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to think that you shouldn't fake religion to get a school place?

(340 Posts)
Carrierpenguin Mon 10-Nov-14 14:37:55

A friend of mine became catholic when she married her husband, then they split up. She hadnt been religious beforehand, but now she's chosen to go to church every week for the last year in order to get her ds into the local catholic school. She's told me that she doesn't believe in all that 'mumbo jumbo' but the church school gets the best results locally. I understand that everyone wants the best for their children, but this seems a bit disingenuous.

I suppose it's open to all - if you're willing to fake religion you can get into the best school, I suspect that the good results are due to parental influence as you have to be very keen to commit to two years of Sundays at church, presumably this filters out parents who don't care about education, whereas the secular schools cater to all.

I'm not against faith schools or the system, if it gets great results then why not I suppose? Aibu to think faking religion is not ethical though?

bookbag40 Mon 10-Nov-14 14:40:57

No - it's not ethical but when you have a choice between getting a poor school in a bad area or an outstanding church school in a good area then visiting church once a month for a year suddenly seems more appealing.

Most people would rather have their kids in a good school than worry about the ethics. Also I don't really see the harm. Parents get their child a place at their desired school. Vicars get a full church, more money in the collection plate and who knows they might even convert some of the people! Everyone is a winner really.

The problem is really not people faking religion but the school system which still allows schools to give priority to a certain faith.

Tykeisagirl Mon 10-Nov-14 14:42:01

People shouldn't fake religion to get into schools, but schools shouldn't be allowed to discrimate against children who are either not from religious backgrounds, or are from the "wrong" religion. Until the latter changes the former will happen.

BlueberryWafer Mon 10-Nov-14 14:43:07

Maybe she does really believe it but is embarrassed? Hence calling it "mumbo jumbo". Of this isn't the case and she really is pretending to get her child into a faith school well I'm not sure I agree with that.

AuntieStella Mon 10-Nov-14 14:48:14

The system does not attempt to weigh faith. That is a personal matter between for the individual within their belief system.

What is does do is count religious observance - objective things like baptism (or in your friend's case, conversion) and attendance.

The children of course will also be on their own spiritual journey. Their mother's doubts may be wholly irrelevant to their faith, or that of their father. Baptised children ho trend couch will qualify.

If we were creating a school system from a blank sheet, perhaps faith schools wouldn't ever have exited. But for historical reasons they do, and there is no political apetite to unpick it, nor cash available to buy out the real estate.

bedraggledmumoftwo Mon 10-Nov-14 14:56:26

I think it is a grey area and it depends whether she is entirely faking it, or just attending more than she would otherwise iyswim? I have to confess that we go to church at least in part down to the school. We would consider ourselves christian but would only really have attended church occasionally otherwise. So it is not like we are muslim or complete atheists pretending to be christian, just that we would not attend this frequently if it wasn't for the school. And like a pp said, the church benefits from increased attendance and contributions, and help (i am now on the rota for some things). I don't take communion because i was never confirmed, so i am not pretending to be something i am not. But we did get both kids christened there, which we would have done regardless.

wobblyweebles Mon 10-Nov-14 15:32:21

It's not ethical to need to fake religion to got your child into school.

ZeViteVitchofCwismas Mon 10-Nov-14 15:39:13

but now she's chosen to go to church every week for the last year in order to get her ds into the local catholic school. She's told me that she doesn't believe in all that 'mumbo jumbo' but the church school gets the best results locally.

I see a devoted mother sitting through what must be for her a painfully boring mass every single week for her child. sad

I would be asking the question, why are not all schools good, why have so many parents had to resort to this to simply get a decent education for their dc?

Attacking devoted and loving parents is not the way to go, attack the government and ask why arnt all schools at the same ish level.

CruCru Mon 10-Nov-14 16:09:40

Hmmm. I'm on the fence here. One worry that I would have is, if there is an interview to get in, it would be incredibly awkward if you don't know all the main teachings of the faith. Presumably, the interviewees would be wise to this and would be able to spot someone who is faking.

I do agree with ZeVite that this woman does sound very dedicated.

I also know of a family who did this and still didn't get into the (incredibly oversubscribed) faith school, despite meeting all the faith criteria - they lost out on distance (not by very far either).

Mulligrubs Mon 10-Nov-14 16:12:52

She's doing what she thinks is best for her child. I don't see anything wrong with it. Schools shouldn't be allowed to discriminate against children based on religion anyway, IMO.

needaholidaynow Mon 10-Nov-14 16:32:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cingolimama Mon 10-Nov-14 16:37:58

AuntieStella is right. It's church attendance that is counted, not the inner workings of someone's faith or lack of it.

