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Source: (consider it) Thread: Going through the motions for school admission
Aravis
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The Church in Wales secondary school on our side of the city isn't particularly prestigious. Since its foundation in the 1960s it has consistently achieved lower results than the secular school not far away from it. The secular school is right in the middle of a very affluent area; the church school is on the very edge of that area and draws its pupils from all over the south east of the city. It gives some kids an opportunity to escape seriously failing schools in the poorest areas, though there have recently been some attempts to reform the failing schools.
There are Muslim pupils at both schools. A few years ago the church school had a Christian head boy and a Muslim head girl. She wrote an article for the diocesan paper on how honoured she felt by this and the similarities she had discovered between the two faiths, and recommended a Bible app she'd put on her phone.
(Tangent: As this is Wales, you don't have to go to church if you don't want your child to attend the local school; you simply have to express a wish for them to be educated through the medium of Welsh, and they'll be bussed over to one of the three Welsh speaking secondaries. As far as I know you need no proof of any genuine interest in the language. It's not an option we ever considered.)

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Jane R
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Leprechaun:
quote:
Your answer seems to be - the church schools aren't run by the church any more, but by the state. In which case, why the hell should it be a bonus to your application to attend church? (and, as Baptist Trainfan points out, only kosher churches count.) How is this anything except elitism?

Well, as someone else pointed out, it is difficult to see how a school can claim to be a church school when it is neither run by the church nor includes any churchgoers.

And as BroJames has said (twice now), this is not really much of a problem outside London, because more than half of the C of E schools are rural primary schools (for those arcane historical reasons that you delight in sneering at) and serve their local communities. Those communities that still have families in them and haven't been completely taken over by yuppies buying holiday homes, that is.

quote:
If, in fact, they are run by the church, the Gospel thing to do would be to offer the best possible education to everyone, regardless of faith commitment, and perhaps even aimed towards those who are not Christians already, and/or those who have only very poor provision where they live.
That's why most of these schools were originally opened, back in the bad old days when education was not compulsory. And as Tubbs says, Voluntary Aided schools still get some of their funding from the C of E. The rural primary school I went to (back in the days before computers ruled the earth) was Voluntary Aided.

quote:
I have good friends who are atheist who live within walking distance of two church schools. Because they refuse to attend church for the required period, and they don't want to give their child a fake baptism, they will end up sending their child to a school over two miles away. These are people who are very open to their child having a Christian education - but not on the basis of them pretending to have a Christian commitment themselves.
Well, as a Christian, I would prefer honest atheists like your friends over people who are just going through the motions any day. I can understand their frustration if their child is unable to get a place because of all the other children who live further away from the schools but have more hypocritical parents. But as Tubbs says, the real problem is not the admissions criteria. The problem is that there are not enough places at good schools. We should find a way of fixing that instead of complaining about how difficult it is to get into the local school (for whatever reason). Because there isn't a way of allocating places in an oversubscribed school that is completely fair for everybody. If you make it about catchment areas, the people who can afford to move into the catchment area get an advantage. There was one local authority (can't remember which) that really did introduce a lottery for school places - they were allocated randomly - and people complained about that, too.
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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by bib:
Trouble is this family may be keeping another family out of the school if numbers are limited which is very selfish. If they are dishonest in this then they are probably dishonest in other things. Why enrol children at a church school if you have no religious beliefs? Maybe the school should be more stringent in its admission procedures.

If the school is asking its qualifying families to attend twice a month and participate fully in church life prior to the time the child is eligible for attending school, I can think of many 'ordinary' congregation members (whatever that means) who would find that expectation already more stringent than anything they'd like to commit to.

One CofE primary school I knew of, required certified proof - as in signed registers kept by the church - of regular attendance by those wishing to start their kids; as well as confirmation from parish clergy of the parents' contribution - as in time and participation - to church life. One thing the application forms did not ask was if the family contributed financially, or not.

If the registers and reference letters conformed to the school's criteria, the kid was admitted, if not, s/he didn't. Frankly, we resented the extra work this put US to, in having to set up registers and systems of people signing every week, and all that crap. Even to the extent that when families spent weeks away, they had to prove they'd attended church whilst on holiday.

However, we also took the opportunity to set up a special families service before the main morning act of worship, where the kids were given age-specific worship and teaching at the front of the building, and the parents (largely new to church-going) received similar at the rear of the building. We reckoned that if after four or five years of teaching and pastoring the family who participated in this regime we couldn't hang on to them, we at least had had a damn good try.

The nearest CofE secondary school required ten years 'proven' attendance. The school governers brought the rule in because they were getting fed up of parents requesting tribunal-style appeals when their children were denied entry. I've always wondered how that one worked out! Mind you, I did pity the clergy who used to get hauled in to answer questions about people's attendance. I heard it could get quite nasty. I felt that if the school wanted to set rules for its admission - which I can understand - it seemed unfair to make the local parish church do its dirty work. We were supposed to be pastors to the parish - whoever they were, however they did or didn't attend - not their judges when it came to where their children should go to school.

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Leprechaun

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quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:

And as BroJames has said (twice now), this is not really much of a problem outside London.

