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has anyone sent their child to a faith school when they are not of that faith?

(100 Posts)
janettargaryen Thu 25-Apr-13 19:22:29

I am considering sending my ds to a specific (non-Christian) faith school that has a very good reputation and because all the other schools in my area are very oversubscribed and I don't think he will get in elsewhere. The school is not very orthodox but it is a faith school and they accept applications from people who are not of their faith.

I just wondered if anyone has experience of sending their dc to a faith school where they are not of that faith (eg. Jewish, Muslim, Christian) etc? If so, how have your dc got on with the other children and did they find it strange going to a school that they weren't the faith of? Did they feel included? Was the experience positive or negative overall? thanking in advance.

thebody Thu 25-Apr-13 19:25:34

Probably half of mumsnet. Very very commen.

Children are far less bothered about this stuff.

My local catchment is a faith school. We Don't go to church. Noone cares.

EndoplasmicReticulum Thu 25-Apr-13 19:27:48

Yes. We live in a village, my sons go to the village school which is CofE. As are all the surrounding village schools.

We are heathens. As thebody says, nobody cares.

pointythings Thu 25-Apr-13 19:28:32

Lots of people have. I have. We have two primaries in our town, one is C of E. The C of E one felt like a better fit for our DDs so we put it as first choice, though it isn't our catchment school. I told them with brutal honesty that I am an atheist and that DH is a non church-going Christian.

There were places, we got them (DD2 got sibling priority)

Personally I feel it's only a problem if you suddenly start going to church. I'd have accepted a refusal on the part of the school if they had chosen not to admit our DDs.

NotYoMomma Thu 25-Apr-13 19:28:59

Well I'm an atheist but was raised Catholic.

Not quite the same but DD is going to on of 2 Catholic schools because it's a choice between that or a 70% pass rate at a school with poor Ofsted reports and a worse reputation.

Went and got her baptised and everything not remotely sorry

Softlysoftly Thu 25-Apr-13 19:29:20

DH is Muslim and went to a Catholic school;, he was one of two non white children there. This was his 3rd school and he settled there. Luckily he was a gift Rugby player abs being wales that meant he fit right in. He actually is very researched in all faiths now and it may have been the influence of something that wasn't and never would be his faith that inspired that desire to know me maybe?

He loved it but did once take mass accidently by getting in the wrong assembly q which he felt very guilty about.

If the school is islamic that you are considering I would hesitate however. That faith rules all areas of life and it won't be possible for your child to attend yet stay apart from the religion as easily. In fact it c was under threat of islamic boarding school if he got expelled that dh behaved at the catholic school!

HoHoHoNoYouDont Thu 25-Apr-13 19:29:28

Some worry about brainwashing and catching God.

BasilBabyEater Thu 25-Apr-13 19:29:40

Yep, DS goes to a catholic school.

We're all raging atheists.

He loves it and is doing v. well.


TeWiSavesTheDay Thu 25-Apr-13 19:30:12

I went to catholic school and there were loads of non-Christians there. There was an optional uniform headscarf for Muslim girls who wanted to wear it.

You get quite a few parents who would prefer their child to go to a faith school, even if it's not their faith iykwim.

I would ask the school how many non-faith children they usually have.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 25-Apr-13 19:31:37

Like many children, my children have no religion and go to a CofE school. They don't believe in God (I do, but am not religious) and they seem to just see the religion related things just as a normal part of school. They don't feel excluded because there are plenty of other children there that don't go to church, and overall it is a positive experience.

I don't think I'd send my children to a school where they were in a significant minority because of not being part of the faith, so it really depends on the school and how much of what they do is faith based. An assembly once a day isn't a problem, but if faith permeates into many of the lessons, it would be too much for our family.

turkeyboots Thu 25-Apr-13 19:35:24

We are atheists and DD goes to our nearest school which is C of E.

