to consider sending DC to a Catholic school although I'm an atheist?

(104 Posts)
YoniSingWhenYoureWinning Sun 07-Jul-13 23:12:23

but its exam results are streets ahead of any other school in the area! So good that I think I could let Jesus into my life in spite of not believing in Him...

morethanpotatoprints Mon 08-Jul-13 19:06:35

OP, unless your child is happy in this school which is completely in the hands of God, because that's how the school see things, your dc won't be one of the ones getting the good results. what do results matter at this age anyway? The only testing is a school assessment SATS.
I can't believe that people would put results of a school before their child's happiness.

sheridand Mon 08-Jul-13 19:06:31

I wouldn't. Certainly my experience teaching in a secondary Catholic school taught me that a) kids still get pregnant, even more so because they're not taught anything about birth control b) being gay as a teenager is the worst thing. c) sex education is null and void, as it's generally glossed over by the RE teacher d) Christian Aid week lasts forever. e) It's all a huge big nonsense, so why would you expose your kid to it if you didn't have to?

For me, my problem really came when I was unable to answer any of my form groups questions about their bodies in PSHE, as the RE teacher had to stand in and answer any that might contravene Catholic teachings ( ie: taught you not to be mightily guilty about your body).

Nope, don't do it. Move instead.

RoxyFox211 Mon 08-Jul-13 18:56:58

Yabu. I was tempted with dd but don't want to set a bad example of decieving people to get what you want from life. Just dont think it's right really.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 08-Jul-13 18:17:02

It depends how how stridently atheist you are.

Religion will be a part of your child's daily life if they go to that school. Is that something you can be comfortable with? Will you be comfortable with your child possibly ending up a follower of the Catholic faith rather than being an atheist like you?

If the answer if no to either of those then you should send your child to a different school, regardless of great exam results.

SHarri13 Mon 08-Jul-13 13:45:46

Forgot to add, we are RC and attend mass at least 75% of the time.

SHarri13 Mon 08-Jul-13 13:41:36

Where we live you have to be baptised, regularly attending church and have the priest sign form to confirm this. If you tick all of these boxes you might get a p,ac as long as you're close enough geographically. At another RC school down the road you need to do all of above, live one one of 5 streets and baptise your baby before they are 3 months! Scary stuff. I suppose it puts lots of non-RC people off the whole thing.

We're on the wait list for Ds1 and he's done a year at our second choice school but will hopefully get a place at the RC school in the next couple of years.

AYBU? No, unless there's the strict criteria as above.

crescentmoon Mon 08-Jul-13 13:32:25

yes badfaketan, iv known alot of muslims apply for catholic primary schools and secondary schools because of the strictness. then CofE. i think its good if you are in the mindset of 'it takes a village to raise a child' i.e dont mind your kid getting told off!

tmae Mon 08-Jul-13 13:31:38

Also I will add they never tried to convert me! Unless I went to a very un-Catholic school (I was taught maths by a Nun so would suspect not!) I wouldn't worry about your child being indoctrinated into a faith you don't want them to join, unless of course that was due to me qualifying for the non-Catholic stream so they put less emphasis on faith etc.

badfaketan Mon 08-Jul-13 13:28:16

our catholic primary is exactly like Tommy has described and is inner city.As well as many ethnicities it also welcomes other religions, some are Muslim,all attracted to the strict rules and good pastoral care.
The admissions criteria have not relaxed.Catholics first,then other religions.We have not taken a Catholic's place.

SsimTee Mon 08-Jul-13 13:25:35

I'm a Catholic and my daughters were christened Catholics unfortunately, but since we don't practice, I'd feel a hypocrite sending my children to a Catholic school.

tmae Mon 08-Jul-13 13:23:11

I went to a Catholic school but have atheist parents etc. but you didn't have to be Catholic to attend as long as you were in a certain learning stream so don't know if it is quite the same issue. I never had any issues with the Catholic emphasis, I also never had to do anything particularly Catholic, a couple of trips to a church but it was an interesting learning experience in my opinion

rempy Mon 08-Jul-13 13:17:44

Mmmm, I don't understand why our Catholic primary isn't more mixed, given that the city is, but I would suggest that it is to do with selectivity, which is what I was trying to imply.

Midwives and doctors in Ireland allowed a woman to die, with her dying foetus, rather than abort. That is the current societal expression of papal opinion on birth control. That is not a "popular assumption".

Tommy Mon 08-Jul-13 13:12:26

I agree with your last paragraph rempy although you're not quite right in some of your popular assumptions about the Catholic faith. Also - our (inner city) Catholic primary is very ethnicaslly mixed - Keralan and Goan Indian, Phillipino, African, West Indian and Polish and other E European. It is certainly not some middle class idyll.

rempy Mon 08-Jul-13 12:43:12

Results will be the "best" because it is selective - the clue is the fact that it is a CATHOLIC school.

Our local catholic primary school is 97% white, has a minute minority on free school meals, and an equally miniscule percentage of "english second language" at entry. You can bet it has considered which of the already small number of catholics in the city it was going to admit, and it can refuse as is it's wont - it is not held by the same admission rules as your local comp.

