Direct quotes from emails and web comments: Discussion

  • As...a Catholic I am committed to an education system which is inclusive and values all young people equally. Both of my children have benefited from an excellent education in Richmond state schools and I have found the community spirit and tolerance engendered in these schools leads to a much more harmonious society. I am completely opposed to education which excludes young people on any basis and do not believe this exclusivity to be a very Christian principle.

  • My daughter will not be going to secondary school until 2016, but I am concerned about the lack of choice we have... As non Catholics in Whitton we have been neglected. They were keen to cater for Catholics who had to send their children out of the borough, but we do not even have a choice to do that.
     
  • My son has been excluded from a faith school despite attending the nursery for 18 months at that school, despite having an elder brother at the same school and despite living in the catchment area, in fact only a few hundred yards away. Appeal was dismissed, supposedly independent but all panel members were appointed by the diocese. Reason given is that he is not a Catholic! In this day and age it is disgusting! Put on waiting list but same rules apply that he can be dropped down the pecking order in favour of a Catholic child. Why is government allowing this to happen?

  • I am Catholic but do not support state funded sectarian education. Most people I know who send their children to church schools do so to benefit from de facto selection and higher standards and have no particular interest in a faith based education. I even know of non Catholics who have managed to secure a place by joining the church choir, so the system is definitely open to manipulation and should not be supported by the council in such a time of stretched resources.

  • We are parents of two children, and are beginning to think about primary schools... In order to attend one of the good local primaries we've started attending church. I would estimate that about 50% of the congregation is made up of parents of 2 - 5 year old children. Hypocritical of us it certainly is but "Don't hate the player, hate the game" is our motto at the moment. Worst of all is I'd imagine we now appear in statistics for 'regular church-goers'.

  • I am forced to pay for private education for my daughter because the excellent local schools both admit only church-goers and refused her entry. I am not prepared to feign belief in Christianity as many do to secure places in these schools. As someone who works hard in the NHS, I am disgusted that my taxes are used to fund schools that exclude my children on the basis of their lack of religious beliefs. 

  • I want my children to go to a fully inclusive school in the borough please. And I'm a Christian.

  • I have several Catholic friends with children at both Catholic and non-Catholic primaries. None of them would consider only a Catholic choice for Secondary School, but if that was the 'best' option academically, then they'd be happy to ramp up their church attendance to make sure of a place. The system is a farce, and serves only to bribe people into going to church more often than they otherwise would. People will do what they can to gain an advantage in areas where all of the good schools are over-subscribed.

  • I would like to support the campaign for an inclusive school. The Borough's schools are already oversubscribed. Why set up a school that caters only to a small minority; allowing children who do not live in the Borough to attend, whereas local children need to look elsewhere? It is absolutely shocking in this day and age! 

  • My children go to a faith school. However, I chose it because it was a good school, with lots of good facilities, and very close to my home, not because it was a faith school. Just because our existing faith schools are oversubscribed, doesn't mean people like the admissions policies. I have lost count of the number of conversations I've had with people about how they are "doing their time" at church, attending Alpha courses etc, in order to have more choice of primary school. How can the council defend a system where attending one kind of church (Catholic) gives you a choice of 3 local schools (Catholic & CofE [& Community]), attending another gives you a choice of just two [CofE & Community], and attending no church at all, or the 'wrong' church gives you just one choice of school (so, by definition, no choice at all!). The policy doesn't give parents choice over schools, the choice they have is much more fundamental than that - to practice religion or not to practice religion. I know people who attend Catholic and CofE church on alternate weeks, just to maximise their options. I also know genuine church goers who are mortified when other people assume they are only attending church to get their child into a certain school. Other acquaintances have fallen out with friends and neighbours over their decision to temporarily attend church, and I've known parents at school who have taken it upon themselves to "name and shame" people whose church going has lapsed. This is all incredibly divisive, and the council should not pretend that it isn't happening. How about a survey to find out what people really think?

  • For quotes about the 2013 primary admissions round, follow this link.