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To stay in the school catchment of a Church school when we are athiests

(109 Posts)
greenlinesrunsmooth Thu 26-Jan-17 17:46:24

Sorry if this is a long one but don't want to drip-feed, if you manage to get through it then brew

I am agnostic and DH athiest, neither of us can stand the idea of organised religion and cringe at the idea of DD being forced to worship in morning, say grace at lunch and pray before home-time which is what the SIAMS report says the school does. I know all schools do collective worship and have an element of prayar, but this seems to be more? Only problem is I love this area, we have been living here for years, I feel why should I be kicked out of an area I love because of the church. It actually really really pisses me off that people can be discriminated against based on this. The actual school in question has community places too, its 70/30, so we would have no problem getting in but I don't want DD to be taught in an overly religious environment.

The only other option is a community school that is in special measures and is really really rough. I walked past with DD in a pushchair and looked into the playground to see how the kids were playing and a parent collecting their child hollered 'paedo!!! paedo!!' at me. FFS, a mother with a pushchair harmlessly walking along, seriously warped. He also looked like he was on drugs as his eyes were rolling all over the place. And i have heard of police being called to the school to restrain parents who have tried to beat up teachers, in one case the parent was angry at a teacher for 'giving her child knits' and throttled her against a wall - this was related to hallucinations on drugs apparently. This is the norm at this school. sad

Going back to the church school, on the SIAMS report it said a boy came home and told his mum 'I worked hard today to make God happy', and another said 'I did X so that Jesus would love me'. My DH said he would feel sick if DC came home saying this, no disrespect to people who have faith but if you aren't religious then it's really hard to swallow sad

AIBU to think I can cringe and bare it? Will it get better with time? Should we move? I LOVE this town, love the friends I have made here. Don't want to leave!

Anyone been in this situation and can tell me how it worked out? Any good stories or equally if it really didn't work out it would be good to know, we can still move at the moment as DD is only 6 months...

As a disclaimer, I don't mean to cause offense to anyone who does have faith, so please don't take it that way. I know it is a highly personal matter and I have plenty of friends who do have faith who are lovely people, it's just not what we want for our child. If she chose to be religious in the future than fine but we don't want it forced on her at such a young age...

Floggingmolly Thu 26-Jan-17 17:50:08

If you don't want it forced on her; don't send her to the school hmm
Your issue should be with the community school, not the faith one.
And your child is 6 months old... confused

ExplodedCloud Thu 26-Jan-17 17:53:33

I think I'd be househunting at some point in the next 2 years. As an atheist I'd find it really hard to tolerate that level of religion. The school in SM could of course improve.

harderandharder2breathe Thu 26-Jan-17 17:59:21

If both schools you would get into are unacceptable to you then you may need to move.

Yanbu to object to either of the schools but at some point you're going to need to send your DC to one of them or to a third school further away. If you're going to use a third school you'll need to find one that you're likely to get into which may be hard if you're out of catchment and they're oversubscribed.

harderandharder2breathe Thu 26-Jan-17 17:59:49

Unless you're prepared to home school I guess

Wheredidallthejaffacakesgo Thu 26-Jan-17 18:03:37

Yanbu to want to choose which school your child goes to. But it's hardly the fault of the church that the community school is bad.

Many people will attest to sending their cheerfully atheist children to church schools with no problems. The important thing that comes from the church aspect isn't the God stuff as children will always decide that for themselves, but the Christian ethos of caring for others, being considerate, hard-working, kind etc.

I think you are lucky to live in the catchment of a good school. No one is forcing you to move.

Graceymac Thu 26-Jan-17 18:06:57

Prior to having dcs I had many strong principles some of which I have had to re-evaluate since becoming a parent. Sometimes what is practical becomes more important.
My dcs go to a RC school (not in UK). . Neither myself or my DH are religious, I never have been. Religion does not play a part in either of our lives. The school however is a village school, it has a good reputation and all of their friends from the area go there. The teachers are excellent and my dds are very happy there. There is some obviously some emphasis on religion, they say prayers etc but I don't think it's too OTT from what DDs tell me. . I could send them to a non denominational school a few miles away but I feel this is best for them as this area is where they are from. I don't tell them my true beliefs on religion and I would rather that they think there is an afterlife than not. After school they can decide as to whether they want religion to be a part of their lives.
I think if it's a good school and you like the area you should put your own personal beliefs to one side, what is most important is that your child gets the best education.

piglover Thu 26-Jan-17 18:07:40

I don't think you can have it both ways, really unless you move. Which school is likely to be overall kinder and better for your child? And often children who have religion forced on them rebel against it, so you might end up with a convinced atheist anyway!

Chloe84 Thu 26-Jan-17 18:07:48

I feel why should I be kicked out of an area I love because of the church. It actually really really pisses me off that people can be discriminated against based on this.

Why do you feel discriminated against if you're positive your DC will get a space? I'm not Christian but presumably the Church owns the school and the land and they are allowed to have this level of worship.

