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What’s this all about?

I am a parent of two primary school aged children. I am also an atheist.

Where I live in the UK there are two state schools in our locality. The nearest one has the best “raw” academic results for the area; the other – slightly further than walking distance – some of the worst results and is regarded as a “sink” school by many parents. The former is a CofE school which selects on the basis of parents’ faith; the other takes whoever is left. The selection – and self selection by application – of pupils and the good results of the school are obviously not unconnected. (Although this is unlikely to stop the Church using such schools as part of its case for the continuation and expansion of faith-schools.)

As I am powerless to change the system as an individual, and unable to afford the fee paying alternatives, I will put my children’s best interests first. I have started attending church in order to get the all-important Vicar’s signature to ensure I get into the state school of my choice.

This blog details my frustration at having to sit through hours of nonsense in order to get there.

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  1. Linda
    13/11/2009 at 12:02 pm

    Just read your post at Platitude of the Day, and decided to follow your link. All I’d say is: be careful. A relative followed your route, for similar reasons, and within a couple of years was on the flower rota and now – when her youngest is 14 – runs the church creche!
    These people have a way of sucking you in. Stay strong.

    • 13/11/2009 at 1:47 pm

      Thanks for the advice, Linda!

      You’re right: I feel the pressure after a relatively short period of time. The problem is most of the church-goers are “nice people” so you don’t want to offend them. On the other hand, I don’t want to be there in the first place.

      Still looking forward to what Denis Healey called “sod-off day” – when I don’t need to darken their doors again.

  2. Will
    14/11/2009 at 11:14 am

    You have my greatest sympathies. My daughter is in a CoE school but thankfully I have not had to put on a display of religious fervour to secure her a place. Her school is very good and it seems that the “Christian Ethos” is actually nothing more than “be good, kind, thoughtful & helpful” which I think are virtues which have been highjacked by the IMF Folk. It did concern me to see a crucifix up in the school and some stuff about Noah’s Ark but it hasn’t worried my child. I always find it deeply satisfying that she maintained a belief in Santa Clause for 6 months longer than she professed any belief in a supernatural deity. It says a lot when a child thinks that Santa’s magic sleigh is more plausible than the bloke with white beard in the sky with his zombie son and the ghostly other one whose purpose I never quite understood.

    Watch out for Stockholm Syndrome!!

  3. Stonyground
    14/11/2009 at 2:53 pm

    My daughter attended a CofE primary school and my experience is pretty similar to the one that Will describes. She now attends a technology college so we are out of it and they have utterly failed in their attempts to turn my daughter into a Christian. An odd thing was that we attended an Easter concert that was put on by her new school’s excellent music department and it seemed odd that the happy easter message didn’t come laced with some drivel about Jesus dying for my sins.

  4. 15/11/2009 at 6:32 am

    Thanks, Will. I will do my best to avoid the Stockholm Syndrome – if I keep reading Richard Dawkins’ website, Pharyngula, the National Secular Society, etc, I should be OK!

    Go the chance to speak to a couple of lads who had recently been to the CoE school I hoping to send my daughter to. They seemed pretty well-adjusted, and were able to put my mind at rest: there’s not much in the way of out-and-out indoctrination at the school, just a few prayers and displays. I imagine not all faith schools are like this.

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