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School admissions

03 May 2013

Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or would like to add to the answers below.


Your answers

As an incumbent and a governor of an aided school, I am closely involved with school admissions. Does attendance at our weekly Messy Church on Tuesdays count for more than twice-monthly attendance at the Family Service on Sundays? and how much does the Pram Service count for? Is a Fresh Expression as valid as a traditional expression when it comes to fulfilling the criteria for school admissions? Are those who give references and schools who ask for them able to apply fine judgements of the value of different expressions?

We cannot grade expressions of church. Messy church is church for those who come. So is the pram service, family service, café church, or whatever we have. We must stop seeing these things as a means of getting people into church, and start regarding them as church. Surely we wouldn't look at school admissions by saying attendance at the sung eucharist counts for more than attendance at the eight-o'clock or evensong?

(Canon) Bob Hopper
Lobley Hill, Gateshead

The wording of the question makes plain the answer: it is clearly impossible to assign meaningful rankings to these different patterns of church involvement. To create a system where these differences matter is to provide yet further opportunities for savvy, pushy parents to play the system, and introduces de facto selection. It is, fortunately, not intrinsic to being a church school, and an incumbent and governor is ideally placed to initiate a change.

John Swanson
Leatherhead, Surrey

Your questions

Many churches built in the 19th century and dedicated to the Holy Trinity are Evangelical. Why is this? Did any other new parishes of a different tradition ever use this dedication? J. M. F.

Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.

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