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Denying consent for religious visits

257 replies

BlueUggs · 09/10/2018 11:23

My son goes to a fantastic private school, which is catholic but we aren't catholic....
Since he entered year 7, I feel they have really started to push Catholicism onto my child. I have just refused consent for him to attend the local catholic church on a visit next week because I feel they are trying to convert him and he knows enough for year 3 from what they tell him at school.
We knew the school was catholic when we sent him there but didn't realise quite how much they were going to push it.....

OP posts:

SalemBlackCat4 · 09/10/2018 12:23

"I sent him to that catholic school because it is the only private school in the area that would accept him....the other 2 non-religious private schools were oversubscribed and refused him due to slight SN which they weren't prepared to accommodate. We went with private because he struggles in big groups of children.."

Ah, ok. This explains it a bit more. I don't understand what 'oversubscribed' means though. Unless it is a way of saying there are no places left/available, even though there is usually a waiting list with those schools. Are there any other private schools just outside the area? I know (in the country I live in) many children travel by bus or train, sometimes up to an hour each way, to get to school. Although you're son is only 7, so a bit too young to go on trains/buses by himself.


VickyEadie · 09/10/2018 12:24

I'm atheist but if you send your kid to a Catholic school, you have to accept they are steeped in Catholicism. Find another school or accept it.


HoppingPavlova · 09/10/2018 12:24

You have chosen a Catholic school to educate your child in a Catholic environment. You are paying for a Catholic school to educate your child in a Catholic environment. You are unhappy that your child is being educated in a Catholic environment. Okkkaayy.

Pretty easy really, if you DON’T want your child educated in a Catholic environment then don’t send them to a Catholic school. Whilst this may be a shock to you the school does not exist in order to throw its core beliefs away to cater solely for your child because you didn’t want them to go to a non-religious school for various reasons. YABVU.


mathanxiety · 09/10/2018 12:24

If you have concerns, why not ask for an appointment to talk to the HT?

I am actually flabbergasted that you seem so hostile to Catholicism and also so ignorant about what to expect at the school.



royaltrux · 09/10/2018 12:25

You shouldn't have sent your son to a catholic school. It's not as if you had no choice you choose to pay extra for him to go there.



Cuddlykitten123 · 09/10/2018 12:25

You are paying for his attendance but so are the church.. but even then it's not about converting him to the religion but to the standards generally expected in catholic schools, which is why they do tend to still be popular.


ratspeaker · 09/10/2018 12:25

Here in Scotland every we have a non denomiational and a catholic school for every area.
The RC school accept non catholics and usually make provisions so that these children don't have to attend mass or religious instruction for first communion etc. For the mass it's often that the parents take the child in to school after mass has ended.
In our local school RE is greatly slanted to RC doctrine but they covered other religions.
Have you asked the school if you can do similar?


PaulDacrreRimsGeese · 09/10/2018 12:25

He's getting a Catholic education at the Catholic school you've chosen to send him to. They're doing what it says on the tin.

I've some sympathy with secular parents and children who end up in faith state schools because that's where the LA allocates a place. That's pretty shit. If you chose it though, whether state or private and for whatever reason, YABU.


bigbluebus · 09/10/2018 12:26

I think you are being unreasonable to deny consent for your DS to go on religious visits because you chose that school and it is part of the education that they offer - and I say that as a lapsed catholic who went to a Catholic school up to age 13 (and would have been beyond that if there had been a catholica Secondary school in the area I lived).

FWIW, my DS went to a CofE primary - there is no choice at all in this area - all primary schools are either Cof controlled or aided schools. By the time he reached Yr 6 he had concluded that religion was "all a big fairy tale for grown ups" - and that was after 7 years of assemblies, church services, weekly visiting vicars from a variety of local christian churches and various other religious activities that he was obliged to take part in. I think you are over thinking the effect this will have on your DS OP. I doubt he's going to leave school deciding he wants a 'career' as a priest!


FlyingMonkeys · 09/10/2018 12:26

I didn't go to a religious school, nor did Dd. However, there was a trip to the local cathedral involved for both of us at one point. Mostly brass rubbings, looking at architecture, hearing the history of monks and whatnot. Your family isn't religious but a lot of people in the world are, obviously various faiths. I don't think it 'ramming religion down kids necks'. I think it's - this is the world around us and whilst we/you may feel differently it's good to be aware of other people's beliefs.


Deadbudgie · 09/10/2018 12:27

Well it’s good the Christian school showed a Christian ethos and accepted him, where the secular schools failed due to his sn. Maybe he could learn something from the religion they’re “ramming down his throat”. I went to a catholic school and religion was brought into everything, to catholics it’s the backbone of life so why wouldn’t they? And why single him out at school by denying religious visits? If you’re so against the religious aspects of the school remove him and create space for someone who would appreciate it.


pudding21 · 09/10/2018 12:27

My primary school was a Church of England school (it was called XXXX Church Day School). I wasn't and haven't been christened, my mum was brought up a Catholic but denounced her faith, my father is an athiest.

I had to do religious assemblys, go to church regularly for hours on end. Apart from be good for me to learn to sit and entertain myself through bordeom, I wasn't indoctrinated by the school. The church has on many fronts things we can learn from without being overtly "religious". Anyway, you enrolled him in a Catholic school, these things are part and parcel of that schooling I am afraid. Either change schools or let your son decide.

I now live overseas where the Catholic faith is practiced widely, and my kids go to school here. One cannot believe in religion at all as he is a science nut, my youngest who is 7 believes in God and has asked if he can go to Church. I am letting them find their own way. If you feel the school is too pushy, you need to change him out of that (providing you think he is affected by it). If not, let him be.


