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to be getting alarmed at how Catholic the Catholic school is?

(176 Posts)
ButterP Tue 18-Oct-11 01:22:41

I know, I know...

I really didn't want DD1 to go to a faith school. If other people want to bring up thier children within a faith, that is thier choice, but it is not ours. While we teach them to respect other faiths and belief systems, and of course we want them to have a good knowledge of the bible etc for cultural reasons, I really was not keen on sending her somewhere where she would be taught it as fact. But then I didn't want her at school full stop, so there you go.

However, we applied, on time, to the eight nearest schools (all the ones within a half hour bus ride) and none of them had a place. Eventually, just before the schools broke up for the holiday, we got a phonecall to say a place had come up at the outstanding-ofstead, right next to the ILs (who do a lot of childcare for us), academic reputation (which would fit with our family - not that we are all clever, but we are bookish) and loads of green space school where DH went to nursery. He didn't however go to the actual school, because it is Catholic, and his parents are not. In fact, nobody in our families is.

DH was very keen for her to go - he admires the work ethic that he says catholic schools have, he thinks she will get much better teaching in public speaking, the classics, latin and so on. I doubt that any primary state school does this, but the school does seem really nice, and it was pretty much the only option without her being sent to the other side of the city.

I asked on our visit about the catholic aspect, and the teacher reassured me that it is just two prayers a day. We prayed at my secular school, so that is fine, and I really don't mind her learning to cross herself etc. According to the admissions data, only about 40% of each year is Catholic anyway.

We decided that we would just not volunteer for churchy things (mainly because I wouldn't know what to do if required to do anything beyond bowing my head respectfully, and would feel a bit insulting towards the Catholics if I was to fake it, iyswim). With DD, we have gone for a "some people believe the bible is true, some people call God different things like Allah, some don't think he is real, and they are all fine" kind of approach.

Apart from that, we are fully behind the school, we go in to read, help with the fete, everything.

But this week, the homework was the usual reading book, sharing book, maths game, sound book, flashcards (sounds like a lot put like that!) and a letter to ask for the child to bring in something from their baptism. DD1 keeps crossing herself randomly, and there seems to be much more praying than I expected. The involved parents - PTA etc - all seem to know each other from church.

AIBU to be a bit, well, alarmed is the wrong word...wobbly...about all this? Does it carry on like this through the school? Should I be reading a book about Catholism to find out what on earth they do? I admit to knowing very little outside of TV.

catchafallingstar Tue 18-Oct-11 01:40:05

to be getting alarmed at how Catholic the Catholic school is?

oh for goodness sake!
The clue is in the title - it's a Catholic school!
What did you expect???hmm

of course they might ask for something relating to baptism since its a catholic ritual and a catholic school = ta da!
crossing herself randomly?
and FYI, no catholic schools around here teach latin as part of the curriculum...
hmm

FearfulYank Tue 18-Oct-11 01:46:10

If you didn't want her to go to school why did you send her?

I'm genuinely asking, not being snide. Could you HE her?

FWIW I'm a Christian and would be happy for my DS to go to Catholic school, but here you've got to pay through the nose for them. smile But that's me, I think you should have the option of having her in a not-quite-so religious school if that's what you want.

OogaBooga Tue 18-Oct-11 01:47:39

Sorry but you did send DD to a Catholic school, what can you expect?

I would never send my child to a faith school unless the family followed that faith, common sense surely?

ButterP Tue 18-Oct-11 01:50:02

I know, it's stupid.

The thing is, I was worried about it, but everyone put me at ease, saying it is just a framework that they use for reference - I went to Catholic sixth form, and the only difference was that a priest was around if you wanted him and there was a chapel. There was also the option of going on pilgrammiges or volunteering with cafod, but it wasn't pushed at all. It was generally known as the most relaxed, hippyish sixth form around - lots of sitting on the floor and meditations and so on.

So when everyone I asked said it was just to give the Catholic families the facilities they want, and it was the only option open to us...

Of course, we made it clear that we are not Catholic, so hopefully she won't get in trouble. Surely the 60% non catholic pupils haven't been baptised either though?

ButterP Tue 18-Oct-11 01:53:30

I can't HE due to health problems. We were all set to do it until I had a relapse last year. sad

It is a lovely, lovely school though, and DH is actually really keen on the Catholic stuff. I'm just a bit unused to it I think.

Maybe I should go along to a church service, just so I know what they are like? Most of the services I have been to in my life have been evangelical happy clappy affairs, and a few in the village c of e church - I suppose it can't be too different.

Feminine Tue 18-Oct-11 01:54:47

I don't really know what your options are.

Your DD sounds settled ,and enjoying it...

