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Faith Schools And Racial Segregation?

(158 Posts)
scramble69 Fri 25-Apr-14 18:59:12

Why in this day and age are we still allowed to segregate kids according to faith and race?
In my town in East London Walthamstow in our catchment area there are two Roman Catholic primary schools and one Church of England which draws 95% of the white kids and a few black kids. In my son's school there are 900 kids Bangladeshi/Polish/Bulgarian/Lithuanian etc. and 5 of them are white English kids!
Of mixed parentage myself I find it frustrating that my kid can't mix with other English kids,can't be socialised in English culture,music football etc.
I'm absolutely for the benefits of schooling children about the cultures of the world and the joys of living in an international city but shouldn't local authorities ensure that this segregation situation doesn't happen as it clearly is?

Whyjustwhyagain Fri 25-Apr-14 19:03:30

Why not ask why do we allow children to be segregated by sex?
Or academic ability?
Or by house price lottery?

I don't think you can look at any of these issues in isolation.
Either accept that they happen, or try to change them all.

Parietal Fri 25-Apr-14 19:30:41


The fair admissions campaign is trying to change this so schools can't select on faith.

babybarrister Fri 25-Apr-14 20:25:06

Totally agree- I sent DS private because the faith schools round here suck out all Catholics and CoE kids so that even non faith schools are now predominantly Muslim

In DS class there is at least an amazing racial and religious mix ....

AngelEyes46 Fri 25-Apr-14 20:51:59

Scramble - the kids that go to the faith schools - are they all RC or CofE?
Why aren't any of the kids from other nationalities going to the faith schools?

Deecam18 Fri 25-Apr-14 22:39:03

Wow Scramble what part of the Stow are you in those 3 schools are a minority with small intakes compared with the rest of the schools in the borough.My Dc is year 6 in a walthamstow primary and all her friends are white,black,asian and of mixed heritage.She is year 6 so will be moving to secondary and i can assure you there will be a mix then as the local catholic school only has an intake of 180. Doesn't your DC mix with other kids outside of schooll in Walthamstow like football clubs etc?

mindgone Fri 25-Apr-14 23:42:49

In our area, the Catholic schools have the greatest ethnic mix!

meditrina Fri 25-Apr-14 23:53:48

Catholic schools are more diverse than typical, CofE pretty much on typical. Obviously some individual schools will buck the trend, and I have no idea if schools of non-Christian faiths are as diverse (I suspect Jewish schools may not be, because of the greater role of heritability IYSWIM, but ready to be corrected in that).

I am not aware of any schools which discriminate on race.

babybarrister Sat 26-Apr-14 09:22:35

Well not in my part of London they are not! In any event. Google the Oratory ....

100% Catholic in any event so DS was never going there .....

Whyjustwhyagain Sat 26-Apr-14 11:21:17

Did you want your DS to go there?

HPparent Sat 26-Apr-14 11:54:08

I must say that some of the RC schools have a diverse intake. A lot of kids from African families, Philippines, South America, Poland etc. For some reason less of these kids go to Oratory and CV. I have noticed the CofE schools tend to be more white middle class though.

Unfortunately the largest minorities around here are North African or from countries where Muslims predominate and are effectively excluded from applying. I live in a borough which currently has only one non faith school.

icecreamsoup Sat 26-Apr-14 13:25:30

OP, I'd second the suggestion that you should read up on the Fair Admissions Campaign, and tell them about your experiences. They're doing good work in this area and making political headway.

icecreamsoup Sat 26-Apr-14 13:34:30

whyjustwhyagain said: "Why not ask why do we allow children to be segregated by sex?" Or academic ability? Or by house price lottery?"

People do ask those questions, frequently. There are many debates about those issues too.

"I don't think you can look at any of these issues in isolation. Either accept that they happen, or try to change them all."

I think the only way you will address any of these issues is by looking at them in isolation, because they are all very different. It's much easier to address complex problems by breaking them down into smaller problems and tackling them individually, provided you keep an appropriate sense of perspective about the bigger picture too, and acknowledge where issues overlap.