I (and my friends) are not in London.

quote:
That's why most of these schools were originally opened, back in the bad old days when education was not compulsory. And as Tubbs says, Voluntary Aided schools still get some of their funding from the C of E. The rural primary school I went to (back in the days before computers ruled the earth) was Voluntary Aided.
It is precisely this loss of vision that I am bemoaning. Now the funding goes from the church for the education of "our" children, and not anyone else's.

quote:
The problem is that there are not enough places at good schools. We should find a way of fixing that instead of complaining about how difficult it is to get into the local school (for whatever reason). Because there isn't a way of allocating places in an oversubscribed school that is completely fair for everybody. If you make it about catchment areas, the people who can afford to move into the catchment area get an advantage. There was one local authority (can't remember which) that really did introduce a lottery for school places - they were allocated randomly - and people complained about that, too.
Yes. I would expect the church to be making this problem better, not worse.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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If our village CofE school required evidence of attendance at the parish church it would have precisely zero children, at least since we moved our church attendance elsewhere. I am not exaggerating.

Alternatively, the church would suddenly be full, but every parent there would be there just to fulfil the school's criteria.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Tubbs

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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:
quote:
Originally posted by bib:
Trouble is this family may be keeping another family out of the school if numbers are limited which is very selfish. If they are dishonest in this then they are probably dishonest in other things. Why enrol children at a church school if you have no religious beliefs? Maybe the school should be more stringent in its admission procedures.

If the school is asking its qualifying families to attend twice a month and participate fully in church life prior to the time the child is eligible for attending school, I can think of many 'ordinary' congregation members (whatever that means) who would find that expectation already more stringent than anything they'd like to commit to.

One CofE primary school I knew of, required certified proof - as in signed registers kept by the church - of regular attendance by those wishing to start their kids; as well as confirmation from parish clergy of the parents' contribution - as in time and participation - to church life. One thing the application forms did not ask was if the family contributed financially, or not.

If the registers and reference letters conformed to the school's criteria, the kid was admitted, if not, s/he didn't. Frankly, we resented the extra work this put US to, in having to set up registers and systems of people signing every week, and all that crap. Even to the extent that when families spent weeks away, they had to prove they'd attended church whilst on holiday.

However, we also took the opportunity to set up a special families service before the main morning act of worship, where the kids were given age-specific worship and teaching at the front of the building, and the parents (largely new to church-going) received similar at the rear of the building. We reckoned that if after four or five years of teaching and pastoring the family who participated in this regime we couldn't hang on to them, we at least had had a damn good try.

The nearest CofE secondary school required ten years 'proven' attendance. The school governers brought the rule in because they were getting fed up of parents requesting tribunal-style appeals when their children were denied entry. I've always wondered how that one worked out! Mind you, I did pity the clergy who used to get hauled in to answer questions about people's attendance. I heard it could get quite nasty. I felt that if the school wanted to set rules for its admission - which I can understand - it seemed unfair to make the local parish church do its dirty work. We were supposed to be pastors to the parish - whoever they were, however they did or didn't attend - not their judges when it came to where their children should go to school.

Indeed. We attended a Baptist church and the clergy there hated doing the grey forms. There’s only so much you can say about someone’s attendance at church and, as we were Baptists, there was no guarantee that it was going to make a blind bit of difference anyway! All the Anglicans who wanted to places didn’t get them because the schools were so oversubscribed. However, should precious treasure not get into the school their parents were hoping for, it was obviously because the grey form hadn’t been filled in properly. Obviously.

It was ugly. Over the years, the church schools added more and more criteria that needed to be meet to reduce the number of applications they were expected to shift through.

  • Firstly, they decided that applications on the grey form would only be accepted from people who attended churches who were part of the local Churches Together. Causing a meltdown at one of the local Baptists as they’d never joined. Some of them objected to whatever fudge it was that allowed the Catholics to participate. They joined quietly a year or so later.
  • Then they asked for a letter detailing your church involvement and Christian commitment be submitted alongside the grey form.
  • Then they widened the catchment area for the Secondaries so it was the same as the Diocese rather than the LA. Pulling in yet more people for the same number of oversubscribed places!
  • The LA narrowed the criteria for Primaries and only allowed a grey form to be submitted to your local church school to stop people applying all over the place and taking places from people who lived closer.

All the changes caused huge resentment amongst the non-doms as it meant the only children who had a sniff of a place had parents who were clergy or deacons.

  • One of our friend’s really thought that one of Rev T’s motivation for going into Ministry was the chance of getting into a good school! [brick wall]
  • Some nondoms thought they were “better” Christians than the Anglicans / RCs as they were going to the church they felt called too rather than the one that would get them a good school. Because that’s the only reason someone would go to an Anglican … [Roll Eyes]
  • Then there was the whole racism, immigration issue. As church attendance and active involvement is higher in some sections of the population than others, this will be reflected in the allocation of places. According to some, Blacks and Eastern Europeans were stealing school places from the white kids. [Help]

None of this impacted the schools - they were over subscribed and the glowing OFSTEAD reports kept coming.

But occasionally, there was payback. One of the schools had a big building project and appealed to all the local churches for funds on the basis that the local churches should support “the school that your children (will) go to”. All the local churches told them to get lost on the grounds that the changes in admission criteria had broken the links between the school and the local churches. Most of their children hadn’t gone to this school. And the ones who had often had won their place on appeal.

