- Conscience and the Commons
Following his election as Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron was grilled by the media about his beliefs as an evangelical Christian. Has the focus on faith, which began with Tony Blair, reached the point where it is harder than ever to hold religious beliefs and play an active role in political life?
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With the increasing pressure on school places, especially in London, I have come to the conclusion that the admissions policies for Catholic primary schools are against natural justice.
In years when Catholic schools are under subscribed with Catholic children, the places are filled with non-Catholic children. There is absolutely no problem with this.
However, a serious problem arises for parents of non-Catholic children who obtain a place for their first child in a Catholic school but do not obtain a place for a subsequent child, the school having become oversubscribed with Catholic children.
Catholic admissions policies do not rank non-Catholic children who have siblings in the school higher than Catholic childre. We should be clear that when we talk about “Catholic” children, too often we mean that they are the children of parents who will do just the minimum in terms of Mass attendance to obtain a school entry ticket.
The angst, heartbreak, stress and dislocation to family life that having young children in different schools causes cannot be understated. To say Catholic schools are inclusive, whilst committing severe injustices to so many families, is just empty rhetoric.
Chris Wilcocks is the Headteacher St Josephs RC Primary School in Rotherhithe, south-east London