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Catholic primary schools

(27 Posts)
Loueytb3 Tue 30-May-17 09:33:06

We are moving in the summer. The house we are moving to backs onto two schools, one non-faith, the other Catholic. The non-faith one is full and unlikely to have 2 places available by the end of the summer. The Catholic school currently has places available. We are agnostic/atheist. I have looked on the school website and it suggests that at yr3 they are expecting the children to be confirmed and whilst you can (in theory) remove your children from collective worship, it is intertwined in the school day and it would be difficult to remove children from it completely (the wording is quite discouraging).

If your child goes to a Catholic primary school, I would be very interested to hear how much religion there is in the school. I do not know much about the Catholic faith, but the little exposure I have had makes me think that it would be more full-on than a CofE school. I have yet to visit the school but it would be useful to know what I should be asking when I do (without sounding completely anti-religion).

Arkadia Tue 30-May-17 09:50:14

Well, at my school there is a percentage of non Catholics (along with a larger share of pretend ones...), But if you do go to a faith school there is only so much you can expect. On a day to day basis they have a short prayer 5 times a day (2 mins in total), but for example last Thursday the whole school went to mass for the feast of Ascension. You don't have to go, but then you end up being the one who "doesn't go". Also on P3 and p4 there is the preparation for first confession/communion/confirmation. Again, you don't have to do it, but...

In any case the LA has to find you a place at a normal school, so you don't have to go to a Catholic school if you don't like the idea.

Loueytb3 Tue 30-May-17 10:33:16

That's useful - I will ask about percentage of catholics / non-catholics.

I don't think we can use religion as a basis for turning down a school can we?

There is another school with places available (CofE) but it's the other side of town (just over a mile away). I thought it would be nice if they could walk to school if possible.

unfortunateevents Tue 30-May-17 11:06:45

In year 3, the sacrament in Catholic schools will be First Communion, not Confirmation. However, the preparation for that should be done completely separately to school, probably evening/weekends through the church. When our DS's made First Communion (in a Catholic primary where most children were Catholic) the only acknowledgement at school was to wish the children a nice day on the previous day at school. It was also held over 4 weekends so it wasn't particularly obvious if any particular child wasn't receiving the sacrament.

Arkadia Tue 30-May-17 11:20:48

In our school the preparation for first communion/confession is integral part of the school day. There is even homework o that effect. On top of that there are evenings for the parents.
(And here we do communion and confirmation together).

Loueytb3 Tue 30-May-17 19:25:07

Ok - so it sounds like it might well vary by school. I will ask about whether they do communion / confirmation prep at school.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 30-May-17 19:36:07

I think it's quite rare for preparation for first communion to be done in school in England these days. It's usually done by the church.

That's not to say it wouldn't be referred to in RE lessons though.

missnevermind Tue 30-May-17 23:57:53

One of mine makes his First Holy Communion in about 4 weeks. All the work has been in school time with parents meetings and working together with the child several times during school hours and also half a dozen 6pm meetings at the school that parents and children are expected to attend. The school are most definitely involved fully and will celebrate with the children afterwards in school hours too.

Increasinglymiddleaged Wed 31-May-17 08:29:05

OP I wouldn't personally send a non Catholic child to a Catholic primary. I have been in several in my time and it isn't just collective worship but is all the place and be very confusing for them. Secondary is entirely different.

bonbonours Wed 31-May-17 08:34:52

I definitely would do whatever I could not to send my kids to catholic school in this situation. The faith is really woven into the school day. My non religious friend's daughter started reception and within a week was making the sign of the cross all the time at home. If you can prioritise a school on the basis of religion surely it must be possible to reject one on the basis of lack of it. Would people be suggesting you just put put with it if the only school with places was a Muslim or Sikh school?

bonbonours Wed 31-May-17 08:36:28

Just read your other post. I would put them into the further away school and get on the waiting list for the near nonchurch one.

Increasinglymiddleaged Wed 31-May-17 08:42:03

Yes bonbours that's exactly my perspective. They were making the sign of the cross lining up to go out to play, I was shock tbh.

Arkadia Wed 31-May-17 09:14:08

increase, why would you be shock? After all it is a FAITH school... The opposite would be odd.
In any case at our school there is also a relatively good proportion of Muslim kids, as Catholic schools(' ethos) are PERCEIVED to be better than mainstream ones

Increasinglymiddleaged Wed 31-May-17 09:19:24

Because I assumed it would be similar to a Catholic secondary/ C of E primary, which it isn't. The children are too young to question, and I felt very uncomfortable. If Muslims and Catholics think it's fine then fine but the OP is thinking about sending a non denominational child and withdrawing then from worship so I suspect she may feel similarly to me.

Increasinglymiddleaged Wed 31-May-17 09:19:57

And Catholic schools are mainstream...

Arkadia Wed 31-May-17 09:33:20

If in the one hand the level of RE as a whole is not that extensive (they do not teach creationism...), I agree that if the sign of the cross makes you feel jittery, a Catholic school is not a good idea.

reallyanotherone Wed 31-May-17 09:42:01

Go see the school.

