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Schools - WWYD

(140 Posts)
baconcrisps Sun 22-Jul-12 18:58:48

DH and I are atheist and have always believed that it would be hypocritical of us to attend church purely with a view to DD (age 3) attending a particular school. We do not, however, have any issues with DD attending a church school and learning about the Christian faith, singing hymns, taking part in asssemblies etc.

DD is 3 and will be starting at the nursery of our closest school in Sept. It is a C of E school that Ofsted judge as outstanding and the school is heavily oversubscribed. We did not expect her to get a nursery place here, and if I wasn't pregnant she would have stayed at the private preschool she currently goes to. However having got the place at the school nursery this will help massively financially and being local is also much more convenient.

We have to apply for school places in January and currently fall within the 15th out of 18 criteria for places. Usually all places are gone by the 13th or 14th criteria so it is incredibly unlikely that DD will be offered a school place there on the basis of living 2 minutes walk away. The next nearest school seems fine, we have always assumed she would go there and been happy with that. It is a much more diverse intake, higher free meals, higher SEN, higher English not first language, higher numbers starting and leaving within the school year. I didn't think I had a problem with that. However now it is getting closer, maybe I do. I also think I am disrupting DD enough by removing her from her preschool where her friends are so she can go to the CofE nursery and then will be moving her again, while her friends stay there, to go to another school.

Technically it is too late for us to do a U-turn on our lack of beliefs and start going to church - you are meant to attend for 18 months before applying to get in on one of the church criteria. However DD's (new) CM said she knows of at least one child whose parents only attended for a few months and the vicar (?) signed off on the form. Now I am struggling - should I put aside my view that education should not be dependent on a parent's religion (or willingness to turn up at a place of religion) or should I do whatever is within my power to get my DD a place at a good school?

boneyjonesy Sun 22-Jul-12 19:03:44

Got to be worth a try!

MomsNatter Sun 22-Jul-12 19:07:38


Katie08 Sun 22-Jul-12 19:08:08

Do it, got to be worth a shot. I'm doing the exact same thing for my DS who is 3. I'm an atheist but I "believe" for his school application !

FeakAndTheWeebleWorm Sun 22-Jul-12 19:11:06

I don't have much of an opinion either way about attending churches to get your kids into schools etc. but as far as I can see, there's nothing wrong with wanting what you believe to be the best for your child, and doing all that you can to do the best for your child. So if in your case that means sucking up your principles a bit and sitting on a bench for a couple of hours on a Sunday, go to it and good luck wink

2kidsintow Sun 22-Jul-12 19:16:57

As long as when your DC gets to school, you are supportive of everything that being part of a C of E school can involve.

At the school where I work, we have daily assemblies inc the Clergy coming weekly to lead a service, prayer before lunch and hometime, trips to Church for half days and days to do activities and have learning days. There are services at school for Harvest, Christmas, Ash Wed, Ascension and leavers.

My own OH is athiest, but is v poor at not being outspoken about it. If my DDs went to my school he'd be very hmm at some of it and it might make them feel awkward if they were doing something at school that their Dad would not be comfortable with.

UniS Sun 22-Jul-12 19:17:06

how much further up the list will a few months of uninvolved church attendance get you any way? With 18 levels of criteria I guess they are prioritising children of committed church members by degrees of commitment.

Lieing about how long you have been attending would be wrong.

worrywortisworrying Sun 22-Jul-12 19:17:20

If you have no problems 'believing' for the sake of your DC's application, then 'believe' all you want. You certainly wouldn't be the first and won't be the last.

I wouldn't because (i) I actually do have a religion (though not practicing, but I'm Irish, and therefore don't feel the need. He knows. I know. End of story!) and (ii) my DH is UTTERLY atheist, and wouldn't pretend.

But, I don't think many people would judge you for trying to get the school of your choice for your child.

waterlego Sun 22-Jul-12 19:17:40

You say yourself you think it is hypocritical and I do too.

The other school sounds fine. Why can't she stay in her current pre-school (don't see how it makes a difference financially if she presumably gets the govt funding for 15 hours) and then go to the other (non church) school?

Sirzy Sun 22-Jul-12 19:20:14

So basically you want to lie to get your child into a school meaning a child who actually does meet criteria doesn't get a place?

I could almost understand it if it was the only school but when there is another presumably non faith school locally then you certainly would be being unreasonable.

