Applying under 'children of other faiths' category

(21 Posts)
coffeeforone Mon 04-Nov-19 12:55:42

I'm looking at primary applications for DS. One of the schools I'm putting on the list is an oversubscribed Catholic School. The last two categories are 'children of other faiths' and 'other children'. I'm considering applying under the 'other faith' category but in previous years no-one seems to be admitted under that category, though there are usually one or two in the final category allocated on distance. Does anyone know why this could be the case? I cannot find the school's definition of 'member of another faith'. I take this to mean not Catholic/Christian, but not atheist. Is this correct?
The supporting evidence required states they need:

"If application is being made for a place at the school where the child is a member of another faith, a letter confirming membership of that faith, and signed by the appropriate faith leader, will be required."

For context DS is being raised as Hindu, but we usually only visit the family Temple when we go to India (annually), we are travelling there next month. I'm assuming we can ask the family Hindu priest who knows my DH quite well to sign a confirmation letter, but what should the letter actually confirm?

OP’s posts: |
cabbageking Mon 04-Nov-19 14:56:27

You need you evidence your commitment to your faith in your life.
So how often do you attend, how are you involved in the life of the temple and the community. Your priest would sign to confirm his position, who you are and how often you attend. If you only attend once a year this would likely be classified as little or no evudence. Supporting evidence is graded. Do you have a local temple you attend?

BackforGood Mon 04-Nov-19 14:57:35

I think you would have to ask the specific school for their specific answer to that question.

When mine were pre-school, our minister wrote to confirm we were regular weekly attenders and fully participant members of our Church. I have no idea what a faith leader would say if you don't attend though. Surely that is equivalent to a Catholic (or even CofE / Methodist / Baptist / etc) family saying they should get a place as they go to the local Church's Christmas service - it isn't really being an active member of the faith. If all of those children who were 'nominally' Catholics were given a place, then the school would be full anyway and 'other faiths' wouldn't be reached on the criteria list.

I presume it would put you in a criteria of "a bit higher than someone of no faith" but below "an actively worshiping family" if it came down to a choice between two children to be admitted?? (Only my guess though).

coffeeforone Mon 04-Nov-19 15:31:08

Do you have a local temple you attend?

No we don't. I'm not that religious myself but DH is and we do have a permanent prayer setting at home with the Hindu gods etc, celebrate all religious festivals and traditions and follow customs, which and are beginning to explain the concepts to DS. He is being raised as Hindu, so he does follow a faith, but there isn't a local Temple where we live.

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coffeeforone Mon 04-Nov-19 15:41:33

Under the admission criteria, Catholic children you don't necessarily need to attend church, and they can apply under a lower category, where the parent just self certifies the Baptism (but this is a higher category than the 'other faiths').

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admission Mon 04-Nov-19 16:27:27

children of other faiths is usually a long list of associated churches to the catholic faith. You need to go to the school site and find the admission criteria as somewhere there will be a list of supported faiths. You cannot assume anything or everything is covered, you need to have it is black and white.
If you cannot find it, then email the school and ask for the list, which they will have to supply.

coffeeforone Mon 04-Nov-19 17:05:33

The criteria states:

‘Children of other faiths’ means children who are members of a religious community that does not fall within
the definition of ‘other Christian denominations’ and which falls within the definition of a religion for the purposes
of charity law. The Charities Act 2011 defines religion to include:
• A religion which involves belief in more than one God and,
• A religion which does not involve belief in a God.

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coffeeforone Mon 04-Nov-19 17:06:26

So I assuming Hinduism falls under this definition?

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JohnMcCainsDeathStare Mon 04-Nov-19 17:09:34

I know its off topic but faith schools = bullshit. The day when a load of dried up old men who don't know much about education and blench at evidence are told to quit meddling is one I hope to be alive for.

Settlersofcatan Mon 04-Nov-19 17:10:13

Hinduism does not prescribe attendance at a temple. I would ask the brahmin to explain that in his letter and set out that you have your private shrine at home and celebrate the main festivals etc

coffeeforone Mon 04-Nov-19 17:23:06

Thanks all. I will ask the school if we can get a letter from a faith leader outside the UK (who knows us and DS).

If it needs to be in the UK I suppose we could just find the nearest Mandir and ask if they could provide a letter even if they don't know us.

