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my son is being punished for our religious stance

(303 Posts)
LiloLils Tue 09-Apr-13 03:43:14

...this is a bold statement but its how I feel.

There isn't any point to my post but the subject is keeping me awake so thought it might help to write it down on a public forum and see if I'm not the only one who is saddened by this.

Basically my DH and I are non religious. I was brought up catholic and he was brought up church of England but somewhere along the line we both lost our faith and sided with reason. Myself particularly...I have a bit of a problem with organised religion. there are personal reasons for this.

Long story short. If we stick to our guns and don't get our boy christened into either Catholicism or church of England, he is going to have to attend the worst school in the borough.

It just really angers me. Why in this day and age do we have to jump through hoops, lie about our beliefs, and subject our children to learning fairy tales as fact, in order to get them into a "good" school?

I have never been so torn about a decision in my life. I'm being pressured by family and friends to get him christened just to get him into a good school. They make me feel guilty by saying things like "do it for your child. I'd do anything for my child...wouldn't you?" It just feels all wrong.

Sunnymeg Tue 09-Apr-13 08:13:19

The thing is CofE schools don't really do themselves any favours. My husband and I attendec the local Baptist church, but when it came to trying to get our DS into the local CofE church school we fell fowl because we were Christians but attended a different denomination. They also didn't like the fact that DS hadn't been christened, but Baptist churches don't christen, children are dedicated and the parents and godparents promise to bring them up in the christian faith so they can make their own choice as an adult. They ended up asking us if we would be prepared to attend the CofE church they were affiliated to on specific days including Easter and Christmas services, we said no because we had our own commitments at our own church. At this point we decided to look for another school!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 09-Apr-13 08:14:49

How old is your son? A LOT can change in a school in only a year or two and if he does have to attend a less than great school, my only advice is to get involved in the school all that you can.

Join the PTA run for the board and fund raise like hell. If you have any skills then offer them to the children. I'm thinking of offering recitation classes to my DDs classmates so they can enter the county recitation competition. That's usually only open to kids who attend private schools or go to Stagecoach....get on board with the school and help them.

seeker Tue 09-Apr-13 08:16:37

You do all realize that theses Church schools only get a tiny bit of their funding from the Church, don't you? They are largely paid for by the tax payer, like any other school?

Mind you, I do find it hard to believe that there is any school a child could attend for two years and not "know their abcs".

Squarepebbles Tue 09-Apr-13 08:16:45

Yes agree with the last few posters.

You have no choice.

To counteract the baloney my dc get told at school we counteract with "that is what Christians believe".

To be honest considering we're not religious at all I don't mind them being taught about other religions to a point as it will be their choice as adults,it could be described as part of education and they sure as hell won't learn about it from us.However it's the CofE bias I have a problem with but you can counteract that by talking about other religions at home(along with evolution).

At the end of the day it's your child.Churches play the system and because of that many parents need to too.If the school you want is the best one for your child stuff etiquette-you're paying for it via your taxes.

Squarepebbles Tue 09-Apr-13 08:21:39

My kids aren't christened and we're not married(along with an awful lot of other kids at our school).

These are both choices we made, not our children long before they were born.

CofE schools seem to differ as I doubt my dc wouldn't be allowed over the threshold of many,that is also ridiculous.

LiloLils Tue 09-Apr-13 08:22:24

My son is only 6 months old. The reason I'm in a panic about it now is something a friend said. She actually works in the local catholic school. She said that our chances of getting him in falls significantly if he is not christened by 6 months old.

Please note I live in central London. The schools are all massively over subscribed. This is why they have to select children in this way.

I feel under pressure to make a decision NOW.

My DH thinks I'm being dramatic. Maybe I am. But this is so important to me and the whole thing seems so unfair.

Squarepebbles Tue 09-Apr-13 08:23:56

Can't you get christened at any age?<clueless,I'm sure somebody will come along and enlighten us>.smile

meditrina Tue 09-Apr-13 08:26:25

Most faith school pre-date the creation of state schooling and in addition to those we have by history, the Blair government created loads more.

I think the bottom line is that they are popular, parents like the ethos and vote with their feet to have their children attend.

The new Free School policy means that those who want to instigate as secular a school as permitted by law are now able to do so within the state system (before it would have had to be private).

If there is a gap in provision and insufficient school places locally, then local campaigning is needed to secure the type of new school that is wanted.