Then there was the year that the child of Very Well Known Christian got turned down for one of the schools for not meeting the criteria. They got into the other, but it did prove how farcical the system was. If this person couldn’t get in, there wasn’t much hope for the rest of us! [Snigger]

Tubbs

[ 22. January 2015, 09:38: Message edited by: Tubbs ]

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"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am

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Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
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quote:
Originally posted by Leprechaun:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Jane R:
[qb]
And as BroJames has said (twice now), this is not really much of a problem outside London.

I (and my friends) are not in London.

...

It's a problem where there is a shortage of good schools in the area. And, if you don't met the criteria for the few good ones - either living in the right road or attending the right church - you're screwed. That's why people are tempted to lie about either what they worship or where they live. (Yes, faking an address is also an option!)

Creating more good schools throughout the area will solve the problem, not fiddling about with the entry criteria for the existing good schools.

It's not a problem where we live now. But that's because most of the schools are either good or outstanding. We are very lucky.

Tubbs

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"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Tubbs:
[Then they asked for a letter detailing your church involvement and Christian commitment be submitted alongside the grey form.

I often felt that this discriminated against some Anglicans (never mind anyone else). If you went to a large church with many opportunities to serve as a Server or Acolyte, in the Choir, on the Altar Guild, as a Sunday School Leader etc. etc., then you ticked lots of boxes and racked up lots of points. If you went to a small "low" church (no servers, no choir etc.) then it was much harder.

Also, if your church had lots of services each Sunday, it became easier to fit attendance round football practice or visits to Granny. If it only had one, then it was harder to be a "regular enough" attender.

To me this means that strong thriving churches will attract more and more young families; small ones (often doing vital missional work in difficult areas) will lose out. There is also an implicit if unintentional bias towards High Church Anglicanism. In other words, school admission isn't a level playing field, even for Anglicans!

On a different point, admission criteria will vary between "Voluntary Aided" and "Voluntary Controlled" schools; the latter have fewer links with the Church. Small village schools are, I suspect, more likely to be VC but not always.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Tubbs:
That's why people are tempted to lie about either what they worship or where they live. (Yes, faking an address is also an option!)

Yes, my wife - as a teacher at a CofE school - was once approached by her Head who was dubious about an application form from a parent who claimed to worship at our church, but (as my wif confirmed) didn't. She has also known parents who have put down a relative's address - nearer the school than the actual home of the prospective pupil.

The system is also subverted by clergy who lie, either because they particularly want a family to get into school, or because they fundamentally disagree with the system and want to cock a snook at it (can you still say that?) Trouble is, that creates (further) injustice for those of us who tell the truth.

[ 22. January 2015, 10:35: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Tubbs:
[Then they asked for a letter detailing your church involvement and Christian commitment be submitted alongside the grey form.

I often felt that this discriminated against some Anglicans (never mind anyone else). If you went to a large church with many opportunities to serve as a Server or Acolyte, in the Choir, on the Altar Guild, as a Sunday School Leader etc. etc., then you ticked lots of boxes and racked up lots of points. If you went to a small "low" church (no servers, no choir etc.) then it was much harder.

Also, if your church had lots of services each Sunday, it became easier to fit attendance round football practice or visits to Granny. If it only had one, then it was harder to be a "regular enough" attender.

To me this means that strong thriving churches will attract more and more young families; small ones (often doing vital missional work in difficult areas) will lose out. There is also an implicit if unintentional bias towards High Church Anglicanism. In other words, school admission isn't a level playing field, even for Anglicans!

On a different point, admission criteria will vary between "Voluntary Aided" and "Voluntary Controlled" schools; the latter have fewer links with the Church. Small village schools are, I suspect, more likely to be VC but not always.

There were plenty of jobs at the low Anglican I attended. They only broke out the vestments at the 1662 and the very early service! Just different ones!

But there is bias against children from single or divorced families and young carers. Many of them won't be able furfil the attendance / involvement criteria that many of the schools demand through no fault of their own.

This meant Anglican clergy would advise some families not to apply. They knew the school would just look the figure and ignore their accompanying letter giving the context.

Thinking back, none of the clergy I knew were keen on the grey forms or the letters. Most would have preferred that the schools select using some system that didn't involve them.

The letters were a lot of work. For families that attended regularly, it was fine. For others, it was harder. And the schools didn't have to deal with the fallout when people didn't get what they'd wanted. Particularly when someone who was preceived as being completely undeserving did.

Tubbs

[ 22. January 2015, 13:04: Message edited by: Tubbs ]

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"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am

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Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Tubbs:
That's why people are tempted to lie about either what they worship or where they live. (Yes, faking an address is also an option!)

Yes, my wife - as a teacher at a CofE school - was once approached by her Head who was dubious about an application form from a parent who claimed to worship at our church, but (as my wif confirmed) didn't. She has also known parents who have put down a relative's address - nearer the school than the actual home of the prospective pupil.

The system is also subverted by clergy who lie, either because they particularly want a family to get into school, or because they fundamentally disagree with the system and want to cock a snook at it (can you still say that?) Trouble is, that creates (further) injustice for those of us who tell the truth.

There are cultural pressures as well. One of our previous churches served a large black population. For some families, the grand-parent’s church was their church. Some of them came regularly as well, but some didn’t as grandma went for them. But everyone expected the clergy to write them a good letter.

