Faking faith to get one’s kids into UK state-funded religious schools

It has been pointed out frequently by prominent atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris that there are notably more nonreligious people than statistics indicate. For a variety of reasons (e.g., fear of negative social consequences), it seems that some atheists and agnostics are claiming to be of faith. In the UK, a new reason for the faking of faith has been discovered: to get one’s children admitted to desirable state-funded religious schools.

The primary source of evidence behind this position is the increased proportion of children in the British Isles receiving late baptisms. In 1958 late baptisms (i.e., after 1 years of age) made up 5.4% of baptisms performed by the Catholic Church of England and Wales. In 2005 the proportion was 30.3%, or 20,141 people. From 1958 to 2005 traditional “cradle” baptisms of children under 1 year of age fell from 85% to 64%. Moreover, a report of the Pastoral Research Centre Trust using statistics supplied by the Roman Catholic Church of England and Wales reports a decline in almost every aspect of the Church’s mission in England since the 1950s, with one of the few exceptions being late baptism.

Some in the UK are calling for an end to state-funded religious schools on the grounds that it is socially divisive, discriminatory, and that it is an abuse of the rights of the child in that it constitutes an infliction of religious views on children.

Children’s Secretary Ed Balls has expressed concern over the effects of publicly-funded faith-based schools, specifically in terms of its effects on social cohesion. However, according to TimesOnline “he also said recently that the Government was to make it easier for more faith-based schools to be set up”.

In Canada there are at least two movements to end state-funding to faith-based schools. The most highly developed is the One School System Network (ONESSN) in Ontario. There is an analogous movement in Alberta (see ONESSN website for info).

“To date, there are 1,855 primary and 393 secondary Catholic schools in England and Wales. In England alone there are a further 4,468 Church of England primary schools, 26 Methodist, 29 Jewish, three Muslim and one Sikh, plus 201 Church of England secondary schools, seven Jewish, two Muslim and one Sikh.”

Source: TimesOnline



In the initial posting I forgot to mention that the TimesOnline article sites claims that the UK Catholic schools outperform the secular schools in some areas. I do not have time to get into those things in detail now, so I will just say a few quick things. Firstly, if there is evidence for superior performance of pupils in certain areas in the Catholic system, then this should be acknowledged and the secular system should learn from the successes of their counterparts. The second thing I will say is that any such superior performance does not justify continued public funding of the Catholic system. Even if their system outperforms the public system, it is still unsecular, discriminatory, socially divisive, and economically wasteful. If the Catholic board has stumbled upon some good ways of teaching, as I assume any decent board of education would, then in the interest of all of us it would be great if other school boards adopted these practices. In the interest of education and social cohesion, I argue that the way to go is to have a single publicly funded system that incorporates the best secular practice that are known. In this way, all funds will be applied to a single system—which is substantially more fiscally responsible as each year hundreds of millions of dollars are wasted when 2 or more parallel school boards are in operation—and students of various cultural backgrounds will come together to learn, live, love and work together.

I will have more to add later (e.g., on claims that the Catholic school board that promotes superior moral and spiritual development).

3 Responses to “Faking faith to get one’s kids into UK state-funded religious schools”
  1. neogotchi says:

    hello! i luv your site, and I’m glad to meet another Christian blogger! stop by mine @ http://scripture4u.wordpress.com
    Keep in the Faith!!

  2. fadnet says:

    I’d send my kinds to a religious school if it was better then the other option, i went to Catholic school with a lot non-religious people, they just didn’t goto church.

  3. Gloria Wood says:


    Is there anyone out there who ‘bent the truth’ a little to get their child into a faith school? If so, would they be willing to talk to me on this subject: why they did it and were they successful?

    Thank you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: