Nicholas William Peter Clegg is sending his child to a - shock - state school(14 Posts)
Such is the headline on the BBC.
'Clegg son to attend state schol'
I think we should all say a prayer for him, that he is not set upon by some of the rougher elements apparently found in government-funded schools. Daddy Clegg doesn't actually believe in prayer, but not to worry, the Good Schools Guide says:
'Serious Roman Catholicism the only - but unifying - common denominator.'
'Entrance: Simpler than hiterto, but heart-sinking for anyone other than an assiduously practising Roman Catholic family with lots of community involvement. In fact, don't bother to apply unless you are a pillar of your local church and known to your priest, who will have to voucher for your bona fides - both pupil's and family's'
It is good to know that we are all in this together, and that our Deputy Prime Minister will get an understanding of the issues faced at a 'bog-standard comprehensive' through his own child, and that he will be motivated to improve standards for all through his experience at this inner-city state school.
I have two friends with children in the Oratory whose fathers are not Catholic and are, indeed, total absolute and utter non church goers. Much as I do not want to act as an apologist for Clegg, I would suggest the Good Schools Guide is not always 100% accurate and that as long as one parent is an extremely regular church goer, the children go and the children have been baptised under 6 months of age (that caught a lot out from a local Catholic school a couple of years ago) then you stand as good a chance in the ballot as anyone else.
There's a separate thread that's been running all day about whether both parents need to be Catholic to get into a Catholic school (indeed if you need a to parent family invthe irstplace).
That the Oratory takes children with only one Catholic parent is hardly news: the Blairs did exactly this (Tony's conversion came later).
Here are the criteria:
They are slightly complicated
(1) Adopted children
(2) The extent to which the candidate and his Catholic parent (where only one parent is a Catholic) or parents meet their obligations in respect of Mass attendance on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. (score: 0 - no regular practice, 1 - irregular or recent attendance, 2 - regular attendance by candidate and one of his Catholic parents; 3 - regular attendance on Sundays by candidate and Catholic parent(s), but not always on other holy days 4 - regular attendance on Sundays AND holy days)
(3) The extent to which the candidate fulfils the Churchs requirements regarding Baptism. (score: 0 - no baptism; 2 - before age 5 yrs, 6 months; 4 - before 6 months)
(4) Whether the candidate has received his first Holy Communion. (score: 0 or 1)
(5) Service in any Catholic Parish or in the wider Catholic Church by the candidate or a Catholic parent. (score 0 for none, 1 for serving for less than 3 years, for serving for over 3 years; examples include flower arranging, visiting the sick)
(6) Whether the candidate has a brother or sister at the School on the date of admission to the School (Score 0 or 1)
(7) Whether the candidate has attended the London Oratory Primary School or any other Catholic School for the whole of their primary education or the candidates parent(s) have fulfilled their obligation to ensure a Catholic education for their child. (Score 0 or 1)
(8) Whether the candidate is a sibling of a former pupil. (score 0 or 1)
(9) Whether the candidate and his parents regularly attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation at the London Oratory Church, for a sustained period of at least three years. (Score 0 or 1)
"If there are more candidates meeting criterion 2 in full (i.e. with a score of 4) than places available, then these candidates will be ranked against criterion 3. If there are more candidates meeting criterion 2 and 3 in full (i.e. a score of 4 for criterion 2 and a score of 4 for criterion 3) than places available, then these candidates will be ranked in turn against each of the other over-subscription criteria. Each of the criteria 4 to 9 will be applied in the same manner, until a final ranking has been achieved. "
There is a long form in support of this:
In the case of junior Clegg, it is actually advantageous that Daddy is a non-believer, because his non-attendance at mass does not count against him - if he were down as a Catholic, and did not attend regularly, that would reduce his son from Cat 4 to Cat 2 or even Cat 1.
The nearest Catholic school to the Clegg residence is I believe Saint John Bosco in Wimbledon, but this isn't as selective and therefore not as successful.
The Oratory selection procedures are extraordinarily successful in screening out low-ability students, such that fully of 97% of the intake at 11 are at or above Level 4 on entry.
Clegg has previously claimed
"Right now there is a great rift in our education system between our best schools, most of which are private, and the schools ordinary families rely on.
"That is corrosive for our society and damaging to our economy."
[We] "need to ensure that our school system as a whole promotes fairness and mobility.
Gosh I so agree with you Fillyputty - those criteria very successfully rule out any child from chaotic families, recently arrived immigrants, traveller community etc. Perhaps children who would greatly benefit from this supposedly superior and rigorous education on offer.
Religious schools seem to be the great cop out for the MP. On the one hand, I do think it's better that MP's children go to state schools, but when they go to ones that are so aggressively selective I find it almost worse.
And clearly Clegg's comment about yes we'll go state if we can, meant 'we'll go state if we get into the Oratory, but we have some privates as back-up'...
It's nice to know other MPs living in Putney did send their children to local schools - like Peter Hain.
Would also be interesting to see what the head of St John Bosco thinks about this.
The criteria are extraordinary. In theory it is selecting committed Catholics. In reality it selects those who are planning their child's secondary education from before birth, since you can be a sincere and committed believing Catholic but not qualify because there are too many box tickers ahead of you who have taken more care, not to show their faith in Christ, but to score highly in the important admissions categories.
I actually know a very committed Catholic parent (she teaches liturgy or something like that) who didn't have her son baptised in time, so didn't get in, and is going private instead.
I went to a Catholic school, run by nuns, and my bros went to the associated boys' school, run by Js. My mum was a Catholic and my dad was an atheist. Catholic schools would be bonkers if they had insisted on both parents being Catholic. They'd all have closed by now, or have 12 pupils in the whole school or something (a friend of mine went to one like that).
Oratory is to State School as The Camerons are to Families with a child with disabilities.
I believe the Camerons' disabled child died in 2009.
Indeed, but that's not what I was suggesting- that The Oratory is privileged, and far removed from the experience of ordinary state schools in the way the everyday life of the Cameron family is completely different to the experience of most families that have a child with a disability.
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