It really is something you should have looked in to before she started grin

I guess you could read up, its not a crazy idea...something I would do had I found myself in your shoes...

Play it by ear, for a bit, would be my advice.

Feminine Tue 18-Oct-11 01:56:37

Just saw your latest ...yes, go to a service-good idea!

I bet you get used to it all.

FunkyChicken Tue 18-Oct-11 01:56:56

Of course it carry's on through school - that's the whole point! If you don't want that for your daughter maybe you should have been more thorough in your research - though it was was all a bit sudden due to your circumstances which sound a bit of a nightmare so you have my sympathy. TV is not an accurate portrayal of Catholicism by the way. Maybe you should free up the space for somebody who isn't alarmed by Catholicism in a Catholic school ? Catholic schools are often over subscribed and genuine Catholics don't always get in because of that. Was this school oversubscribed?

MitrochondrialEve Tue 18-Oct-11 02:07:16

...it will be an education - for you as well as your daughter...

Lots of time on preparing the children for the Sacraments...depending on the diocese (area), catholic primary schools usually prepare children for the following: sacrament of reconciliation (used to be known as first confession), first communion, confirmation. It will be assumed that all the catholic children have been baptised - those children will have various reminders to bring in - certificate of baptism, baptismal candle, christening shawl / robe, various religious gifts received at that time... perhaps you could help your daughter find out a bit about baptism, and she could draw a picture?

First Holy Communion often requires long white dresses (think mini-bride) with large party in function suite...though many families don't go that far! Your daughter won't be eligible to participate in the sacrament, but will doubtless find out loads about it.

There's also a new missal (book of prayers for mass, etc.) coming in this year, so the school may want to introduce this.

Despite the vast amount of time spent on this preparation, catholic schools generally provide a good education.

I have never come across latin in a primary school. For public speaking, participation in masses and services is encouraged, with reading aloud scripture or prayers from the lectern in church being encouraged and seen as a privilege.

Lots of the above may sound very negative, but it isn't at all. Yes, the children will be taught about religion and will hear about various stages of being Catholic, but that isn't a bad thing - there's lots about kindness, and building social relationships within the teaching.

If you are looking for books on catholicism, there will be some based around RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) which is the process by which an adult finds out about becoming a catholic - so the books are aimed at people who have little or no knowledge of the church. School may be able to recommend some reading, and may have been asked about it before now.

btw I am not a religious person, and not recommending that you become one - unless you want to, of course.

ButterP Tue 18-Oct-11 02:09:46

I know, it is, isn't it?

I suppose I should laugh. Thing is, we went to a secular school, and we had, as part of normal school, the local evangelicals come in and tell us that evolution is scientifically impossible, and that all non christians will burn in hell, so I have kind of thrown my hands up in confusion with regards to faith schooling. I did ask on here at the time, but was just told that there was no point asking, as a non catholic would never get into an outstanding single form entry catholic school. We had one hour to get back and tell them we wanted the place.

We can't take her out of the school, she loves it, and there isn't anywhere else anyway. She has had a lot of upheaval and needs stability. I just need to get over my spookedness at stuff I don't understand, basically.

Is there a "beginners guide to catholicism" book or something?

All the schools are heavily oversubscribed - this is a faily deprived area and there seems to have been a baby boom - one of the classes in the school only has 14 pupils so it wasn't always like this. At our first preferance, she was 20th on the list.

ButterP Tue 18-Oct-11 02:12:16

Thankyou Eve, that is a really informative post.

SansaLannister Tue 18-Oct-11 02:12:53

If you think the worst thing would be to have your child be a Catholic in the way that is prescribed by her school then yes, by all means, has it out with your DH.

Otherwise, I can't think why you'd be alarmed, at the Catholicism presented in a Catholic school.

DogsBeastFiend Tue 18-Oct-11 02:14:30

My DD (14) goes to an inter church school. It was once Catholic and is still very much based on the ethics of that faith although it welcomes all (and no) religious beliefs. It is stongly entrenched in a faith base and that's reflected in its pupils, being the only religious secondary in the whole county, so as you can imagine places are much sought-after. It offers a very good education and a strong moral grounding with the church being a central part of what the school is all about.

I don't have a faith and neither does DD. She obtained a place in an unusual way, at the behest of the LA (long story) and for a while I was a little cynical about the fact that it's a church school when the place was allocated.

I have the advantage of having been educated in a high church environment so knew what to expect and hope for - and I hoped for all the best that the enviroment can bring. So far, DD having entered the school only at the beginning of this academic year, I have been far from disappointed. smile

Unlike my own education, which was very much bible based and concentrated on the school's own religion alone, modern faith schooling is much broader. RE encompasses humanitarian topics such as euthenasia, abortion and animal rights and the atmosphere is one of warmth and caring.

