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Admissions criteria for primary academies

(22 Posts)
MyJuneName Tue 13-Sep-16 21:51:31

AD is only 2, but we are fairly certain which primary school we'd like her to attend. We live (slightly) outside the catchment area but have been confident that her previous LAC status would ensure her a place.
That school has today announced their plans to become an academy.
Does anyone know if that means that usual criteria will not apply?
It's not a fancy or academically acclaimed school but their ethos really appeals and they are in the city centre with a lot of experience of a range of social, economic etc issues and have a reputation for fantastic pastoral care and plenty of potentially valuable resources.
I'd be gutted to the extent of looking to move house if we'll need to be in catchment.

PoppyStellar Tue 13-Sep-16 23:04:41

Hi June Academies are their own admissions authorities which means they set their own rules for admission. However, they must, by law, abide by the government's admissions code which gives LAC first priority.

The extract below is from the DfE guidance on academy admission arrangements "All schools must have over-subscription criteria for each relevant age group and the highest priority must be given, unless otherwise provided in the code, to looked after children and previously looked after children"

This means that all academies should have LAC and post LAC (adopted) children as first priority so you shouldn't have any problem getting your LO into this school.

Just one thing to be aware of, catholic schools often get round the LAC first priority by saying first priority goes to LAC who are baptised Catholic, then Catholics, with general LAC way down the priority list. To me this seems immoral (and totally at odds with a supposedly Christian ethos) but it is apparently legal. C of E schools tend to put LAC first although I'm not sure about other faith schools.

My only other advice would be if you know the name of the academy sponsor (if there is going to be one) to look them up online and see which other schools they sponsor and what the admissions arrangements are for those schools (this should be published on the individual school's website). This would give you an idea as to what to expect.

MyJuneName Wed 14-Sep-16 09:58:04

Thanks so much Poppy, that's both helpful and reassuring.
It's not a faith school but I'm aware that local catholic schools do specify catholic LAC and I wonder how they are allowed??

There are 2 other primaries in the city already in the same academy group so I'll check their websites - great advice, thank you.

Middleoftheroad Wed 14-Sep-16 10:01:11

I work for an academy sponsor and certainly our primaries would 'prioritise' in such a case.

PoppyStellar Wed 14-Sep-16 20:46:14

You're very welcome. Best of luck with it all when the time comes.

SpookyRachel Wed 14-Sep-16 23:08:55

It gives me the absolute rage when faith schools specify LAC children who are regular worshippers in their criteria. How can they sleep at nights.

greenandblackssurvivalkit Thu 15-Sep-16 10:18:40

Often, the people who sit on the Governors of faith (specifically, I'm talking about RC, CofE schools appear more aware) schools (stereotyping here) live in a bubble of perfect lives. Everyone they know will be married, will have been baptised as a baby, done first communion, and have generally nice lives. If you have never stood in the messy bits, have never felt the heat from the fires, you think life is cool and clean. Funny, though, that Jesus deliberately sought out those who had stood knee deep in the messy bits!

If it is a faith school, it could be worth appealing, and getting to put your case to them. Make them squirm!

campervancharlie Sun 18-Sep-16 21:31:39

you wont need to appeal. not even catholic schools can get round putting all LAC first. Poppystellar - I'd like the names of any schools where you think this has happened smile

MypocketsarelikeNarnia Sun 18-Sep-16 21:54:21

I think what Poppystellar says is right. Fucking outrageous and awful, but correct.

Wasn't there someone here a couple of years ago whose school specified that the child had to have been baptised in their first year? And they were Catholics and had had the dc baptised when they adopted her but that was at 18 months. And the school were basically saying 'yeah well we don't give a shit'?

MypocketsarelikeNarnia Sun 18-Sep-16 21:55:30

If it isn't legal let us know <eyes up the Catholic school with a swimming pool>

greenandblackssurvivalkit Sun 18-Sep-16 21:55:43

Urm, yes, Catholic schools can get around putting all LAC first!

This school (nowhere near us) for instance: a catholic school has Catholic LAC above all. But other non-catholic LAC come under criteria 6, so all other Catholic kids are prioritised above non-Catholic Lac.

