Primary School Admissions - Religion



  • edited August 2017
    @grenners sorry I didn't answer your question. St Mary's is CofE, but more of a faith school than St Aidan's - it follows the VA rather than VC model The differences are subtle but to me were important - St Aidan's does a nativity play and has some assemblies etc in the church but they teach a lot about other faiths too and are inclusive of people with no faith. They say things like "Easter is important to Christians because they believe it is when Jesus rose from the dead"... rather than "Easter is important because it is when Jesus rose from the dead". I think the majority of the children in my daughter's class are from families with no faith, though I could be wrong.
  • I'm not going to get into an argument about religion.

    However, I think it isn't an issue if a Catholic school wants to give priority to Catholic children and so on over those whose family do not have a faith.

    It is an issue if the school is somehow taking places out of the general pot and replacing them with religious only spots when there aren't people who want them.

    My understanding is that this is not how it works, however, and there isn't an issue round here with not enough primary places (it may just be that not everyone can make the same first choice).

    @Arkady I would have expected a more measured response from you than that took into account different people's beliefs and their right to hold them as long as they aren't harming others, or shoving them on to other people.

    The irony of the crusading attitude of the fundamentalist atheist never ceases to amuse me.

  • edited August 2017
    "as long as they aren't harming others"

    Aside from the deeper question of harming children by teaching them to believe in things regardless of evidence or reason, you ARE harming people if you deprive them of a place at a taxpayer-funded school based on the creed of their parents.

    People are free to believe in any mumbo-jumbo they want, but not at my expense. Not in the public square, thank you very much. You want to send your kids to a religious school, fine, pay for it. There's plenty of people who will take your money. Why on earth should I subsidise you? Want me to pay for the upkeep of your church as well? No thanks, it could be a community centre or, even better, a pub.
  • grennersgrenners Ferme Park Road, N4 just like to add I didn't set up this thread to argue about the rights and wrongs of religion or religious admission policies. Merely to see how the system works and what a parent has to do in order to do what they think is the best for their child. I.e. attend church or not. System may or may not be right but it's not going to change quickly.
  • I suppose it depends what you mean by "enough places round here" Papa L. Haringey as a whole has (just about) enough school places to go around (though some years people are left with no offer on offer day and have to put up with months of uncertainty). But in parts of the borough all schools are oversubscribed and there is a real risk of ending up in a black hole and having to travel quite a way across the borough or end up being allocated to a faith school that does not accord with your own faith (or lack of faith). There was one such spot around Ferme Park Road/Denton Road a couple of years ago for which St Peter's would have been very handy. If you fall within the criteria for a faith school you have more choice, as you're not excluded from the non-faith schools either if those are your preference.

    I am not making any arguments against religion at all when I say I don't see why access to public services should be prioritised in this way. Imagine if hospitals or bin collections or whatever gave preference to particular religious groups- it'd be an outrage. Faith schools get an exemption from the Equality Act 2010 in this regard so it is not unlawful but I don't think it's logical or morally justifiable.
  • @Arkady's response was rude, but he was primarily objecting to religion being "shoved on to other people" (in your words) - namely children in state education. I have explained above why there may actually be no choice in whether your child ends up in a faith school - even when there were enough school places in the West of the Borough this included the allocation of people to St Mary's who weren't happy about that, even though it is a very good school rated outstanding by Ofsted.
  • I regret my last two sentences, if not the sentiment.
  • @grenners I know you didn't - but people are free to talk about what they like on a thread, if it doesn't breach the guidelines. I'm always interested in debating these sorts of things and hearing different points of view. In case it doesn't come across, I have no issue at all in people making the choices that are best for them within the confines of the system we have - but it doesn't stop me wanting to have a moan about the system.
  • grennersgrenners Ferme Park Road, N4
    I'm just trying not to get drawn into this in case I upset everyone.....experience tells me this is one to stay out of but I'm still partial to a brexit debate if I feel it's necessary.
  • edited August 2017
    Arkady, my impression has always been that you are the kind of chap who promotes people's right to hold different views, have different lifestyles, different cultures etc.

    Keep the same sentiment as you expressed in your posts and replace a few of your words with something that isn't religion but pertains to other aspects of life and it reads a little Littlejohn or Hopkinsesque.
  • Papa L, I am precisely that sort of chap. I'd die in a ditch to defend your right to believe in claptrap.

    What I don't condone is your expectation that I should have to pay for it. I believe that all state education should be strictly secular (note - not atheist per se, just not including superstition), and that that if you want to formally educate your children in a religious system then you should do it on Sundays or pay for the privilege as you would in France or the US.

    Insisting on secularism isn't anti-liberal, it IS liberalism.
  • edited August 2017
    Slightly staggering to be having to explain the principle of the separation of church and state in 2017.

    <edit - this subject really makes me tetchy>
  • But why feel the need to impose your view on those people who do believe and denounce theirs? I'm not trying to do that to you?

    'Indoctrinating impressionable children with irrational nonsense...

    'Aside from the deeper question of harming children by teaching them to believe in things regardless of evidence or reason...



    I get that you dislike the system, but you are employing the 'my opinion is right, you're all wrong' line of argument and talking down to me. I just think that's curious, as I imagine you would criticise such an attitude expressed elsewhere.

    Although I admire your combination of shock jock and Voltaire.

