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Church of england schools - proposal to admit more non-cofE children.......

(220 Posts)
Icoulddoitbetter Fri 22-Apr-11 11:13:50


I'm not religious, and my child is not yet of school age so it's not something I've needed to think about for mysef.

But, I know a family where the parents are athiests who attend their local church weekly, read lessons, had their daughters christened and wear crosses around thier necks, just to get their children into the local church school, and this I have a very big problem with. I have no problem with children being brought up in a faith but not when the parents teaching that belief themselves have no belief in it whatsoever, it jsut seems wrong!

So if this new proposal stops the need for such behaviour then great (and the very mean part of me is secretly hoping the children above above get bumped off the list to make room for the non-cofe children in the community, whochaven't faked Christianity for two years, sorry.....!)

inkyfingers Fri 22-Apr-11 11:39:07

I'm concerned because if the intake is 10% faith, then the schools will change hugely. I can't see how they can become anything different than the the ordinary, very mixed schools around them, and nothing distinctive (Christian or anything else). I don't agree with going to church to get into a school as such, but it demonstrates a definite action by the parents that they want this school for this child and that they'll support the school and the child through their education. Nearly all good schools have pro-active parents behind them. This will all change..... They'll be inclusive, certainly, but that's all.

inkyfingers Fri 22-Apr-11 11:40:14

why would any parent want a church school if they have no faith of their own?

GwendolineMaryLacey Fri 22-Apr-11 11:43:44

That's the bit I never understand about the many many debates on here about faith schools, particularly Catholic schools. People who whinge because their atheist child cannot get into the faith school obviously haven't the first clue about what life at a faith school is like.

Icoulddoitbetter Fri 22-Apr-11 12:09:15

I understand parents wanting to get their children into a good school, what parent wouldn't? But it's being achieved by what amounts to lying, which is what I don't agree with. One of the people interviewed this morning discussed how this was quite a common middle class practice now. So maybe the church is just being realistic and accepting that it needs to open it's doors wider, otherwise this practice will continue.

The problem is the lack of school places in good schools, and every child, regardless of faith or lack of, deserves to go to a good school.

Himalaya Fri 22-Apr-11 12:09:47

But that's the thing Inkyfingers - schools used to do all kind of things to favour committed parents - like have waiting lists, give priority to kids who play an instrument, interview parents, ask about their occupation on application forms, and let people in at the heads discretion.

State schools don't do that any more, because it is disriminatory. Their job is to serve all children, not just the one's with supportive parents.

Selection through the proxy of religious practice is one of the last allowed discrimination for 'good families' It is an anacronism. And as the bishop in the article recognises it underpins the apparent 'high
standards' achieved by faith schools.

bitsyandbetty Fri 22-Apr-11 12:30:25

In my area the local faith school is the only one that covers a large and very mixed area. The two best schools are in the most expensive housing areas (no surprise there). My only issue with this is that if the faith school only took 10% of the faith and the rest from the local area this would mean the whole area of schools is dominated by the rich. It would lead to more ghetto education. For some faith schools provide the only really mixed background schools. I appreciate this may not be true in parts of London but is true across a lot of the rest of the UK.

ivykaty44 Fri 22-Apr-11 12:40:12

If you have a system where by you have to pray to a certain god to get your dc into a certain school then possibly look at not mixing education with faith and thus getting rid of people praying to false gods wearing oddments around their neck to be included into a particular school. If you build education around faith then you may well suffer fraudsters, possibly even some of the christians don't really believe in god either - you never can really tell. Could we have a system where we ask god who is who and he administer the education system and he/she decides who gets a place.

or just have schools as school and then get sunday schools on sundays for those that want them affiliated with their churches or houses of faith

MistyValley Fri 22-Apr-11 13:19:41

Hmm - I suspect the only reason this latest move has been made is to try and stall the middle-class backlash against faith schools discriminating and reducing parental choice in their areas.

They will dress it up as trying to be more magnanimously 'inclusive', but the truth is that it's a corrupt system which is becoming more and more unworkable.

missmehalia Fri 22-Apr-11 13:22:08

I think the church schools can be as discriminatory as they like if (and only if) they become entirely self funding.

Anything else should be made illegal - many of these schools are in fact taxpayer funded, at least in part.

