Was it really so long ago, when it was just a given that you would continue on to the local second-level school, with most of your friends? Lyn, just one of the many parents who has been impacted by admission policies change in her local second-level school, writes about the effect on her family, and wants to know if Certainty & Equality in Second-level provision are really too much to ask for in 2016?
We are not religious.
Religion plays no part in our life. We were not married in a church nor would we ever consider baptising our children.
When we decided to buy our house in 2006, while expecting our first child, we researched local schools. A nearby Educate Together was ideal for us, being near enough to our home, and a feeder for our local secondary school, thus giving options.
We registered our son in his first year. Ten years on and we now have three children in this Educate Together school 5 miles away. We love it.
We went for the multi-denominational ethos but now stay for the educational ethos. The ethos of Educate Together has become very important to our family and we feel it is the educational ethos that benefits our children.
It is not without challenges; there are social costs to sending your child to school away from your locality, and we have to ensure they build ties and friendships locally as well as in school.
However, the biggest worry we face now, is that the secondary schools in our locality have changed their admission criteria (due to increasing demand for places), moving our children’s Educate Together school down the list of feeder schools. As a result, we have no direct entry to any second-level school now.
Even as locals, our nearby Roman Catholic ethos second-level does not guarantee entry; if our eldest gets in, we are not even guaranteed our other children will get places, due to increasing demand. The ties and friendships we are building locally and at school, may now have to be restarted in a strange second-level, far away from those friends.
While respecting that schools must manage their resources I feel this is a indirect discrimination against non-Catholic children.
A new second-level school in this area would ensure that there are enough places, and give people an opportunity for some choice (faith or non-faith, single sex or co-ed, subjects, sports, etc), as opposed to the present attitude, which seems to be ‘seats for bums’. And there isn’t even enough seats anyhow!
This is not good enough.
Students deserve certainty and their families too. We deserve a school where everyone is equal and treated the same, ALL THE TIME.
We hear daily broadcasts from our politicians about the greatness of our graduates & the strength of our educated workforce. These same politicians need to ensure all our young people get these educational opportunities, in an environment that values and respects all.
It is 2016 after all, is this too much to ask?
With thanks to Lyn Worrall for providing this piece.
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