Clegg jnr to go to state-funded comp

(142 Posts)
LondonMother Mon 04-Mar-13 16:13:06

Just an ordinary state school, after all the talk - he's going to the London Oratory. wink

Are they still doing their dodgy interviewing, which Ruth Kelly waved through for them when she was Sec of State for Education?

tiggytape Mon 04-Mar-13 16:16:43

No - the interviews stopped in 2006.

PhilJW Mon 04-Mar-13 17:01:21

Let be fair here.....presumably Clegg Jnr qualifies in the highest catagory (as all admitted pupils are in the highest catagory) which means that

Mrs Clegg and Clegg Jnr attends Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.
Clegg Jnr fulfils the Church’s requirements regarding Baptism which is currently within 6 months of birth.
Clegg Jnr has received his first Holy Communion.
Clegg Jnr or Mrs Clegg serves in addition to their mass obligations in any Catholic Parish or in the wider Catholic Church.

And also Clegg Jnr's name came out when the the names of those admitted were drawn in a random ballot containing everyone who qualifies as above.

Why would anyone suspect that there was anything else to consider......?

Copthallresident Mon 04-Mar-13 17:37:14

mmm Not an ordinary state school, a selective state school, albeit selecting on having done the baptism in time and earning brownie points from your local priest, rather than academic ability. Oratory has stood up against the diocese to preserve it's tradition of being the top Catholic Boys' School serving London's Catholics in the face of their "left wing social engineering" shockattempts to make it into a ordinary local comp.

I just wonder if Miriam has been cleaning the silver and arranging the flowers, and pressganging Clegg JR into being an alter boy from age 10 as all the middle class mothers hereabouts know to do....

starlady Mon 04-Mar-13 17:50:45

Copthallresident - two sides to that argument though, isn't there? after all, Fulham is hardly an ordinary neighbourhood is it? And - going back in the mists of time admittedly - my own husband - East London council estate, free school meals, mixed race, parent with english as a second language wouldn't have got a look in. I know one boy from my down at heel London borough who'll be in Master Clegg's year. He's Afro-Carribean. I'm glad The Oratory isn't completely forgetting it's there for those who need a foot up too.

meditrina Mon 04-Mar-13 17:51:59

They're only doing what the Blairs did. Is it really news?

Belltree Mon 04-Mar-13 17:52:21

It certainly sheds light on the whole 'it might be private or it might not' thing.

Hope Clegg Jnr and Miriam really have met all those obligations or there is going to be hellfire and brimstone to pay!

starlady Mon 04-Mar-13 18:02:51

And Copthallresident just actually read the blog you linked to. This backs up what I was saying. When admissions were on distance it became LESS diverse.
I looked at The Oratory, but didn't apply. The travel was way too much for my DS. An there was no way out house in crappy borough could have bought anything more than aone bedroom flat in West London ....

Copthallresident Mon 04-Mar-13 18:45:13

starlady Well too late for this round but the schools adjudicator clearly thinks the admissions criteria are discriminatory. I actually posted the Telegraph article to shed light on a mindset that would think that describing the diocese as "lefty engineers" was derogatory when in fact it actually isn't a bad description of Christianity....

I give all my good wishes to those children who gain access to Oratory from ethnically diverse or disadvantaged backgrounds but the fact is that the parents who are not savvy about getting their children baptised and winning the necessary brownie points, or simply do not have the time, are far more likely to come from disadvantaged backgrounds. In this area we have seen a Catholic Primary School that once served the whole community come to be so dominated by middle class parents, who having cottoned on to it's improving results suddenly appeared in local churches in ever increasing numbers, that it now has the lowest proportion of children on Free School Meals of any primary school in the country. You can't get up the road for the 4 by 4s at drop off and pick up. The accumulation of points for Oratory is all part of the culture. Devout Catholics who have been members of the congregation for many years are dismayed at the development.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 04-Mar-13 19:37:51

Copthall I do not believe that any 'devout catholic' would be dismayed at the suggestion that people should attend mass, and get their children baptised within the first 6 months. There are some national differences on baptism date but if you are attending mass regularly while you are upduffed, and then turn up one week with a newborn, the first thing you get asked, by the priest, is when you want the baptism. It's made quite clear to people from different countries that here we baptise early. The only aspect of the Oratory criteria I find troubling is the requirement to attend your parish for HDOs - kids at catholic primary schools will often have mass there, people who work may well go to an early morning or lunchtime mass close to where they work.

If people are working the system and just going to mass to get on the list and not actually going for any other reason then yes, sure....but how, actually, can we know? It was actually Elizabeth I who said she could not make windows into men's souls but despite who said it, it remains true. We might suspect people are being dodgy. But we can't actually know.

bonymaloney Mon 04-Mar-13 19:40:36

The Clegg boy is at the Oratory Junior House so no suprise really.

Copthallresident Mon 04-Mar-13 21:17:35

Russians I'm sorry but why would a devout Catholic not be dismayed to see a school which served a whole community and helped a lot of disadvantaged children become so exclusively affluent and middle class that in terms of it's social make up it is in effect a private school.

LaVolcan Mon 04-Mar-13 21:46:43

I'm sure the average member of a congregation wouldn't have problem if the people had been coming to church for years, then had a child, then had it baptised. It's the ones who start coming to Church just as they have children and then, once the child is in the desired school, suddenly find that they have lost their faith....

But on the otherhand, having a child is often a time when you start to question what sort of values you want to bring your child up with, so is a time when you might start going to Church.

I'm sure that neither Miriam Clegg nor Cherie Blair were in that category; I'm sure they had been practising Catholics for years....but then, in both cases, there was a nearer Catholic comprehensive to where they lived.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 04-Mar-13 22:06:27

Copthall Devout Catholics will not be dismayed about the criteria you describe being applied. We would be dismayed if they are not being applied fairly or correctly. But there is nothing to be dismayed about in the criteria themselves. And there is absolutely nothing 'middle class' about going to mass or being baptised.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 04-Mar-13 22:10:58

@lavolcan I agree that flag of convenience Catholics are nobody's favourite people. Hence the criteria we often see applied to speediness of baptism. You make excellent points about the school choice of both the Cleggs and the Blairs. Why not go for the closest catholic school?

Copthallresident Mon 04-Mar-13 23:11:07

Russians I am talking as the wife of a Catholic with two DDs baptised at the Brompton Oratory by one of the Benedictine fathers who educated DH. So when I make comment on what devout Catholics feel about the changes in the local school and the appearance of conveniance Catholics in the congregation who briefly develop a passion for polishing silver and taking over the flower arrangement around their ds's tenth birthday, not to mention the fact all the alter boys are aged between ten and eleven, it is not supposition, it is the result of discussion. And a common christian unease that local children whose parents may not be as savvy or have the time to jump through the hoops may be missing out on being helped by the school in the way they were in the past. An unease clearly shared by the schools adjudicator in the case of Oratory's admissions arrangements

I would also add that around here that unease spreads to the priest in a neighbouring suburb who notoriously refuses to sign a reference for the primary school served by his Parish unless the family are from a Catholic country or he feels have really proved to him that they are truly devout Catholics or in need of the supportive education the primary which serves his parish provides. That primary has a much more representative social mix. More lefty social engineering!! Of course middle class parents are up in arms at the unfairness of it, and make sure they live in other Parishes (in fact that advice is here somewhere on Mumsnet Local because if you want advice on the rules of the game this is one place you can come wink)

It does sum up the split in all churches over faith selection, between those who feel the fair and christian thing is to provide education to children regardless of faith, and those who believe that it's all about bums on seats in church. I suppose my shock at the hypocracy surrounding school admissions arises from the fact that I grew up in a city where Catholic Schools set up to educate previous waves of immigrants now do such an amazing job of meeting the needs of a multicultural intake.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 04-Mar-13 23:16:05

Copthall but that's not what you said originally. Of course people are not going to be happy about convenience Catholics. That is a comletely different issue than having sensible criteria and applying them and you should know that. And I speak as an actual catholic not someone who is married to one. But sadly I live somewhere where there are no catholic secondary schools at all.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 04-Mar-13 23:18:09

And it is a nonsense to say that devout Catholics don't have time to 'jump through the hoops' of going to mass every week and getting their babies baptised when they are born. That is a ridiculous thing to say. Also - your church must be very unusual to only have 10-11 year old servers. At our church they start at 8. And go on till they go to uni. And we don't even have a catholic school.

But isnt the Cleggs Atheist? hmm

Arent. Arent. My shock affects my grammar. (or maybe it is my lack of Education.)