Part of the annual joy of the grey forms was attempting to identify whose grandchild or niece / nephew they were being asked to write a reference for. With varying degrees of success!

The outcome depended on the school. But, when the answer was no, explaining to the grand-parents that although they had attended church faithfully for years, that wasn’t quite what the school had in mind was No Fun.

Tubbs

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"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am

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BroJames
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quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
<snip> as BroJames has said (twice now), this is not really much of a problem outside London<snip>

Other urban areas are also available (and experience this kind of problem).
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Pomona
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I have no issue with CoE-run schools. As to how they are Christian if they have mostly non-Christian pupils or even teachers, they are serving non-Christians and sharing the faith with them, and thus living out the Gospel far more than restricting intake to Anglicans.

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:
quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
<snip> as BroJames has said (twice now), this is not really much of a problem outside London<snip>

Other urban areas are also available (and experience this kind of problem).
Fairly rural around here, but still have this problem, at least with secondaries.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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kankucho
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quote:
Originally posted by toadstrike:
...The school publishes on its website that it has a strict order for allocating places and the top priority is given to parents who "attend church at least twice a month or more and play a full part in the life of the church"

If that's the exact phrase they use on the website, I'd be very reluctant to put them in charge of my child's education in English grammar.

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Chorister

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The CofE school my sons attended (in rural Creamtealand) was oversubscribed - the criteria were only really biased towards church attenders for those living outside the catchment area. There was always room for those living inside as long as they didn't apply at the very last minute.

That particular school tried to appoint practising Christians to the staff if at all possible - as they usually had many people apply, that was not normally difficult to achieve.

In recent years, some non-Christian parents actively didn't want their child to attend a CofE school, as they feared them being brainwashed. So sent them to a popular county primary in a nearby village. Thus freeing up extra spaces for those who really wanted to attend the CofE school.

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Wild Organist
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
...

Alternatively, the church would suddenly be full, but every parent there would be there just to fulfil the school's criteria.

As a Wild Organist, I wander through rural and suburban and city centre churches. The one that sticks in my mind in this discussion is the suburban one which has a school and a "family service". The former is excellent, the latter is crammed with parents of little Damiens and Carries whose parents are never seen again once little D or C has got in. The other four or five services each month get about 20% of the congregation of the FS and are much more pleasant to play for.
This is not a deprived area - I can't afford to live there, only 4 miles from home as it is - and I have no children, so no axe to grind. But my instinct says this is wrong. These parents are lying when they profess the faith, say the Creed. The church should not encourage this because of fecundity. Ok, what's the solution?

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
If our village CofE school required evidence of attendance at the parish church it would have precisely zero children, at least since we moved our church attendance elsewhere. I am not exaggerating.

Alternatively, the church would suddenly be full, but every parent there would be there just to fulfil the school's criteria.

It is amazing how oversubscription to a very popular school gets the bums on seats!

Whilst the schools I'm thinking of were rurally located - and there were perfectly respectable alternatives within short-car-driving distance - many people wanted the convenience of their 'own' village school, as well as that much vaunted CofE ethos-thing. A parish with a church school without these problems is an enviable thing!

I used to wonder inwardly why non-churchgoing parents would want to, in a sense, compromise their agnostic/atheist principles, give up their Sunday morning etc, just to get little Penelope into St Penguin's. But some parents are very motivated to do what they consider to be the best thing for their children, by way of getting, apparently, the best local education. So long as I wasn't being expected to put my signature to a lie, I tried not to judge. It's just such a relief not to have to play those games any more.

To be fair to the congregations I'm talking about, I can't recall any of these parents being particularly identifiable as monsters of depravity. Brazen chancers, some of them, perhaps. But I know, too, that more than a few of our families were genuine worshippers in that they would've been there regardless. But even for the folks who were there solely to qualify for school places; frankly, their motivations were hardly more Herod-like than some other motivations I can think of for church-attendance. Dammit, I even know some people who only get up on a Sunday morning and go along to church because they've been paid to <ahem>!

The issue of unfairness to other potentially qualifying families who are regular church people is, perhaps, the real crux of the matter. To gain advantages by attempting to claim you're something you're not, is hardly a great lesson for your kid. Though someone might argue that if the kid is actually the chief beneficiary, that's justifiable. It's a shame it's just so messy at times.

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by Wild Organist:
These parents are lying when they profess the faith, say the Creed. The church should not encourage this because of fecundity. Ok, what's the solution?

Oh no! Naughty people going to church! Quick, panic! [Big Grin]

I know what you're saying. Explicit insincerity is not pleasant, and at worst is a mockery of holy things.

But, here's the thing. Lots of people in church are lying - to some degree, and at some stage in their lives - when they profess the faith, say the Creed. Lots of people in church are lying when they say the Lord's Prayer, share the Peace, take communion blah-de-blah. Why stop with parents? At least if they're in church, they might hear something that tells them why they shouldn't lie - or is that something God would rather not happen?

I do agree with you, however, that the church shouldn't encourage it. That's why I, for one, and many, many colleagues get so royally peed off with schools sloughing off their responsibility for admissions onto parish clergy in the way that so often happens.

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Chorister

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Perhaps the CofE school motto should be Mark 9:24 "And straightway the father of the child crying out with tears, said, Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief."

