Am I a Cheat?
School admissions, those who cheat to get into their chosen school and, inevitably, faith schools are in the news again.
I followed some of the coverage on Radio 4 yesterday. Predictably, a lot of issues were conflated and much of the coverage was about parents hiding their real address, but it did seem to imply that people who attend church to get their child into their preferred school are also guilty of cheating.
Am I cheating? The local guidelines imply that attending church such-and-such times for such-and-such years before the deadline is the criteria for getting the vicar’s signature. If I do this – whilst remaining a steadfast atheist – am I cheating? In terms of the letter of the guidelines, No; in terms of the spirit, Yes.
But what needs pointing out is that these rules are unfair. My child will be denied a place at the nearest state-funded secondary because we are not Christians. (More accurately, because we don’t have a faith; I believe Muslims are given preference over non-believers in the local rules.) Yet, we pay the same taxes as the believers to fund this school – don’t fall for the line that the Church supports these schools to any significant degree: all running costs and 85% of capital costs are met by the state.
In this situation, I will continue to “cheat” and attend church.