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To buy a house in a school catchment of a CofE school when we are non-religious

(22 Posts)
TulipsinSpring444 Thu 06-Apr-17 16:23:30

Really looking for advice from fellow Mumsnetters who have been in this situation please.

We've seen a house we absolutely love in a location that is perfect for us, it's everything we want but the only schools that are in it's catchment area are both CofE. My friends whose children go there say at least about half of the parents at both schools are regular church goers and they do daily prayers. I don't like the idea of organised religion but I do believe in God, my husband is a staunch atheist and is scared our DD will be as he describes 'brainwashed'. Neither school seems ultra religious although they do have crosses in classrooms and one of them does a holy communion service in the church every so often. Is this going to be an issue if we are non-religious or will it just be harmless 'be good to each other' kind of stuff. I really don't know and don't want to lose the house and an area we love but equally don't want to risk our DD being 'indoctrinated'

Advice greatly appreciated as feeling very confused. Thanks Mumsnetters!

Iwant2move Thu 06-Apr-17 16:36:55

We sent our children to a church school and we are both atheists. The only difference between their school and the one I worked in, was that Harvest Festival, Christmas and Easter assemblies took place at the local church.
They did not become indoctrinated.

Purplepicnic Thu 06-Apr-17 16:41:19

I think you should teach them that they go to a C of E school and that it is one religion. Tell them that there are other religions. That some people don't have a religion at all. That they are free to choose but must respect all the people who choose an option other than theirs.

Meekonsandwich Thu 06-Apr-17 16:42:18

I went to a church of England school, you do not have to be Christian and they accomadate all faiths, we have a couple of Sikh kids in our classes.

They do not brain wash haha they just do a prayer in assembly, maybe read a bible story, then have nativity and Easter plays.

BrownAjah Thu 06-Apr-17 16:47:50

My kids go to a supposedly non-religious school but the level of religion mandated by the state is still significant. They do "worship" at every assembly, did all the Jesus stuff in their shows at Xmas and Easter, many trips to the local CofE church and speeches by the priest at these shows (still waiting for a trip to a mosque/temple!) so you can't escape it totally. As someone who grew up strictly Catholic and went to Catholic schools, I still ended up atheist today so I wouldn't worry about any influence. I think you and your DH will be more significant in the long run. We really dislike faith schools and chose not to go to our closest school to avoid one but I don't think you should give up your dream house over it

TeaQuiero Thu 06-Apr-17 17:00:45

Catchment is meaningless. Many of those faith schools require a form that has been signed by the church confirming you're a regular attender, which is why many churches resemble a playgroup on Sundays as parents suddenly find religion for the necessary time (differs by school/church - some demand 2 years attendance!) to get the all-important signature.

So you can move there but you may also have to attend.

If it's one of the schools that doesn't require attendance and a signed form - there's still a few left - places are given out based on siblings, needs and distance, so the 'catchment' is only as far as the number of places. One year they might allocate all 30 kids within 200 yards of the door, the next it might be 150 yards, the next 450. Depends how many kids apply and where they live. But like I say, if it requires attendance, then the kids with perfect church attendance records are allocated places before the atheist kids on distance.

(of the 8 faith schools in my area, they are so oversubscribed with 90 applications for the 30 spots, that all the places were given to church-attendees.)

OK, next topic - the religious character of a school differs by school. All schools in the UK - fun fact - are required to do 'daily worship', and that's even the non-religious schools. Some take this very seriously and some don't, but it's up to the school. Some Catholic schools can be very hard-line pro-life/abstinence-only, some are not. It really depends on the school itself. One of our CofE high schools got into trouble for an anti-abortion lecture too, but then over the road the Catholic school has major discipline issues. So, yeah, it really depends on the school.

What you want to do is just visit the schools. Check your council website and see which of them demand church-attendance proof. Decide how you feel about that. I didn't even consider them - I outright refuse to a) lie for a school place and b) believe the religious discrimination in our school system is wrong. Children should not find it harder to get school places due to their parents' beliefs. Now you'll be left with schools with no attached church, and schools that may have St Something in the name but don't demand attendance. Visit, ask questions, see how you feel.

TulipsinSpring444 Thu 06-Apr-17 17:53:30

Thanks for the replies everyone, I appreciate your advice. The schools have faith criteria as fourth priority and looked after children, siblings and distance as first, second and third priority so I think we will risk it! I don't want to lose our dream house over it!

