Trying to get non-catholic DS into catholic school..

(106 Posts)
VeryProbablyStupid Sun 18-Nov-12 08:21:50

I don't know if this is the place to post this..

DS is 27 months. I have started looking at the local schools etc. There are only three viable options. One school is in a kind of rough part of the area, although it does have good reports etc. Another is a welsh speaking primary, which Im not that keen on although I wouldnt count it out totally. The third is my favourite, its very small, only about 160 pupils in total, seems wonderful. Its a Catholic school, and they have told me seeing as DS is not in the actual catchment area and that he is not catholic, I would need to attend an interview to say why I would value a Catholic education..

There are a few muslim kids in the school, and I know they are not all Catholics, so Im confident there would be a place for him, but Im worried about what to say! I like the idea of there being a strong set of morals, and while Im not religious, I went to a regular school with Lords Prayer and hymns etc and I dont think its a bad thing for kids to be aware of this etc. Anyone been in a similar situation who can give me any tips?

VeryProbablyStupid Sat 24-Nov-12 13:57:49

I think its a genuine concern. Whether it will improve ds's language skills isn't ny issue, I think a lot of people worry that if they don't speak Welsh they can't send their child to a Welsh school. Giving him the opportunity doesn't change the fact that there will no doubt be times that he will need help that I can't give him.

BuddyTheChristmasElf Fri 23-Nov-12 23:33:55

"I will bear the welsh school in mind. I only worry because I am awful at learning languages and dont want my not speaking welsh to affect DS."

OP I don't understand this, I'm rubbish at languages, and as such I go out of my way to increase my DCs exposure to languages since they won't be getting any help with them from me IYKWIM, so because I am rubbish at them, a bilingual school would be more of a bonus to me than it would be if I had an aptitude for them myself so could help the DCs if they ever wanted to learn??

VeryProbablyStupid Fri 23-Nov-12 17:04:47

I will bear the welsh school in mind. I only worry because I am awful at learning languages and dont want my not speaking welsh to affect DS.

It seems to be such a complicated situation. I naturally assumed if they were under subscribed DS would get in but as the previous poster has shown, they really really dont want this to happen, so much so they will breach the Admissions Code!

prh47bridge Fri 23-Nov-12 12:24:59

I sent this school's admission criteria to the OP offlist yesterday.

They appear to breach the Admissions Code for Wales in several respects.

- They do not prioritise Catholic looked after children ahead of all other Catholic children. Instead there are several categories of Catholic children and they only prioritise looked after children within each category. So, for example, some non-looked after Catholic children with siblings at the school will come ahead of looked after Catholic children who do not have siblings at the school.

- If there are not enough Catholic children to fill all the places they specifically state they will leave places vacant rather than admit children if the are unhappy with the parents' reasons for applying.

- No tie breaker is stated for placing children within a category in order.

- The governors have given themselves the right to allocate places at their discretion for individual or exceptional cases.

- There is a comment within the admission criteria that suggests the governors view the Admissions Code purely as a set of recommendations. They do not seem to understand that compliance is compulsory.

It seems the LA's admissions forum has seriously fallen down on the job. A number of schools in their area seem to have similar breaches of the Code. If they were in England and someone referred this school to the Schools Adjudicator they would definitely be told to change.

HouseOfBamboo Fri 23-Nov-12 11:32:39

"I was referring to the fact that on their website they say they are happy to accept non faith children, but a few people on this thread have said that may not be true, but they will of course say it"

I think the fact that they almost certainly prioritise Catholic children above any other group means that their ideal is to fill the school with Catholic children - there's no getting around that.

I think some types of faith school which are largely govt funded are obliged to have a percentage intake from 'other' groups, but I'm not sure about the situation in Wales (which is presumably where you are?). If you google 'faith schools' you might find more info.

My point earlier was that if there aren't enough Catholic children to fill a school year then they will be forced to accept other children for financial reasons. Whether the school sees this as an ideal situation or not is a moot point... I'm not sure I'd want my child attending a school where they were offered a place effectively under sufferance, and despite their attempts at religious discrimination.

Having said that I'm sure schools' individual cultures will vary according to the staff and governors.

weegiemum Argentina Fri 23-Nov-12 11:06:46

Why not go for Welsh? You'd be giving your son a genuine chance to be bilingual and there are loads of advantages that come with that, including more job prospects in the future, better results in maths, more skills in music, being easier to learn a 3rd language in the future.
I don't know how the Welsh system operates, butmy children are in the Gaelic medium education programme in Scotland. All 3 of them are performing above the national levels expected in both English and Gaelic, these English levels are the same as for monolingual kids. And though I've picked up a bit of the language, I don't really speak it at all, yet this hasn't held my children back.
If it's a good school, close by, then I'd look in to it and investigate the advantages of bilingualism. HTH.

VeryProbablyStupid Fri 23-Nov-12 10:46:53

Obviously I dont think the school will lie to me because I am a non catholic. Honestly....

