campaign for fairer admissions to faith based primary schools - your views...

(305 Posts)
hopingforbest Thu 06-Jun-13 22:29:22

... on this http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-22798206?

AryaUnderfoot Fri 07-Jun-13 11:15:02

prh47bridge our local, very oversubscribed, CofE school most definitely prioritises membership of Anglican Church. After CLA, Statemented students and siblings, the school prioritises families where the applicant is on the electoral roll of an Anglican Church within the Deanery. Points are awarded based on the length of time on the electoral role. Membership of other churches is way down on the criteria.

Strix Fri 07-Jun-13 11:26:39

I think the state is not entitled but obligated to fund the state relieon (Church of England). I don't mind others also being funded.

I am opposed to selecting school admission on one's wealth. Big houses near good schools mean rich gets get all the good school places. And i find this system far more discrimitory that one that allows SOME of the school places to go to regigeous community rather than a geographical one.

Freedon of religeon should include the choice to have a religion, and not just the choice to refuse all religions. There are plenty of non-fath schools to choose from as well. If faith based schools were the only ones around I could better understand the opposition.

Let's just keep the poor buggers down by refusing them entry to the good schools because they will never be able to afford the house they need to get into it. Talk about furthering social divide!

PostBellumBugsy Fri 07-Jun-13 11:35:52

Is the Church of England the UK's state religion though Strix? I thought it was just the established church. I know it has representatives in parliament, but I wasn't sure we had a "state religion" as such here in the UK.
Have to confess I am not 100% sure of this, but I'm not sure that we do, in which case there should be no obligation by the "state" to fund CofE schools.

PostBellumBugsy Fri 07-Jun-13 11:38:55

In fact, I think the Church of England, is only the established church of England & not of Scotland, NI or Wales - so that seems even more at odds with an obligation to fund CofE schools.
I know the Monarch of the day has to agree to uphold the faith etc, but I don't think the Government of the day has to agree to that?

titchy Fri 07-Jun-13 11:43:20

Postbellum - no there isn't an argument at all. You pay taxes to have your child educated, and educated they will be. Just not at the school over the road, but the one a few roads away.

In England (not sure about the rest of the UK to be fair) Church of England IS the official faith. The Government govern on behalf of the queen who is the head of the church of England.

SoupDragon Fri 07-Jun-13 11:49:33

a faith school cannot simply refuse to admit children who are not of the faith. They can use faith-based criteria to give priority but if there are insufficient children meeting the faith-based criteria they must admit children who don't meet those criteria. That is the law.

The point is that in most cases (the vast majority of cases in this area) non-faith children have zero chance of getting a place. Whilst technically lawful, they never have to admit children who are not of the right faith.

I agree with if you want a faith based school you should pay for it.

afussyphase Fri 07-Jun-13 11:49:56

I think the current system is discriminatory, unfair, unnecessary and divisive. I fully support the campaign. If people want their children educated in any specific faith, they should make arrangements privately or simply live their lives of faith at home and at their church or temple. State funded services -- schools, hospitals, GPs, roads, transportation -- should NOT be selective on faith grounds. And it doesn't matter that not ALL C of E or Catholic or other faith schools are "better" - the current system gives reduced access to school places to some children, unfairly.

KevinFoley Fri 07-Jun-13 11:50:39

We have one secondary school in the area with good facilities (only one with a sixth form, has a swimming pool, tennis, drama, outstanding Ofsted), everything else is really crap by comparison. Hardly any local children can go there because of the 7 years church attendance required, it sticks in my craw to be honest.

AryaUnderfoot Fri 07-Jun-13 12:02:44

Personally, I think faith schools are a bit of a distraction from the real issues to do with education.

Why do people get upset about faith schools? Really simple - they feel that they offer a 'better' standard of education to a select few that are 'selected' unfairly. They wouldn't be upset about this if every child had access to good education.

Allocation on faith grounds is no different, in reality, to selection on grounds of postcode or ability. These systems all allow the educated middle classes to engineer their children into good schools.

What everyone should be focussing on is ensuring no child is subjected to a 'second rate' education.

Unforutunately, the current levels of state funding for education ensure that this is never going to be feasible.

I have a choice - pay for private (15k plus per year), move to a 'better' postcode for approximately 150k for the same house, ensure I attend church and 'tick the appropriate boxes' or send my children to the local dire comp and take my chances.

