We live 0.1 mile away from school and still might not get in because it' RC School, possible?!

(45 Posts)
My2012baby Thu 15-Nov-12 16:39:35

We live in Hendon, just around the corner from St Joseph's school. Since we are so close I imagined we would definitely be in the catchment area and easily get in, but being a catholic church it says they haven't been able to provide a place for a non catholic ( ie non baptised non practicing) child in the past 12 years!!

That is the best school in the area, not only the best. The second closest is church of England and pretty much same story. There is then a 3rd non denominational school but it's more far from us (so not sure if we would make it in their catchment area) and also not considered good so I'm not keen anyway.

How can this be? I've got a school next door and probably can't get in!? It's a public school, funded by tax we all pay.. Where is the council going to send us? Do you know if there is any way to get into such school just based on distance? I am catholic but not really practicing I would like my ds to attend a church school, that said becoming part of the parish just to get into the school (public) which is next door to us seem a bit of a bribe!

givemeaclue Fri 16-Nov-12 16:40:22

Mothership, would yet have bought a house next to a school assuming without any reference to admission criteria that you would get a place? You would spend 5 mins google wouldn't you? Or call the school?

MothershipG Fri 16-Nov-12 16:03:32

OK, so I'm obviously the only person here who didn't understand all the ins and outs of catchments and admissions proceedures until I actually started the process with my first DC! blush

givemeaclue Fri 16-Nov-12 14:25:00

Also, why would you move to be by a catholic school but not be prepared to get children baptised or go to church?

And how is selecting a catholic school consistent with allowing children to make own decisions re religion in future?

Very muddled thinking.

Either apply to the no religious schools further away or go with the baptised/church attendance and attend the catholic school next door. They are the options.

givemeaclue Fri 16-Nov-12 14:17:22

I moved house myself for schools. Did I rely on estate agent guff as to what schools I would likely to get into? No way! Studied all the data, spoke to school admissions etc. Did the research. Cancelled viewings where, even though vendors kids were at a particular school, distance criteria meant we would be at risk of not getting in. It is ridiculous to buy a house on the basis of a school and then find you can't get a place due to admissions criteria that have not changed but that you didn't bother to check.

titchy Fri 16-Nov-12 14:08:53

Unfair mothership? So you'd spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on a house, but not take 5 minutes to check a website?

radicalsubstitution Fri 16-Nov-12 12:59:43

I agree with floggingmolly and givemeaclue - the OP has stated that she wants DC to go to a church school. Given that, it wouldn't take a genius to realise that church schools may have different admission arrangements from communitiy schools, and to have researched this before buying a house.

Jenny70 Fri 16-Nov-12 12:16:03

Can I just add one other perspective?

My DD went to a catholic school as a non catholic (not St J), I think she was the only one in the year (or in the school). We were admitted as a special case during an in year application - basically no-one had heard of a non catholic getting into this school, but personally I think christian charity had some part in us getting a place (and obviously there weren't too many catholics applying in-year).

So, although a fantastic school and a very welcoming community, my DD always felt "on the outer" as she didn't go to mass each week (more than half the class went to the same church), didn't know the catholic terms and festivals etc. We did move her partly because of this, this year would have been the year the kids all did their first communion and this would have separated her further.

My point is, that getting in is only one hurdle. In a catholic school that is very "catholic" a non practising catholic is going to be different, obviously different, to their classmates... we are completely fine with prayers each day, mass each week etc, but it's not seeing the class at sunday mass, youth groups run at the church etc etc etc.

Education/academics is one thing, but don't forget your child needs to be social and fit into the class environment. This school was very good to my DD, but she didn't quite feel part of it, more a welcome stranger.

Floggingmolly Fri 16-Nov-12 11:25:40

It's not really, Mothership. We chose our house for much the same reason, but we made bloody sure we were actually eligible first. I think most people would, if that's their main criteria. Why trust to dumb luck?

MothershipG Fri 16-Nov-12 11:10:30

give I think that's a bit unfair.

Around here houses within catchment for my DC's primary can command an inflated price so Estate Agents are very keen to advertise that. Of course what they don't say is that the school is oversubscribed within catchment so that is no guarantee of a place.

The point I'm making is that many people don't know about the details until they start the process.

givemeaclue Fri 16-Nov-12 10:46:18

Why would you not check admission criteria before choosing a house on basis of school? Mind boggles

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Fri 16-Nov-12 10:42:57

How old is your DC? Do you have time to get them baptised and start attending church before making their school application?

pinkdelight Fri 16-Nov-12 10:03:20

And sorry to say, ime, most of the non-religious places at religious schools go to siblings, so I wouldn't hold out for that option without a cast-iron back-up.

pinkdelight Fri 16-Nov-12 10:02:28

Okay, so I applaud your decision to wait and let your child decide for themselves. But if the school is important to you, sod it. My friend's husband is Asian non-catholic. She was a non-practising Catholic. They agreed that she'd get their son baptised and she started going to the local Catholic church affiliated to the outstanding primary. She did it all - coffee mornings, Christmas fayres etc. And four years later, he got a much coveted place in the school and is doing v well. It was worth all the hassle and compromise. If, as your name suggests, your child is still a baby, then this option is still open to you. (If not, you might have missed your chance to get the baptism done in good time). Plenty of people will say it's morally wrong or whatever, but plenty of others would totally understand. It's not like you want to move house again! Personally, I'd go for it. It ain't gonna happen otherwise.