If a school is failing, then that needs to be tackled too. Blaming the "failure" of one school on perceived attributes of others locally isn't going to fix that school.

seeker Tue 09-Apr-13 08:26:28

Your friend is probably right. If a Catholic school is oversubscribed, they can have infant baptism as one of their admissions criteria. Because Roman Catholics are supposed to baptise their babies as early as possible, and this is supposed to stop the sudden religious conversion of 4 year olds when their parents start to panic. But this is more likely to be an issue at secondary level- when the difference between schools becomes much more marked. Don't believe local gossip about schools- people exaggerate, lie and justify their own decisions to an extraordinary degree.

LiloLils Tue 09-Apr-13 08:30:19

Can I just add that the ofsted report at the non religious school, for the last 5 years has been poor.

I'm still all new to this. I've never had to think about it before. I feel very naive about everything.

LiloLils Tue 09-Apr-13 08:31:43

Just want to thank everyone for their thoughts too. Keep them coming. Good or bad, it helps just to build up ideas in my head. I don't feel so alone about it so thank you.

seeker Tue 09-Apr-13 08:32:08

What do you mean by poor? When was the OFSTED? Do you know when they will be inspected again

Squarepebbles Tue 09-Apr-13 08:32:48

Having said that a lot could happen in 5 years,school could go down the pan and the other could improve.

Med I don't think parents do like the ethos of church schools,they just want a good school for their dc and if it was the Monster Raving Loony Party running the local Outstanding school in comparison to one in Special Measures they'd be clambering to get in.

It's all vey well suggesting campaigning but that can take years and in the meantime your precious child needs educating.

CelticPromise Tue 09-Apr-13 08:32:48

I'm practising RC and my DS will get into an excellent RC school around the corner, but fwiw I agree with you OP. I would prefer it if all children went to their local school with maybe a bit of catchment juggling to ensure a social mix. I'm taking advantage of a Catholic education being available but I don't think it should be, parents are free to educate their children in their faith.

Our RC school can fill its intake with practising RC families. There are many RC schools that require baptism under six months. Also in my experience you can't just request baptism, you would have to demonstrate your own practice to get a DC baptised.

It sucks.

Squarepebbles Tue 09-Apr-13 08:33:29

Can you move,you have time?

LiloLils Tue 09-Apr-13 08:36:23

Unfortunately moving isn't an option...

seeker Tue 09-Apr-13 08:38:05

Could you tell us more about the non religious school? There are people on here who are good at interpreting OfSTEDs!

Squarepebbles Tue 09-Apr-13 08:41:01

Yes personally I'd go for good rather than Outstanding.

Give us info re the poor one-Ofsted grade and issues mentioned.

Re other school when was it last inspected,is it consistently Outstanding/ Good,has it had a new head recently?


Squarepebbles Tue 09-Apr-13 08:42:41

Look at progress and teaching in both.Oh and bullying.

If one has a poor intake but good results don't discount it as that is preferable imvho than cherry picked kids achieving average results.

Squarepebbles Tue 09-Apr-13 08:43:29

Look at the Ofsted Data Dashboard too.

Myliferocks Tue 09-Apr-13 08:46:49

We're the other side of the coin.
Our DC attend a non selective CofE school.
They haven't been christianed and DP and myself aren't religious.
Faith has no part in the admissions criteria for the school so it has children from all faiths there.
We had hoped because it was non selective I wouldn't be to bad but the church visits are slowly increasing and so are the Vicar's visits.
Our DC don't attend church on those days that school go and we've pulled them out of the highly religious assemblies as well.
All Junior and Primary schools within a 12 mile radius of us are either CofE
or Catholic and that is a lot of schools so moving schools isn't a choice.
When mine get to year 5 they transfer to a middle school 12 miles away but that costs us for the privilege of our DC going to a non faith school due to us having to pay for a bus to get them there.

LiloLils Tue 09-Apr-13 08:47:06

Last report for non religious school was 2012. All sections (6 of them) got "requires improvement".

This is in comparison to both faith schools. The report for both these schools are outstanding.

Squarepebbles Tue 09-Apr-13 08:49:25

Hmm I see your dilemmagrin

Why can't you move?

<sorry to be nosy>

SoupDragon Tue 09-Apr-13 08:50:18

She said that our chances of getting him in falls significantly if he is not christened by 6 months old.

She is absolutely right. At least in my area, and it is particularly true at secondary level.

We did move when DS1 was 3 to avoid the choice of a poor secular school and an outstanding CofE one where we would have had to lie to get into. Many, like you, do not have that option.

I've always found it odd that it is acceptable to discriminate on the basis of religion in schools - are there any other similar places where it is legal? Apart from, say, becoming a catholic priest smile

Squarepebbles Tue 09-Apr-13 08:50:44

Have to say in a couple of years the other school could be Outstanding too but the non christening would be a gamble.

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