TalkinPeace Sun 27-Apr-14 17:44:05

The state should not be funding any form of segregation

by god by gonads or by "brains" ( which is actually parental ability to pay for tutoring )

you want selection / segregation - go pay for it

Shootingatpigeons Sun 27-Apr-14 18:03:57

The Fair Admission Campaign have a lot of evidence of how faith schools, including Roman Catholic Schools, do not mirror the social and ethnic diversity of the areas they serve. The reasons are simple, where they are oversubscribed, then you need the knowledge and resources to meet the faith criteria. In the case of Oratory that is very demanding, you have to have baptised by 6 months (not the custom in a lot of countries, even Catholic ones eg Poland), and you have to get involved in all sorts of church activities to earn the brownie points to enter the lottery. They are currently challenging a ruling that their selection criteria is discriminatory

scramble69 Sun 27-Apr-14 18:36:14

whyjustwhyagain I had the chance to send my DS to the C of E school but did not want most of his schoolmates to comprise of just middle-class white kids. IMO Schools should reflect a fair cross-section of the communities they serve. I understand that this is a touchy subject but wanted to express what I was going through. Walthamstow is a fantastically diverse town with a lot going for it. My situation may be an unusual one.
My DS's school is the second largest primary in the country and is our local school. Having visited the neighbouring Church of England St Mary's school (as my DC's best friend attends)I was struck by the fact that the school was predominately made up of white middle class kids with a few black kids. There were no Asian kids which make up at least 50-60% of the local population. The parents I spoke to did not go to church but simply wanted their kids to go to a more English school. I also think it's a shame that these kids can't share the joys of multicultural socialisation.
By racial segregation I was referring to how the Asian kids were separated from the white middle class and black kids by virtue of religion who were excluded from the Christian schools.

Shootingatpigeons Sun 27-Apr-14 18:44:22

OP you may be interested to know that the London diocese does not approve of faith selection, Sadly though school governors seem determined to stick with a practise that confers privilege on parents willing to sit in pews and inhibits diversity. Schools have to consult on admissions arrangements so it might be worthwhile, as well as highlighting your case to the Fair Admissions Campaign, to watch out for when there is next a consultation at local CofE schools and highlight the issues.

You might also want to join together with others top form a local pressure group on the model of the ones in Richmond and Hammersmith.

scramble69 Sun 27-Apr-14 19:24:49

Deecam18 the C of E school is literally next door and the Catholic school is two streets away.
Mindgone Meditrina how many Pakistani Bangledeshi Somalian Bengali East European Muslim children are in your local Catholic schools?
Not just divided via faith and race but class and social status too....

babybarrister Sun 27-Apr-14 21:09:34

I was actually referring to the Oratory primary school which is virtually totally White - non White Catholics do not get a look in and go to Servite round the corner ...!

No, I would not want my DS to go to either as they are very 'actively' catholic - asking kids each Monday why not at mass etc - so not for us thanks as we are not christian let alone catholic

I assume that there are absolutely zero non Catholics at either the Oratory or Servite

pebblyshit Sun 27-Apr-14 21:22:12

Catholic primaries have more minority ethnic pupils than the national average (33% compared to 27%) though I take your point wrt London in general and LO in particular.

babybarrister Sun 27-Apr-14 21:25:13

Is the offspring of a Spanish banker a member of an ethnic minority?! If so then the Oratory will score very highly indeed as it is full of White European foreigners ....

icecreamsoup Sun 27-Apr-14 21:41:26

Pebbly, the national average hides a lot of variation. Out of interest, where do your numbers come from? Can you post a link to your source?

Don't forget that the phrase "minority ethnic" includes many white Europeans from Catholic countries, such as Ireland and Poland, so high numbers don't necessarily reflect full diversity in areas where there are many non-Christians. If one school contains all of the local Christians, and its neighbouring school contains all of the local non-Christians, that isn't good, even if there are a wide range of groups within each of the two communities.

The Fair Admissions Campaign looks at socio-economic segregation, and has published a heat map showing the impact of segregated admissions across the UK. See here:

TalkinPeace Sun 27-Apr-14 21:46:46

33% ethnic minority?
Not round here.

pebblyshit Sun 27-Apr-14 21:59:59

I'm not forgetting that minority ethnic includes white Europeans, I'm just not lumping all white people in with 'white British'

Source is Catholic Education service census 2013, completed by 98% of Catholic schools.

I'm rural. Most schools are 100% white or maybe 1-2 non white children. The Catholic school is by far the most ethnically diverse. I'm not extrapolating this to mean that every Catholic school is more ethnically diverse than it's neighbours but nor am I accepting that because the London Oratory is white dominated then that means that all Catholic schools are more ethnically uniform (and white) than other schools.

icecreamsoup Sun 27-Apr-14 22:03:47

Pebbly, answering my own question, I think your numbers are probably from the Catholic Education Service's most recent census of Catholic schools.

They define an ethnic group as anything other than "White British".

For reference, the full list of groups is:

White British
White Irish
White Eastern European
White other
Traveller of Irish/Gypsy/Roma heritage
Asian/Asian British
Black/Black British
Other ethnic group
Not known

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