Copthallresident Mon 04-Mar-13 23:34:17

Russians and we don't even have a Catholic School which is probably why you haven't had experience of these behaviours. Entry to Oratory, this year at least, is dependent on a lottery of goodness. Attendance at mass and early baptism is not enough, you have to earn extra points by having shown a substantial contribution to the ministry, through activities such as arranging flowers, cleaning the silver etc. etc. Admission to local primaries depends on a reference from the priest in which the priest has a certain amount of discretion, we have priests who just want your bums on seats, and priests who are not willing for schools admissions to become subject to that sort of brownie point earning. As I posted in the link above the schools adjudicator has ruled that the admissions criteria for Oratory do discriminate unfairly since not all parents will have the time or resources to devote to these activities, however whether Oratory take notice of the ruling is another matter, it has no legal bite. Our local Anglican Church also posts online a list of things you can do to strengthen your faith school application, which if you did it all would be virtually a full time job....

Copthallresident Mon 04-Mar-13 23:39:43

'Pure' He is, she is a Catholic and has raised the son as a Catholic, in fact the points system for Oratory gives more points to a family where one member is practising and the other not than if both were Catholic but one doesn't attend church frequently enough.

I'm still interested to know if Miriam has been cleaning the silver but as Clegg Jr is apparently at Junior House then presumably his musical ability will have exempted her?

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 04-Mar-13 23:46:51

Copthall I say again to state that people do not have the time to be involved in their parishes is silly. They might not want to be involved. Fair enough. I completely get that. It's their choice. I grew up in an area which has an oversubscribed catholic school (often talked about on these boards) and many of my friends still live there and now have daughters at that school (and it's even more oversubscribed these days) so I do know what it can be like and I am as hmm about convenience Catholics as anyone. But I'm equally hmm about people who claim they don't have time to be involved in their parish. They do have time they just chose to do other things. Which is fine but all choices have consequences.

I'm a bit surprised you keep focussing on arranging the flowers and policing the silver as these are not exactly the most important ministries in the church. Of the top of my head, I know servers, readers, people who take the sacrament to the sick/elderly, people who do youth ministry, people who do music ministry, people who are part of the massive team doing the childrens' liturgy, people involved in stewardship (that might just be something our diocese does) these things are less laughable than 'flower arranging' or 'polishing the silver'. S I guess that's why you didn't mention them.

Where we go on holiday, the PP always tries to press signed newsletters on us when we leave mass at the end presumably because we have school age children. I guess either he gets lots of requests for that sort of thing from holiday makers or that's what they have to do in their own diocese.

Copthallresident Tue 05-Mar-13 00:04:58

Russians From the Oratory website

^Involvement in parish activities:
(a) Assisting in the Liturgy: for example by reading, singing in the choir or playing
an instrument, altar serving, cleaning, flower arranging.
(b) Assisting in parish pastoral work: for example by visiting those in need, participating
in parish groups such as St Vincent de Paul, Catholic Women's League, Union of Catholic
Mothers, Legion of Mary or similar prayer groups or societies.
(c) Assisting in parish administration: for example housekeeping and maintenance of
church property.
Involvement in wider Catholic Church activities:
(a)Assisting in or membership of organisations or groups
(b) Voluntary work: by visiting or helping the sick, housebound or disadvantaged.

Points allocated for service are:
Service over the three years 2
Service of less than three years 1
No service 0^

I actually find it somewhat incredible that they would actually specifically mention cleaning, flower arranging and housekeeping since as far as I know cleanliness being next to godliness was a very Victorian value.

If you can't see that a family suffering the effects of deprivation such as poverty, carer responsibilities, multiple jobs, perhaps a large family to manage may well struggle to find the time required, let alone have the know how and social confidence to become involved in these activities...... There is plenty of evidence to show that even the more usual basic selection on early baptism and mass attendence results in schools that do not have the same social mix as the surrounding community. In the case of the school I mentioned that has the lowest level of Free School Meals in the country, the community primary school next door has ten times as many pupils recieving Free School Meals.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 05-Mar-13 00:23:24

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Copthallresident Tue 05-Mar-13 01:27:41

Actually I was focusing on the cleaning and silver polishing because that is exactly what Catholic friends get so frustrated about, that the convenience catholics focus on activities like that for a couple of years, because they can pop in and get it over with without having to get involved with the sort of bottomless activities they involve themselves in and value within the ministry, such as running the old people's transport services and daycare, and all the endless extra activities that involves them in checking in on them when ill, sorting out their problems and generally providing them with stimulation and support .

You make lot of assumptions about me and my family here which are well wide of the mark , but I don't want to get involved with a Monty Pythonesque "You were lucky" conversation. I don't think it is right or relevent to make this personal, particularly as I actually do find your personal remarks hurtful and offensive. I am not anti Catholic and I am not anti Catholic School, I am not even anti those parents who are convenience Catholics, or convenience Anglicans come to that, accessing state school places in London is becoming ever more difficult and who can blame them for doing the best for their children by any means available to them. However I am against selection procedures that make hypocrites out of parents, and introduce hurdles which discriminate against those who are already disadvantaged.

peteneras Tue 05-Mar-13 07:22:57

Am I supposed to be surprised that London Oratory is admitting Clegg Jr? Way back in 2010 I’d already said junior would be guaranteed a place, never mind what Senior believes or don’t believe; all he had to do was to put his name down.

This is what London Oratory is all about, the well-bred hypocrite of a school that denies scores of poorer kids (the great unwashed, so to speak) but who have higher legitimate claims to a place in the school than the kids from affluent and famous families that London Oratory are so keen in taking.

They talk of testing for “Catholicity” but don’t you for one moment believe in all this crap from these bloody hypocrites that seem to congregate in many of the Governing Boards in many (though not all) of London’s Catholic schools.

SilentSplendidSun Tue 05-Mar-13 07:38:08

On a different note, did you notice how all three of Clegg's children have Spanish names? Guess Nick was roundly ignored or shouted down when it came to the naming bit. grin

<saunters off having lowered the tone of the thread>

Yes Silent that's always amused me.

This thread has made me regret we didn't need 'church' points for dcs schooling. Dh is a deacon in our church (Baptist). He does the PA for services and leads worship as well, also prayer meetings and working in our annual holiday club. I'm on the creche rota, a little pastoral work as and when I can, the flower rota (yes really!) and a turn on the after service prayer rota. We've been attending for nearly two decades. We would have a TON of points!

LaVolcan Tue 05-Mar-13 08:19:30

You wonder what would have happened if an 'outstanding' but non-catholic school had been on his doorstep, and all the catholic ones were further away and only so-so? Somehow I suspect that the need for a Catholic education would take second place.


"This is what London Oratory is all about, the well-bred hypocrite of a school that denies scores of poorer kids (the great unwashed, so to speak) but who have higher legitimate claims to a place in the school than the kids from affluent and famous families that London Oratory are so keen in taking."

One of the reasons why we never even put it down as a preference.

Not that it would have mattered. We did not get into the Vaughn either. <throws money on Education>

JakeBullet Tue 05-Mar-13 09:27:33

Wonder if my DS would get a place....

Catholic -check
Parent catholic -check
Voluntary stuff - he's an altar server -check
Kind and caring child - check

Ah but autistic -strike
Not academic -strike
Free school meals -strike
Not a glitterati family -strike

Hmm guess not then.

Llareggub Tue 05-Mar-13 09:34:13

My DCs go to a Catholic school. I met the Head, had a chat about how I supported the general ethos of the school but wasn't a Catholic. He was more than happy to tell me that he was happy about that and whilst Catholics get priority, he could accept my year 1 child to bring the class size from 29 to 30.

Locally, all primary schools are over-subscribed apart from the really rough ones and I would have done anything to avoid those. I fully accept that I should have remained true to my firmly held beliefs and put my children in one of these schools but in the end my selfish need to put my children first sent me running to the Catholic school.

Quite honestly I feel guilty about it and I thank my lucky stars that I am not a high profile politican or married to one.

peteneras Tue 05-Mar-13 11:08:32

No need to feel guilty, Llareggub, the hypocrites are admitting all and sundry anyway insofar as the kids and their families can boost the school’s profile. Your local Catholic Head is an exception, of course. I have since (reluctantly) vowed to do all I could to dismantle specifically the Catholic schools’ ‘Catholic only’ admissions criterion and advocate ALL Faiths and NO Faith to be allowed into Catholic schools.

I am mightily pleased London Oratory’s backdoor selection process i.e. interviewing kids and their parents has since gone belly up!

Llareggub Tue 05-Mar-13 11:25:44

Our school is quite diverse, probably more so than the local primaries. Our HT was proud to have a number of faiths in the school.