RancerDoo Fri 22-Apr-11 13:26:32

As I understand it religious schools receive 90% of their funding from the state. I therefore think 90% of their places should be allocated on open admissions criteria. Having said that, I'd like it even better if there were no state-funded religious schools. State education ought to be inclusive, if you want your child to receive an education from a religious organisation, you/the religious organisation should fund it.

CristinaTheAstonishing Fri 22-Apr-11 13:31:53

Faith schools are an anomaly in today's society when very few people are practising a religion. We've had our children at both a good CoE school and a good non-denominational school. Absolutely no difference between them regarding parents' commitment towards the schools and their children's education.

exoticfruits Fri 22-Apr-11 13:36:14

I think that it is a good thing-they should be all inclusive. However, those who take a place can't then moan about the religious content-they know what they are getting from the prospectus.

Gooseberrybushes Fri 22-Apr-11 13:37:38

Why would you want to go to a church school?

You'll be whinging about the fact that they say prayers in a couple of years.

Widening access doesn't mean lessening the Christian element.

HalleluiaScot Fri 22-Apr-11 13:37:59

I think 10% is too low. Maybe 30% will give critical mass of Christian families.

As a practising Anglican, I think it is good idea to restrict numbers in CofE schools. It means more children can have experience of the Christian faith both in CofE schools, and those disposed Christian children can witness in their faithless schools.

Christians are meant to be salt and light and they can't be this if they grow up in a holy huddle.

Gooseberrybushes Fri 22-Apr-11 13:39:14

Actually standards will probably drop at faith schools because of it so they won't be this great desirable and they'll be phased out in the end. It's their performance keeping them going at the moment and this will be the thin end of the wedge.

KnittingRocks Fri 22-Apr-11 13:39:16

Agree with those who say there should be no state-funded faith schools. End of problem.

CristinaTheAstonishing Fri 22-Apr-11 13:39:57

Gooseberry - Perhaps the church school is the closest to home. Perhaps you don't mind a bland all-inclusive prayer at the start of day but DO mind some dogmatic religious approach to the teaching of science or somethig else. The prospectus doesn't tell you exactly what they'll do, does it?

Gooseberrybushes Fri 22-Apr-11 13:43:48

Sure, I can see the reasoning behind abandoning faith schools.

But widening access will mean their performance desirability will drop, and so the issue will go away without the government needing to do anything about it.

dinkypinky Fri 22-Apr-11 13:44:17

The issue is that the schools receive state funding so ofcourse they should be open to the wider community, and that would stop parents having to be hypocritical to get their children into schools.

OP you should not judge others, so what if someone wheres a cross around their neck - it could just be some sort of fashion statement, how do you really know if someone has faked Christianity or not.

missmehalia Fri 22-Apr-11 13:44:42

There are a few people posting on here who assume that parents have had a choice between secular or Church schools, have then chosen a Church school and moaned about the religious content.

It's not always true.

We live in a rural area, our closest THREE primary schools are all church schools. We have no choice at all, unless we were to travel miles and miles every day. I hate it, personally. HE is not suitable for us, otherwise I would. And if we pay tax, why on earth should we opt for that when we already fund a place for our child in a state-funded school?

I'm with you, KnittingRocks.

Gooseberrybushes Fri 22-Apr-11 13:46:27

Of course if the only reason you want to go there is because it's nearest your house, that makes total sense.

But if you want to go their because of its standards, and are pleased that access is being widened so that you can have access to those standards, you should be aware that those standards will probably now drop.

HHLimbo Fri 22-Apr-11 13:46:50

I also agree that state schools should be secular, not faith schools.

What I am most against is religious discrimination and religious segregation in state schools.
This goes some way towards addressing the problem therefore I hope all state schools adopt this recommendation immediately.

exoticfruits Fri 22-Apr-11 13:51:20

State schools should be secular IMO, but a faith school is a faith school-they make it plain.

ivykaty44 Fri 22-Apr-11 13:51:44

Why can't we moan about religion in schools when there isn't any other choice of school.

Would you be happy if you had red bobble hat school and the dc had to wear a red bobble hat and pray to it each morning as otherwise you had to drive a 50 mile round trip to go to another school.

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