Screwinthetuna Thu 06-Apr-17 17:59:12

My kids go to a Catholic school and neither me nor DH are Catholic. Religion is a tiny part of their education; I chose it because it's a great school.

Twinchaos1 Thu 06-Apr-17 17:59:31

DH and I are atheists, our dc go to a church school because it is the local school, all of the local primary schools are church schools. We just go with the some people believe, we don't, make your own mind up spiel.

Deadsouls Thu 06-Apr-17 18:03:29

Isn't holy communism Catholic? I could be wrong, as not religious. Maybe check the criteria. Some schools want; a certain amount of years church attendance, letter from vicar/priest/etc certifying attendance. They might give priority over people who've attended church for over a year etc.

Hmmmm, personally I would not send my children to a church school, but I'm fortunate to live in an area where we have a choice of secular schools. So if it's the only good school nearby I'd say go for it.

Deadsouls Thu 06-Apr-17 18:05:59

I meant to put holy COMMUNION not communism! grin

CactusFred Thu 06-Apr-17 18:07:40

I went to a CofE and I'm not religious and all of the schools I've put on application for ds primary are CofE. If we didn't apply to the other choices are zero.

I don't think it's relevant.

Jamhandprints Thu 06-Apr-17 18:09:50

I work in a c of e school and it is a big part of each day. There is 20-30 mins worship a day which the kids actively participate in. It's fine for kids to not be christians but I think it'd be really frustrating to send your kids there if you're anti-christian. The school HAS to give christian teaching and if it's all getting contradicted at home it will create a lot of tension. Not all our teachers are christians and they are clear with the kids about that. They teach about other religions too in a positive way. There is a lot of christian input in the school, which is a selling point so if you don't want that then choose a different, further away school!

Floggingmolly Thu 06-Apr-17 18:11:18

Are you sure? It would be very unusual indeed for a C of E school to have the faith criteria ranked below distance??
Catchment areas generally have no impact on eligibility

Eolian Thu 06-Apr-17 18:13:36

Dh and I are atheist and our dc went to a CofE primary because it's the village school and we live in the village. No brainwashing (I rather suspect that the Head would rather the school weren't attached to the church!).
Is it primary or secondary you're looking at, OP? In my experience, people just send their child to the best local school they think they can get into whether it's CofE or not (Catholic and other faith schools perhaps not). Hardly any parents at my dc's primary seem to be churrchgoers. In any case, I'd have no hesitation about putting my dc straight on anything they were told at school which I didn't approve of.

LivininaBox Thu 06-Apr-17 18:24:44

Holy communism grin

Amummyatlast Thu 06-Apr-17 19:55:47

I don't have much a choice where I am (the local schools are mostly CoE). Our catchment school is CoE and doesn't have faith on their admissions criteria at all, so non-attendance at church isn't necessarily a problem.

Trb17 Thu 06-Apr-17 20:01:25

DD goes to a CofE school and it's really no pressure. There are children of other religions there too. TBH it's no more religious than my non church school was growing up and DD has grown up with a sense of faith but equally knowing it's up to her to choose her beliefs. I'm happy with that.

Edna1969 Thu 06-Apr-17 20:01:55

DDs go to a CofE school, its the only contact with organised religon in our athiest household. The school doesn't select on church attedance and we love the small village school / nuture / family atmosphere. As for god I don't think it hurts that the girls learn about christianty as part of our culture and I think it might protect them from teenage rebellion and the "yes but god is solution".

Snotgobbler99 Thu 06-Apr-17 20:11:21

My partner's a teacher who works in a CofE school and the amount of religion that's stuffed down the kid's throats sickens me.

Unlike many caring christian schools that I know of, the Head and DH at my partner's school are bullying imbeciles who don't actually understand the christian message. They say things like 'Jesus won't love you if you behave badly' to the kids. I behave in a more christian manner than they do and I'm a fucking atheist.

Check the schools out very carefully - there are religious schools and there are religious schools...

Rhayader Thu 06-Apr-17 23:24:15

How can faith be ranked below distance that doesn't make any sense.... So if the last two kids live exactly the same distance away and one of them is religious they will get the place? It's normally the other way around.

I would double check this, it sounds like faith might be higher up that you think. Our council publishes a guide to schools saying which admissions criteria was the cut off last year, try and find that for your area.

tillytown Fri 07-Apr-17 00:54:02

Why would you want to send your children to a religious school if you aren't a religious family? That doesn't make any sense.

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