Unless the parent of a child at the school, suffering from a temporary - or permanent - loss of belief, actually takes their child out of the school, thus giving up their place to someone else, then they should never judge those who have trouble believing in the first place. Perhaps.

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Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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quote:
Originally posted by Wild Organist:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
...

Alternatively, the church would suddenly be full, but every parent there would be there just to fulfil the school's criteria.

As a Wild Organist, I wander through rural and suburban and city centre churches. The one that sticks in my mind in this discussion is the suburban one which has a school and a "family service". The former is excellent, the latter is crammed with parents of little Damiens and Carries whose parents are never seen again once little D or C has got in. The other four or five services each month get about 20% of the congregation of the FS and are much more pleasant to play for.
This is not a deprived area - I can't afford to live there, only 4 miles from home as it is - and I have no children, so no axe to grind. But my instinct says this is wrong. These parents are lying when they profess the faith, say the Creed. The church should not encourage this because of fecundity. Ok, what's the solution?

Improve the education system so that access to a “good” school doesn’t depend on where you live, worship or the depth of your pockets.

If every school was of a decent standard, then parents wouldn’t be having a meltdown at the thought of Mungo having to go to St Midge's (special measures) rather than St Mary’s (Good with Outstanding Features). And they wouldn’t be willing to do whatever it takes to improve the odds.

Tubbs

[ 23. January 2015, 15:36: Message edited by: Tubbs ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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But surely St. Midge's is a church school too?

(Mind you, we have in our town a St. Helen's School which isn't a church school. This causes quite a bit of confusion).

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Higgs Bosun
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# 16582

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There are three primary schools within about half a mile of my house, two are Church of England Voluntary Aided schools (named after the parish in which they are sited), and the other a regular local authority governed school.

The last used to be until very recently an infants school, which fed into one of the Church schools which was a junior school, each with three form entry. Both became two form entry primary schools.

The admissions policies for the schools are online. The policy for a voluntary aided church school is set by the governers, while that for the other is set by the local authority. They have similarities and differences.

In all cases policies on who can come only apply if there is over-subscription, i.e. there are more applicants than places (30 per class). So, it is not true to say that there is exclusion, no-one is prevented from applying. The schools all have a priority order.

In first place all of them have children who are or who have been 'looked after', which means children who are in care, or for whom accomodation has been provided by the local authority as the result of its social care responsibilities.

In second place each of the schools next considers those children with 'exceptional needs', which means the school is the best. There are some variations here: one church school only considers medical needs, the other considers medical and/or social needs, while the non-church school includes educational needs.

For the church schools, but not the non-church school, next to be considered are those with a sibling at the school.

Then the church schools consider 'foundation places', which is the first point where any faith association is considered. One school has 24 such places (out of a total entry of 90), and eligiblity is based on the child being baptised or dedicated, and either (at least one) parent attending the parish church of the school regularly (twice a month), or who live in the geographical parish, or two neighbouring parishes, and attend regularly another Christian church.

The other church school has 6 foundation places (out of a yearly entry of 60). These places are allocated to those children whose parent(s) are active members of either the parish church or another local Christian church. If these places are oversubscribed, then members of the local parish church take priority.

In last place for all schools comes geographical proximity. One of the schools specifies in detail how the distance from the home to the school is calculated. This is probably evidence of a lot of pushy parents arguing over matters of a few metres.

The policies for the schools refer to their ethos.
quote:
Governors hope that parents who have chosen this school for their child have done so
with the knowledge that it is a Church of England school with a distinctive Christian ethos. Governors, therefore, expect parents to give their full support to the ethos of the school.

quote:
The underlying ethos of the school
is Christian but it is a church school for the whole community and it welcomes applications for pupils of other faiths or no faith.

Sorry for the long post, but I think it is interesting to see some actual admission policies for church schools.
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Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
But surely St. Midge's is a church school too?

(Mind you, we have in our town a St. Helen's School which isn't a church school. This causes quite a bit of confusion).

But it's not a good one so the parents don't want Mungo to go there. [Razz] Darn, as you spotted it, I can't edit the St out.

Tubbs

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"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am

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toadstrike
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To answer a previous point where I had put a very abbreviated version of the school requirements, here is the full text of the requirements (in addtion to baptism certificate) which I have cut and pasted from the school website.

quote:

For the purpose of criterion 3, a child will be deemed to have parent(s) who are extensively involved in the work and worship of the nominated church if one or both parent(s) meet
all of the following requirements:
(i) Confirmed in the Church of England or a Church in Communion with the Church of England; or, being confirmed in another episcopal church, formally received into the communion of the Church of England, and
(ii)
On the Electoral Roll of one of the churches set out in criterion 3, or an ordained
minister of the Church of England licensed to or permitted to officiate in one of the
four parishes, and
(iii)
Frequent attendance at Sunday worship (at least twice per month) for at least the past two years, and
(iv)
If a lay person, regular and sustained contribution through one of the following
unpaid roles in the nominated church: Licensed Reader, PCC member,
Youth/children’s Leader, Musical Co-ordinator, PCC sub-committee member,
choir/music group member, pastoral team member, altar server.

I think the last bit is a pretty tall order and they'll have to get motoring!

