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Why do all the decent secondary schools in my area have to be bloody religious schools?

(153 Posts)
StaceeJaxx Sun 07-Oct-12 12:24:51


DD1 is in year 5 and we're starting to look at secondary schools. She's ASD and has an IEP and is on school action plus, so we're even more aware that the school she goes to has to be the right one.

DH and I aren't in the slightest bit religious at all. I was brought up Catholic but I'm now an atheist. We've brought the dds up to just make their own judgement on God. When dd1 started primary school I was adamant that I wasn't going to start going to church just so she could get into a decent primary. Thankfully the school she goes to doesn't require church attendance.

Now we're looking at secondary schools and all the good ones are religious schools! The rest are complete sink schools that I wouldn't send my worst enemy too. So we're going to have to start going to church every Sunday if we want her to have a decent secondary education. Goes against all my principles, and pisses me off so much, but don't know what else I can do?

Rant over. blush

prh47bridge Sun 07-Oct-12 20:57:07

TalkinPeace2 - There are no fully state funded Catholic schools and never have been. All Catholic schools are Voluntary Aided schools and have to find 10% of the funding for any capital works (new buildings, etc.). However, there were plenty of Catholic schools that had all their running costs met by the state before Blair. As for fully state funded non Catholic schools (which is what you asked) they obviously existed in huge numbers!

VA schools have been around since 1944. Originally VA schools had to fund 50% of all capital works with all other costs being met by the state. The school's contribution to capital works was reduced to 25% in 1959 and has since been reduced to 10%. Running costs have been met in full by the state throughout.

Voluntary Controlled schools have also been around since 1944. All costs for these schools are met by the state. These are also faith schools but have less freedom than VA schools.

All Catholic schools are VA as are schools of non-Christian faiths. CofE schools are split between VA and VC status.

Nor is it true that schools away from London are generally church schools. I live several hundred miles from London. The primary schools where I live are evenly split - around half are church schools, the other half are community schools. Nationally around 22% of primary schools are VA and 15% are VC.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 21:08:18

but prh as you know better than many, the recent proliferation of state funded religious schools for minority religions and non established Christian groups dates back to Bliar and not before.
And sadly this is resulting in reduced social mobility and options because if a previously secular comp turns into a religious sponsored academy, parents have no real choices
free schools are allowed to have a religious ethos while getting state funding ...

CecilyP Sun 07-Oct-12 21:16:27

I don't know about increased massively. There has been some increase in schools of minority religions. But many areas have, and have always had CofE schools. There have also been a small number of Jewish secondaries. The area I grew up has recently opened a new CofE Secondary, but then it lost one in about 1990.

I will grant that that religious selectivity has increased - having to prove your faith to get into oversubscribed schools, but the previous government did go some way in curtailing the worst excesses.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 21:18:44

in my town four comps closed to be replaced with two happy clappy academies
they are non selective intake
BUT you have to accept their ethos
and the academy chains are getting bigger by the day ....

prh47bridge Sun 07-Oct-12 21:25:44

It is not the case that state funded religiously selective schools increased massively under Blair and Bown.

It is true that Blair introduced the ability for faith schools to become academies. There are 8 sponsored Catholic academies and 122 converter academies. And I admit to forgetting about these in my last answer in that they may be able to get full capital funding from the state. Of course, most years a school will have no capital spending at all.

Prior to Blair all faith schools were either Christian or Jewish. This has been expanded to include other faiths. However, the number of schools of other faiths remains vanishingly small.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 21:33:25

Oasis have 19 academies
United Church Learning Trust have 20 academies
Emmanuel Schools Foundation has 4 academies

those are all schools that previously were NOT specifically religious

deleted203 Sun 07-Oct-12 21:56:03

Actually, we have a local CofE secondary school which has certainly been in existence since at least the 1950s looking at the photos hanging in school corridors. So long before Blair. And it's a state school, always has been.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 22:00:03

LEA CofE schools are indeed long standing
but the academy chains are a new thing that is growing FAST

ExitPursuedByAaaaaarGhoul Sun 07-Oct-12 22:31:17

I would have thought Liverpool was a pretty religious place, compared to others.