It always amazes me that people can be so upset at people "faking" faith. I'm a church-goer myself, and have a genuine faith. But if someone wants to sit in my church and listen to the service week after week, then it's not up to me or anyone else to give them an inquisition. Really the only response should be a welcoming and accepting one.

WooWooOwl Mon 10-Nov-14 16:38:20

What's not ethical is the fact that people have to do this or risk getting their child a place at a crap school.

Like you said, the parents are the thing that is likely to make a difference at this school compared to other local school where parents may be disengaged and unsupportive and who don't expect high standards of behaviour from their children. I consider large numbers of not very good parents to be a much bigger problem for society than faith schools and parents faking religion.

squoosh Mon 10-Nov-14 16:44:20

I have no problem with people faking religion to get their children into a superior faith school. Until these schools are no longer funded by taxpayers they're fair game in my opinion.

redexpat Mon 10-Nov-14 16:49:52

Its not ethical, but we all want whats best for ourchildren, and some parents are prepared to do more and go further to maximise the rules than others. Ismaximise the right word?

KatoPotato Mon 10-Nov-14 16:49:54

How many teaching hours are devoted to religion? Surely this lost learning time makes up for discrepancies in school reports? I think if she genuinely thought it was 'mumbo jumbo' she'd be dead against sending her DC? I know I wouldn't no matter how amazing it was!

sparechange Mon 10-Nov-14 17:05:52

Can I ask a question...
Is there anything stopping a parent from getting their child baptised more than once? DH and I are both card-carrying atheists, but live in an area where the primary schools are nearly all either Catholic or CofE, and all are oversubscribed.
Is there anything stopping me using my catholic credentials to get DC baptised in the catholic church, in order to get a certificate to show the Catholic school and therefore be potentially eligible for a place, and for DH to do the same at the CofE joint?

ghostvitruvius Mon 10-Nov-14 17:09:01

It's an unethical system, don't see the problem with doing your best within it.

TalkinPeace Mon 10-Nov-14 17:13:16

In fact the more people who fake religion to get in the better as it proves that its diligent parents that get the good results, not any sort of belief grin

thanks lucky stars that we have minimal faith schools round here

hackmum Mon 10-Nov-14 17:14:50

It's the fault of the churches. They decide the admissions criteria. They could make their schools open to all, regardless of faith - some people would say that was the truly Christian thing to do.

Or they could use different criteria for assessing religious faith other than baptism and church attendance. Maybe they could require people to carry out six months of volunteering in an old people's home or centre for people with learning difficulties once a week to sort out those paying lip service and those who are genuinely committed to Christianity. (This is tongue-in-cheek, of course, but I quite like the idea.)

LaChatte Mon 10-Nov-14 17:16:22

DH and I are atheists, our DCs were never christened and we have never attended church. When we went to enrol them in a private catholic school we we quite open about it. We were asked why we wanted to send our DCs to a catholic school so we said we thought it was a good school and that despite being atheists, we held Christian values, and we also felt that RE was an important subject (not from a "belief" point of view, but for general knowledge) and it wasn't on offer in any of the other local primary schools (we live in France).

Hakluyt Mon 10-Nov-14 17:18:27

I just wonder what people who do this say to their children. Do they lie to them too?

Hakluyt Mon 10-Nov-14 17:19:03

Or do they just teach them how to lie to everyone else?

LL12 Mon 10-Nov-14 17:22:27

There is a Catholic primary school near me that used to have excellent results and many people in the town wanted a place for their child there because of this.
That school is now one of the very worst in the town as many parents soon realised that it was a terrible school (confirmed by Ofsted) and removed their children, where they treat many children like crap and destroy their confidence, and saw that the excellent results were due to parents having to pay for private tuition for their children as the teaching was terrible.

I think it showed a lot of people that Catholic schools are not all great, and I think many wished they had not faked religion in order to get a place.

ARGHtoAHHH Mon 10-Nov-14 17:23:42

The answer is, you shouldn't have to fake religion to get your child into a school. On the face of it, yes, it's immoral.

But I'm afraid this is the way things are. It's a depressing fact. I'm one of those parents, and I never in a million years thought I would be. I've been given a really shitty choice. Either my child goes to a shit school, or not. So I attend church again, after 15 years of shunning the place. I'm not ashamed either. Everyone is at it. Every single mother I know in my area is doing it. It's a running joke.

The whole thing is a joke.

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