[ 24. January 2015, 09:43: Message edited by: toadstrike ]

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Enoch
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Yes, that last criterion rather excludes those who feel that the best way they exercise their Christian commitment is in their work or some other sort of social engagement. What if the sort of commitment they give to being a doctor or a teacher doesn't leave them much time or spare energy to sing or be on one of the innumerable committees the average church manages to generate?

Worse, the list is not phrased 'such as'. The list of approved and recognised activities seems to be exclusive. No good if mother does the flowers or father digs graves for free. Or in these modern non-sexist days, vice versa. They don't count.

[ 24. January 2015, 10:54: Message edited by: Enoch ]

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Golden Key
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toadstrike--

Hi, and welcome to the Ship!

Those rules sound like the preference program is basically for children of church staff, paid or not. (How in the world do they check church attendance??)

I initially thought, from my understanding of the OP, that the parents would simply have to go to church, and get heavily involved in some way. That they wouldn't have to actually profess belief. And, as others pointed out, church involvement might be to their spiritual benefit, from an evangelistic point of view. So I wasn't too worried about it--just concerned about the difficulties of getting into a good school.

But, looking at the rules, they'd have to be *seriously* dishonest, because they'd have to get confirmed. And you mentioned a baptismal certificate. If that's for the child, things could get complicated. OTOH, if the church believes that baptism is necessary for salvation, then that could be another good thing coming out of the situation.

ISTM that these are loving parents who want a good education for their kid, and don't have many options. As great as the school may be, is it really worth going through all that? And the possible consequences and ripple effects? How will they feel if the child chooses to be a Christian? Or if one of *them* does?

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--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
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Leorning Cniht
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# 17564

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quote:
Originally posted by Pomona:
I have no issue with CoE-run schools. As to how they are Christian if they have mostly non-Christian pupils or even teachers, they are serving non-Christians and sharing the faith with them, and thus living out the Gospel far more than restricting intake to Anglicans.

That's one of my questions. How are they sharing the faith and living out the Gospel if they don't actually have the faith?

We've had lots of discussions here about corporations not having religion (with reference to Hobby Lobby and so on).

Sure - if what you have is a majority Christian community with some pupils of other faiths or no faith, it's easy to see the school as Christians sharing the faith.

But if most of the pupils and most of the teachers aren't Christian, I don't see how that works. The people supposedly "sharing the faith" don't have one.

Is there really anything that sets such a school apart from a secular school, apart from the fact that it is named after a saint and has the vicar on the board of governors? In what way does a school staffed and populated mostly by non-Christians have a "Christian Ethos"?

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Anselmina
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# 3032

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quote:
Originally posted by toadstrike:

(iv)
If a lay person, regular and sustained contribution through one of the following
unpaid roles in the nominated church: Licensed Reader, PCC member,
Youth/children’s Leader, Musical Co-ordinator, PCC sub-committee member,
choir/music group member, pastoral team member, altar server.

I think the last bit is a pretty tall order and they'll have to get motoring! [/QUOTE]

This was the kind of criteria we had to contend with. Quite literally, so many points were alotted for each item: ie, 5 points for PCC member, 5 points for being c/warden, 5 points for leading Brownies or Cubs etc. And then the family had to get over, say, 45 points altogether to qualify for a school place. I wouldn't've believed it, if I hadn't seen it for myself.

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Net Spinster
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And if you've only got one parent that cuts the number of people capable of gathering points by half and if that parent has to work long or irregular hours in a low paying job (and possibly on Sundays) the time for gathering those points goes down. I wonder how much fudging goes on to allow children that look most likely to reflect glory on the school in and those that might be trouble out.

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spinner of webs

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Anselmina
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To be fair, the real heart-searching was about which kids were likely to benefit most from attending that particular school. It is possible some clergy might've been thinking 'I should fudge this application so this little Einstein can attend St Penguin's and shine reflected glory on the school'. But the biggest difficulty I recall self and colleagues having to live with was knowing that whatever strategy - fair or unfair - the parent was playing, at the heart of it was a child who deserved attendance at a decent school, and whose potential happiness, short and long-term, could depend on a signature of an application. Whatever the admissions boards of these schools might've gotten up to, it was sometimes the parish people who had to cope with the fall-out.

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Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

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And what happens in the case where one parent is a believer and the other isn't? The whole situation isn't as neat and clear cut as you would think from some of the assertions.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:

Since the faith secondary schools are in areas where housing is expensive ...

I wonder why this is? [Roll Eyes]
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Angloid
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# 159

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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:
But the biggest difficulty I recall self and colleagues having to live with was knowing that whatever strategy - fair or unfair - the parent was playing, at the heart of it was a child who deserved attendance at a decent school, and whose potential happiness, short and long-term, could depend on a signature of an application.

But at the same time, another child with less-pushy parents (or less hypocritical ones) would be deprived of a place.

The only answer is, abolish faith schools, or ensure that they operate an open admissions policy. To be fair, many church schools in rural areas and elsewhere, where it is the only or default school, do just that.

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Crowd: We're all individuals!
Lone voice: I'm not!

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Angloid
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# 159

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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
There is also an implicit if unintentional bias towards High Church Anglicanism.

From the context of the rest of your post, you appear to mean 'large and flourishing suburban churches with many activities and opportunities for involvement.' Which these days tends to mean evangelical more often than not. 'High' churches tend to have small and struggling congregations and in fact fit your definition of 'low church'.