If you are really an atheist, and value the concept that education should be devoid of indoctrination, don't send. If you have any moral/societal issues with the core aspects of the catholic religion (deification of the mother, the untouchable right to life of the foetus - lets not forget the recent events in Ireland).

Atheism should have the same rigor as faith - you don't believe it so don't facilitate it or go along with it when it suits. That's just wishy-washy. If faith is a core aspect of your life, and you hold it dear, and you want your children to continue to live a life of faith during their time at school, send them to a faith school. If not, don't.

OrangeJuiceSandwich Mon 08-Jul-13 12:33:41

Oh and to those who will send their children to a Catholic school but would opt out of the religion aspect. That's like sending your child for a horse riding lesson but saying they must never get on the horse. Unrealistic and a little bit barmy.

OrangeJuiceSandwich Mon 08-Jul-13 12:29:37

DS goes to Catholic school. We are Catholic and go to Mass every Sunday and Holy days. I really, strongly, hate the idea of non Catholics taking the places of Catholics at a Catholic school.

We chose his school because of the link with our church, because I want him to say prayers 3 times a day at school and make his First Holy Communion with his class. I do feel it's a bit of a slap in the face really for the parents for whom the Faith actually is really important that people will get their 5 year old baptised and pretend they believe so they can get into a school.

Would you do it if the school was Jewish or Muslim? Or is it ok to take the piss out of a Catholic school as it's 'close enough' to the religion of your childhood or once 20 years ago your best friends cousin was a Catholic and she was lovely so it'll be fine?

squoosh Mon 08-Jul-13 11:52:16

'No of course nobody forces the dc to go to church on a sunday, but they are alienated from their peers if they don't.'

hmm

That's just not true.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 08-Jul-13 11:47:57

No of course nobody forces the dc to go to church on a sunday, but they are alienated from their peers if they don't.
children who attend school need to feel as though they belong to that community, and parents should agree with school ethos otherwise they may become at odds to their childs education.
Knowing what I do now, there is no way I would agree to it with my dd, even though she is a completely different character to ds2, she still wouldn't fit in as we aren't catholic.
How are non Catholic gaining places anyway, we were told we were a rare case and it didn't happen often. in some Catholic schools names on on their list from birth and dc are Christened within a couple of months, attendance has to be regular and verified by the Priest.
Are the rules/criteria becoming less stringent?

badfaketan Mon 08-Jul-13 09:46:11

YANBU.
I'm doing that.I'm atheist but DH has some belief and DCs baptised C of E.
I keep my views to myself though.
It's a good school,our nearest and I'm grateful.

Many of the oversubscribed Catholic secondaries say you have a duty to give your child a Catholic education, and having attended a Catholic primary, along with having done first holy communion, and mass 3 times per month plus holy days of obligation is a requirement.

For a faithful Catholic, this is not hard to do! The priests reference that will support your application will outline any amount of voluntary work or ministry within the Church, be it cleaning, Reading, flower arrangements, gardening, etc. This will count when the secondary has more applications that fulfill the criteria than places.

But for a lack-luster fair-weather "Catholic" this becomes harder.

Many of the not very Catholic children from my dc primary did not get a Catholic secondary place. (Us included, as our son was not baptized within 6 months - this is a top criteria)

So, for a primary place, your child will need a Catholic baptism (primaries are often not so strict regards to how soon after birth your child was baptised) and a reference from a Catholic priest.

Unless you go for a community place, which will be around 10% of the intake for many Catholic schools, and then the geographic catchment will count in your favour - ie you live very near.

Preciousbane Mon 08-Jul-13 09:42:24

How will you feel if your dc fully embraces Catholicism?

JakeBullet Mon 08-Jul-13 09:37:24

...and in some schools baptism has to take place within three months of birth.

You may already have missed the boat.

hackmum Mon 08-Jul-13 09:32:40

OP, the thing is this. Catholic schools in this country are voluntary-aided, which means they set their own admissions rules. The majority set rules that give priority to baptised Catholics, children who attend church three times a month and, if it's a secondary school, those who have received their first holy communion. Sometimes secondary schools also give priority to children who have attended Catholic primaries.

If the school is popular, the chances of them having room for non-Catholics are minimal. Obviously if the school is unpopular, they'll move down their list of criteria and end up taking non-Catholics. However, the key thing is that if you want to get into a popular Catholic primary, you will have to have your child baptised. In fact, some Catholic schools have got wise to parents experiencing conversions when their child gets to the age of three and give preference to children who were baptised when they were a baby.

In other words, it's not like a C of E school where you might be able to get away with starting church attendance when your child is about two. You have to do it properly.

DontmindifIdo Mon 08-Jul-13 09:27:55

One thing to remember, Catholic schools unlike CofE schools, tend to be more schools of that community. If there are options of other schools in the area (just not as good results wise), then it's an active choice rather than default of only option available, so itwill be much more reflective of the church population. You might well find your DCs 'miss out' from not being involved with the activities of the church community outside of school. It can be hard to be the only family not involved.

curlew Mon 08-Jul-13 09:24:03

That's the point. It's the waiting list that's significant- not the Catholicism.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now