JakeBullet Tue 05-Mar-13 11:28:16

My son is in a Catholic school which has a 40% non catholic intake. I like the mix personally, I am Catholic and so is DS but I like that the school is NOT exclusively Catholic....that would feel far too insuler.

So even if the posh Oratory would take my DS (they wouldn't as doubt we would be "good enough") am not sure I would want him in there anyway.

Not that we live anywhere near it anyhow. Must read thread now to see if any Oratory parents are on here.

BanoffeeSplitz Tue 05-Mar-13 11:57:29

Well at least we know why Gove was hinting they might go private - basically if Clegg Jr hadn't got his place at one of the most elite state schools in the country, they would've done.

maisiejoe123 Tue 05-Mar-13 17:09:57

Tbh - the poor chap cannot win, if he sent his son to a private you would all be having a go at him. Perhaps if he went to a failing school under special measures you would all be happy.

I feel a bit sorry for him!

And it never really harmed Diane Abbott who opted out of the state system and who was spouting off on Question Time the other day. All I can see when I listen to her is whats good for you is certainly not good enough for me......

beginnings Tue 05-Mar-13 17:24:52

PhilJW Can we also note that Nick Clegg's wife's name is Miriam Gonzalez Durantez and not Mrs Clegg! (Apologies for lack of correct accents, am on ipad).

Glad to know that the Oratory hasn't changed in the 27 years since my classmates were applying.

As a matter of interest, where are all these Catholic schools that have a diverse school population of which you speak? Our local Catholic schools are all pretty much fully Catholic and about getting the wink and the nod from the local PP. that's why DD won't be going to any of them. Also she's ten months and not yet baptised. Oops.

Solopower1 Tue 05-Mar-13 17:28:21

Agree, Maisie. It's a state school. Whatever they believe in is irrelevant imo. Clegg is not subscribing to the public school system.

Though I wish it had been through principled objection to the horrible privilege-promoting private school system ...

Does it reflect an earnest desire on his part to make society more equal? The jury's still out on that afaic.

merrymouse Tue 05-Mar-13 18:05:33

I think Fulham is a pretty standard mix for London. Great poverty, next to great wealth. I know there is creeping gentrification, but Hammersmith, West Kensington and Earls Court have plenty of poverty and are known for their Polish and Irish populations.

On the face of it, London Oratory should be very multi-cultural.

frankie4 Tue 05-Mar-13 18:09:42

Clegg obviously wants a long career in politics and knows that he would not be respected if he sent his son to private school. I know he is going to a catholic school, but it is still a state school with larger classes and will still have more of a social mix than a private school. This is a generally positive thing for state education. Maybe he also chose the school because the Blairs have done well there and the school has been discrete in dealing with the child of a high profile politician.

Youthink Tue 05-Mar-13 18:22:09

LOS has many boys who are from very ordinary families. My son is on the spectrum and has good support there. We don't do anything more than most families in the parish- I work fulltime and have 3 children and elderly parents, I have no time for cleaning benches. We don't live nearby either and he travels on the tube each day like many others. In order to do this you have to have the money to pay for the fare so this might deter people.
The year they stopped the interview the intake became far more middle class because the catchment was smaller. They re introduced the interviews to make it more inclusive.

It doesn't have high numbers of FSM but it does have a huge range of backgrounds and families. Many boys speak more than one language.
You may not like the idea of the school but please get your facts right.

KateShrub Tue 05-Mar-13 18:35:35

"Tbh - the poor chap cannot win,"

Er yes he can, he could have sent his child to his local, but less desirable Catholic school, or the local non-Catholic comprehensive, and supported, it joined the PTA, Governors, and so on.

Instead he has chosen one of the most elitist schools in the country.

It's quite obvious from his comments that if he thought he could get away with it he would send his kid to Westminster, but he can't so he has to 'make do' with The Oratory, which takes in only 3% 'low attainers'. Had he not got a place at the Oratory, he would have gone private.

There is a Catholic School less than half the distance from his house - St John Bosco.


In addition, ARK Academy is less than half-a-mile from his house, it is an improving school, and Clegg should be supporting it by sending his child there. According to ARK's head, Clegg didn't even visit it for fuck's sake.

Clegg is a multimillionaire who got an elite education accessible to large degree only to the children of millionaires, and he is continuing in this by sending his child to a socially elite state school where you can't get in unless you plan 10 years ahead, and get baptised before the age of 6 months.

ARK looks like a pretty decent school, and Clegg could use his vast financial resources to top up with tuition, Oxbridge interview coaching, all without anyone batting an eyelid.

However that's not enough for him, because he insists that his child goes to a school where children are selected, not on ability, but on their parents brass-polishing and brown-nosing skills.

merrymouse Tue 05-Mar-13 18:42:30

I think the difficulty is that the more hoops you create, the more you exclude people who have absolutely no idea that the hoops exist. (Hence, I would imagine, fewer FSM at London Oratory).

You can't apply for the London Oratory if you have never heard of it.

On the other hand, hoops aren't specific to the London Oratory. I saw a big notice in the front window of a local estate agent's yesterday asking for houses in catchment area of sought after primary. Said family houses won't leave much change from £1m.

With such a diverse population in the UK, I don't know how you get rid of hoops. Private tuition for all pupils maybe? Able parents will always help their children, whether that means homeschooling them (even if they officially attend a school) or sending them to Eton.

ubik Tue 05-Mar-13 18:47:20

It's all a bit Emperor's New clothes, isn't it.

People pay lip service to a religion which frankly is a load of medieval superstition and which has presided over the most horrendous mistreatment particularly of women and children - look at the magdelene sisters, the child abuse cover ups, the nonsense spouted about homosexuality.

Yet these parents pay lip service to it so they can get their child into a certain selective school to learn about these values which are obviously so dear to them.

Faith schools are divisive to a community and i don't think they should exist, and I particularly don't think exclusive schools such as the Oratory should exist.

KateShrub Tue 05-Mar-13 18:59:18

"The year they stopped the interview the intake became far more middle class because the catchment was smaller. They re introduced the interviews to make it more inclusive. They re introduced the interviews to make it more inclusive.

You may not like the idea of the school but please get your facts right."

Oh my aching sides.

They DIDN'T reintroduce interviews, which are obviously anything but inclusive, since they can very effectively weed out any low-achieving kids through this process - what they did do was reintroduce rules which require parents to detail their brass-polishing, flower-arranging, etc., activities in support of the Catholic church.

What they DID do, is drop the interviews because they were ILLEGAL, and then when they found out that this was reducing the quality of the intake, came up with a long and intrusive form that amounts to an interview, asking what activities you do in support of the Catholic church.

In terms of schools and their precious 5 GCSE pass %, there is really one critical thing - and that is the number of children who enter the school at 11 below level 4. For the Oratory school, their admissions process restrict that to 3%.

In addition, with 66% high attainers, that is children entering at level 5 and above, those children are nailed on to pass 5 good GCSEs - wherever they go to school.

At Clegg's local school, ARK Academy, 97% of high attainers got 5 good GCSEs. At the Oratory, 99% did.

No matter what you say about diversity, FSMs, whatever, the fact is that the Oratory School has excluded low-attaining children from the school. This is not diverse at all. There should be about 30% low attainers, but actually there are 3%.

He has done what all left wingers do when they get a bit of power/money.

Move heaven (find religion) or move earth (multimillion catchments) to get into an exceptional state school.

Then they can smugly criticise all those who go private while thanking the lord/the bank that their kids don't have to mix with the working classes.

It pisses me off but doesn't surprise me.

tiggytape Tue 05-Mar-13 19:01:51

ubik - it may be true that some people stretch (invent) a faith to meet the criteria for a church school but this is probably less the case with Catholic Schools. If anything strict Catholic schools are less open to admission converts because they require early baptism, Holy Communion and other faith criteria that parents cannot rush to meet a year or two in advance. Maybe there are some people who plan school admissions from the day their child is conceived, but generally people who meet the ridiculously strict criteria of some Catholic schools are genuinely practicing Catholics.

Whatever your views on any faith, many people truly believe and it forms a central part of their lives. Many people want a faith education for their children and they have this choice because faith schools existed before community schools did - community schools were built to plug the gaps.

I agree with you though that, because of school place shortages, the issue of faith schools has become more divisive. I have no problem with people choosing a faith school or a community school for their child but too many parents now don't get a choice. When the nearest comp is a faith school that won't admit them (yet they qualify for no other school either being too far away) or when the only state option that exists is a very religious church schools, then I do think this is harder to accept.
When school places weren't so strethed, people could choose to seek out or avoid faith schools according to their beliefs but now some people are denied this choice and are very unhappy with their options.