DilysPrice Fri 16-Nov-12 08:07:36

Read the small print for the CofE school OP. IME it's much more likely to take some local non C of E children, Catholic schools hardly ever do and realistically your only way to get in to the Catholic school would be to sue the school, lose, appeal, lose, appeal and then challenge the UK law all the way up to the ECHR, by which time your DC would be 10 (feel free to do this if you want to though, I'd be behind you all the way grin).

I agree it's iniquitous. Being Catholic / C of E is not a special need.

Succubi Fri 16-Nov-12 08:03:34

I think the key word is discriminate. Just because you are allowed to do it doesn't make it right. In this day and age it should not be acceptable to discriminate in this way but sadly I cannot see a move to a more secular state. sad

prh47bridge Fri 16-Nov-12 07:45:35

Under the Equality Act 2010 (schedule 11 section 5) faith schools are allowed to discriminate on the grounds of religion or belief in respect of admissions. Similarly single sex schools are allowed to discriminate on grounds of gender in respect of admissions (schedule 11 section 1).

I wouldn't describe this as a loophole. A loophole is an ambiguity in the law which can be used to get round the intent of the law. This is a specific exemption from the law for faith schools. There is absolutely no question that this is what parliament intended.

Just to clarify in response to JakeBullet's comment, the church owns the land and buildings for any VA school. The state meets the running costs of the school, at least in theory. In practise there are a few areas such as building insurance which the church is expected to fund. The church must find 10% of the cost of any capital work, e.g. new buildings or refurbishing existing buildings.

SoupDragon Fri 16-Nov-12 07:25:07

Slight hijack... but how do church schools get past the fact that you are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of religion? Is there some kind of loophole?

Floggingmolly Thu 15-Nov-12 21:43:14

Notcitrus. A catholic school will not create a bulge class because a non catholic child didn't get a place.

admission Thu 15-Nov-12 21:37:28

St Josephs infants in Hendon, has a pretty typical catholic school admission criteria, so priority will be given to pupils who are baptised catholics and attend church regularly. That is typical of most catholic schools and many CoE schools in that they give priority to regular worshipers.
It does not matter about the rights and wrongs of this, only that this is the current law and you are not in the next 12 months going to change that. If you child is not baptised catholic and you do not go to church I am afraid that you have to be realistic and say there is not way that you will ever get a place at the school, even if you were camping out in the school grounds.

marmiteandhoney Thu 15-Nov-12 20:44:15

My husband was an LSA at Bell Lane primary. Granted, this was over ten years ago. I see they're a 'satisfactory', but we were blown away by the staff dedication, ethos and general feel of the place.

It's in fact the main reason that we both went in to primary teaching.

radicalsubstitution Thu 15-Nov-12 20:20:47

How can this be?

It's pretty simple - it comes down to money and politics.

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when churches were among very few organisations prepared to educate the poor (ie the vast majority) for free. Church schools were set up in church buildings on church land.

Lots of political to-ing and fro-ing has gone on over the decades and some councils took responsibility for these buildings/lands, but many remain the property of the churches. The siituatiion is muddied further by the fact that there are VA, VC and Academy church schools. These are state funded, but are required to fund 10% of the cost of any capital projects themselves. The exception to this is Academies.

The problem of 'getting rid' of church schools include:

- the cost to the state of buying lands and buildings back off churches
- plugging the 'hole' in capital funding that churches fill by contributing 10% towards building probjects
- the political influence that the churches play in the British government
- the fact that Labour politicians (Blair being the best example) could celebrate publicly the fact that their children attend 'state comprehensive schools', when all along they are attending highly selective church schools (selective of church hurdles rather than academic ability)

Not fair, but it is a reality.

You have the option of 'playing the game' to get into the RC school, or standing by your principles and playing the lottery like the non-catholic families do.

I, personally, am uncomfortable about the existence of church schools in Great Britain in 2012. As a fully paid-up member of the CofE, I am fortunate enough to have the choice between 2 comps - a community one where 44% of students achieve 5 A*-C, or a church school where 90% of children do. Which one do you think I will be applying to?

Does that make me a bad person - probably. Does that make me a bad Christian - probably. I'll just add it to my list of other inadequacies.

amidaiwish Thu 15-Nov-12 19:48:23

If you want to go to this school I would go and talk to the local priest, see what he can do.
Be aware though that if you are only wanting a place because it is such a good school that the religious element will be a big part of the day. You may not want that.

mamalocco Thu 15-Nov-12 19:40:16

My children used to go to St Joseph's - they are always oversubscribed (waiting list of Catholic children usually runs to 50+ in each year group). If you and your DH are happy for your DC to be brought up Catholic then fine but thread carefully. I am not Catholic - DH is and under pressure (mostly to send them to this school) I agreed to get them baptised. I have always regretted this decision and ended up moving house to find a good non-church school. As a Catholic you most know what will be required of you and your DC - you will need a letter from the priest when applying for nursery, again for reception, again for junior school, first holy communion etc.

Have you looked at Sunningfields? I believe its a much improved school - don't base your opinions purely on league tables - St Josephs has its issues too.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 15-Nov-12 19:11:55

You need to check the school's admission criteria to work out exactly where you fit, and check that against the LEA's information about how many children were admitted in each admissions category last year.

LeeCoakley Thu 15-Nov-12 19:03:59

Is this St Joseph's junior school? I've just googled admissions criteria and you would be way way down the oversubscription priority list, about number 11 I think. They filled up last year by number 6. But it says that only 4 children didn't manage to get a place so I suppose you could get lucky.

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