The lack of insight that a LAC child could come from a Catholic culture, and birth family, and be placed in a Catholic adoptive family, but that the LA won't allow baptism until the AO is through makes me cross.

It's also not what Jesus was all about.

greenandblackssurvivalkit Sun 18-Sep-16 21:57:26

Narnia- around here if that were taken to appeal, if the family were Catholic (so the priest knew their faces from Mass), the kid would get a place. I hope that poster did appeal, and made them question the policy at appeal.

greenandblackssurvivalkit Sun 18-Sep-16 21:58:02

I suspect the legalities around around whether the faith school is VA or VC.

PoppyStellar Mon 19-Sep-16 08:37:26

greenandblack's example is exactly the same as what I have seen in catholic primary schools. It is an absolute outrage as far as I'm concerned. I don't know the legalities of it and I don't know the difference between VC and VA but i have seen the admissions policies of at least 3 Catholic primaries where they put 'general' LAC at number 6 or lower. Whether this gets successfully overturned at appeal is a whole other story but in my opinion it's disgusting they even try to get round the law in this way!

UnderTheNameOfSanders Mon 19-Sep-16 10:00:37

Sadly though they aren't 'getting around the law'.

If the law makers had wanted to ensure all LAC had top priority even in faith schools, they could have worded the admissions code that way. But they didn't. It's outrageous, but that is how it is.

greenandblackssurvivalkit Mon 19-Sep-16 13:12:04

VA schools can set their own admissions criteria within limits. It's to do with money.

The admissions criteria wouldn't ever be "overturned on appeal". But, if a Catholic child, in a Catholic family (practicing) but that child was not baptised due to the LA/LAC status, general issues, I would expect the Governors to be sensible, and admit the child. They certainly would here. (But we're not over subscribed, in an over subscribed area, I would discuss things with the priest, I'm sure they can put a word in, so that if for instance a date is set for baptism, they can proceed as if the child is baptised.)

For VA schools, the faith group fund the school significantly, often owning the building, I think. This means that the community who fund the school wish to ensure their children can attend the school. I was understand this, but think that LAC children should be prioritised whether their family are part of that funding community or not, as a sign of hospitality.

PoppyStellar Mon 19-Sep-16 14:59:06

Thanks, that's really interesting and helpful to know

ElinoristhenewEnid Mon 19-Sep-16 15:21:56

interesting just read the admissions policies in our area for RC and CofE schools and the above applies - RCs put catholics above non RC LACs, CofEs put all LACs above other children whether baptised or not.

Never realised that - always assumed that LACs took top priority in all schools.

greenandblackssurvivalkit Mon 19-Sep-16 17:08:26

RC schools are typically VA, so the faith community pays. CoE schools can be either, but most are VC: the vicar visits a bit, but the faith community doesn't have the same financial obligations.

Money makes the world go round...

Wasn't what Jesus said! [Wink]

SpookyRachel Mon 19-Sep-16 22:59:29

Another example is Sir Richard Reynolds School in Twickenham, www.strichardreynolds.org.uk/, which gives priority to Catholic LAC. Non-Catholic LAC are way down the list, after Catholic children from anywhere else in the country.

This school is only a few years old - there was a huge local campaign that wanted a non-faith school that would cater for children from the area, but instead the borough insisted it wanted a Catholic school and so Catholic children travel from other parts of London to attend, while local kids still lack a decent local choice.

Interestingly, I see the admissions go on to give priority to children of any other faith above children of no faith, who are very bottom. So my children, who live nearby, would get less priority than, say, a Sikh child living in Camberwell.

MypocketsarelikeNarnia Mon 19-Sep-16 23:10:49

Yeah well we're all going to Hell anyway so there's not much point educating us for that is there?

Or purgatory, or something. I might not be massively up on comparison religion...

greenandblackssurvivalkit Tue 20-Sep-16 07:43:48

I don't actually think it's that. I think in this country, it comes from being a oppressed group for centuries, so feeling separate, and wishing to ensure the faith and traditions are passed on through the next generations of the group. Groups have long memories, and dynamics like this take generations to change.

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