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to go to church to get DS into a better school

(209 Posts)
ilovejesus Mon 12-May-14 11:06:43

We live in the centre of a big city, near some badly rated schools. The faith schools are, of course, much better.

I am an atheist and so is DH. We both think the current system is appalling, but I am prepared to start going to church in order to get DS into a better school when the time comes (he's 2). DH is strongly against this, saying it's unethical. I think the whole bloody system is unethical, but until the system is changed, I don't want to ruin DD's future over it. He's also morally against sending her private (not that we could afford it), and I am too.

So as not to drip feed, my problem with the schools is not the teaching which I'm sure is fine, it's the low expectations set for these children. Basically the children at the closest school are expected to become checkout workers and security guards. There's nothing wrong with that but I want more for DD. We both went to good unis and have professional jobs.

AIBU to go to church with my fingers crossed, and if not, how do I convince DH?

<insert biscuit emoticon here>

ThinkIveBeenHacked Mon 12-May-14 11:10:49

I cant imagine any Primary School conceptrning themselves with the future job prospects of their pupils.Secondary yes, but Primary?

ChaosTrulyReigns Mon 12-May-14 11:13:22

I'm confused, you mention a son and a daughter.

I'm also confused re overriding your ethics fir one sort of school but not another. But I also empathise with your desire to do the best for your child. It's a dilemma.

ChaosTrulyReigns Mon 12-May-14 11:14:33

Would moving house be a solution that doesn't need compromise of your ethics?

TheRealMaryMillington Mon 12-May-14 11:15:13

It is unethical.

We travel --fecking miles---out of our way to go to a non-faith school because we wanted to be completely behind the ethos of the school our kids attend. So we weren't comfortable with taking teddies to be baptised (yes, really) etc.

Have actually you been round the schools in question?

ErrolTheDragon Mon 12-May-14 11:16:07

YANBU. Its the system which is wrong - discriminating against kids on the basis of their parents' beliefs is what is unethical. We were in a similar position - in our case rural, all village schools either CofE or RC so you had to attend church in order to not get an under-subscribed faith school place in a different village. We could afford private (cheaper up here) and for us that was the least worst option.

Go to church if that's what's best for your DD, but also look at the Campaign for Fair Admissions, and maybe also consider joining the BHA and/or the NSS. Also you (and your DH) might want to write to your MP, and with upcoming elections grill any candidates you come across on the matter - politicians need to know that many parents feel strongly about this issue.

Bonsoir Mon 12-May-14 11:17:40

The ethical course of action is to do the best for your child without breaking the law.

Jesus sounds like a good course of action!

FiveExclamations Mon 12-May-14 11:19:05

I'm an Atheist and I don't think I could do this, however that's easy for me to say, our one practical choice for DD was an under-subscribed, rural C of E school who didn't care what you did or did not worship.

So on that basis I agree with your husband, it is un-ethical, I believe I wouldn't do it, but I wouldn't judge you if you did.

How far are you going to go though? Our local church has a small congregation, you'd be roped into things, I got roped into things and they know I'm an Atheist (I took DD for a while because she felt "Christian").

SoonToBeSix Mon 12-May-14 11:22:42

Yabu my dd goes to a faith school my priority was for her to go to a Church of England school because we are Christians. The fact that it was a good school academically was a bonus. To try and get a place in a church school purely for a good education is dishonest.

mumofthemonsters808 Mon 12-May-14 11:22:51

Well if you do , you certainly would not be the first person to do so and you definitely won't be the last. This is common practice where I live as church attendance takes you to the top of the admissions criteria. How you reconcile this with your conscious depends upon your personality. Be prepared to attend regularly for a year it is not a case of popping up for a few Sundays and expecting the vicar to confirm you are a regular.

Very harsh to assume the children in the other schools have very low expectations set for them. How do you actually know that ?.

HouseofEliot Mon 12-May-14 11:25:22

Yes it is unethical.

We are regular church goers and my Dd didn't get in to our chosen school. We have gone for 11 years but as ours only takes the last 12 months and distance into account those that went just for school purposes got in ahead of us.

nancy75 Mon 12-May-14 11:26:29

I am an atheist as is DP, if they only option for a good school was church then I would be there every week, up the front, making sure the vicar saw me.

bouncinbean Mon 12-May-14 11:26:36

In a similar position in that my nearest schools are a c of e and an rc, but I refuse to be a hypocrite and pretend to be one of these faiths so my DD can get into the local school. So it probably means I will be adding to the traffic chaos in the area as she will get placed away from our area in a non religious school and I will have to drive...
Although I care deeply about her education I think at primary level as long as she is being educated I don't think it's going to have a huge impact on her future. I think that does change when it comes to secondary and maybe then my views will change.
I was actually brought up a Catholic - one of the things that hugely turned me off was the hypocrites that attended church and the attitude that attendance at church absolved them of the need to have morals and kindness. I suspect I would equally hate church now because people are attending that don't believe but just want to get their kids unto a school and I guess then disappear once the child has got the place.
In a stupid way I am actually bringing my daughter up with Christian values and knowing the bible stories so I probably should go to a church but I just can't bring myself to step in one...

lynniep Mon 12-May-14 11:27:15

You wouldn't be the first to do this and you won't be the last.

