St. Paul’s Roman Catholic school in Wolviston, England is full, but that hasn’t stopped a determined father from trying to keep his daughter there any way he can, including baptizing her a Catholic.
Bal Singh wants his four-year-old daughter, Maya Kaur, to remain at St Paul's where she has attended for the past two years as a pre-schooler.
Nevertheless, admission to St. Paul’s primary school is so sought after that the school has exceeded its enrollment cap for the upcoming academic year. Given the overbooking, Maya has been denied a place for the school year, which starts in September.
Original reports regarding the situation indicate that Mr. Singh said he was willing to change Maya’s religion if it would guarantee her a spot at the school. The school’s admission policy gives priority to applicants who are baptized Catholics and live in the locality or those who have another sibling attending the school.
However, the spokesman for the diocese responded, “it [the diocese] welcomed adults who wanted to become followers of Christ's teachings, but that children were "another matter". He also said that only parents who are themselves Catholic Christians could make such a commitment for their child.
The Singh’s, who are Sikhs, have failed to successfully appeal for Maya to be admitted to St. Paul’s and now appear to be trying a different approach. Now Mr. Singh says, "We think Sikhism is similar to Roman Catholicism so we put her in that school.” "She's been at that school for two years, she goes to church with them, she says a prayer before she eats her dinner.”
Besides a good education, the Singh’s primary motivation is reportedly to create a smooth transition for their daughter. "It would have been no different for the religion, it is just I'm happy if my child is happy at school, and she likes the way it is run and I am happy with the way she is progressing with her work,” said Mr. Singh.
Catherine Connelly, the head teacher at St Paul's, said the school received 34 applications and normally receives 24. The class size has been expanded to the legal limit of 30.
She also noted that, "[w]e allocated the places according to our published admissions criteria which all parents had access to."