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Curiosity killed ...

Ship's Mug
# 11770

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quote:
For the purpose of criterion 3, a child will be deemed to have parent(s) who are extensively involved in the work and worship of the nominated church if one or both parent(s) meet all of the following requirements:
  1. Confirmed in the Church of England or a Church in Communion with the Church of England; or, being confirmed in another episcopal church, formally received into the communion of the Church of England, and
  2. On the Electoral Roll of one of the churches set out in criterion 3, or an ordained minister of the Church of England licensed to or permitted to officiate in one of the four parishes, and
  3. Frequent attendance at Sunday worship (at least twice per month) for at least the past two years, and
  4. If a lay person, regular and sustained contribution through one of the following unpaid roles in the nominated church: Licensed Reader, PCC member, Youth/children’s Leader, Musical Co-ordinator, PCC sub-committee member, choir/music group member, pastoral team member, altar server.

As a parent, I ticked all the boxes on this list - PCC member for a full term and Sunday school leader for 5 years. What I couldn't make was the requirement for the good local faith school which was 10 years of weekly attendance. Mostly because I'd spent some of that ten years in rural parishes when there were no appropriate weekly services to take a 3 year old to - 8am 1662 one week a month, for example.

That local school is a Jewish foundation school and is what fills several of the local churches with parents determined to avoid the school my daughter did attend. She ended up at the VC CofE school, which was the one everyone avoided as it was dodging in and out of special measures at the time, for very good reason.

[ 25. January 2015, 23:26: Message edited by: Curiosity killed ... ]

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by Pomona:
I have no issue with CoE-run schools. As to how they are Christian if they have mostly non-Christian pupils or even teachers, they are serving non-Christians and sharing the faith with them, and thus living out the Gospel far more than restricting intake to Anglicans.

That's one of my questions. How are they sharing the faith and living out the Gospel if they don't actually have the faith?

We've had lots of discussions here about corporations not having religion (with reference to Hobby Lobby and so on).

Sure - if what you have is a majority Christian community with some pupils of other faiths or no faith, it's easy to see the school as Christians sharing the faith.

But if most of the pupils and most of the teachers aren't Christian, I don't see how that works. The people supposedly "sharing the faith" don't have one.

Is there really anything that sets such a school apart from a secular school, apart from the fact that it is named after a saint and has the vicar on the board of governors? In what way does a school staffed and populated mostly by non-Christians have a "Christian Ethos"?

A school isn't just comprised of pupils and teachers. In a church school's case, there will be links with one or more local churches, plus Christian governors, clergy on the board of governors etc etc.

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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SvitlanaV2
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# 16967

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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
There is also an implicit if unintentional bias towards High Church Anglicanism.

From the context of the rest of your post, you appear to mean 'large and flourishing suburban churches with many activities and opportunities for involvement.' Which these days tends to mean evangelical more often than not. 'High' churches tend to have small and struggling congregations and in fact fit your definition of 'low church'.
I wonder how much churchgoing for the sake of school places happens at evangelical CofE churches. I have a feeling that the two agendas wouldn't work very well together, but I could be wrong.
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Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
There is also an implicit if unintentional bias towards High Church Anglicanism.

From the context of the rest of your post, you appear to mean 'large and flourishing suburban churches with many activities and opportunities for involvement.' Which these days tends to mean evangelical more often than not. 'High' churches tend to have small and struggling congregations and in fact fit your definition of 'low church'.
I wonder how much churchgoing for the sake of school places happens at evangelical CofE churches. I have a feeling that the two agendas wouldn't work very well together, but I could be wrong.
Based on my experience, you are. One of my previous churches was a large, evangelical Anglican and there were people who attended because it was attached to a very good school.

The attitude of the clergy and staff was that it gave them an opportunity to build relationships with people and expose them to Christianity. The rest was up to God! A lot came to faith, but there were some who disappeared once the kids had started secondary school.

Tubbs

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"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am

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Leprechaun

Ship's Poison Elf
# 5408

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quote:
Originally posted by Tubbs:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
There is also an implicit if unintentional bias towards High Church Anglicanism.

From the context of the rest of your post, you appear to mean 'large and flourishing suburban churches with many activities and opportunities for involvement.' Which these days tends to mean evangelical more often than not. 'High' churches tend to have small and struggling congregations and in fact fit your definition of 'low church'.
I wonder how much churchgoing for the sake of school places happens at evangelical CofE churches. I have a feeling that the two agendas wouldn't work very well together, but I could be wrong.
Based on my experience, you are. One of my previous churches was a large, evangelical Anglican and there were people who attended because it was attached to a very good school.

The attitude of the clergy and staff was that it gave them an opportunity to build relationships with people and expose them to Christianity. The rest was up to God! A lot came to faith, but there were some who disappeared once the kids had started secondary school.

Tubbs

Yes, I used to work at such a church - attached to the best school in the area. Usually it all worked ok, occasionally an odd parent would get cross and write to the local paper complaining that they were being "forced" to sit through all sorts of offensive sermons about the exclusivity of Jesus and repentance from sin simply to get their child's education sorted.

At the time I thought they had a bit too much of a culture of entitlement - now I feel a bit more sympathy.