I am an atheist, but I have no big issue with my children attending a faith school. Actually I would prefer it if they didn't, but its a good school, and it was catchment for us. Whilst I don't love the 'stories' that they tell the children as 'fact' (IMO) I do appreciate that the overall 'lessons' and 'values' they try to instill in the children are positive. I baulk a bit at the 'worship' but I suck it up.

If I'd wanted my children in this school and it was oversubscribed, then I would have attended church with them. Frankly I don't care if that makes me a raging hypocrite - this is about their education and thats more important. Primary school education is the foundation for the rest of their lives, and you need to do what you need to do.

In the same way we intend to move house in the next couple of years in order to get them into a much better secondary. If that required us attending church then we'd start right now.

grocklebox Mon 12-May-14 11:27:22

Yabu. Youre going to sit in church every week, go to confession, communion etc (because dont kid yourself that a half arsed attempt will help you get into a faith school) when you dont believe a word of it? Youre going to bring your children to church every week but tell them its all a fake out?

Good example for your children there. Not to mention really fucking insulting to real churchgoers, to appropriate their faith for your own ends.

KleineDracheKokosnuss Mon 12-May-14 11:27:52

It would be unethical, but depending on the standards at your non-faith local schools, understandable.

How do you know about the low expectations? What does ofsted say about the school?

BrianTheMole Mon 12-May-14 11:28:12

Well, I considered it, but tbh I would find it difficult to live such a lie for a long time. But I was lucky enough to be able to find an alternative option. Who knows, maybe I would have. Probably not though. I don't blame other people for doing it though. Maybe your children will practice religion themselves. Like my brother, who went to a religious school and still practices that religion now as an adult, even though my parents don't believe.

Chippednailvarnish Mon 12-May-14 11:29:46

What would Jesus do?


Shedding Mon 12-May-14 11:30:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheRealMaryMillington Mon 12-May-14 11:31:16

The system is an almighty fuck up and I staunchly believe that no child should get a better education on ability to pay, academic ability or faith.

I suspect you are being a bit of a snob about the cohort rather than anything else.

TheRealMaryMillington Mon 12-May-14 11:32:37

LOL at chippy

OP have you been and looked around the schools?

Mim78 Mon 12-May-14 11:34:53

It is unethical but understandable.

I agree with those who say a half arsed attempt won't cut it. Even going every week is not always enough - some schools have to have "helping in the parish" criteria as so over subscribed.

I do feel for those like houseofeliot who missed out because of this though.

Where I live baptising at 2 would be too late to get in.

ilovejesus Mon 12-May-14 11:36:05

Sorry, meant DS there instead of DD. I'm supposed to be working but sneaking onto MN. Now that IS unethical.

We both went to C of E schools with no church attendance requirements due to their location. They do seem to churn out of a lot of atheists. I am baptised, DH isn't. DS isn't and I wouldn't be massively comfortable with it. That's the thin end of the wedge I guess. I don't mind jesusy assemblies, I think if anything they'll bore any religious leanings out of him.

Five, I wouldn't mind being roped into stuff. I have seen some nice church playgroups I'm envious of, love music etc

Chaos that's DH's suggestion but in the city we're in, it's going to add 300k upwards to the price of a house if it's near a good school. And even then it doesn't seem to be guaranteed.

TheRealMary no haven't been to any of the schools as he's a bit young yet, only past them at play time. They seem fine. It's not the quality of teaching or facilities that I'm concerned about at the moment.

Errol thanks for that link, I'll write to my mp etc.

Bonsoir, ha ha!

ReallyTired Mon 12-May-14 11:42:32

You do realise that there are plenty of faith schools in special measures. Sometimes schools with a middle class intake coast and don't push their children as the parents do the work. Pushy middle class parents who pay for tutoring gives a school artifically high results.Inspite of being a regular church goer I have deliberately avoided church schools as our local faith schools have a poor record for pastural care. There are some amazing schools with intakes that are as rough as a builders' bottom.

Bare in mind that you will have at least 8 years of faking christianity ahead of you. You will have to watch your children take part in church services and they will learn prayers.

Seriously why don't you look round the other schools first. They might not be as bad as you think. Gove is really challenging schools that have low expectations in a way that has never been done before. Schools in difficult areas have more pupil premium money which is being used to raise expecations and drive up standards.

rocketjam Mon 12-May-14 11:43:57

But what would you say to them when they start asking questions about life/death/who created the planets, insert whatever here? Are you prepared to say to your children 'well, I don't believe that God exists, I don't believe that Jesus was a special person, so what they say to you at school is all made up' or will you say 'yes dear, isn't God great'
... It's one thing to lie to get your child in a better school, but it's another thing to lie to your children.

Because they will ask questions... so will you tell them that their teachers are wrong, and that you think that the stories about Jesus are made up?

I would have a really hard time lying to my children about something as fundamental as my faith.

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