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Worship and the seekers of school places

by
22 November 2013

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From Canon Roger Hill

Sir, - It was good to read of the Archbishop of Canterbury's opening up the issue of faith schools and their admission policies, but sad to see the press office seeking to close the debate down before it had hardly begun.

I sometimes officiate at churches where the first thing for some people, children and parents, is to sign the attendance register, which will later become key supporting evidence in the quest for a school place.

It seems that church schools have recruited some of our parish churches to be, in effect, their admissions criterion. And that is not what parish churches are about. They are not about giving some people a supposed leg-up in the world.

We could do with some research to see what clergy and congregations feel in churches like those I mention. How far do they think they are being used, and how far do they feel encouraged in their mission and welcome to children and families? And we also need to hear from the church schools themselves about why they exalt church attendance above other wholesome aspects of the Christian life.

At the very least, the debate should continue!

ROGER HILL
4 Four Stalls End, Littleborough, Lancashire OL15 8SB

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