KateShrub Tue 05-Mar-13 19:15:21

When it comes to parents in London, I'm afraid all bets (if that is not a sin) are off. There are people tutoring from age 5 for 11+ tests, pre-registration waiting lists for tutors.

Hell Heck, there are private schools that require you to put your child's name down at an early age and they cost thousands, and when you consider that in fact London Catholic primary schools are also very desirable and require priest's references and so on, it's really not hard to see that Catholic-for-free-education is a rational choice even from the age of 2 or 3 months.

Copthallresident Tue 05-Mar-13 19:32:04

<Though I hesitate to put my head above the parapet after last nights savaging> I agree with Kate with reference to London, the Catholic Primaries around here have changed in character just in the time since my DDs first started school 15 years ago. They used to have a much more mixed intake but now are heavily oversubscribed and have some of the lowest FSM in the country, indeed in one case the lowest FSM, though next door to a community primary with ten times the percentage on FSM. I don't think there has been a huge surge in genuine or strategic conversions amongst the middle classes though I am sure Catholics are amongst the huge influx of parents and parents to be attracted by successful Primaries but at the same time every year for the last fifteen hundreds of parents find themselves without a primary school place, sometimes even after term starts. You can not blame parents who may have baptised their child to please the family, as we did, then making the decision to flex their Catholicism to access a Catholic Primary as we could have done.... Anecdotally I know this is not uncommon.

guineapiglet Tue 05-Mar-13 19:37:07

Nick Clegg is also an MP in Sheffield. He might have got more kudos if he had chosen to send all his kids to schools in an area he' supposedly' represents - lots of excellent schools there and it would have kept him and his family in touch with the electorate he 'supposedly' champions

< yes Sheffield I hear you ( and I love you!) - you dont want him either>

Llareggub Tue 05-Mar-13 19:37:44

There are 16 different nationalities in my son's year 1 class alone. The HT said there at least 6 different faiths including my own lack of faith.

scottishmummy Tue 05-Mar-13 19:41:29

Like all politicians hes used privilege and power to his advantage
Disgusting given he's self avowed atheist,except til school and privilege
All his right on stuff is ok for ud plebs but for his own child

Copthallresident Tue 05-Mar-13 19:42:08

It has also been interesting to speak to expats from Catholic countries who have secular education systems, such as Italy and Poland, who arrive here and are shocked by the system. They too just want to access a decent education and though they find it shocking do what they have to to..............

KateShrub Tue 05-Mar-13 19:54:38

FSMs are not the key benchmark here I think.

The issue for me is that their selection procedures exclude low-achieving children, which allows them to focus all of their resources on high/middle-achieving children.

The Oratory is in terms of ability profile, a grammar school (albeit not a super-selective one).

People commute/apply to London's grammar schools from all over London, and the same thing happens at the Oratory; as Copthallresident says, there are plenty of people who qualify, like the Cleggs, who aren't local, but will apply to the Oratory because it's an elitist selective school with all that goes with that (higher academic expectations, more intellectual extra-curricular activities (Programming Club, Euclidean Society, etc.)).

London is so densely populated that it's probably true that a good proportion of the Oratory applicants are genuinely Catholic, BUT that doesn't take into account the fact that they have applied to the Oratory ahead of other much closer schools.

Youthink Tue 05-Mar-13 19:55:11

Sorry, my mistake I did mean points not interviews and not at all sure why I posted that line twice to compound the error. However as I said before we do nothing extra at Church and my son got in when it was the points system-
The three other boys from our parish are all from similar families, they go to Mass, children were baptised as babies but nothing more.

bamboostalks Tue 05-Mar-13 19:59:18

How does the selection criteria exclude low achieving children? KateShrub

CloudsAndTrees Tue 05-Mar-13 20:17:16

Nick Clegg is doing what any other parent would do - sending his child to the school he thinks will be best for them out the ones he has access to. Thats all. It's a non issue.

Youthink Tue 05-Mar-13 20:19:36

Yes we have much closer Catholic schools. Some have better results for children at my son's levels, some have worse. Not sure why Catholics have to attend their nearest school as everyone else doesn't have to.

As the school has an image of being traditional, not offering as may exam choices as other schools perhaps it puts off pupils who are looking for less academic options? Our local Catholic school offers far more "vocational" subjects but my son wouldn't cope with them for various reasons.

ll31 Tue 05-Mar-13 20:25:49

have to say i think where he sends his children should be his private business, more particularly his childrens private business.. i think probably most parents can be hypocritical when it comes to their beliefs versus their childrens best interests..

KateShrub Tue 05-Mar-13 20:28:41

bamboostalks, I'm sure you could write an essay on how these criteria work to exclude low-achieving children, but the undeniable fact is that they do.


2 low-attaining children out of 178

You could come up with different criteria that had the same effect, but these criteria undoubtedly exclude low achieving children.

KateShrub Tue 05-Mar-13 20:47:10

Clegg said (here):

" Many parents want to send their children to schools that are run by faith groups or have a faith ethos, and many of those schools are really excellent. Some, including ones in my constituency in Sheffield, do a lot to reach out to other communities and promote inclusion – which I think is hugely important, and more faith schools should make that kind of effort. I'm not hostile to faith schools at all, but I want to make sure they are engines of inclusion/tolerance, not segregation or intolerance."

However he proved this was bollocks by choosing the most segregated Catholic school in Britain.

mam29 Tue 05-Mar-13 20:51:37

Im outside london but read how stressful schools are.

Sadly bristols no better.

I thourght oratory was private as remember the blairs go there.

Miriam is spanish so predominantly roman catholic country.

I non rc from non rc family

we chose to send eldest to smallish roman catholic primary.

she was baptised coe at home parish where grew up and attended.

She was undersubscibed year so have no idea if made a difference.

It had even 50/50 mix I would say not everyone was rc.

It did have high%english as 2nd language due to polish kids not sure if that caused extra pressure.

mostly the faith schools here have better results.

our la has no rc secondry but the nearest one is one of top secondrys in our city so cant blame some for jumping through hoops but clegg has wealth so never has to play that game.

From what i heard an spoken to rc parents cant get their kids into the secondry even if baptised, holy communion, rc primary attend chirch as oversubscribed and takes from such a wide area.

I have freind whos non rc who kidding herself she can get her 7year old baptised and into rc secondry.

But I told her its yera long conversio cause to become roman catholic then she needs to get child baptised think catholisms harder to join to be honest more so than coe.

I admit im prepared to go coe church more to get kids onto the top performing and only coe faith secondry.

shes left the rc school and moved to coe but coes admissions at primary here are distance not faith.

Looking at where faitrh schools situated affleunt areas it will always be full of mostly middleclass as its harder to get into..

wonder what year daves eldest starts seniors shes in coe primary
I guess child security is important factor too.

bamboostalks Tue 05-Mar-13 20:51:48

Yes but how? The data shows they have few low achievers but how does the selection criteria engineer that exactly?

What CloudsAndTrees said. wink

Smudging Tue 05-Mar-13 21:20:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KateShrub Tue 05-Mar-13 21:26:09

There are many reasons. One would be that the rules are so complicated that those who are able to comply with are disproportionately going to be parents who are concerned about their children's education, and this group is going to include very few low attainers.

Another would be that requiring baptism before 6 months, regular mass attendance, voluntary activities, and so on, excludes children from unstable backgrounds, who are the most likely not to achieve at school.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 05-Mar-13 21:37:57

Despite my earlier comment, I have read the thread with interest, but I am honestly struggling to understand why it matters where Nic Clegg's child goes to school.

What difference does it make to anyone else?

merrymouse Tue 05-Mar-13 21:52:38

Because if state schools aren't good enough for politicians' children (and they decide on educational policy), why would anybody else have any confidence in the state system?

Also, I think many lib dems are against faith schools. (Can't remember if it is an actual party policy).

merrymouse Tue 05-Mar-13 21:54:55
StoicButStressed Tue 05-Mar-13 22:00:01

Have just scan read thread as exhausting and rough day. To me is VEREEE simple:

1 - I DO believe and understand that Miriam (Spanish) and Nick (English and not as devout as Miriam) IS a 'proper' Catholic - IE NOT the 'convenient Catholic. Ergo have no issue at all with their DCs following an appropriate Faith School route if qualify.

2 - Blairs boys went to London Oratory - utter piss take on every family DESP to get THEIR DC into a half decent school.

3 - Anyone who thinks the Oratory has not been overrun by rich enough to live within travel distance (av. price for small house c.£700K?) AND the time TO polish the Silver/flower arranging in the few - uber strategic parentally - years before application is, frankly, deluded.

And ALL of that matters as ALL of OUR DC's deserve a decent bloody education.

Super8 Tue 05-Mar-13 22:03:58

Copthall, I think your posts are pretty spot on. Ya need sharp elbows in my parish to even get on the cleaning/polishing the silver rota…never mind the flower arranging rota….i think you need a phd or similar to be allowed to take part in anything more “intellectual” such as liturgy…and you need to be very confident to push yourself into these sometimes unwelcoming groups…ya gotta be the right kinda catholic.

I grew up in a catholic country… I never ever heard or “knew” that you must baptise your baby by six months….Talk about not knowing about the bloody hoops. My daughter goes to a rc school in south London…we’ve just gone through secondary transfer…the well educated middle class parents kids off to the elite rc secondaries…the rest well they are off to the local rc secondary with mediocre results.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 05-Mar-13 22:05:37

I'm not sure it makes a difference what they said in their manifesto. Nic Clegg is a parent before he's an MP, and he is only one half of a couple that gets to make decisions about their child's schooling.

Should his wife have had no say in where her child goes to school because of her husbands job? Would people really have more respect for Nic Clegg if he used his child's education to score political points?

And this school is a state school.

merrymouse Tue 05-Mar-13 22:15:07

As I said before, I would be very surprised if there aren't many, many poor Catholics living very close to London Oratory, it being in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. How far away do pupils have to live to be within travel distance? It's only about 3 miles south of Shepherd's Bush.

I understand the Westfield Shopping Centre is considered to be quite nice, but I didn't think it had regenerated the area that much?

CloudsAndTrees Tue 05-Mar-13 22:31:08

Poor Catholics aren't actively prevented from going there though are they?

I realise there are a lot of hoops to jump through, but they don't cost money. I can see why people don't think schools funded by state money should have entry criteria based on faith, but that is a separate issue to the one about which school Clegg Junior goes to,

edam Tue 05-Mar-13 22:40:54

Nick's clearly keen for his children to avoid mixing with the hoi polloi - those nice people he's supposed to represent and who pay his wages. The London Oratory excludes ordinary kids - I'm sure Clegg will be very happy he'll not have to risk bumping into 'the wrong sort' at parents evening.

Am chortling at the post that referred to him as a left winger - in what, way, exactly?! What has he EVER done that could possibly be described as left-wing? He's an economic liberal i.e. closer to Thatcher than Labour. Very pro the EU. But has pursued policies that harm the poor and the vulnerable and threaten the survival of the NHS - not very left-wing at all.

edam Tue 05-Mar-13 22:43:28

The hoops are there to stop poor children getting in. They may not involve handing over cold hard cash, but they do discriminate against vulnerable families, who are less likely to be able to play the system. I wonder whether they get the nanny to do the flower rota?

StoicButStressed Tue 05-Mar-13 22:47:15

But point is Msr. Clegg lives in Putney, NOT Hammersmith or Fulham, and very DEF not in Shepherds Bush etc (Cleggs in in a veree naice >>£1m house in Putney)... Putney being WAY further than many nearer boroughs, and de facto presumably further away than significant number of fully fledged and well intent Catholics IN those boroughs who have NOT been offered places. As said previously, my understanding is that Clegg Junior DOES 'fit' the religious 'criteria'... but I would be STAGGERED if there were not, other equally 'qualified', candidates who might be nearer yet did not get a place.

And the fact Tony Blair's DS's went there, when there is a MUCH nearer RC school with way less good results/way less 'middle class' strategic entries IS unfortunately the thing that makes you go a bit hmm about Clegg Junior admission. Ditto fact Blairs used Sacred Heart in Hammersmith - when AGAIN, much nearer faith schools to No.10 where living at the time.

System stinks IMHO.

merrymouse Tue 05-Mar-13 22:53:51

Not to stand up for the Cleggs too much, but Fulham is just over the bridge from Putney, so Clegg Jr might be able to walk to school, depending on which bit of Putney they live in.

Anyway, my point was the same as yours, which is that there is no need for the London Oratory not to have a more mixed demographic, if they are just another local Catholic school.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 05-Mar-13 22:56:44

If he has other RC schools closer to his home, then that's a fair point, but I don't think there is anyone fundamentally wrong with parents having a choice of schools. We shouldn't be obliged to send our children to the nearest school just for the sake of it if there is another one that suit them better somewhere else. My children don't go to the closest schools, and I wouldn't be very happy at being forced to send them to the closest schools for no reason.

I don't think hoops are there just to stop poor children getting in. They might be there to ensure that all parents are like minded, but that's not the same thing.

LaVolcan Tue 05-Mar-13 22:59:06

As said previously, my understanding is that Clegg Junior DOES 'fit' the religious 'criteria'... but I would be STAGGERED if there were not, other equally 'qualified', candidates who might be nearer yet did not get a place.

I think that's the key question for me too. Are there any sink estates nearby which would normally be in the catchment area?

Shagmundfreud Tue 05-Mar-13 23:08:55

I think faith schools should ignore the parents altogether, as it's not the parents who are attending the school. It's the children.

They should only admit children who pass a lie detector test showing they TRULY believe in the existence of hell and the virgin birth.

It'd be very interesting. I suspect the class sizes would end up being on the small size.

CecilyP Tue 05-Mar-13 23:27:51

Of course there is social housing within reasonable distance of the school. But proximity to the school is not any part of its oversubscription criteria, so it has no catchment. However, Putney is really not very far - just a couple of stops on the tube so it is not an unreasonable choice for the Cleggs.

The hoops do effectively prevent lower ability children entering the school; as someone said upthread, the ability spread is very similar to some of the less selective grammar schools. While it is reasonable for a Catholic school to favour Catholic families, the LO does seem to pick and choose its Catholics very carefully.

LaVolcan Tue 05-Mar-13 23:43:27

DH was brought up as a Catholic and according to him some of his aunts lived in Church. They were working class of Irish extraction. That should make them ideal candidates for a Catholic school. I wonder how many like that would get in?

StoicButStressed Tue 05-Mar-13 23:58:39

Know Clegg's address (though obv not going to post it... do NOT want men in uniform with guns on my doorstepshockgrin and they very def do NOT live Putney Bridge/just over bridge from Fulham bit... Abide in the UBER expensive at furthest poss distance from that bit. And yep, LOTS of 'sink estates' nearer from Clem Atlee Court/Lille Road in Fulham (walking distance...); West Ken estate (ditto) - you get gist. And i find it very hard to believe there are NOT families there who are RC but do NOT have the same strategic entry opps as many other.

Bed now, rant at politicians condemning soooooo many DCs to horrific schools whilst ensuring THEIR DC's get into best is now over...

Copthallresident Wed 06-Mar-13 00:15:05

La Volcan Do you mean would the aunts get in? confused <imagines classroom filled with Mrs Doyles> Actually I think you will find it is the daughters and granddaughters of those Irish working class aunts that are jumping through the hoops to get their DSs into these schools but they aren't working class, and once mission is accomplished they will NOT be doing any more cleaning.....

Clouds I don't think many would say that the criteria are designed to exclude the disadvantaged, poor and low attainers, I am sure they are designed to ensure the school serves the Catholic community. If you read the school adjudicators report which has ruled the service criteria discriminatory (link further back) they accepted as much, however the unintended side consequence is that the poor, the disadvantaged and the parents of low attainers are less likely to know about and be able to fulfil those commitments.

Shag Going on DDs' friends at Oratory, you can lead a horse to water etc.

LaVolcan Wed 06-Mar-13 00:28:49

imagines classroom filled with Mrs Doyles grin grin Can't see the Oratory going for that somehow.

LaVolcan Wed 06-Mar-13 00:33:32

What about the Polish/other eastern European communities? Don't they baptise later, but are every bit as devout as DHs aunts? Would they get in?

KateShrub Wed 06-Mar-13 00:45:28

Clegg's address has been picketed before by protesters, it's not a secret. It's twice as far from the Oratory as his local Catholic school (which is not nearly as elitist), and more than four times as far as the ARK Academy, which is their local school, which they didn't even visit.

On Stoic's point, Daddy Clegg is in fact an atheist (although he no longer proclaims this bluntly like he used to) and no kind of Catholic at all. Mummy is the Catholic.

In terms of a Catholicness (?) test, I think being baptised is a reasonable requirement, but excluding a child for being baptised at 7 months rather than 5 months, or indeed AGE 7, is absurd. Anything beyond a simple 'send us your baptism certificate' is going to be more and more exclusive.

Wishihadabs Wed 06-Mar-13 06:09:08

I am just shock that an atheist would countenance sending their dcs to a faith school at all. I know LO has good exam results, but allowing your children to be exposed to all that superstition and guilt jeez. I'd rather have well adjusted dcs with mediocre exams. (I went to sacred heart, db to LO). DH is an atheist and against all faith schools no way would he send the dcs.

fairylightsinthesnow Wed 06-Mar-13 07:13:39

But his wife is not an atheist and he has allowed his kids to have a Catholic upbringing, its not like he's just suddenly appeared at the altar in the last 2 years. Ultimately, it is a selective school, they can pick who they like and they have picked Clegg Jnr. I think it is highly unlikely that Clegg Snr would risk the political fall out of it being discovered they had not in fact met the criteria. It would be less damaging to just go private than that. You can disagree with faith schools, selective schools, sharp elbowed MC parents all you like, but the Cleggs are doing nothing that most of us wouldn't do to send our kids to the bests school for them. I live in Herts - some of the best schools in the county are in Harpenden which is one of the most expensive places in the country to live. Only a few areas that are less affluent, like Batford and some areas of Redbourn get their kids into one of the three state schools, two of which are standard comps (the other is C of E). many parents spend £££ on their mortgage every month to live near enough to get a place and then are self righteous about the fact they are not sending their kids private but it amounts to the same thing. They are buying a place in a school, just doing it via their mortgage instead of fees. I find that less palatable than what the Cleggs have done. (Though I get why they do it and would probably do the same if I had the funds as I would rather my kids went to a Harpenden school than where I currently live)

Wishihadabs Wed 06-Mar-13 07:37:21

Just expressing my surprise

JakeBullet Wed 06-Mar-13 07:39:02

I think his wife is the key here, she is a staunch Catholic so those children will have had a Catholic input from early on and gone to Mass, Holy days of obligation etc, they more than meet the criteria.

My DS and I are aCatholic too....genuinely so but only in the last two years so we would not count. DS is already in a Catholic school but wasn't Catholic when he started in Reception....he was baptised last year in Y4 and did his first Holy Communion a few weeks later. Not good enough for the Oratory I doubt....but as we live nowhere near it doesn't matter....he will go to the local Catholic secondary where again 40% of children will not be Catholic....and tbh I prefer that.

...unless of course I can get him into a special school (he is autistic) but that appears as difficult as the Oratory grin

notfluffy Wed 06-Mar-13 07:40:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JakeBullet Wed 06-Mar-13 07:45:31

I would also say @wish that DS knows lots of people have different faiths or none at all. The school despite being Catholic has a large non Catholic intake as well which they cater for. As such there are lots of discussions about faith there and none. Half the teachers are non Catholic too as are some f the Governing body. I think this is right and healthy....too much of one thing makes it all very insular.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 06-Mar-13 07:56:12

but the Cleggs are doing nothing that most of us wouldn't do to send our kids to the bests school for them.

This is the point. I find it very hard to believe that most parents wouldn't do exactly the same in their position. Plenty of parents do whatever they possibly can to ensure their children get the best education possible, their jobs are irrelevant. Clegg's role as a parent is more important than his role as an MP, and while I don't particularly like the man anyway, I'd have a lot less respect for him if he didn't do his best for his children and used them to score political points.

notfluffy Wed 06-Mar-13 08:18:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BanoffeeSplitz Wed 06-Mar-13 08:28:29

^I think faith schools should ignore the parents altogether, as it's not the parents who are attending the school. It's the children.

They should only admit children who pass a lie detector test showing they TRULY believe in the existence of hell and the virgin birth.

It'd be very interesting. I suspect the class sizes would end up being on the small size. ^

Shagmundfreud, that's a fascinating idea - would certainly be a boon for a highly religious 10 year old whose parents are atheists and refuse to baptise him / her or take them to church let alone do extra flower arranging wink.

But - tbf - (to the best of my knowledge) the main point of faith schools is for parents to have their children indoctrinated into the faith of their choice, whether the child is a believer at the age of 10/11 or not.

BanoffeeSplitz Wed 06-Mar-13 08:29:36

(italics didn't work for me: in between the ^ ^ is a quote from further upthread)

LaVolcan Wed 06-Mar-13 09:07:11

Course the real problem is that all schools aren't as good as each other, and there are insufficient places (in London anyway.)

If any government could seriousl iron out both of these problems then the debate would go away - he'd probably then choose the nearest Catholic school and be done with it.

And since Clegg's in Government, what's he trying to do about the inequalities......?

Copthallresident Wed 06-Mar-13 09:07:52

Banoffee I am against exclusive faith schools but I am not against Catholic Schools, because I understand that some parents are either devoutly Catholic and want their children to be educated in the context of their faith, or culturally Catholic and find the ethos one they want for their children, I have no idea whether Miriam is one or the other, but I respect her right to seek that type of education, and Nick Clegg to be comfortable with it . However it is more about values than indoctrination, I don't know any parents from either category who are naive enough to think that their DCs are going to swallow hook line and sinker the whole dogma, more likely the more you try to force feed the more it will be questioned. I know DSs who went to OS, some very well and if any parents think that by getting them into OS their DSs are not going to party, get drunk, take drugs etc. push at the boundaries , question, along with all the other pupils in West London schools they are also very wrong but I do think there is a underlying thoughtfulness about how they relate to others that sometimes you do not encounter in pupils in non faith schools whose parents, shall we say, have not communicated those values to them.

However limit the extent of faith selection so children are not excluded on the basis of parental faith and ability to fulfil the faith criteria, and introduce banding to ensure a mix of abilities and OS would be an "ordinary state school", albeit a Catholic one, and we could get rid of all the hypocrisy and unfairness.

StoicButStressed Wed 06-Mar-13 10:26:06

What Super8 said.... Ya need sharp elbows in my parish to even get on the cleaning/polishing the silver rota… never mind the flower arranging rota….i think you need a phd or similar to be allowed to take part in anything more “intellectual” such as liturgy…and you need to be very confident to push yourself into these sometimes unwelcoming groups …ya gotta be the right kinda catholic. YY Super as I think her obs are SPOT-ON... & both a true and damning inditement of a lot of churches (whether RC or CE) and 'Faith' schools.

As, whereTF is the humanity or Christianity in any of THAT? (Or am I missing something????) Ditto, upthread, the point made re DCs in those estates and DCs with less stability etc - would LOVE to know what the Oratory does in terms of outreach programmes to help enable and thus include THOSE kids? THAT might make it all seem a bit less than a virtually private school largely filled with DCs of non-poor, middle class strategic parenting/'choice' of where live, sharp-elbowed, parents the elite (& seemingly preserved as such by the Headhmm) school it it.

Some of my experiences of people who loudly claim how 'of faith' they are, are some of the least 'Christian' bods have ever met.. Super8's 'sometimes unwelcoming' groups (from those IN Church?) being a pretty good example. I personally am with the posters who have explained why they don't like Faith schools, but think I'd feel a TAD more comfortable with it if they at least ACTED in ways that ARE a bit more Christian - i.e. Oratory reaching out to those who DON'T have the same opps as maybe other DC's do?

StoicButStressed Wed 06-Mar-13 10:28:55

'School it IS' - obv. Not 'school it it' ...

Farewelltoarms Wed 06-Mar-13 10:30:46

I just don't get this thing about Catholic parents needing to educate their children in a school with that ethos. I notice that this desperate need seems to be abandoned where there are non-catholic grammars or the nearest outstanding school is non-faith. They don't reject Oxbridge in favour of some sort of seminary.
Was Clegg looking at a Catholic private school as his alternative? I doubt it, because the best privates in London aren't faith schools. (By my own experience at a convent school, I'd say the very worst privates are Catholic).
If he'd opted for Westminster school as mooted, how would they have coped without this oh-so important Catholic ethos?

OhDearConfused Wed 06-Mar-13 10:59:33

"Good schools" or the "School that is best for his DS" is of course a euphemism for "a school with people like us".

That is why this provokes this reaction. He may or may not want catholicism, but it is hard to see why the nearer RC school is not "good" other than it has a greater social mix (which of course often - not always - goes hand in hand with lower results - position in league tables also being a proxy for how MC a school is).

LaVolcan Wed 06-Mar-13 11:12:53

Ditto, upthread, the point made re DCs in those estates and DCs with less stability etc - would LOVE to know what the Oratory does in terms of outreach programmes to help enable and thus include THOSE kids?