All fine, only 2% of school applied on faith grounds so not a v religious community so we are not being left out of religious festivals which would be hard on her.

But she did once say to me that she's the only one who has to pretend to believe in God!

pictish Thu 25-Apr-13 19:37:07

Our kids go to the local RC school. We're not fact, we're atheists. It has never been a problem...the school's great!

Kitchencupboards Thu 25-Apr-13 19:42:02

Are you considering a Jewish school? If so, I would have a conversation with the school about the religious side of things. 20% of school time is usually devoted to religious studies. In Jewish schools religion is not limited to a bit here and there. Even in non orthodox schools the children are expected to pray every morning, say grace in Hebrew before and after meals and celebrate all festivals in school. There will be no mention of Xmas / Easter / Mother's Day, and modern Hebrew will be taught. You will also be expected not to bring any non kosher food on to the school site and ensure that birthday parties are kosher so that no children are excluded.

I imagine it will be a strange experience for a non Jewish child but children are very accepting and it will be interesting but you would need to be really sure that you would be happy with all that I don't think that it would be possible to opt out of the religious side of things.

Wallison Thu 25-Apr-13 20:08:27

^^ Some worry about brainwashing and catching God.

Is there any other reason for faith schools to exist?

HollyBerryBush Thu 25-Apr-13 20:21:55

Can I ask what the lure of the faith school is if you are not of that faith (or a non believer) - open question.

overprotection Thu 25-Apr-13 20:25:42

I went to a faith school and very few of the children took religion seriously. Thankfully today's generation of children are less gullible than their predecessors who would take any old story of hocus pocus from a grown up as known fact. Perhaps it's the beneficial flip-side to children having less respect for adults generally.

overprotection Thu 25-Apr-13 20:29:50

Can I ask what the lure of the faith school is if you are not of that faith (or a non believer) - open question.

They generally are better quality schools, whether that it down to them being faith schools per se is debateable though. Parents today very commonly face discrimination in trying to get their kids into the best schools, either financial (private schooling fees, or good state schools that end up pushing up housing costs in the catchment area), or based on religion. It's easier to fake being religious than to fake being rich.

MsFanackerPants Thu 25-Apr-13 20:39:46

I was also going to ask if it was a Jewish school. DP is Jewish by birth/culturally and went to one. The faith element is not an additional extra, it was and by all accounts remains a core part of the school day. Would your son have to wear a kippur and tzitzit? If he doesn't but all the other boys do how will he feel?

SolidGoldBrass Thu 25-Apr-13 20:43:04

Are you happy for your DS to be taught that women are inferior to men? Because that's what faith schools peddle.

Cloverer Thu 25-Apr-13 20:45:20

I am considering sending DS to a Catholic school - I am quite anti-religion and very anti-faith schools BUT it is our nearest school and is a good school.

I wouldn't pretend to be religious or baptise him or anything to get him in though!

overprotection Thu 25-Apr-13 20:47:39

I wouldn't pretend to be religious or baptise him or anything to get him in though!

Even if it's in your child's best interests? You are paying for these faith schools with your tax money, don't feel like you have to respect any of the nasty discriminatory rules these institutions use.

Cloverer Thu 25-Apr-13 20:49:34

Personally, pretending to be religious is a step too far for me. I wouldn't think badly of anyone else doing so though.

kim147 Thu 25-Apr-13 20:51:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Flisspaps Thu 25-Apr-13 20:52:21

I worked in an RC school. The only difference between that and any other secondary school I've been in was that there were crucifixes on the wall (small, unobtrusive) and a chapel (a converted classroom, used for voluntary Mass on a Friday lunchtime). Oh, and the crosses on some of the kids foreheads on Ash Wednesday afternoon.

That was it. No nuns, no monks, no compulsory attendance at Mass.

pictish Thu 25-Apr-13 20:57:01

SGB - do they? First of my knowing about it.

Do your kids go to a faith school? No? Mine do. wink

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