my geographical location on a public forum when I had specifically stated I did not want that. Can you please redact that sentence in your last post or I will report it.

TalkinPeace Sat 20-Oct-12 16:46:47
As has been ascertained, you live in Bristol

errmmm, it's the post after your rant at me, perhaps you meant to address your anger to talkinpeace? Or have you just decided to have a persoanl pop at me even when I try and offer a helpful suggestion?

TalkinPeace2 Sat 20-Oct-12 18:29:55

maybe its because your random guess at Kilve is very near her!

Chloe - chillax a bit. Bristol covers quite a big area - we're not looking you up on Google street view :-)

JustGettingByMum Sat 20-Oct-12 18:34:02

Well if she does live near Kilve then lucky her, it's a beautiful part of the world.

Anyway Sat night, and definitely wine o'clock wine cheers grin

chloe74 Sat 20-Oct-12 19:01:51

JustGettingByMum - apologies it was a new paragraph and I forgot to add a different name at the start.

When it comes to schools in an LEA, the disclosing of a city location can lead to a people and teachers who live there working out which schools are being referred to and then which child. I do not think it unreasonable to ask to NOT have your location revealed.

If comps are every really truly comps then I am sure it would work well but then you would have to ban private schools, cap house prices so rich parents couldn't move in and dominate an area, ban religious selection, and find some way to suppress human nature to want something better for their children than everyone else's. Which is never going to happen as evidenced by JustGettingByMum who moved house to get into a selective school to further her beliefs.

The only solution is equality by letting everyone have access to selection.

I wont be posting in this thread again, I am off for a glass of wine.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 20-Oct-12 19:12:11

justgettingby I have to side with chloe here - what church you go to on a Sunday should have NO impact on what school your children go to Monday to Friday.
As an atheist I'd LOVE to be able to send my kids to a school where all religions were taught about as fairy stories.
Why does being a Catholic impact on how Maths is taught?
Your kids will still do "Mice and Men" in year 10 if taught by Nuns or other people

I'm a product of private school so understand the mindset. In the UK its a teeny percentage. Around 6% nationally but as low as 1% in some counties (we have lots of private school places here in Hampshire, but most are taken by outsiders)
AND - if the daft selection guff was removed from a lot of state schools : allowing true comps no stress with top sets in every area - then that percentage would drop to probably 1% or 2% (allowing for forces families and stuff it will never go lower)

Enjoy your wine
Pretty please with flowers round - if you are a UK citizen (I'm not so can't) keep an eye out for LEA posts, academy trust posts etc - and use your energy to give the WHOLE of Bristol education the kick up the arse it deserves.
Then not only will you get a better education for your DCs
but as the Uber "pushy Mum" you'll help the whole area.

JustGettingByMum Sat 20-Oct-12 21:22:26

Talkinpeace, I understand and respect that you do not approve of faith schools. However, I hope you will agree that we both support the principle of comprehensive education.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 20-Oct-12 21:50:37

I am utterly in favour of comprehensive education
and would gladly see grammars and religious schools abolished in the same instant because neither of them are in any way comprehensive, and by their very presence, stop the schools around them being comprehensive

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