E.g. what sort of outreach is The Oratory doing for Traveller children, who are just as likely to be practising Catholics, will have been baptised at the 'right' time, made their first Communion etc.

majurormi Wed 06-Mar-13 11:20:40

This post sickens me and reeks of sour grapes. The Clegg boy attends a Catholic primary and has a right to the school. Each of us chooses what is right for our children and hope that they fit the criteria to gain a place. His wife is Catholic, she wanted a Catholic education for their child, there is nothing wrong with that decision. One poster railed against his not looking at ARK Academy - you vultures would have pounced on that one if he got in too. As his wife is a Catholic she probably follows the baptismal rules and church attendance rules required. This is not elitist, it is set out in Vatican II (children should be baptised with in 6 months of birth). Volunteering at the church, is something active parishioners do at all churches, regardless of the faith. The LOS is not elitist, it just cheery picks the most devout Catholics. My son did not get in, despite being a good Catholic we were ranked 314, that is the breaks, I accept that others ranked higher.

To the poster that knocked them for having Spanish names, shame on you. You can criticise Clegg for his politics but not what he names his children.

Would you all have been happy had he gone private? Let's not forget his tax dollars (which are higher than many of us pay) fund the state school system. His family has just as much right to it as anyone. If they meet the criteria so be it.

GreenEggsAndNichts Wed 06-Mar-13 11:32:42

eh. Parents of other children care, but I'm sure the Church doesn't care one whit about whether or not the parents of the children they accept are truly devotedly Catholic. The Church is happy to get a new generation of devotees and tithers, and the parents get their children the education they want.

Yes, this is the sound of someone who went to Catholic school. My mother was actually very religious, and Catholic up until the point in the 80's when the Church declared that her friends had deserved to die of AIDS because of their own actions. angry She converted, but I stayed at Catholic school.

The difference is, where I grew up, if you want to attend a religious school, you need to pay fees for it. It is essentially a private school. If you are a member of that religion, you have reduced fees, but it's often still quite expensive. I'm not sure I agree with the system here. Not that it makes any difference what I think. smile

I'd personally like for DS to attend Catholic school, as it's the system I know, if that makes sense. I also like the idea of him learning the religious things I was taught at school (getting that in there before someone tells me to teach him at home- I wouldn't have learnt any of it at home if it were left to that). If it weren't physically awkward to get him to the local Catholic school, I'd do it. And that's not a class thing; our local primary is the one everyone wants their children to attend.

LaVolcan Wed 06-Mar-13 12:01:20

As far as I read the thread, few people are objecting to his sending his son to a Catholic school. The two questions that most of us have raised - why isn't his local Catholic school considered good enough, and how is the one he has chosen open to Catholics who are not wealthy and not 'the right sort'?

You say majurormi that it cherry picks the most devoted Catholics, but they have very few children on FSM. Are the wealthy really more devoted than the poor?

No Majourim, the point is politicians to the left like to talk the talk about how state schools are wonderful and we should all support them, blah, blah, yet when it comes down to it, they do everything they can to elbow their way to get their children to the most exclusive state schools they can and sod the rest of us.

I'm afraid I know plenty of Labour/Lib Deb councillors etc who have done exactly the same. Suddenly, they forget they were atheists, or they forget how much they liked that area: suddenly when the kid is 3 yrs old, they move somewhere with what they perceive to be 'better' schools.

They are hypocrites.

merrymouse Wed 06-Mar-13 12:30:17

I don't think it is sour grapes.

The state system works on the basis that every child in the UK should be able to attend a school from 4-18 that will enable them to reach their full potential.

Teachers/parents/children in state schools have raft after raft of government policies imposed on them by government that are supposed to be the magic bullet that will enable all schools to do this. (I am thinking of Gove rather than Clegg at this point).

However, we are all supposed to happily believe that class size makes no difference to teaching, and substandard buildings and facilities have no affect on learning. (Here I am thinking of the shortage of primary school places in London and other parts of the country). Teachers are supposed to be able to solve all social problems/teach a class where there isn't a common shared mother tongue/advise on nutrition/gangs/sex ed etc. etc. with no more resources than they had back in the day when all you had to know about discipline was which implement to use, and those who weren't good with letters could work with their hands.

If the education system works, why do politicians always cherry pick their children's school?

I can understand why Nick Clegg sent his child to the Oratory, and I don't see why he should have to send his child to a failing secondary while spending all his time being a governor/raising funds for the PTA/tutoring his children. He has a job.

However, I don't see why anybody else should have to do that either.

StoicButStressed Wed 06-Mar-13 12:48:14

N.B Truly SWEAR this really IS what a Vicar (the Vicar who was conducting my Mums' funeral) hmm did yesterday... So on note of oft observed 'less-than-Christian' behaviour, & I don't think that observation is off topic, as suspect is lot of 'un'-Christian behaviour by those who manipulate way into these schools, and then even WITHIN some Churches who feed into those schools (as per Super8 'unwelcoming groups'); here's what this proclaimed Christian did yesterday, half an hour before my beautiful Mumma's funeral?

She had a shit-fit (no other way describe it) at DS1 when he got to church hour before 2.30 service with his (tiny/v discreet but essential) amp for song he was singing/playing his guitar for his beloved Nanny. Family friend already at church rang me to help/speak to vicar. Was now 2pm and I was due to leave with other DS's. Spoke vicar, reminded her she had KNOWN this was happening?; that - funnily enough - & as politely as I could under circsangry, this REALLY wasn't a great time for issues suddenly appear/me being tied up on phone etc. as: i) had crying child downstairs (DS3/11); ii) had just lost my Mum(??!); iii) I/we HAD to leave NOW for MY MUM'S FUNERAL? (Still cannot quite believe this actually happened - was nuts).

The astounding woman of Christianity Vicar proceeded, like she was on some pre-menstrual roll or something, to THEN rant about "Oh, & ANOTHER thing....", & kept me on phone as she bitched about the Orders of Service; the fact that my BFF was 'performing' (he is well-known/famous, think she overlooked fact he was there simply as best mate/loves our family, & was just singing for/to Mum?); & just on & on & ON until 2.20pm, IE 10 minutes before my Mum's FUNERAL started? And a good 15min. drive away? She, v. literally, made me/us late (& beyond distraught/stressed) for Mumma's funeralsad - & did so knowingly as I KEPT saying "Please, I HAVE to get off the phone now/we are X miles away?" So, we WERE late for Mumma's funeral (kinda last thing you'd want huh?) & SOLELY due to her? Not remotely 'Christian' as I understand the word?

DS1 did do as planned, and it was beautiful (do please listen, it is just the most beautiful farewell to his beloved Nanny) - - but HIS humanity (& many others) way outstripped the not so lovely Christian Vicar's humanity/'Christian' behaviour.

Shagmundfreud Wed 06-Mar-13 12:54:35

"Let's not forget his tax dollars (which are higher than many of us pay fund the state school system. His family has just as much right to it as anyone."

The tax dollars of the non-catholic family living right next door to the school also fund church schools, but they are descriminated against when it comes to applying.

And anyway - why is this about the beliefs and values of the parents? It's the child who will be attending the school, not the parents. How is it fair for the non-catholic child who may live right next door to the school, who has NO CHOICE as to their faith or the church going (or otherwise) habits of their parents? All they want is the right to a tax payer funded state education, which is what church schools provide.

lainiekazan Wed 06-Mar-13 12:57:33

There is a Catholic boys' secondary school in the town near me. It's funny how people will come over all religious to get their dds into the girls' Catholic school, which has a good academic reputation, but otoh don't care in the slightest when it comes to their sons, as the boys' school is not considered good.

Anyway, I'm sure Clegg will be out of parliament and into a cushy number elsewhere come 2015 so he has figured that he doesn't need to give a damn whether voters think he's a hypocrite.

lrichmondgabber Wed 06-Mar-13 13:02:10

well cleggy tested the water and bowed to public opinion

CalamityJan Wed 06-Mar-13 13:02:13

The problem (if you think there is one) is not with the Cleggs deciding to take a perfectly legitimate route open to them to get a place in a selective state school. They meet the criteria, many highly motivated aspirational parents apply to schools with various selective admissions processes.

The problem (if there is one) is with faith schools admissions within the system as a whole, and the London Oratory's own admissions process within that. I find it quite outrageous that admission to any state funded school should rely so heavily on the applicants activities outside the education system. And especially outrageous that admission should rely so heavily on the parents leisure time activities!