I can only advise that you stick around and chill a bit. You need not celebrate the Catholic faith, the school knows that you don't... but you might well find, as I have, that your DD will enjoy her schooling and that you are happy with the education and care that it provides regardless.

ButterP Tue 18-Oct-11 02:18:00

I've been thinking about it, and it's not really the "God" stuff that is making me confused - it is the crossing and statues of Mary and so on - so the stuff I've not had dealings with previously. So, yes, I do need to educate myself.

SansaLannister Tue 18-Oct-11 02:23:35

Is there a beginner's guide? Of course! Google, Amazon, it's all there.

Absolutely!

It's not the worst thing at all. smile

izzywhizzysfritenite Tue 18-Oct-11 04:13:13

As a non-Catholic who attended 2 Catholic boarding schools, I would suggest you start introducing a smorgasbord of faiths, of which Catholicism is merely one, to your dd before she decides she wants to become a bride of Christ grin

If you embark on a project at home to find out about the differing religions/faiths around the world from Anglicism to Zoroastrianism, it will help keep your dd at arm's length from the stultifying all-encompassing embrace of the Catholic Church and you will be able to learn about all religions beginning with C sooner rather than later.

snailoon Tue 18-Oct-11 06:12:16

I would feel the need to protect my child from some of the nonsense, just as I try to protect her from thinking it's important to like the same clothes and music as 90% of the other girls. Tell your child what you think. Obviously she has to learn not to ridicule the beliefs of her friends, whether that is a belief in wearing Jack Wills underpants, a belief in Papal infallibility, or some combination of the two.
You might or might not be interested in finding out about Catholicism, but don't feel you have to be extremely supportive of the school's religious teachings in order to not confuse her. Life is incredibly confusing, and learning to deal with that is a big part of growing up.

Barbeasty Tue 18-Oct-11 06:23:36

Until the recent changes the mass was almost word for word the same as in the CodE. Just the lord's prayer/ our father was different enough to catch a non-Catholic out.

Your DD will have been asked to do something about Baptism because their RE sylabus covers the main sacrements, so baptism and marriage, as do many other non-Catholic schools. They will also learn about other world religions.

Very few state schools seem to prepare for first communion etc in school, most do it through the parish church- especially if it's such a low % of Catholic pupils.

There are some good books around at the moment, including some nice children's ones to explain everything. And I'm sure the school/ parish priest would be happy to have somebody explain things to you if you asked.

To be honest, they will be used to non-catholic families if they are usually around 60% of the school, and will be glad that you are supportive and not going out of your way to undermine the ethos.

There should be a copy of their RE sylabus available, either from the school or from the diocese- all catholic schools tend to follow an RE scheme set by their diocese. Ask for it, and then you will know what is coming up and whether you are happy with it.

TheTenantOfWildfellHall Tue 18-Oct-11 06:28:35

They might have been asked to take something in from their baptism at a state school anyway.

They do learn about it and the scheme of work I've used do still ask the children to take something in.

Children who weren't baptised just took in something special that they were given as a baby.

Lots of my kids hadn't been baptised either, being a broad mix that included atheists, Muslims and Sikhs.

Don't worry about it too much, smile

KenDoddsDadsDog Tue 18-Oct-11 07:00:20

Here you go Op There is a book too!

cory Tue 18-Oct-11 07:10:35

Why do posters bother posting "why did you send your child to a faith school" when the OP has made it quite clear that there was no other school available? And why would one assume that the option of HE is open to everybody?

This is why I hate faith schools, despite being a practising Christian; they end up being the only option for people who don't want them and that shouldn't happen.

Whatmeworry Tue 18-Oct-11 07:16:08

It's very unlikely DD or any of the other girls will take it all very seriously. And in the meantime she is at the best school in the region.

Tortington Tue 18-Oct-11 07:18:28

i am being genuinley serious when i say that i think you should remove yur child from the school and give the place to someone else

EdithWeston Tue 18-Oct-11 07:18:55

If you went to a secular school, then that must have been either overseas or in the private sector (as there are none in UK state sector), so I should imagine that the first direct experience of a UK state school - any UK state school - will seem a bit strange and different.

Praying twice a day is very little more than the required once a day collective worship in "non-faith" UK state schools. One RE homework in half a term doesn't seem that much either.

Perhaps when you have had a bit more time in the UK state sector, you will become less tense about it. But if you don't, then you can always move schools.

If you want a secular education for your children, then you will need to look at the private sector. Perhaps you would feel easier if you investigate now what possibilities there are in your area. (You'll need to check careful though - nearly all of them still do have religious assemblies/prayers/other manifestations of a broadly religious nature, so you might have to gird yourself to travel).

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