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Catholic school for non believers ? Or Not ?

(112 Posts)
VeryBusy Fri 17-Jun-11 23:03:36

DS at local state primary but it's not delivering. It's time to bite the bullet and go private. There is a NICE school locally but is Catholic (we are not). They do mass every week etc. Other local private prep schools are super-pushy, exam focused above all, which is a step too far.

Does this matter ? Help am in a panic, have been so all year, need to make a decision.... confused

EdithWeston Fri 17-Jun-11 23:10:00

Are you likely to get a place at the Catholic school? Generally, although very welcoming to children if other faiths or none, their entry criteria (unlike most CofE schools) do not reserve a proportion of places for community criteria.

I'd say all children would be fine in a Catholic school, as long as you do not have difficulties with the inherent ethos.

LoopyLoopsBettyBoops Fri 17-Jun-11 23:15:06

I went to a secondary catholic school by choice as a very firm atheist at age 14, and it was the best academic choice of my life so far. I went from a school where it was cool to be a waster, to one where I was both popular and allowed to be clever. This might not be the same in all faith schools, but it worked for me. I certainly struggled with the whole God thing, and always questioned it, but learnt from it too.

VeryBusy Fri 17-Jun-11 23:19:25

Kids are christened so OK for entry. But we not v religious. DH is CofE I'm nothing really ... !
They would describe ethos as realising your potential and being a good person, both of which views are seriously lacking at our current school. But all overlaid with Catholic teachings...
Is it hypocritical to accept this in order to get a better education (albeit one we will be paying for ) ?

EdithWeston Fri 17-Jun-11 23:24:05

No, not hypocritical provided you are not hostile to the Catholic teachings.

Dorje Fri 17-Jun-11 23:33:19

Verybusy - are your kids christened in to the Catholic faith or 'just' christian.
IMO Catholics are very particular about their 'own' brand of christianity.

Will you allow your DS to be trained up for the sacraments with their classmates? If so, you will most probably need to attend Mass, and show willing...

Dorje Fri 17-Jun-11 23:33:58

sorry.. with 'his' classmates

sunnyday123 Sat 18-Jun-11 13:40:08

i went to catholic high school and i'm not catholic and it was fine - as long as your embrace the whole religious side of things. My DD is catholic in a catholic primary school and they are VERY one sided in their teachings but my DD loves it - i think the strong religious emphasis is why they are usually so good academically.

seeker Sat 18-Jun-11 17:32:43

If you're prepared to see your children being taught complete crap about sex, AIDS, contraception, the developing world, the role of women and a variety of other topics then go ahead.

lovecheese Sat 18-Jun-11 17:56:01

"i think the strong religious emphasis is why they are usually so good academically"

Do you mean divine intervention?

sunnyday123 Sat 18-Jun-11 23:02:40

seeker, lovecheese

i understand people do not like the religious elements associated with catholic schools and agree they do go ott sometimes. However most young kids (without parental influence) enjoy learning new things and would probably embrace the religious side of school if allowed to. Im not catholic but send my kids there because i prefer their emphasis on kindness and being respectful to others, the fact its built around religion is irrelevant to me. My family is not religious but i'm so glad they sacrificed their beliefs to send me to catholic schools etc as they were by far the best choice academically for me (in my area). If you have other good schools nearby then take your pick but i wouldn't risk sending any of my kids to a crap school because of my principles - i think that goes against doing whats best for your children. Children can make their own choice when older if they dont want to follow the teachings - i've never gone to church and have no intention of but still support and answer questions my DD has.

seeker Sun 19-Jun-11 00:02:08

sunnyday - if it was all about being kind to each other I might possibly agree with you, although I think it's outragous that soem people think you need to involve God for people to be nice to each other!.

