my son is being punished for our religious stance

(303 Posts)
LiloLils Tue 09-Apr-13 03:43:14

...this is a bold statement but its how I feel.

There isn't any point to my post but the subject is keeping me awake so thought it might help to write it down on a public forum and see if I'm not the only one who is saddened by this.

Basically my DH and I are non religious. I was brought up catholic and he was brought up church of England but somewhere along the line we both lost our faith and sided with reason. Myself particularly...I have a bit of a problem with organised religion. there are personal reasons for this.

Long story short. If we stick to our guns and don't get our boy christened into either Catholicism or church of England, he is going to have to attend the worst school in the borough.

It just really angers me. Why in this day and age do we have to jump through hoops, lie about our beliefs, and subject our children to learning fairy tales as fact, in order to get them into a "good" school?

I have never been so torn about a decision in my life. I'm being pressured by family and friends to get him christened just to get him into a good school. They make me feel guilty by saying things like "do it for your child. I'd do anything for my child...wouldn't you?" It just feels all wrong.

BabyRuSh Tue 09-Apr-13 04:02:51

Don't do it if it doesn't feel right! Just because a school is labelled as bad doesnt mean its a bad environment for your child! Don't believe everything you read. Visit the school for yourself. If you are truly unhappy then I would move to a better area. Personally I wouldn't compromise my (lack of) belief and get my dc christened to tick a box and get them into school. I think it's a bit ott to say he's being punished!

Kiwiinkits Tue 09-Apr-13 05:47:46

I too have a major problem with undertaking a religious ritual, dishonestly, in order to achieve an end. It frankly lacks integrity. Sometimes the schools make exceptions for non-christened children, don't they?

PollyEthelEileen Tue 09-Apr-13 05:49:21

Are the CofE schools better because of their faith ethos?

Kiwiinkits Tue 09-Apr-13 05:50:07

For this reason we did not marry in a church. And we did not christen our kids. And when I became my godchildren's god-parent I refused to avow that I would instruct them in Christianity (I avowed to their parents that I would support the childrens' religious education. That was good enough).

BranchingOut Tue 09-Apr-13 07:09:05

We are from two different religious backgrounds and neither of us is practising, so it would be ludicrous for us to attempt to get into one of the two faith schools very close to me, both of which have highly restrictive faith criteria - think two years church attendance in one case!

So a religious family living in my house would have a choice of two schools (one community and one faith) whereas we only have the community school as a realistic option.

I hear you!

Blessyou Tue 09-Apr-13 07:13:32

Are you talking about high school?
Most CofE primaries round here don't require children to be christened, but do give priority to active church going families.

Iheartcrunchiebars Tue 09-Apr-13 07:16:50

But you still have a choice. You're being given access to free education. I admire the strength of your beliefs. But I'm a Christian and if I lived in an area where there was a standard state and a Jewish faith school I'd just accept that they would go to the standard state school. That's because I've chosen to be a Christian. Like you've chosen not to be.

Have you checked the admissions criteria? You wouldn't have to be christened to get into the c of e school I work at.

Branleuse Tue 09-Apr-13 07:22:58

I wouldnt pretend to be religious. It be more inclined to move to an area with better schools, or suck it up and put him in the state school, or at least check it out

LifeIsBetterInFlipFlops Tue 09-Apr-13 07:35:54

Could you put your own interpretation on it;
Christening - a traditional 'welcome to the world' gathering for nearest and dearest, plus some nice photos for a DC as they look back on their life.
Practicing religion: Look at 'God' and the 'devil' as other words for good and evil. Praying as just an opportunity to contemplate your day/week.
Church attendance; enjoy the hymns and being part of a community.

Just don't sweat all the detail, it's how religions try and explain the world. Look at the big picture; good, evil and be kind.

I know this is simplistic, but could it work for you?

DoesBuggerAll Tue 09-Apr-13 07:38:27

Why should Christian children be punished for your non-religious stance? Why shouldn't they be allowed to be educated at a school of their choosing because your atheist child wants their place? You've got the choice of another school, send your child there, get involved with it, encourage others to do the same and make it as good, if not better than the Catholic and C of E schools. Catholic or C of E childen aren't more intelligent or better behaved that non-religious children you know, it's the closer-knit community, shared values and parental involvement that tends to make for better results.