This is the basis of the 'back door' selection. Given that once the piety points are added up admission is by random ballot I don't know how else they have a FSM % so much lower than most London schools in areas of mixed demography, or how the % of cohort labelled 'high achievers' is so high compared with other mixed ability schools. It must be the parents with the time and determination and ability to be able to carry out all this flower arranging and silver polishing.
On the other hand, it does give an equal chance to a kid from a devout family living on a council estate in Hackney an equal opportunity to get into a socially / religiously selective school. I wonder how the FSM % of pupils compares with the FSM% of applicants overall ? Are the economically disadvantaged put off applying? I am assuming that catholics are not as a group of higher academic ability and higher earning power than the population as a whole?

Maybe that's the answer!

Anyway, good luck to Clegg Jnr, starting secondary is a big jump for all kids, and most don't have MN poring over the choices of named and identified children.

Nicecuppachar Wed 06-Mar-13 13:15:01

*People pay lip service to a religion which frankly is a load of medieval superstition and which has presided over the most horrendous mistreatment particularly of women and children - look at the magdelene sisters, the child abuse cover ups, the nonsense spouted about homosexuality.

Yet these parents pay lip service to it so they can get their child into a certain selective school to learn about these values which are obviously so dear to them.

Faith schools are divisive to a community and i don't think they should exist, and I particularly don't think exclusive schools such as the Oratory should exist.*

I agree. The sooner state funded schools based on superstition and magic are banned, the better.

JakeBullet Wed 06-Mar-13 13:18:49

I would be happy to see the State take over all the faith schools but it would be expensive quite honestly. The money isn't there to do it so we have no option but to accept it....unless people want yet another thing to come out if their taxes.

The Bible is based on ancient books and writings....loads for debate there so not all myth and magic.

Nicecuppachar Wed 06-Mar-13 13:27:46

True. But based on fact, it ain't.

I'm surprised at Miriam being a Cafflic. I was always under the impression she was a feminist. hmm

StoicButStressed Wed 06-Mar-13 13:42:13

Woah - Majurormi, you have just utterly proved the point I was making above....

- 'despite being a good Catholic we were ranked...' So as a 'good Catholic', I'm guessing that does/would imply you have certain standards of humanity; tolerance; a deep faith (with all that usually carries...) - right?

- 'This post sickens me and reeks of sour grapes.' Eh? Other people's valid opinions 'sicken' you? And you 'judge' that fact? And worse, 'label' as 'sour grapes'?

- 'The LOS is not elitist, it just cheery [sic] picks the most devout Catholics.' Really? REALLY? Then I'm baffled as to how the Blair boys got in, as they were nowhere near as devout as Ms Clegg is, or indeed as 'devout' as you do genuinely sound and as vile as you unfortunately sound towards others.

- 'One poster railed against his not looking at ARK Academy - you vultures would have pounced on that one if he got in too' ' You VULTURES??? Nice, Majurormi, nice. Only problem with that is I haven't seen any 'vultures' here? Ditto, is a faintly staggering - and presumptive - judgement on others. Yep, uber full of 'faith' and humanity not.

- 'Let's not forget his tax dollars (which are higher than many of us pay) fund the state school system.' Err, as do ALL of ours (and conversely, just as his might be higher than some; others may well be higher than his) 'fund the state school system'. Even people like me who ended up with NO choice but to send my 2 youngest DS's to a private school but de facto STILL 'fund the state school system'. Whatever taxes any of us do or do not pay, that still has NO bearing on the simple fact that ALL of our children should have a right to, and access to, a good education in the state school system?

A system which is broken; fails a vast number of our children; and has been battered by politicians for own political (& VERY non child-centric reasons) for years. And THAT is why people are, legitimately, affronted by those who play the system and get THEIR DCs the education & safety denied to so many other - equally of worth - children. And now worsened by the fact that Clegg reneged on manifesto re Uni tuition fees, which by definition WILL affect the poorest in our soceity hardest, and WILL (and already has) stopped many DCs from going to Uni. Hardly an act of helping social mobility (but NOT one that will in any way affect the Cleggs as they WILL be able to help THEIR DC's); and suspect that too is why people may be affronted at his self-serving behaviour - again a view that any of us IS ENTITLED TO, and just as you are to yours. Although ideally without the judgements; the insults; etc etc ETC.

TBH, the only 'sour grapes' I can detect from your post are your own. Ditto, how a 'devout' Catholic or any normal decent human being believes they can insult - and JUDGE (cast not stones etc.?) - others for voicing their own very valid opinions is just beyond me.

JakeBullet Wed 06-Mar-13 13:47:13

Some is fact based and can be verified to certain times but others such as Genesis certainly not. ...although some have suggested I have no proof it ain't grin. My feeling is Genesis was written at the time of Exodus when people were writing down their history and legends and myths passed down were written as fact.

Generally though the message I follow is of the New Testament which was about love and compassion for others......and Jesus did not discriminate and say "only love Catholics" etc. this is why I believe there needs to be a healthy mix in schools and they should be state run. Religion should not be a part of the equation.

My DS is in a Catholic school because it was the only school with a place when we moved here...he wasn't Catholic at the time but loves all the smells and bells of the church and is right in there as an altar server. I am thankful to the local Catholic Church who have accepted my DS just as he is (he is autistic) and welcomed him as an altar server. This was his choice and not mine......lots of children in his class are not Catholic and even the Catholic children rarely attend Mass. DS loves it.....but only on a Sunday. Midweek is a bit too much even for him.

CalamityJan Wed 06-Mar-13 13:56:55

The value added scores at LOS are not terrific, anyway.

Jake - the state does pay for the education at faith schools. Though there would be an issue with many of the buildings.

LaVolcan Wed 06-Mar-13 15:11:24

JakeBullet - that's really good to hear and what the Church should be about.

OhDearConfused Wed 06-Mar-13 15:12:21

There is no such thing as a catholic child ((c) Richard Dawkins), only a child with catholic parents.

GrendelsMum Wed 06-Mar-13 16:05:58

As I understand it, Miriam Gonzales Durantez is a practicing Catholic, and as such is keen for her children to attend a Catholic secondary school, as well as a well-regarded school. Which doesn't sound too unreasonable to me.

She might even think that her children's education is more important than her husband's political role, or what strangers might have to say about her choices.

Having worked with teenagers from some other Catholic state secondary schools around London, I wouldn't worry too much about the kids being brainwashed wink

merrymouse Wed 06-Mar-13 16:31:50

I don't have any problem with Nick Clegg doing what is necessary to ensure that his son receives a good education.

I do take his actions as an indication that he, as Deputy Prime Minister, has no faith that this kind of education will be available at a run of the mill Putney Comp (the only choice for the vast majority of Putney residents, assuming they don't have lots of spare cash), any time soon.

KateShrub Wed 06-Mar-13 16:43:36

I think the run-of-the-mill Putney Comp is probably better than average tbh.

Wandsworth schools are generally very good.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 06-Mar-13 17:30:50

Run of the mill comps will always be either negatively or positively affected by their intake, no matter how good they are.

Youthink Wed 06-Mar-13 18:22:53

I am sure that the cost of travelling on the tube to and from school does deter some families which could partly account for low FSM numbers.

CecilyP Wed 06-Mar-13 18:36:17

No, travel for the under 16s is free.

JakeBullet Wed 06-Mar-13 19:02:34

Yes am aware the State already pays for faith was more the land and buildings I was thinking of.

JakeBullet Wed 06-Mar-13 19:03:39

merrymouse you have made a very good point there,

GrendelsMum Wed 06-Mar-13 19:40:27

But why assume (particularly on the Mumsnet Education forums) that the boy's father got the deciding vote in his education rather than his mother?

How are we to know that Miriam Gozales Durantez didn't have the strong preference over the choice of school, and Nick Clegg accepted it?

GrendelsMum Wed 06-Mar-13 19:40:50

Gosh, maybe the boy himself even had a preference for one school over another.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 06-Mar-13 19:46:05

Exactly Grendels.

How many of the people criticising Clegg on here would be prepared to send their child to a particular school on the basis that it would make their husband look good to his friends for a couple of days before it all gets forgotten about anyway?

Youthink Wed 06-Mar-13 20:06:07

No it is free on the bus but they pay on the tube.

merrymouse Thu 07-Mar-13 06:22:36

How lucky they are to have a choice.

merrymouse Thu 07-Mar-13 06:46:51

Also, I'm not sure that it does more for nick clegg's credibility as a champion of Wandsworth state schools and leader of government if he would have been completely happy for his son to attend any local secondary, but his wife and child weren't quite convinced.

LaVolcan Tue 12-Mar-13 20:16:39

We mentioned 'convenience catholicism'

Here is a funny cartoon from The Guardian about the same.

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