I am catholic but had wanted a non religious primary. I had visited 4 or 5 other schools and thought I may as well see the catholic one to compare.

I just got a really good feeling about the school. Apart from the obligatory statue of Mary in the entrance, religious stuff was fairly minimal. In fact my we have moved and my youngest is in a non faith school, and I think they go to the local church as much as the catholic school- Easter, Christmas and special days. Like others have said, communion was done very separately.

So don't think a non faith school won't take your child to church either!

But nobody here can tell you what that school is like. You can get a feel from the website- look at the photos, are there a lot of general school ones with the odd church pic, or is it all about catholicism? Read both the ofsted and the church report- the local diocese will produce an inspection report too.

Don't rule it out.

Deliaskis Wed 31-May-17 15:27:44

DD is in a catholic primary, and despite my DH being catholic and having attended that school himself, the head still went to quite some lengths to explain how inclusive they are and how the catholic side of things is more about an ethos in the school and how they wish to treat each other and behave, rather than a lot of actual religious practice. They do go to mass about once a term and have prayers in assembly and before lunch and at the end of the day, but there is very little else. To add a bit of context, a lot of the prayers etc. don't seem to be really about 'God' per se, but about being generally reflective and thankful for what we have and thinking about those who are less fortunate, which I have no problem with.

So it really does depend on the individual school I guess, you need to see how you feel about the school and the head when you visit. I had concerns about DD going to a catholic school, but our local parish is a particular branch of catholicism that is very much 'catholic-lite' so it works fine for us.

Arkadia Wed 31-May-17 19:54:52

delia, what on earth is a "particular branch of the Catholic church that is catholic-lite?"

Deliaskis Thu 01-Jun-17 09:39:47

You're right, that sounded ridiculous...but I don't want to out myself , so I'll do my best whilst being a bit non-specific. Our parish contains a retreat and is sponsored by a branch of the church that is focused on doing work directly with disadvantaged children and young people. Our priests typically come to our village later on in their career, from having worked in really tough inner city areas both here and overseas, particularly with kids who for whatever reason are having real problems at home or school, or who are homeless, or in and out of social care or young offenders etc. So the ethos of the parish is very much focussed on the 'doing good work' rather than the 'judgement' type of catholicism that I know a lot of non-catholics have an issue with.

So in summary, there are some parts of the catholic church that I have concerns about, but because of the particular situation related to our local church and school, and their approach, I am comfortable with the type and level of religious input in the school day.

I was really only trying to make the point that there is no 'all catholic schools do/say x'...they are all different and you have to look at the individual school.

RainbowPastel Mon 05-Jun-17 22:13:12

There is a lot of praying at our school. They pray in the morning, before lunch, hometime. Assemblies or masses weekly. Lots of religious education.

Reconciliation, First Holy Communion and Confirmation preparation is done in school as part of the curriculum. I don't know of any schools where it isn't. Those not doing the sacraments still take part in the preparation.

Mamabear12 Tue 06-Jun-17 10:09:13

I went to Catholic school my entire schooling until age 18 and I think it is very good for the kids to learn about religion, being kind to others, prayers etc. It was not strict in religion brainwashing at all. My daughter learned beautiful prayers in nursery and start of reception until we transferred her to bilingual school. I was so sad about the fact she would not continue to learn prayers and about religion at school. However, I continue to try and teach her a bit at home. Sometimes before we sleep we think about family and friends and wish them well (that is what praying basically is!). And I read her stories on occasion from children bible stories. I wouldn't get all worked up about the religious teachings in the school, if it is a good school and your child gets a spot.

thethoughtfox Tue 06-Jun-17 12:18:25

I went to a Catholic primary. It is part of everything. It's not just separate observances that you can withdraw from. It's prayers every day, often several times; assemblies; music time is often learning hymns to sing at masses, assemblies etc; art time can involve drawing pictures of Mary or Jesus or the Holy Spirit. In my experience, and that of every I know who has been in a Catholic primary, or has children in one, lots of preparation for the sacraments takes place in school, that's part of the school's function: learning about them; preparing performances, hymns and artwork for them; and trips to church to practise for them. The Catholic religion will be taught to your children as fact by all the adults at the school and the church they are connected with. That is pretty persuasive. Would you be ok with this?

Loueytb3 Wed 07-Jun-17 09:33:48

Thethoughtfox, no I wouldn't be ok with that. And DH even less so (he is atheist).

I've read the diocesan inspection report now. It says that the school is 97% catholic (baptised catholic) and states "Prayer and worship are central to the daily life of the school through class prayer times and assemblies" and "Religious education receives at least 10% curriculum time and has a larger budget than other core
subjects."

That seems to chime with what most of you have experienced and really isn't going to be right for us.

Me4You Wed 07-Jun-17 23:47:10

I don't think it's right to send your child to any faith school if you are an atheist, but especially a Catholic school. You have to buy into the ethos like everyone else. It wouldn't be fair on your child or, to be honest, the other families. Posters are spot on, it is not an occasional mass or assembly, it's woven into everything and there is an assumption that you are fully on board.

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