LiloLils Tue 09-Apr-13 07:43:25

I have visited the non faith school and have read extensively about it and have asked neighbors with kids about their experiences. One of them said their child went there for 2 years and still did not know her abc's so she got her christened and got her into a faith school and now she.reminiscent really well.

Unfortunately moving is not an option...

LiloLils Tue 09-Apr-13 07:44:42

That should say doing really well. I had no sleep last night so tired

ChunkyPickle Tue 09-Apr-13 07:46:56

Are you sure about those criteria - around here both the Catholic and CofE schools all have a huge non-religious intake - yes, if you go to church you're higher up the list a touch, but proximity to the school actually counts more than religion!

Squarepebbles Tue 09-Apr-13 07:47:32

I think this is sooooo wrong and high time something was done. The vast maj of parents are hacked off with it.

In our area it's slightly different but still annoying.The nearest local schools are all CofE. We live in a tight community,kids have grown up together etc.If we want our kids to go to their local school with their peers we have to put up with a CofE school.Anybody can get in(Ofsted not that great) and the vast maj of kids are in no way religious.

Soooooo we're eating tax payers money on something the vast maj don't want.

If churches want religious schools then great but I don't think we as tax payers should be paying for them and they shouldn't be included as catchment schools.

ChunkyPickle Tue 09-Apr-13 07:48:07

Oh, and being Christened wouldn't matter a jot - it's if the parents are practising whatevers and go to church for x years that matters, not the child.

Khaleese Tue 09-Apr-13 07:56:05

Get them christened. Don't be discriminated against due to your faith.

The fact that schools can get away with religious discrimination is appalling. (unless a school funds it's self 100% this whole "its a church school" argument is rubbish. chucking a few thousand in a hundreds of thousand pound pot The lea and therefore the council tax pays for schools)

If it was based on your political stance, colour of skin or your income there would be outrage!

kitsmummy Tue 09-Apr-13 07:56:21

With your choices, I would get my son christened and get him into a good school, rather than send him to a known shite one. In fact, I would do almost anything to avoid sending him to a terrible school.

difficultpickle Tue 09-Apr-13 08:06:17

I think it is good to be honest. I was shocked at the clear out at Subday school once the school applications had been submitted. Clearly loads of parents only attending to get their dcs into our local faith school. Did make me laugh when the head left and the school went from being outstanding to requires improvement. You can count the number of school age children who are regular churchgoers at our church on the fingers of one hand.

LiloLils Tue 09-Apr-13 08:06:33

The Catholic school will not accept any child who hasn't been christened and who can't get a letter of recommendation from the priest. The c of e school is not as militant. The child doesn't have to be christened but 25 of the 30 places go to children who regularly attend church.

Doesbuggerall...my child is not an atheist. He is not anything. He is a child. Just as its unfair to label a child a catholic just because their parents are. It's not a choice they have made. If my child wants to be christened when he is older that is his choice. It's this type of labelling that really gets my goat. I know its a pointless rhetorical question, but why should it matter what religion or non religion you are. Education should be about education. These faith schools only serve to separate different groups of people. I remember growing up, everyone in my catholic school seemed to hate the protestants. We were only children who didn't understand WHY we hated them. We just did.

Please note, my father is Muslim and so from a very young age I had my doubts about all religion. I still have nightmares about so called Hell. I was terrified as a child that I was praying to the wrong god and would end up burning in hell.

Anyway I'm waffling now. People I know tell me to stop being selfish and just do it for my child. I know plenty of people who pretend to believe. It seems like the "normal" thing to do.

This county.

difficultpickle Tue 09-Apr-13 08:07:32

I'd add that most of those and nearly all of the choir boys didn't actually attend the attached faith school.

Gingerdodger Tue 09-Apr-13 08:08:58

In my opinion the faith school issue is a red herring. The real shocker is that there is a school which is so bad that parents feel their children are disadvantaged for going. What's that all about? Isn't the real issue about ensuring all schools are of a good quality?

It is my opinion that your son is not being punished by your religious stance but rather by society's failure to provide good quality education for all children.

saycheeeeeese Tue 09-Apr-13 08:11:53

I think it would be hypocritical and wrong for someone who demeans Christianity as fairy tales to get their child christened, just so they can go to a church school.

I think you know this OP hence your struggle with it.
No solutions, I don't think it's wrong that they have entry requirements, I think it's wrong that the state school is so rubbish.

LiloLils Tue 09-Apr-13 08:12:49

Hear hear, ginger

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