Friday, November 16, 2007

The John Fisher School... Purley, Surrey, was where my brother went to school and it was lovely to be there this beautiful fresh Autumn afternoon to speak to the Faith group, meeting after school. This is a group with a distinguished history - top blogger Fr Tim Finigan is an Old Boy, as are several other noted Southwark diocesan priests. The John Fisher School is a great Catholic boys' school with a heritage of wonderful service to the Church, and today's boys still wear the blue blazers and the splendid golden Fisher badge that has been seen locally for almost a century.

A warm welcome from Mr Dan Cooper, a great chorus of voices joining in the Our Father and Hail Mary as we started the session, and I enjoyed giving my talk about Pope Benedict XV1. Afterwards, a most agreeable chat with the Headmaster, himself an Old Boy of the splendid London Oratory School (of which I was once a Governor: the school choir sang for Jamie and me at our Wedding Mass in 1980 and then, a new generation of choristers, at our Silver Wedding Mass a quarter of a century later).

Cycled on to Mother's where the Coopers arrived with a splendid fish-and-chip supper - a cheery evening of talk, a get-together of old friends.

The Faith Movement is organising its Winter Session soon - a gathering for young people with daily Mass, talks on aspects of the Catholic Faith: this year's theme is "Hearing God's word", with talks on The Bible belongs to the Church, Christ, the Key to understanding the Old Testament, the Gospels - historical and true, The Bible and prayer in our lives....


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on being married for 127 years, an outstanding achievement.

I note that The John Fisher School asks applicants to its Sixth Form for details of their parents' occupations - no doubt so that they can discriminate in favour of the high earners.

Anonymous said...

Actually it is probably the reverse. They'll try to give preference to clever children from poor backgrounds.

It doesn't really achieve what they think it does, of course. There are always lots of basically middle-class families on low incomes for some reason or other. These are the children who tend to benefit. The clever but genuinely wrking class child has too many stigmatised attitudes and uses a stigmatised form of speech, so he tends to be looked over.

Catholicism is a good marker for attitudes that lead to social success. However anyone can join. If a prostitute has her head screwed on well enough to attend Sunday Mass, her children can go to a school like St John Fisher.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mrs Bogle for correcting the error which made your marriage one of astonishing longevity.

malcolm, you demonstrate remarkable naivety with regard to the admissions policies of some secondary schools. Maybe you'd like to read this report on "Overt And Covert Selection"; questions about parents' occupations contravene the DfES admissions guidelines:

If you'd also care to read the latest Ofsted report for The John Fisher School, you may note that the school has an abnormally low proportion of pupils eligble for free school meals, suggesting that the socially-disadvantaged are under-represented in this school.

How, pray, would a school even know how a prospective pupil spoke unless it was employing the outlawed covert selection method of interviewing the child? A method used by The London Oratory, in fact.

Gosh, even prostitutes can join the Church of Rome? They'll be in good company then, for we are all sinners.

Anonymous said...

I am a current pupil at the John fisher school (no doubt you will see this threw many miss spelt words and an incorrect use of english grammer).
Threw my own experiances at the John Fisher school in my mind their is no bias on wealth or social status, however i am in year 11 and I was part of one of the last year groups to be part of interview system, whatever aspect you wish to look at I felt that the interview got to know the student (myself) on a personal level, not to see how big my parents walet size is. also the interview was not aimed towards myparents, infact no questions were asked to my parents.

secondly, The John Fisher school has never had a perfect record of a high achievement rate (or whatever you call it). This may indicate that it doesnt choose its students on a bias basis (unlike other local schools such as Whitgift or walington).
lastly i must congratulate the schools staff for the job they do, I would never admit this public as i am an enthusiastic abuser of the school rules. The school has high sports standard and is well known (all around the country , as i found outthis year on my rugby tour) for its high skilled abilities in rugby. i am hoping next year to ho into the sixth form first team, to continue the high sporting standards of school.

Anonymous said...

I also attended the school during the 1990's selection policy. I sang at audition and had an interview and thus gained a place.

In my view the school has lot some of it's prestige now it no longer selects it's boys.

Anonymous said...

The school was highly selective in the 1990's when I attended there were 7 candidates per place; all boys and their parents were interviewed.

Some boys got in based on aptitude.

Anonymous said...

The school was too selective in 1990's the boys who got in had to pass an interview with their parents or get in based on exam/musical test.

Not great really; very selective and a bit snobbish really-harder to get into than some Independents Schools

Anonymous said...

The school was actually pretty favourable to SOME lower income households for choristers, music places and sports- it offered lots of bursaries and scholarships.

The interview process was pretty flawed and highly discriminatory IMHO.


Anonymous said...

Fisher (as in the school in Purley?) it was very picky about who it chose for admission. You had to put it as number 1 on your list of preferences ahead of any Grammars or the oratery.

When I was there in 94 i was interviewed by 2 of the senior members of staff, as were my parents. JF was consistently in the top 4-500 schools but has dropped away somewhat now as it is no longer selecting its boys, which in fairness is probably a good thing. some of the things the staff used to ask in the interviews about homework, interests, hobbies and the assessment criteria were too much akin to a selective independent school.