The Rev Giles Fraser is prompted by the new BBC sitcom, Rev, to consider religious selection for local schools. It can be hard on the vicar and on the genuine church community, he says, but religious selection does offer ”a much valued education for the children of those parents who want a school to reflect the values of the Christian faith”… ignoring completely the fact that it skews local admissions producing “middle class” schools in league with the Church at tax payer’s expense.
Rev finds its comedy in what vicars really do. And so it is, in the first episode, that Smallbone cycles straight into the choppy waters of middle-class parents turning up to church to muscle their kids into the local church school. “On your knees, avoid the fees,” as they say. In west London, Hollander talked to a vicar who was apparently the most invited person on the local dinner party circuit.
So selection happens and it’s a bit dodgy and lots of “middle class” parents fake religion for a while to get into the club. It gets worse. Fraser goes on to say that the knees-for-fees control of the church over local ‘faith’ schools ends up with vicars having to second guess the motives of their congregation, and the whole process “drips poison into the community”.
Presumably, then, this unfair form of anachronistic, back-door middle-class selection should be abolished forthwith?
After years of observation, it seems clear that the best way to structure a popular church school’s admissions policy fairly is to make the church side of this criteria much tougher.
The fake worshipper will just about manage church-going once a month for a couple of years. But if you make the required commitment considerably more than that, and include the requirement of further involvement in the life of the church, the fake worshipper will give up.
Full article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/7856311/Dearly-beloved-Get-on-your-knees-and-avoid-the-fees.html
The British Humanist Association is a founding member of Accord, a wide coalition of organisations which includes religious groups, humanists, trade unions and human rights campaigners, campaigning against religious admissions criteria in ‘faith’ schools and for fair and balanced teaching on religion and belief.