PostBellumBugsy Fri 07-Jun-13 12:44:07

titchy, without wishing to derail the debate, the Government are elected to govern by the electorate & go through the constitutional motion of being formally asked to form that Government by the Queen. The Government do not govern on behalf of the Queen - they govern to their manifesto on which they were voted into power.

So, I still don't think we have a "state regligion" and therefore think that Government has no obligation to fund state religious schools. Also, even if your argument held, why is the Government funding state schools of other faiths, such as RC or Jewish schools?

Arya, faith schools are more than just a distraction and even if all the schools in the country were amazing & provided 1st class education, I would still think it was wrong for the state to fund faith schools in a largely secular society. Faith should not be a matter for the state, it should be a family matter.

Abra1d Fri 07-Jun-13 12:46:14

Christianity is becoming a largely immigrant-led faith in Britain (think of the Polish Catholics and African evangelicals) so it amuses me that people thing faith schools are racist! Without the Indians and Poles in our RC church, there'd be hardly anyone there.

Racist my foot.

Where are you kevin? There is one of those in my locale.

I can understand the grievance of people whose children cannot get into their nearest best school, but there must e a reason why faith schools and those in middle class areas are more desirable?

prh47bridge Fri 07-Jun-13 13:02:34

AryaUnderfoot - That doesn't take away from my point that many CofE churches give other denominations priority and some also give other faiths priority. By the way, I sincerely hope they don't put statemented children after looked after children. Statemented children come first. Strictly they shouldn't even be on the list as, unlike other categories, statemented children are always admitted even if there are no places available.

SoupDragon - I made the comment because some people appeared to think that a faith school could refuse to admit children who were not of the faith. I know that in many areas there are so many parents attending church to get their child into the local faith school that no-one else stands a chance.

People think faith schools are more religious than non-faith schools. That is often not the case. Many faith schools are no more religious than the local community schools. Indeed, in some cases the community school is more religious than the faith schools.

As for why they are popular, people think they are better than community schools. As has been pointed out on other threads by someone else (can't remember who - sorry) this is largely because they effectively select on parental engagement - the parents are sufficiently concerned about their child's education to attend church regularly in order to get a place. If there was a school that gave priority to children of parents who could juggle you would see a similar effect.

AryaUnderfoot Fri 07-Jun-13 13:10:24

Single sex schools discriminate. Under any other circumstances, discrimination on the grounds of sex would be illegal (apart from some very specific cases).

A parent of four boys would have absolutely bog all chance of getting into their local 'outstanding' school if it happened to be only for girls.

In that case, you couldn't have any hope of getting in based on any 'if the school is not oversubscribed....' criteria. Plus, you couldn't even 'play the game' and pretend to be of the right sex.

FWIW, I don't actually think church schools should be able to select based on faith criteria.

I do, however, strongly believe that the real issue is the inequality in access to good state funded services at all levels.

Letsgetreal Fri 07-Jun-13 13:15:24

Surely the argument is whether a state school can apply ANY additional criteria to its admissions policy?

Faith is just one of many criteria that gives one child priority over another, and so if we are arguing that faith should not be allowed then surely any other criteria shouldnt be either, whether its academic ability, is the child in care, do they have a sibling, are their parents governors/teachers at the school etc.

If you get rid of one, you have to get rid of them all as they are all artificial criteria.

And then you would left with distance from the school, which again will be played by those that can afford it.......

I agree with a previous poster - we shouldnt abolish faith schools but ask what makes them better or at least perceived to be better and apply those principals to ALL schools.

Certainly by me the 'best' primaries are all faith schools. Is it because the church keeps a watch over their standards, because the parents of that religion are likely to be more encouraging and involved in their childs education, or is to just luck?

AryaUnderfoot Fri 07-Jun-13 13:17:26

prh47bridge children with a statement do not appear in any admission category as, as you say, they are always admitted. The highest actual admissions category is CLA.

I am sure there are many CofE schools that give equal admission preference to children from other churches/faiths, but there are few in our area that do.

As schools in our area have become increasingly oversubscribed in recent years, fewer and fewer children have gained places at faith schools at both primary and secondary levels without some 'faith' criteria.