    'I'd die in a ditch to defend your right to believe in claptrap'

  • Anyway, this is a daft way to have a discussion like this - like a proper pair of keyboard warriors!
  • Some scientists believe in things that they have never seen, will never see and cannot prove exist. They have faith that these things exist because other people's writings have told them that they do.

    Therefore science is irrational claptrap.
  • edited August 2017
    @missannie. Above all I want my children to be educated in critical thinking. I don't object to faith, but children should be taught how to tell the difference.
  • There is a very interesting BBC radio 4 moral maze on this subject
  • I wonder if there was a very good Jewish/Muslim/Hindu schools in the area would parents above do the same thing
  • grennersgrenners Ferme Park Road, N4
    I think we all know the answer to that one. Sadly we are a long way off a secular education as nobody can deny the right to exist to new faith schools and their dubious teachings. We all know segregation is bad for society.
  • It wasn't until the nineteenth century that we even had the first secular schools in this country, religious bodies have always been the providers of education on behalf of the state. It's not like it's any kind of a new thing.
  • Totally agree with Arkady that state funded education should be secular. Imagine if the NHS was run by religious groups? You could attend a catholic doctor if you were catholic. A muslim one if you were muslim. And you had to pray the creed of each one if you were to be assessed. Primary and secondary education should be untainted by religion. Why should a religion influence the teaching of English, or German or history. If parents want a religious education this can be done by the mosque, church or synagogue, and by themselves. Sunday school is added onto secular education in the US.
  • grennersgrenners Ferme Park Road, N4
    It was in the last century that we moved on significantly with things such as democracy, woman's equality and LGBT rights. Why let faith schools drag us backwards? Some faiths do not have particularly progressive attitudes when it comes to some of the things we might be proud about as a society. So it might seem intolerant towards religions to say no to their schools but why tolerate and fund intolerance?
  • edited August 2017
    I don't think it matters whether an organisation or church is good, bad, tolerant, intolerant... What matters is that the schools are not indoctrinating pupils and are about teaching subjects. So a minor under 18 isn't being forced to recite prayers of any faith before they've reached a certain age. I'm also against state indoctrination e.g. soviet anti-religion/atheism being taught as a creed. Basically schools should be secular teach languages, science, history, geography without religion being rammed down children and teenagers throats. Parents and religious institutions have no right to take over state funded schools to do so.
  • grennersgrenners Ferme Park Road, N4
    I remember divinity lessons where the text book was a bible and the teacher a serious weirdo. Followed by Latin. Thankfully there was some light relief with a bit of Maths. Also no girls. Can we just ban education?
  • Wonder if evolution actually happened?
  • I went to a catholic school in Luton in the 70s and had hippy teachers. Guitars were played (non-religious songs, and lots of art) It was amazing. There wasn't any religion. I think they were subverting it from the inside. There were girls. But I still go for secular schools.
  • grennersgrenners Ferme Park Road, N4
    (It wasn't even a faith school what were they doing). 1991 to 1998. But really like something from the 1950s.
  • edited August 2017
    Attend a mosque or synagogue to secure a place @sutent? No, I wouldn't, and didn't attend church either. I think grenners was only contemplating doing so because he is "vaguely CofE". But send my child to such a school if they'd have me anyway, while cursing the system from within? If it managed to tread my own slightly arbitrary line between acceptably and unacceptably non-secular, and otherwise its teaching was consistent with my values, yeah, why not? I believe plenty of non Jewish parents do send their children to Jewish schools. I tried to enrol my non-Caribbean daughter into a Caribbean nursery once, after checking they were definitely ok with that, but it merged with another and is no more.
  • grennersgrenners Ferme Park Road, N4
    St Aidan's is the nearest school and I heard it was good. These are the main reasons. So I thought I had better check if I had to go to church etc so I can make a decision on whether I am prepared to do that. Turns out not needed. So on that basis I don't have to think about that issue any more. I'd be perfectly happy sending my child to another non faith school for example Stroud Green. Whatever the school the main issue is that they get taught to read and write and be numerate. I'm not too worried about it as I will be more worried when it's secondary school time but that's way off.
  • Papa L: "But why feel the need to impose your view on those people who do believe and denounce theirs? I'm not trying to do that to you?"

    What do you mean by imposition? I'm sharing my opinion, which is what this forum is for. I'm not imposing it in the sense of compelling you to believe in it, which is what happens in religious societies with penalties for failing to conform ranging from being ostracised from society to being burned on the stake. Don't forget what the world was and is like when the boot is on the other foot.

    And religion would be imposed on my children if they fell into the catchment areas of certain local schools, assuming they weren't excluded from them. That's why I'm complaining. If we had a secular school system no-one would be imposing anything on anyone - you could still raise your children as Christian in your own time.

    But you're right, debating this stuff online always turns me into a scathing bellend, so I'll take your lovely "combination of shock jock and Voltaire" complement - which I might have as my epitaph - and pipe down.

    Until someone says something to get a rise out of me. On which note.

    Miss Annie: "Some scientists believe in things that they have never seen, will never see and cannot prove exist. They have faith that these things exist because other people's writings have told them that they do. Therefore science is irrational claptrap."

    That's a dreadful argument on its own terms - you're conflating faith in the general sense of well-founded trust (in testable evidence-based reasoning) with the religious sense of glorying belief not founded in evidence (as per the parable of Doubting Thomas). That's an elementary distinction.

    But it's also an unChristian one. The delineation between faith and reason - two different ways of knowing god's message - has been a major topic of Christian scholars including Catholic ones like Augustine and Aquinas, for 2000 years.
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