To think that academies should be forced to give priority to statemented children/ children in care

(77 Posts)
ReallyTired Tue 09-Oct-12 11:35:23

The very over subscribed local catholic secondary school has recently become an academy and now gives priority to all catholic children. In the past children who were in care or had a statement naming the school were top of the admissions process. Now such children are below catholic children in priority. The school is also unusal in that it does not prioritise siblings.

They prioritise siblings of practicing catholic children who are in care first, then practicing catholic children, then children who have been baptised catholic, then children who attend catholic primary school and after that children who are in care. The reality is that the school is so over subcribed that children who are in care don't stand a chance.

I know a family with two foster children, neither of them catholic. The oldest child is already at the school and the foster parents want to send the youngest these as well. Both children have been to hell and back and need to have the security of being together. Their case is supported by social workers and medical professionals.

I feel its disgusting that a supposely "christian" school has an admissions policy that does not prioritise local authority care children. I feel that all state schools should have children who are in care at the top of their admissions list however they are funded.

procrastinor Tue 09-Oct-12 22:14:49

Just as an aside you can get a catholic teachers certificate without being catholic. So it is open to all faiths/atheism so long as you are willing to teach within their system.

Kewcumber Tue 09-Oct-12 22:22:01

As far as I understand it (its a big deal at the moment in our borough), the Academies act only applies to new academies. Volunatry aided schools which convert to academies are allowed to keep their admissions criteria. Its why there is a vitriolic court battle at the moment in Richmond over the proposed new Catholic secondary - church (and council) wants voluntary aided school allowing it to have 100% church admissions not academy which would mean 50% open admissions. The plan I undestand is once it has been set up as a voluntary aided school it can then convert to an academy and keep its admissions criteria.

tethersend Tue 09-Oct-12 22:31:11

Thanks Kewcumber, that's very interesting; particularly about Richmond.

Kewcumber Tue 09-Oct-12 22:34:07

A local pressure group has successfully applied for a Judicial review to determine whether the council was within its rights to go ahead with a VA school (gov policy is to invite free schools to make a bid if new schools are needed)

Devora Tue 09-Oct-12 22:41:35

I completely agree with you, OP. And I'm very dismayed by those who, while fully knowing how truly grim the life chances are of looked after children, still think it is more important for the Catholic Church to look after its own, using taxpayers' money.

MissBetseyTrotwood Tue 09-Oct-12 22:43:37

Ellen is this the case you are thinking of?

tethersend Tue 09-Oct-12 22:49:17

Ah, Mossbourne.

Quelle surprise.

Whatever happened to the head of that school...?

Michael Wilshsomething?

Let's hope he doesn't have any power now hmm

MissBetseyTrotwood Tue 09-Oct-12 22:57:39

grin tethersend

Let's not forget the LA's complicity in that case though. IMO there is a show schools policy there and to hell with the others.

We are also on the doorstep of a truly shite Catholic school that can't fill its places. DH has started to name his atheism on every school form we fill in. grin

tethersend Tue 09-Oct-12 22:59:15

True enough, The Learning Trust are not exactly known for their integrity.

Anna1976 Wed 10-Oct-12 02:49:36

I don't know anything about academies etc so may be talking out of turn, but FWIW I was looking up some new academy in ?Hackney? that specialised in music, and they had priority for statemented and looked-after kids. It was written up on the BBC website recently.

KittyFane1 Wed 10-Oct-12 07:42:17

In answer to your OP. The answer is in front of you.
It's a Catholic school for Catholic families.

MissBetseyTrotwood Wed 10-Oct-12 08:07:06

It's a free school Anna to be located in the SW of the borough, the very wealthiest part. It's good that the oversubscription criteria put looked after and previously looked after children first but children of the founders still trump those with social or medical need in that context. grin

Will be an interesting one to watch though.

tethersend Wed 10-Oct-12 10:07:53

Nearly all non-faith schools have statemented and looked after children as top priority.

gazzalw Wed 10-Oct-12 10:25:12

Well it should certainly be the case that looked-after children get first pick of the best secondary schools as they need all the help they can get. Do they personally get any say in the matter or is the LA as their legal guardian who gets to choose?