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SvitlanaV2
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Ah. I understand that CofE evangelical churches are often based in nice suburban areas, so perhaps good schools in those areas are more likely to be attached to such churches. In the more urban areas (outside London, anyway) are the good schools more likely to be attached to other kinds of CofE congregations?
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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Ah. I understand that CofE evangelical churches are often based in nice suburban areas, so perhaps good schools in those areas are more likely to be attached to such churches.

In nice suburban areas, schools are generally better anyway. Usually the CofE schools are not noticeably better - and are often attended by people from out of immediate area anyway.
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Alisdair
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# 15837

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Hopefully this has already been said, but IMHO:

Any school with a religious foundation but funded largely through general tatxation should be obliged to take all comers from within it's catchment, no strings attached.

If it prefers to offer preferential places to the children of those who profess the requisite faith, then the memebership of said faith should jolly well get on and fund it.

If these schools are established to turn out 'believers' they need to admit it and act accordingly. If they are there to offer an education in line with national standards, while the teaching staff draw on a personal faith as a foundation for being able to face the ravening horde each day, and the school provides a faith based ethos to guide behaviour, but each child is welcome on their own terms regardless of family background, with no agenda to 'connvert' them; well that's good too, make it clear and do the job.

But the appalling fudge that seems to blight the field of play today in England is a disgrace to the adults of the nation, and ill serves the children who deserve much better behaviour.

E-

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Enoch
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# 14322

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quote:
Originally posted by Alisdair:
... But the appalling fudge that seems to blight the field of play today in England is a disgrace to the adults of the nation, and ill serves the children who deserve much better behaviour.

That really is overstating things somewhat.

The present situation is not perfect. It has a number of flaws. But what changes a person wants to see depend on what one thinks is wrong with it, what one thinks education is for, who decides, how far one trusts the state, what you think taxpayers are and are not entitled to get for their money and whether one is entitled to ignore deals previous generations thought they had committed themselves to.

The equation, 'this is funded partially from general taxation - therefore the state is entitled to insist on my priorities rather than those of other taxpayers' is very, very unsound.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Baptist Trainfan
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Well, I don't know, I'm largely with Alisdair on this. May I point out that:

1. Many "Church Schools" were founded to offer education to children of the parish, not the congregation. Attendance at church was not, AFAIK, a criterion for admission.

2. There was great resistance among Nonconformists to the 1902 Education Act, as they believed that they were have to pay for "Sectarian" (i.e. Anglican or Catholic) schools from their local rates. In a campaign of "passive resistance" many refused to pay the precept and were fined, imprisoned or had goods sequestrated as a result.

3. The present system is a "fudge" deriving from the 1902, 1906 and 1944 Education Acts - just as the ability of doctors to work in both the NHS and privately was a concession in the 1947 Health Act.

Personally I would like to have either "State Schools" - with good RE and a recognition of the place religion has played (and continues to play) in our country's life; or private Church/Religious schools, funded by their respective bodies. But I'm not too sure of the latter since they are hardly likely to promote community cohesion. I don't like the present situation.

[ 28. January 2015, 16:03: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Try
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quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:


Aberdeen City (separate council area) does have fee-paying schools, and also two Roman Catholic primaries, but almost all (over 90%) of pupils are in the state comprehensive system.

Are the RC schools part of the state system, or are they also private, fee paying schools, as Catholic schools (and Episcopal schools for that matter) are in the United States?

Incidentally, in some dioceses American Episcopalians send their children to the local public (state) schools without a thought. In other dioceses the Episcopalians seem to have a system of parochial schools almost as well developed as the RCs.

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“I’m so glad to be a translator in the 20th century. They only burn Bibles now, not the translators!” - the Rev. Dr. Bruce M. Metzger

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Try:
Are the RC schools part of the state system ...

Yes. They are usually VA schools in the same way as CofE, Methodist and Jewish ones.
This is wikipaedia's description of what a VA school and how it differs from a VC school.

Traditionally, RC schools have always been quite open that they are there to provide state funded schools for Catholic parents, in a way that some of the comments on this thread have deprecated for CofE parents and schools.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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North East Quine

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Originally posted by Try:
quote:
Are the RC schools part of the state system,
Yes, but unlike other state schools which have a specific catchment area, and every child within that catchment area gets a place in that school, the Roman catholic schools take children from across the city, if the parents opt for a RC school rather than their catchment area school.
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Pasta
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I worked as a school chaplain in Surrey with strong competition for church school places. At the local chapter meeting there would often be moans "it's really irritating getting all these parents coming and joining our churches just to get a school place. They all leave after a couple of years". I could never be certain they had seen the irony, that it was the local church's responsibility to engage them so that they would want to stay!

I did quite often wonder if the truth was that they saw church as a place for either the insider or the person they'd nabbed. Outsiders flooding into their churches was definitely bad though.

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Happiness is a contented kipper

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SvitlanaV2
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Do these churches get any support or advice as to how to adapt their ethos and their traditions in order to make things comfortable for newcomers who don't have much experience of church life?

It seems a bit harsh to criticise churches that find themselves in this position but haven't been given any guidance. Let's be honest: most historical churches have very little recent experience of sharing the gospel with non-believers, and some congregations have become inward-looking because they've grown used to being ignored by everyone else.

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