But it's all the other stuf that the Catholic church teaches. Particularly about sex and women's sexuality. Surely nobody really wants that for their childern?

sickaboutdad Sun 19-Jun-11 01:08:38

I had a catholic education, some would say very catholic education and home life. I am not sure about my primary school but there were a good few non Catholics in my high school, the only thing that set them apart was that they didn't have to go to mass if they didn't want to. Some chose to come occasionally, others never, didn't make a jot of difference to them socially.
Both my schools were in very deprived areas, my primary school was in one of the most deprived areas in the country at the time (an example of the area is that I was considered to be posh and rich because my parents were married and lived together, my Father worked and we owned our home, I was a real oddity), there were two other primary school close by, both community schools. Our school had the best results and also the best behaviour, it was a school community that respected it's self and the wider community.
My high school was in a different part of the city, still deprived but not to the same level, again it was the best preforming school in the area and the best record for behaviour.
I really do object to this:

^seeker Sat 18-Jun-11 17:32:43
If you're prepared to see your children being taught complete crap about sex, AIDS, contraception, the developing world, the role of women and a variety of other topics then go ahead.^

I don't know where you get your ideas about a Catholic education from but my very Catholic education did not teach even close to anything like you are suggesting, your statement is completely at odds with everything I was taught at school. I can't remember exact ages when I knew this from but I do know that when I left catholic schooling at 16 I knew all about contraception options, about the dangers of AIDS and how it was a STD that everybody is vulnerable to (ie: Not just the Gay community etc), I had a very good knowledge of the politics and issues in the developing world, no where at any time was anything like missionary's ever spoken about apart from as something that some people choose to do that can have a very dark side to it. I went to a mixed school, woman were as valued as men, the role of woman was projected as the same as a man, what ever you want to be you can be if you put the work, time and effort in.

Now I know that my experiences will not be the same as others and there will always be good and bad Catholic schools just like there are community schools but this idea that Catholic schools exist only to indoctrinate children into a church that can't shift it's self from the middle ages is just rediculous and I find it very offensive.

I am no longer a practising Catholic, I decided while I was still at school that I had to many problems with organised worship and the way it could lead people. I made this decision at school with the wide, varied and open information I was given access to explore by them. They welcomed questions, the celebrated others beliefs, basically the strongest, furthest reaching and most lasting thing that my Catholic education gave me was a deap respect for my fellow human regardless of race, religion or any other difference that can exist.

Sorry to go off on a rant OP, I know this isn't what to were looking for, I do think that as long as the school ethos is one that feels right to you and for your children it doesn't matter if it is a Catholic school or not. You will have the option of withdrawing from mass if you want to I would think (you would at state but not 100% with private) but even if they do attend mass it is not a massive deal, it teaches tolerance and understanding. Yes the religious education will have a strong focus on Christianity but my experience was also of learning about a wide range of other Faiths. I know you are on primary level now but if you are looking to take it all the way through RE will be a compulsory subject at GCSE.
Above all else it is the ethos and feel of the school that is most important and if it is a good fit for your family.

mathanxiety Sun 19-Jun-11 05:28:35

I would like to echo what Sickaboutdad said wrt Seeker's misinformed post. Yes I am a Catholic, went to Catholic primary, in benighted Ireland no less (state secondary), and the DCs went to Catholic primary in the US. Never did I or the DCs ever encounter anything as described by Seeker.

The emphasis on respect for others and for everyone's right to learn and the responsibility of each individual to contribute to the learning environment were stressed. No, this does not necessarily have to come from a religious pov, but it is there (with no judgement implied of those who do not support any religion) in Catholic schools and makes a difference to the atmosphere and to the results.

BlackSwan Sun 19-Jun-11 06:22:05

I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic school. At my Catholic primary church school the priest was a paedophile (arrived as one and left as one, now in jail). I would never send my child to Catholic school. The trust is gone.

GwendolineMaryLacey Sun 19-Jun-11 06:39:54

Yes, I would like to hear about seeker's experience of Catholic education as well. I assume you've been through the Catholic school system seeker? My Catholic primary, middle and convent schools were nothing like you describe either. Neither is the school that dd will hopefully be going to. But do please enlighten us.

Although, as Blackswan implies every priest is a paedophile, just like every scout leader and male nursery worker. FFS.

OP, there were a few non Catholics at my schools too and there was no problem there either. Yes, the religion will be ever present. Ignore uninformed rantings about them teaching your child to be anti homosexual/women etc. If you can get your child in honestly then go and see them.

