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Application form - Faith reference

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by sgnqt17, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. sgnqt17

    sgnqt17 New commenter

    I am currently completing an application form for a C of E primary school. It asks for 3 references, one of which is a Faith Reference from your Priest/Minister. It goes on to say “if you do not use your parish priest/minister, an explanation why should be given.”

    I do not have a faith reference as I do not attend church (no reason why, I just never have) What would be a sufficient explanation?

    FormosaRed likes this.
  2. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    Hopefully someone more qualified than me will come along, but I feel quite shocked that there is such a question. Surely if you write that you do not attend church and then you aren't called for interview, you could accuse them of discrimination? This is what ACAS say about discrimination on the grounds of religious belief or lack of belief:


    As to what you write, I would simply put 'I do not attend church'. That's it. You can't provide a reference from someone who doesn't exist ie 'your Priest/Minister'. Even if you did attend church, how well would a priest/minister know you?
  3. thatmaninthehat

    thatmaninthehat Occasional commenter

    Sorry to say you are unlikely to get this post if there are other applicants who do attend church, and can supply a faith reference.I've applied for many such posts to no avail.No idea where they find all these church going teachers to fill these posts. I wonder do some teachers find it expedient to start attending church in areas where there is a high proportion of faith schools.
  4. sgnqt17

    sgnqt17 New commenter

    To be honest, it shocked me too when I read it! Even though I do not attend church, I feel I can still support the Christian ethos of the school but by not having a faith reference it could have an impact on the chance of getting through to the next stage.

    I have myself grown up attending Catholic schools so have been involved with the church in that sense, however Sunday’s have always been the day to visit my Grandparents.

    Thank you for your help!
    frangipani123 likes this.
  5. sgnqt17

    sgnqt17 New commenter

    Yes it worries me that it could be the case where I do not progress further.

    I have never had to explain why I don’t have a faith reference before so it took me by surprise.

    If I cannot provide a faith reference, is it best to provide a different one in its place?

  6. thatmaninthehat

    thatmaninthehat Occasional commenter

    Don't think it would help to supply a different one to be honest when you've already supplied 2 others.Apply anyway. You never know.They may not be inundated with applications from people who can supply a faith reference.
  7. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Not sure if it's still the case but for some posts in catholic schools in scotland a reference from a priest was required. I remember a colleague mentioning he was going to meet the parish priest for a reference, didn't know if he'd get one because he never went to church, but needed one for a pastoral role he was applying for,
    I was at the time a regular attendee at mass, but never ever asked for a reference. Apart from the absurdity of the whole thing, how could I expect someone who might recognise my face but knows nothing about me to write me a character reference?
    Very very many of these references must be utterly meaningless. Stupid system which seems to promote dishonesty rather than faith.
    FormosaRed and thatmaninthehat like this.
  8. thatmaninthehat

    thatmaninthehat Occasional commenter

    The whole thing makes me very cross to be honest but I really can't see how you can get into these schools without attending church regularly. Do teachers do this so they can apply for these posts?I just couldn't do that so that I could ask for a reference. I'd feel a total fraud.
  9. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    I think people, er, stretch the truth and I think the priests go along with it.
  10. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    It is discriminatory if a person does not get an interview because they couldn't provided a reference from a parish priest, but how you prove that is another matter.

    As for your application, I would write something similar to what you have said above and leave it at that. It may be a leftover from a bygone era that they don't take much notice of, you never know.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  11. sgnqt17

    sgnqt17 New commenter

    Thanks - I thought it could be an old application form because I’ve never come across that before.

    I’ll complete the application and see how it goes!
    frangipani123 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  12. FormosaRed

    FormosaRed Occasional commenter

    Good Lord. I haven't read the subsequent comments, but I will in a minute.

    My advice is: do as the instructions say and explain, honestly, why you don't have a vicar/pastor reference. I honestly don't think this will be a deal-breaker. Frankly, as a church-going observant Catholic I could list at least fifty reasons why a theist does not go to church in this day and age, but don't get me started.

    If their recruitment criteria are that narrow, they will be lucky.

    If you are a good teacher, that will count for more. Being a good teacher is actually a Christian virtue.

    Perhaps emphasise in your application, the idea that every child is important, as Christians believe that all were made n God's image and likeness. This is an idea that everyone can get on board with ( indeed Labour hijacked it for Every Child Matters.)

    You can talk about "The Common Good" - another Catholic Social Teaching policy that was nicked, this time by David Cameron. Pupil Premium was derived from this Catholic policy. Faith in Action etc...

    I hope this has been helpful and I now barricade myself behind several Matalan cushions (bought only this weekend) from the inevitable rotten tomatoes.

    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  13. FormosaRed

    FormosaRed Occasional commenter

    Unlikely as it was the Church that first came up with the idea of building schools to educate the children of the poor for free,:)
  14. FormosaRed

    FormosaRed Occasional commenter

    I don't agree. A reference is only a part of the interview and selection process. We have appointed majority atheist teachers to our RS department. Why ? because they were the best at interview. Go for it and be yourself at interview. I wish you the very best.
  15. FormosaRed

    FormosaRed Occasional commenter

    .. That just happens to run oversubscribed schools that educate thousands of young people every day.#legacy
  16. sgnqt17

    sgnqt17 New commenter

    Thank you - you have made some very interesting points there! I can only do my best with the application and hope it’s good enough!
    FormosaRed and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  17. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    Sadly, that's not the way the law works - note my ACAS link above.
  18. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    I'm referring to the form being from a bygone era.
  19. FormosaRed

    FormosaRed Occasional commenter

    I apologise - I misunderstood. You are right. Those forms are outdated. But they shouldn't be.
  20. Ellakits

    Ellakits Lead commenter

    “if you do not use your parish priest/minister, an explanation why should be given.”

    There are real reasons why someone with religious beliefs doesn't attend church, such as being Episcopalian but living in England. You could be miles from a branch and unable to get there for a service.

    Equally you could have part-time employment on a Sunday and be unable to attend. Regular employment would prevent you attending 8am services during the week.

    In fact, arguably teaching requires so much of your spare time for marking & planning you are effectively working during every service.

    Ridiculous question.

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