Woozley Wed 10-Oct-12 10:36:40

Why should a Catholic child lose out on Catholic school for the sake of a non Catholic child? Parent's want their children educated with their own ethos, it's not their fault that the schools are better and oversubscribed as a result of that.

Why can parents just not do this at home? Why should religion be REMOTELY involved in the education system at all, other than taught in a "some people believe x, y and z" way in RE?

Faith schools like this one are practising academic/social selection by the back door. It's disgusting, and hypocritical to their own beliefs, FGS.

I hope the next Govt has the balls to sort this out, as this one certainly isn't going to. I doubt it though as the C of E and Catholic church have their fingers in so many pies and are so powerful.

Agreed woozleysomethinh needs to be done about the whole bloody thing cos its ridiculously fair that even religion gives u priority over everyone else. There are laws protecting statemented children and looked after children. If they get screwed over then there's something u can do. But what about all the regular kids left with nothing but shitty schools cos even religion bumps them so far up the list that there's nothing left for anyone else!!!

Ridiculously un fair sorry about typo

gazzalw Wed 10-Oct-12 10:58:09

Why should some Catholic children be eligible for places at the best Catholic schools in the Country and others not just because their parents didn't baptise them within six months of being born!

And come to think of it why should my children not be able to get into the best schools in the Borough just because we are atheists? Apparently you can get in if you have a religion but just not no religion!

JakeBullet Wed 10-Oct-12 11:00:27

Why would you want your child in a Catholic school if you don't support the ethos confused.

And to th OP

YANBU at all, this seems very very wrong.

gazzalw Wed 10-Oct-12 11:01:36

Well I personally wouldn't but it's the principle of the matter really.

Feel exactly the same gazz sad my dd has to spend hours either cold at bus stops or on crowded buses cos the school round the corner wouldn't take her and neither would the one down the road. All
My kid qualified for was the local special
Measures school. Yet people further away got in with perfectly good schools nearer them but not content with that they have to take the places at the only schools I could get her too.

JakeBullet Wed 10-Oct-12 11:06:15

Fact is that regions should not come into state education but it does simply because many schools were started by the various churches around them.

This could change with an increase in taxation to fund the extra costs of fully funding all schools by the State. I would be in favour of this and I am a Catholic with a child in a Catholic school which does not discriminate in the way the local school to the OP is doing.

Schools should have to take statemented children if the environment is the best one for them. I am perplexed though by people who profess to be atheists whining about not being able to use the local Catholic school....why in earth would you want to? My son's school is no heavy on the religion but its still a part of the school day. Do you honestly want your children exposed to that if you are not religious?

JakeBullet Wed 10-Oct-12 11:10:05

As a school governor we look at the admissions stuff annually....at present our area is not oversubscribed with a catholic children and we have Muslim, atheist, Mormon and Baptist children....all are welcomed and their beliefs or non beliefs are accepted.

I do get a bit hmm though when I see the child who lives opposite the school to off to a further one as his parents could not get him in. I think proximity to a school needs to play a part in the admissions process and think it is ridiculous that a child who loves so close is denied a place.

tethersend Wed 10-Oct-12 11:28:28

"Do they personally get any say in the matter or is the LA as their legal guardian who gets to choose?"

Part of my job is to visit and select suitable schools for the children on my caseload.

I do this with the children and their carers; although the LA (my team) ultimately decides where to apply, this would never be done without the agreement and input of the child and, where appropriate, their carers.

Unfortunately, most good schools in the area in which I work (London) are oversubscribed; quite often it is the admissions team of the child's home borough who choose the school they go to, as they are only required to provide a school place; when a child is applying to a school mid-year due to a placement move, the schools we select are often full, and a poorer school is allocated as it may be the only one with places available. In such a case, my LA (in conjunction with the school's LEA) then has the power to direct the chosen school to admit a child; this doesn't happen very often, as most good schools will go over numbers of their own accord to accommodate a looked after child, but it can happen.

Looked After Children with statements of SEN apply to schools in the same way as other statemented children.

Valdeeves Wed 10-Oct-12 11:38:13

As always the point is being missed, if Jesus was here now - the guy who spent all his time with the marginalised members of society - he'd put looked after children at the front of the queue.
I don't think any child has less rights than the other to attend a school - but some children just have LESS full stop. We have to help them - end of story.

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