RackandRuin Sun 22-Jul-12 19:21:24

If you want your dc to attend the school and are happy to go to church regularly, why not? Getting into the school is generally dependent on attending church and not being a believer, isn't it?

SauvignonBlanche Sun 22-Jul-12 19:22:33

Sounds very hypocritical to me. hmm

DollysDrawers Sun 22-Jul-12 19:27:21

It depends if you feel comfortable lying about it really. If you are not bothered about the hypocritical aspect of it then I don't suppose it matters but will you be happy to attend the church services etc for your daughter and 'pretend' to her that you believe in God?

Personally it would bother me that another child who met the criteria would not be able to attend the school because I had lied.

baconcrisps Sun 22-Jul-12 19:28:36

waterlego The private preschool is on my commute to work, so when I'm on mat leave isn't convenient. Plus you have to pay for year round place while only getting finding for term time.

unis a few months shouldn't push us up the list at all. It may not. Is just hearsay that they have bent the rules before. If they did again, Dd would be in 3rd category - so would pretty much def get a place.

Was expecting more of a flaming, thanks for being gentle so far!

2kids I think we would support things like harvest festival, summer fete etc. I already attend the carol concert as I like singing carols badly. We have some religious friends so are used to not being outspoken/trying to fight a point over religious....

MrsBovary Sun 22-Jul-12 19:29:55

I really wouldn't. We disregarded a wonderful Quaker school as it just had no relevance to us. C of E would similarly, in fact more so, not appeal.

And I agree about a child who does meet the criteria potentially being denied a place.

missmapp Sun 22-Jul-12 19:30:51

I would do it, as long as you are happy with of church involvement when/if she goes to the school. You cant use the church criteria and then moan that the school is indocrinating children in christianity.

baconcrisps Sun 22-Jul-12 19:31:15

dollys & sirzy we wouldn't lie. We would say on the form we had been attending for 6 months. It is the school/vicar/lea who would decide whether to treat that as cat 3 or cat 15.

LeeCoakley Sun 22-Jul-12 19:32:17

Is the nursery of the other school full? Otherwise I would start her there. I'm afraid standing in the playground with a bunch of hypocrites (including myself) would not sit well with me. I'd abolish faith schools anyway are they are too divisive and elite when doing well, then open their doors to everyone when they're not.

ilovesooty Sun 22-Jul-12 19:33:12

Well, as long as you're not bothered about a child who genuinely meets the criteria better than you do not getting a place...

CrapBag Sun 22-Jul-12 19:34:12

I am an atheist. DS is going to a Catholic school in September. I didn't lie to get him in, they know we are not Catholic. We were lower on the priority list but we got a place anyway.

For me, the other local schools are not even worth considering. A bit like the one you have described. It was going to be the Cathlic school which is our closest school or I would have gone further out of my area.

My childrens education is way more important to me than my religious beliefs. Think of it that way. YANBU. I went to a C of E school and it did me no harm.

CrapBag Sun 22-Jul-12 19:37:36

There will be a lot of people on here that will tell you that you are hypocritcal.

Ignore and do what you think is best for your child. If getting them into a better school is best for them then so be it. Why should a bunch of strangers condem you for that. Loads of parents do it as their childrens education is important to them. Its not good people saying things about moving either, we can't afford to live in a better area so we have to make the best of what is in the area we are in, which is known as a socially deprived area, hence me not even considering the other local schools for my children.

downbythewater Sun 22-Jul-12 19:39:19

If, like you say, the next nearest school is fine, I would just send her there. l really wouldn't worry about disrupting her, friendships at that age are very fluid and schools do an awful lot to help kids settle in. Plus if the C of E school is that oversubscribed I imagine she won't be the only one from the nursery who doesn't get into the school.

Dprince Sun 22-Jul-12 19:41:00

Do it. Another child won't get a place, that should have done and you will always consider yourself a hypocrite.
If your ok with that, go for it.
By the way I wouldn't base this on the gossip of a childminder at all.

JustFabulous Sun 22-Jul-12 19:43:29

I know someone who has very strong principles and they said it is surprising how they go out of the window when it comes to your children..

LeeCoakley Sun 22-Jul-12 19:44:13

Lol at all the concern for a 'genuine' applicant who won't get a place! This will be parents who have left it later than the op to get religious so I wouldn't worry about that.

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