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Hoppinggreen Mon 04-Nov-19 19:32:45

Please carefully consider if you actually want your child to go to a Catholic school as a non catholic, especially as he’s not Christian.

myself2020 Mon 04-Nov-19 20:04:12

agree with @Hoppinggreen - have a close look at the school and decide if you want to send your child. our local. one has mandatory daily mass, daily prayers, weekly confessions of sins, and a lot of talk about hellfire, purgatory etc (which is pretty extreme even for catholicism - i’m from a catholic background, but would never send my child there)

JohnMcCainsDeathStare Mon 04-Nov-19 20:27:27

Apparently, preparation for confirmation can take out the equivalent of half a school day per week. Time wasted when it could be doing something useful like PE or drama for instance.

GrumpyHoonMain Mon 04-Nov-19 22:21:13

The order of preference is usually as follows:

1. Observing and baptised catholics (with proof of religious observance).

2. Those baptised into another Christian denomination / received into the Catholic faith.

3. Other children usually includes those being prepared for Catholic baptism, those baptised or dedicated in another Christian religion.

4. The last category and the least prioritised are children belonging to other faiths. Some Catholic and CoE schools further divide this category to give priority to Biblical religions; or may even use academic selection.

Every Hindu student I know who has gotten into a catholic school has done it based on academic selection and because they are the last pick it has all been last minute; so by that time most of those academically able students have chosen other schools.

coffeeforone Mon 04-Nov-19 22:51:13

Please carefully consider if you actually want your child to go to a Catholic school as a non catholic, especially as he’s not Christian.

Thanks - it's not our top choice but it is amongst our closest and is outstanding so those were our reasons. As I say I'm not religious and DH is Hindu so maybe we need to think about this more

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prh47bridge Tue 05-Nov-19 00:10:30

The day when a load of dried up old men who don't know much about education and blench at evidence are told to quit meddling is one I hope to be alive for

I've no idea who these dried up old men are, but I very much doubt any of us will be alive to see faith schools prevented from prioritising on faith grounds. The cost to the government of such a move would be huge.

JohnMcCainsDeathStare Tue 05-Nov-19 08:05:39

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

catndogslife Tue 05-Nov-19 10:25:27

OP usually the reference has to be from a religious leader based in the UK, but I would ask the school to be sure what would be best.
Your dc can be considered in more than one category i.e. both the "other faith" and the "distance" categories.

ArcheryAnnie Tue 05-Nov-19 10:36:52

If it's anything like my area, then your child will not be considered for admission to a Catholic school, however many letters of recommendation you get from your Hindu priest.

I'm in a part of London where there is not only no chance that a non-Catholic child will be admitted to a Catholic state school, but most Catholics won't, either. They have such restrictive policies that even Catholics who come from traditions where late baptism is more usual than early don't have a sniff at getting in.

Honestly, I think people should be free to send their kids to religious schools if they want to, but if they want schools exclusive to their own religion, they should not be paid for out of the public purse. All state schools should admit all local children, without any religious discrimination at all.

Good luck, OP, but please don't get your hopes up.

prh47bridge Tue 05-Nov-19 11:32:59

If a faith school has a place available they must offer it to anyone who applies, regardless of whether or not they are of the faith. However, in some areas faith schools get so many applicants that children not of the faith don't stand any chance of getting a place unless they get an EHCP naming the school. In other areas faith schools regularly have places for children not of the faith.

It also depends on which faith we are talking about. CofE schools increasingly reserve a proportion of the places to be awarded without reference to faith, with 50% becoming common. All Catholic schools and most (possibly all) schools of minority religions allocate all places on faith grounds.

Any new free school or academy that is a faith school must allocate at least 50% of places without reference to faith.

Faith schools use land and buildings owned by the relevant faith. Whilst all running costs apart from buildings insurance are, in theory, met by the state, in many cases the relevant faith provides additional funding towards running costs. Similarly, the relevant faith is required to find at least 10% of the cost of any capital works (this used to be higher) but at least some provide more funding than this.

The Catholic church has been clear that it will close its schools down if it is not allowed to allocate all places on faith grounds. Some minority faiths would take the same view, so stopping faith schools prioritising on faith grounds would require the government to spend billions of pounds setting up new schools.

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