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Priests to control school admissions: Discuss

(245 Posts)
TheKingIsInTheAltogether Sun 20-Nov-16 13:23:02

So the Catholic Education Service has devised a new admissions process for its schools putting the decision on whether a family is considered "practicing" or not in the hands of its priests. The priests will grant a Certificate of Catholic Practice to families who they deem to be following Canon Law, but are able to apply some professional discretion.

Families will need one of these certificates if they want a place at an oversubscribed catholic school.

However the Schools Adjudicator has thrown a spanner in the works by declaring the new process in breach of the Admissions Code, and that decision is going to be challenged in the courts ...
www.theguardian.com/education/2016/nov/20/catholic-church-court-priests-faith-school-places

It seems to me that the Catholic Church is actively promoting its schools as academically desirable and using that as a carrot to coerce all Catholics into following Canon Law to the letter. In areas where schools are very oversubscribed, families will inevitably need to compete for these certificates and the bar for obtaining them can be raised at the priest's discretion. Families won't dare miss Mass in case their faith is considered questionable.

I can't believe anyone would think that an acceptable admissions system!

ElspethFlashman Sun 20-Nov-16 13:28:05

So basically if the school is oversubscribed, church attending children will be given priority for places?

If the school is funded by the church and has a strong religious ethos, surely that's their prerogative?

AndNowItsSeven Sun 20-Nov-16 13:29:50

Good, might stop the fakers.

Floggingmolly Sun 20-Nov-16 13:31:17

That is not a new thing confused. Why shouldn't practicing Catholics get priority at Catholic schools? It's the way it's always been, no surprises there...

Sirzy Sun 20-Nov-16 13:31:26

I am not a fan of faith schools but if we have to have them then I think given the church does help with funding etc it is right to ensure that the families as much as possible are active in the local church as that should be part of the ethos of the school.

Saucery Sun 20-Nov-16 13:31:51

Many CTholic schools are academically desirable. If you want your child to go there I think it's fair enough to have to prove you are a practising Catholic

TheKingIsInTheAltogether Sun 20-Nov-16 13:35:42

It is a new thing floggingmolly.

The old way was for the school to lay out specific criteria (e.g. Mass once per month for 2 years) and for the priest to sign it off.

Instead the criteria will be laid down by Canon Law, not by the school.

ElspethFlashman Sun 20-Nov-16 13:36:42

I also am not sure that they should be considered more guilty of "actively promoting" their results than any other school group.

Don't ALL schools try to promote their results?

And since they actually DO outperform I'm not sure they have to work very hard. It's common knowledge, surely?

Saucery Sun 20-Nov-16 13:38:05

It's Canon Law that says Catholic parents have to give their dc a Catholic education, so makes sense for the Priest to be more involved than they already are (and many schools round here never saw it as purely signing off on Mass attendance anyway)

ElspethFlashman Sun 20-Nov-16 13:38:16

Yeah but the whole point of the new certificate is that various catholic schools were applying different criteria and it was becoming messy!

Toddlerteaplease Sun 20-Nov-16 13:38:46

Practicing Catholics should have priority in catholic schools. That's who they are intended for. Good for the catholic education service!

ReallyTired Sun 20-Nov-16 13:39:18

Single mothers are barred from communion even if the relationship break up is not their fault.

Maybe we need a married homosexual couple attempt to get a catholic certificafe of practice. Then they could challenge the admission authority that the policy of a catholic certificate of practice is homophonic/ anti co habiting families.

MadisonAvenue Sun 20-Nov-16 13:40:34

Going back to 2001 when we applied for an infant school place for our oldest son, our catchment school was CofE school.
Catchment came way down the list of priorities for places, top being regular attendees of the church it was connected to with a supporting letter from the vicar. Other churches and faiths came next on the list with the children who just happened to live within the catchment area being at the bottom.

Toddlerteaplease Sun 20-Nov-16 13:41:25

No it's remarried people that are not allowed to take communion. Unless the marriage has been annulled. But most clergy use their discretion on that rule depending on the circumstances. I doubt there are many priests who would refuse it.

TheKingIsInTheAltogether Sun 20-Nov-16 13:41:49

Sirzby/Elspeth The church doesn't fund Catholic schools as much as you think. It owns a lot of the land but the running costs and vast majority of the capital costs are funded by the public purse.

For Catholic academies, the capital costs are fully covered too.

ElspethFlashman Sun 20-Nov-16 13:41:51

Single mothers are barred from communion

.......wow, someone should tell my Bishop. He seems entirely unaware!

OpalTree Sun 20-Nov-16 13:42:29

If the school is funded by the church and has a strong religious ethos, surely that's their prerogative?
How much is funded by the church and how much by the tax payer?
I wonder how it will be regulated? Someone might be turned down by a priest because he took a dislike to the family unfairly. Because they hadn't put enough money on the collection plate or didn't do what he wanted or something.

ElspethFlashman Sun 20-Nov-16 13:44:12

Opal I think that's actually the whole point behind the new cert. Trying to make it the same everywhere so that can't happen .

Cockblocktopus Sun 20-Nov-16 13:45:51

I think if as a society accept that religious schooling is ok then admission should follow going to church, being active participants of the faith, following can on law etc.

However I also think that religion has no place in education or the state and it should be illegal to discrimate based on religion.

Parents who want their children to learn religious dogma should do so on a Saturday/Sunday/after school.

TheKingIsInTheAltogether Sun 20-Nov-16 13:46:14

Here's a link to the judgement so you can see what the Schools Adjudicator has to say about it...https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/st-richard-reynolds-catholic-college

TheKingIsInTheAltogether Sun 20-Nov-16 13:54:43

So for those of you who think this is a good system, if Muslim schools decide to adopt something similar based on Sharia Law would that be acceptable too?

ReallyTired Sun 20-Nov-16 13:58:11

There are divorced people at my Church of England church who left the Catholic Church because they were made unwelcome. I am not a catholic, but surely discriminating indirectly against a child whose catholic parents have remarried is questionable.

If a certificate of catholic practice is issued at the discretion of a priest then it's a huge can of worms.

Floggingmolly Sun 20-Nov-16 13:58:14

Why does it bother you so much that you must show strong evidence of Catholic practice to qualify for a place at a Catholic school?
Is it because it discriminates again non Catholics (who really shouldn't want a place anyway) confused

SuperRainbows Sun 20-Nov-16 14:00:56

I think this new ruling by the Church is just to ensure as much consistency and fairness as possible. I don't see what the problem is.

ReallyTired Sun 20-Nov-16 14:01:55

I am opposed to faith schools. I don't agree with segregation as it leads to situations like Northern Ireland. It's not a good preparation for a multicultural society. Catholic children need to learn that Muslim, Jews, Hindus, protestants, atheists are not evil. This is best done by sending all children to a community school.

I am practicing Church of England and I do have options of c of e faith schools if I desired. Personally I don't think Jesus would be in favour of faith schools. He wanted everyone.

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