Clandestino · 09/10/2018 12:29

@OlderThanAverageforMN - well, there was only once that she came and said: oh, I want to be baptised and have Holy Communion.
We went what?
Turned out she wanted to know how the holy bread tastes. So I gave her some wafers made with flour and water and told her it's exactly the same, only without the priest putting it into your mouth. That made her happy.


user1484424013 · 09/10/2018 12:29

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Magnificentbeast · 09/10/2018 12:29

YABU and possibly very naive OP. It's a Catholic school. Catholic values are part and parcel of the school. I very much doubt that they are 'trying to convert him'. It would be weirder if they didn't refer to the faith at all as a faith school.

If you object so strongly to Catholicism then you should have considered that more before signing him up. Although I understand that you were low on suitable options for him.

As his parent you could always offer him an alternative view or talk things through with him. It's all learning.


LibraryLurker · 09/10/2018 12:30

One thing I am not clear about, has your child just recently joined the school in Y3 or has he been there in earlier years but it is once since he went into Y3 that you have noticed a "ramping up" - if the latter that will most probably be due to in school prep for First Holy Communion. Once it is over things may return to the level which you were presumably happy with in earlier years. My DN made FHC at age 8 , all fuss and pretty frocks, now age 10 despite attending RC church with her mother regularly she can't even remember it. So I think your fear of indoctrination is a little unnecessary.


PerverseConverse · 09/10/2018 12:30

Surely you can't be that ridiculous to willingly send your child to a catholic school and then complain that they do catholic activities?
This must be a wind up and no one could be that stupid.


Puzzledandpissedoff · 09/10/2018 12:31

I did expect them to bring religion into it, of course ... but I feel they are ramming to down his throat

I really do get where you're coming from on this, but IME this is what some of the more, shall we say, dogmatic faiths tend to do - which is why I'm so against religion-based schools, and not just the catholic ones but all of them

With such an ethos I'd personally worry that, "christian charity" or not, he'd start being "othered" at some point, and please don't expect the least understanding from the school if it happens

It's got to be your decision of course, but this isn't going to change and in your position I'd be moving him, to a good state school if necessary


Talith · 09/10/2018 12:31

The catholic primaries around here have their children trouping up to the church all the time, and once a year they're in their party frocks going for their first holy communion.

I wouldn't want my sons participating in all that, nor would I like him being left in the school hall with some worksheets or whatever. Nor would I want him having such a monochromatic approach to morality, or the shame attached to "sin", the idea of hell being a literal place, or the 101 other objections I have to organised religion, especially one where the head of the church lives in a PALACE atop of an organisation worth billions and billions of pounds.

To protect my son from all this hokum I did something very daring - we didn't apply for that school! and we wouldn't have got in anyway as we're heathens

Of course you're being unreasonable! It's like joining the army and finding all the marching and fighting a bit surprising.


RhythmStix · 09/10/2018 12:31

I think you are getting this a little out of perspective Op. What do you think they will do at church next week? self flagellation? perform a crucifixion? what would you rather your ds do while he's pulled out of the visit?

The irony is you're paying for this. If you don't want a Catholic ethos, don't put him in a Catholic school. It's simple.


sue51 · 09/10/2018 12:31

It's a Catholic school and you chose it. If you don't like it pull your child out.


Backinthebox · 09/10/2018 12:33

DC2 is currently at a catholic school as our local catchment school was letting him down over a slight additional need issue and the catholic school was much more accommodating. The catchment school is CofE, as are most of the local state schools. I was brought up catholic and wanted to avoid church schooling due to negative memories of it from my own childhood. I can honestly say that the CofE school is at least as religiously overbearing as the catholic school, but the catholic school at least has the advantage of offering a decent education. I’ve decided to take the pros with the cons and let my child enjoy their primary years without me fussing over the religious aspect.


Eminybob · 09/10/2018 12:33

I didn’t go to a faith school, but religion was a big part of the schooling at the time (this was in the 80’s). We had religious assemblies, said the Lord’s Prayer every day, went to church on religious holidays and sang hymns daily. Back then I think it was pretty standard (especially where I lived which was not very culturally diverse at all)
However, my family was not religious and I grew up to be pretty staunchly atheist, so I really don’t think that you can worry too much about indoctrination. Kids are more likely to pick up their beliefs from thier home life rather than school.


RibbonAurora · 09/10/2018 12:34

Catholic school and 7 yrs old, big year that one and all about preparing the children for their First Communion. It's intense and concentrated immersion as they approach the time. Can't believe you didn't know/anticipate this. Surely most people are vaguely aware, even if not Catholic, that certain rites of passage - First Communion at 7/8 and Confirmation at 10/11 - are massively important to the faith.

Maybe you should have done a bit more research about the implications of sending your child to a faith school when you are not of faith and don't want your child indoctrinated in that faith, you know, educate yourself about the religion that he will inevitably be exposed to along with his classmates. Short of educating your child separately for the next few months I don't see what you want/expect the school to do. If he is excluded from the visits his classmates make he's going to feel left out and isolated within his peer group as he will when they have to have classes preparing them for First Confession and First Communion.


TheHollowLeggedGoat · 09/10/2018 12:36

I'm not religious but my kids went to a CofE school because it was local and good and did have a policy of offering some places for non-believers. That I could manage.
I didn't send them to the outstanding catholic school at the end of the road because I didn't want an all-pervasive religious atmosphere, them being confirmed etc.
I think when you sign up for a school, you accept the ethos. It's the deal - they are willing to cope with your child's slight special needs and you have to be willing to accept what they are, i.e.Catholic.
If you're not, it's not the right school for your son.

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