BlackSwan Sun 19-Jun-11 06:47:06

Gwendoline - not every priest is a paedophile, my point is more that you can't trust the church to protect your children. If someone is suspected of sexually abusing children the Catholic church won't lift a finger to try to stop them. I also went to a Catholic youth group where the priest told us openly that it was ok to masturbate. He was accused of sex abuse and committed suicide. Best outcome for everyone really.

seeker Sun 19-Jun-11 07:30:32

If you choose a Cotholic education for your children, you are chooseing for them to be taught the following things explicitly:-

Any form of artificial contraception is wrong

Sex outside marriage is wrong

Any sort of homosexual sex is wrong.

The way to combat AIDS worldwide abstinence.

To choose just 4 examples of many. This will probably be even more true in a private school which does not have the constraits of the Natinal Curiculum. If you are happy with this, fine. But you need to have your eyes wide open.

mathanxiety Sun 19-Jun-11 07:42:16

I have not had an experience with a priest like this, though one parish I lived in was run by one who had a serious drinking problem that only came to light when he retired. Parish wasn't very well run, and he took absolutely no interest in the school.

The C. Church has been forced to do a lot to address the problems of paedophilia. I personally wouldn't completely, 100% trust anyone in any institution with children and would always have an ear out for any hint that the children were unhappy. I think you could trust it far more now that so much has come to light about abuse of children, but certainly if you yourself have had a run in with a priest who was probably a paedo I can see why you would be more wary.

SheCutOffTheirTails Sun 19-Jun-11 07:43:48

Actually seeker, that's not true.

There is a big difference between the teachings of the misogynist homophobes in the Vatican and the approach to moral and sexual issues taught in most (non-Opus Dei) Catholic Schools.

Abortion was the only issue that we were seriously brain-washed about in 1990s Ireland.

A lot will come down to the school itself. Also kids aren't stupid. You can try to convince a room full of teenagers that sex before marriage is a bad idea, but they will just laugh.

sunnyday123 Sun 19-Jun-11 07:44:41

catholic schools that i went to never taught this stuff at all, topics were covered but i think schools have moved with the times and may suggest a certain path of living but i havent heard anyone i know who went to catholic school say they were taught homosexuality is wrong. I'm not sure the school would get away with being so discriminatory these days?. - again though i think by the age they cover this kids will be hearing other sides of stuff from their friends so can hopefully weigh up arguments.

All the points you raise though would not be important to me if the alternative was a crap community school in a rubbish area - most non catholics probably only send their kids to catholic schools because they have no choice if they want a good school.

Word of advice though OP, catholic schools generally prioritise catholics and not siblings - have a detailed look at criteria. My dd1 is catholic in an out of catchment school and DD2 isnt likely to get in next year as siblings come further down than distance - this is the norm in my area for catholic schools.

NormanTebbit Sun 19-Jun-11 07:54:40

I agree with Seeker.

Op you are supporting an organisation which denies women access to contraception and abortion in the developing world condemning millions of men and women to lives of poverty.

Women in Ireland cannot get an abortion. It's a disgrace in the 21st century.

You are support g an organisation which seeks to control womens' bodies and does nit see them as good enough to be priests or pope.

Faith schools divide the community.

demsy Sun 19-Jun-11 07:56:30

I had a catholic education from the age of 4 to 18. At no point were any views forced on me. We were taught catholic teachings but were always encouraged to question and debate these and many of my class mates had views opposite to that of the faith - this was perfectly acceptable. We were taught about other faiths and the fact we need to be respectful towards them (unfortunately people aren't so tolerant towards the catholic faith).

To be honest it's highly unlikely your child will ever be taught about aids or homosexual sex at primary infact I can't recall any RE lesson about homomosexual sex throught my education. I think you'll find primary religious education will be mainly focused around the 10 commandments which to be honest I think is no bad thing to teach a child.

seeker Sun 19-Jun-11 08:01:06

So catholics no longer believe that using artifical contraception is sinful - or that sex outside marriage is sinful or homosexual sex is sinful?

Has anyone told the Pope?

And are people really saying that it's OK to teach these things anyway because the children won't believe their teachers and will just laugh? What sort of pedagogical relationship is that?

NormanTebbit Sun 19-Jun-11 08:01:56

Also people come on a say 'oh that's not the real Catholic church, not the nasty Vatican,' and you kinda think well, what isthe Catholic then, if not the Vatican with God's representative on Earth at the head if it? Are you saying the pope is wrong? Because let's face it, he thinks homosexuality is a sin.

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