No one is kicking you out of the area and no one is forcing you to send your child to a faith school.

greenlinesrunsmooth Thu 26-Jan-17 18:08:00

But why do things like being caring, considerate and hard-working have to be related to religion? There are plenty of people who are religious who are none of those things and plenty who are not religious who are and vice versa. There is no correlation at all.

cingolimama Thu 26-Jan-17 18:09:32

OP, I'm a card-carrying, church-going Anglican, and I would have trouble with a school like that.

This sounds like a very evangelical leaning school and they aren't all like that. Can you move?

piglover Thu 26-Jan-17 18:10:41

They aren't necessarily, but it looks as though in your particular area, religion goes alongside these desirable characteristics and secularism doesn't.

spanieleyes Thu 26-Jan-17 18:11:28

Of course these attributes don't have to be only seen in the religious, you may well find them in the community school too.

HSMMaCM Thu 26-Jan-17 18:11:58

Don't worry overly about the god stuff. I'm a practicing Christian. I sent my dd to a church school. She had god stuff in practically all her waking hours. She's a non believing teenager now. Even with all that background she was able to make her own decision.

As a pp said the 2 schools could change dramatically before you need them anyway.

sonlypuppyfat Thu 26-Jan-17 18:12:12

You can send your child to any school because God gives us free will HTH

TheSpottedZebra Thu 26-Jan-17 18:12:58

The unfortunate fact is that the UK IS a country with established religion/s, so it's quite hard to escape religion in schools. So if you like it in other ways - why not stay? You're unlikely to find a school with no religion, although you may find one with less.

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 26-Jan-17 18:14:39

Who is saying that these things have to be related to religion? And how are you *being kicked out of an area you love OP?confused

Graceymac Thu 26-Jan-17 18:15:10

My dd says a prayer in the morning, lunch and home time. They thank god for their family and friends. I don't think it's a big deal really. I would rather a few prayers than a rough school that inhibits a child's educational development.

needsahalo Thu 26-Jan-17 18:18:41

FFS. It's a religious,school. The rights and wrongs of that we can debate till the bloody cows come home but it is what it is and you accept it or find a different school. No one is saying you should be 'kicked out' of the area but you need to accept the nature of the school if your child is going to attend. I am atheist. My children attend a Catholic school That they pray as part of the package. They will make their own decisions in time. Does it really matter if your child grows up to have faith?

greenlinesrunsmooth Thu 26-Jan-17 18:20:46

* piglover* Personally, I think all schools should be secular, if they were there would be a lot less middle-class people 'finding God' 12 months before the school application dates, I don't actually think a lot of these parents 'believe' but they are terrified of the sink community school. We are not willing to lie like that though.

But I appreciate the comments that say their DC were taught in a church school and made up there minds for themselves, that is a good point.

SharkBastard Thu 26-Jan-17 18:23:27

DH and I are atheist, DD goes to the village school which is CofE school. DD is being raised as a critical thinker and mentions the worship at school, she finds it cringey and we find it inoffensive and amusing.

I would do more research on whether the school is really that religion heavy cause that'd make me uncomfortable! Seems a bit heavy. But realistically you may need to look elsewhere to move

IMissGrannyW Thu 26-Jan-17 18:26:13

I think you're being VU and precious for worrying about this with a 6 month old. (sorry, but I do... you've got no idea how different all your lives and the schools might be by the time you're ready to apply)

However, to address your point: If you don't like either school then your choices are (a) to apply for a school you're not in catchment for and hope you'll get in (unlikely, esp if it's a school with a good reputation (b) go private or (c) move, but as your child is still in a pushchair, I'd suggest the special measures school has lots of time to turn things around and you seem to be offering up rumour and gossip as fact with regards to the rough school.

Chloe84 Thu 26-Jan-17 18:26:47

We are not willing to lie like that though.

Yes, luckily you don't have to reveal your hypocrisy because 'actual school in question has community places too, its 70/30, so we would have no problem getting in'.

sonlypuppyfat Thu 26-Jan-17 18:29:59

I took all my children to church and sent all of them to Christian schools now they are older and can please themselves I go to church on my own. We don't brain wash them. Someone once told me Jesus was a gentleman he waits to be invited into our lives

hackmum Thu 26-Jan-17 18:31:44

Chloe84: "Yes, luckily you don't have to reveal your hypocrisy because 'actual school in question has community places too, its 70/30, so we would have no problem getting in'."

What hypocrisy? Why are you accusing the OP of being a hypocrite when she's already said she's not prepared to lie? Are you always this nasty?

I think both schools sound dreadful. If you really can't bear to leave, then send your child to the less awful one (the church one, by the sound of it) and make sure you counteract whatever indoctrination they're experiencing by talking to them about what you believe, explaining the importance of scientific investigation, how you can be kind to people without believing in a supernatural being etc.

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