PostBellumBugsy Fri 07-Jun-13 13:23:13

Arya, agree with you on single sex schools too but there are far fewer single sex state schools than faith schools. There are less than 400 single sex state schools & over 7000 state faith schools - about 35% of all schools. Figures for England only.

PastSellByDate Fri 07-Jun-13 13:27:48

I don't know how all faith-based schools work, but our primary is clearly linked to one particular church now; however, earlier it was linked to a more new-age establishment (one fond of Alpha courses) although the governors (rather daringly for our school) have now changed the admissions rules to limited to attendence of the faith school's namesake church.

My criticism isn't so much blocking certain members of the church, etc... from the associated group - but that on the basis of generally being of that faith - they end up driving across town to our school, which ends up with grid lock in the school run & pick-up periods in the area.

I think schools should be local.

You should understand if you live on street x - this is your school.

I hate to say it - but parental choice is a lovely concept - but the reality is that because it isn't straightforward and there are no guarantees it's highly nerve-racking.

There are too many neighbours walking 1.5 miles to the next school quite simply because they aren't particularly religioius or are of a different faith.

I think we need to remember that faith schools were formed out of a desire to improve education of local children (then broadly all of a similar faith) but the reality now is that faith schools (at least in large cities) are in highly multicultural areas. Having a school which excludes the residents probably isn't a good idea politically given they exist through taxpayer funding.

ReallyTired Fri 07-Jun-13 13:30:16

"By the way, I sincerely hope they don't put statemented children after looked after children. Statemented children come first."

prh47bridge

There are so few "looked after children" I think its academic if they are given priority over statemented children. Infact a huge proportion of looked after children are statemented. Sometimes looked after children need a particular school to be physically safe as well as having their needs met. For most statemented children there is more than one school in the area that can meet their needs.

I find it dispictable that many catholic schools put impossible conditions on looked after children. (Ie. only giving priority to looked after chidlren who have been baptised before 12 months) It is nothing more than social exclusion.

I suspect that Jesus would have been very anti faith schools. He mixed with the down and outs who would not be welcome at Catholic school.

prh47bridge Fri 07-Jun-13 13:32:53

A little over one third of faith schools are Voluntary Controlled which means the admission criteria are set by the LA. In most cases they use the same admission criteria as local community schools, although I know some LAs do include faith-based criteria for VC schools.

There's nothing stopping you going to a faith school, just go to bloody church. Oh hang on, no, you don't want to do that bit do you? Faith schools are all about community. You want the good stuff without contributing anything (not f-ing taxes) to that community. In fact, if you did get it you'd be on here whining about your child having to say prayers.

And we do pay our taxes too. And we pay a separate fund. And we pay to the church and the church pays. And the church owns the land and paid a huge amount towards the building of the school in the first place. But that's ok, you just rock up...

prh47bridge Fri 07-Jun-13 13:47:55

ReallyTired - It is very important that children with a statement of SEN naming the school go ahead of looked after children. That is the law.

Do you have a source for your statement that a huge proportion of looked after children are statemented? I can't find any statistics to support that at the moment. Even if it were true it isn't really relevant. There are roughly ten times as many children with statements of SEN as there are looked after children.

Any school that only puts conditions on looked after children must have more than one admission category for such children. So in your example the next category (or categories) will be non-looked after children who were baptised within 12 months of birth and the next category will be looked after children who were not baptised within 12 months of birth - they will come ahead of any other children who were not baptised within 12 months of birth. I'm not saying I approve of this - I don't.

By the way, Catholic Canon Law requires a child to be baptised "within the first few weeks".

Blueskiesandbuttercups Fri 07-Jun-13 13:55:10

Many of us don't want to rock up,we don't want the church to have anything to do with our local primary school.

Given how few people are Christians or go to church anymore sorry church goers as tax payers is a ridiculous argument.

I also dispute church being community,the most snobbery I've ever experienced is from the few minority church goers who think they're pillars of the community and above everybody else.

Communities don't need religion to be communities in fact I'd go as far as saying religion has quite a negative impact on communities.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Fri 07-Jun-13 13:58:51

And yes it does piss me off my kids having to listen to the utter baloney spouted off in endless assemblies and praying.

"Good stuff" what might that be? I've yet to see one positive aspect of my dc attending a church school only plenty of negative.

<holdsGwen's coat>

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