What chains for the academies?

prh47bridge Sun 07-Oct-12 23:34:25

Oasis, United Learning Trust (NOT United Church Learning Trust) and Emmanuel Schools are NOT designated as faith schools and do not give priority for admissions based on faith. They all have a Christian ethos but, as they are not designated as faith schools, there are limits to what they can do.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 08-Oct-12 12:25:44

they may not be designated as faith schools but by golly they look like it once in the door - DH is working at one well away from here soon ... will have more info then.

rosabud Mon 08-Oct-12 23:45:46

Just wanted to point out that you don't have to pretend to believe in God to get into these schools. You only have to attend church which is not the same thing. It's very irritating for church-goers/ Christians who suddenly find themsleves in the midst of a congregation full of people who are there in body but don't seem actually bothered abut worshipping. Ironically, it may become a bit like being a pupil who genuinely wants to learn but is attending a sink school full of pupils who are disruptive and are there in body but not in spirit.

BabsJansen Mon 08-Oct-12 23:48:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Himalaya Tue 09-Oct-12 00:01:01

Read the school entry criteria - you may get priority for SEN . I don't know if it's easier to get a Statement than to get religion though, but maybe a Dr's diagnosis will do.

prh47bridge Tue 09-Oct-12 10:18:11

A statement naming the school always guarantees admission. Having needs that fall short of a statement may get you higher priority but some faith schools put non-faith children with special medical needs ahead of other non-faith children but behind all faith categories.

StaceeJaxx Tue 09-Oct-12 20:40:49

Actually on the admissions is does say a child with a statement where the school is named in the statement is guaranteed a place. I'm just wondering if we could try and get her a statement? Thanks for pointing that out. thanks I'll have word with the SENCO.

assumpta Thu 11-Oct-12 17:42:41

So what is your dds own judgement on God?

WynkenBlynkenandNod Thu 11-Oct-12 18:37:56

We're in the situation where our catchment school is a CE VA one and generally all the children at the first schools go there, good SATs etc. I don't want DS to go, we're not religious and his sister went through it and had a nightmare which I don't want to go through again. I want him to go to our nearest non church school which is a couple of miles away but we're not in catchment and aren't likely to get in.

donnie Thu 11-Oct-12 18:40:23

try not to be so insulting in the thread title please; it isn' t too difficult you know.
I agree with exit and sowornout.If you hate religion that much please don't turn into a monumental hypocrite and steal a school place from someone who would appreciate it and does have faith.

Himalaya Thu 11-Oct-12 18:55:31

Donnie - imagine how insulting it feels to read the list of priority criteria for your local state school which basically amounts to 'your kind is not welcome here'.

StaceeJaxx Thu 11-Oct-12 18:56:43

assumpta dd1 believes in god. We've never told either of them not too, they learn about god and different religions in school. We tell them that different people believe different things, that we don't believe in god but if they believe then that's fine. I want them to make up their own minds and not have it rammed down their throats (like I did) but it looks like I might not have a choice in that now. hmm

donnie I apologise if you find my thread title insulting, although I'm not sure which part is insulting. confused I don't really want to turn into a "monumental hypocrite" but I'm not really sure what else I'm supposed to do? Why should my child suffer a crappy education because we're not religious? She already struggles so much academically, (she had the reading level of a 6-7 year old at almost 10). I'm not about to let her just fail completely in some sink school when she goes to secondary.

donnie Thu 11-Oct-12 19:00:26

don't be so ridiculous Himalaya. I would never dream of applying to a Muslim or a Jewish school because my dds are Christians, not Muslims or Jews. Do you actually think for one millisecond that any of us feel insulted by that? don't be so disingenuous.

Why would anyone slagging off religious schools want to go to them? Why all the hypocrisy and lying, pretending to be of faith whilst simultaneously whining about 'bloody religious schools'?

Do tell. Are you insulted by all religious schools? or just the Christian ones?

TalkinPeace2 Thu 11-Oct-12 19:02:44

Personally I am offended by ALL religious state funded schools - both those that have religious selection, and those that hand every new child a bible no matter their background.

It is a great shame that in cities with shortages of places parents have to lie to get their kids in - and children have to learn about hypocricy in year R

donnie Thu 11-Oct-12 19:04:59

nobody 'has to lie'. People make a conscious choice to lie and be hypocrites. Don't muddy the waters.

StaceeJaxx Thu 11-Oct-12 19:06:21

Donnie I'm not slagging off religious schools. confused I'm moaning because all the good schools in my area are religious schools, all the non religious ones are shite. That's what I'm moaning about. I don't have a problem with religious schools, I do have a problem with them being the only decent ones about!

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