I was referring to the fact that on their website they say they are happy to accept non faith children, but a few people on this thread have said that may not be true, but they will of course say it. I was simply thinking that the school would reiterate that. I didnt know that if I went there they would have to give me the exact stats. Of course I dont think any school would make up stats and admission criteria..

chloe74 Thu 22-Nov-12 23:05:37

I wouldn't be surprised if they had a separate set of stats for non-Catholics as they do for the faithful! That's how backdoor selection works.

BuddyTheChristmasElf Thu 22-Nov-12 22:10:56

they don't have a real criteria list and a fake one for non-catholics. Just ask for the list

but if you already feel that they are going to be dishonest with you becaue you are non catholics before you've even had one interraction with them, then it may not be the school for you - explore those feelings a bit more, they're illogical, but valid for you.

annh Thu 22-Nov-12 22:06:41

Why on earth do you think you would not get a genuine representation of the admissions criteria from the school office? Are you suggesting that they would lie to you because you are not Catholic?

BuddyTheChristmasElf Thu 22-Nov-12 22:03:33

its pretty black and white, and the school doesn't set the cut off, it just sets the priority criterias. They don't know which number it'll be each year either till it happens, they just tell the LEA who has submitted the additional information for the higher catagories, then the LEA offers places and it depends on numbers applying

BuddyTheChristmasElf Thu 22-Nov-12 22:01:07

if you ask it as "which admission criteria number did you cut off at in the last 3 years" you'll get a straight forward answer

VeryProbablyStupid Thu 22-Nov-12 21:38:23

I guess the only solution is to ask the school, but because obviously they are biased I dont think I would get a genuine representation of the admission criteria for non catholics.

Hmm...

BuddyTheChristmasElf Thu 22-Nov-12 13:47:00

If you're having no luck call into the reception desk during school time (not pick up or drop off time) or email them for the pdfs

(actually I find it very useful to do it this way to find out how good a school is at dealing with enquiries.. since you'll be dealing with them for years if that's where your child goes)

HouseOfBamboo Thu 22-Nov-12 13:17:32

OP - actually a valid question to ask is why the class sizes are smaller? If it's because they are undersubscribed, then this will affect the school's overall budget (from the govt) for the pupils.

Although large class sizes seem undesirable, in practice it does at least mean the school is fully funded, and should be able to afford more teachers / TAs / facilities / resources. So it's not always a bad thing.

HouseOfBamboo Thu 22-Nov-12 13:10:27

Well sometimes they have to, when they are undersubscribed by children of the 'right' faith.

'Have to' being the operative phrase, since they are state funded on a per child basis, and can't logistically afford to turn down the fees. Plus there's always the hope of being able to convert them I suppose. hmm

Pyrrah Thu 22-Nov-12 12:56:19

I think just about every faith school says that it welcomes children of other faiths and none etc. Many of them state it safe in the knowledge that they will never be in the position of having to actually accept a child of another or no faith!

prh47bridge Thu 22-Nov-12 10:44:17

If you PM me the name of the school and the LA I will see if I can find the admission criteria for you.

VeryProbablyStupid Thu 22-Nov-12 09:38:49

Thanks.

My main problem here is that I have trawled the internet and cannot seem to find any of this LEA information etc. The schools website does not have the admission criteria or any other useful information as far as I can see.

I have looked at the catchment area online, but it is not showing up at all, there is another catholic school very close to the one I am interested in (further away from me) and that catchment area seems to be showing on top of the other one. However, the catchment area that I can see ends one street before my house, so if distance is a factor I would stand a good chance I think,

With regard to the other school, it does have a good rep, but Im only basing that on the opinion of a family friend who is a governor for that school. My only problem with it is that its of equal distance away as the catholic one, and it is in a quite rough area. Its a much bigger school with bigger classes, and I genuinely would prefer the small classes and environment of the catholic school.

My children have all attended an RC primary. When my eldest DD was admitted 14 years ago the school was undersubscribed and took children of all faiths and none as long as the parents supported the ethos of the school. By the time my DS was admitted 2 years ago the school was massively oversubscribed and places were allocated to Baptised Catholics only. Parents have the right to withdraw their child from RE lessons but in my experience these have been a mix of Catholic teaching and understanding other world religions. I don't think it was too full on but I am a practicing Catholic, so don't know how I would feel about it if I was looking at it from another faith - or indeed no faith. In Year 3 and Year 6 Catholic children in this Diocese are prepared for the Sacraments at school so some RE was specific to this.

In my Local Authority the school admission criteria is published in the Education section of the County Council website. I would also suggest contacting the school directly. There may well be additional forms to fill in to apply for admission to the school. The school will be able to give you a copy of their admission policy and should also be able to tell you some information to assist you in making your choice. I personally would ask them to tell me the following (for perhaps the last 3 years)

1. What is their planned admission number (PAN) each year
2. How many pupils they admitted each year
3. How many non-Catholic children were admitted each year

BuddyTheChristmasElf Wed 21-Nov-12 20:59:47

(or on the flip side if oversubscribed and they cut off half way though an IN catchment priority category, it then goes by proximity as well)

BuddyTheChristmasElf Wed 21-Nov-12 20:58:48

and find out the catchments first hand too so you know how far out of them you are, if you ARE out of them, because if they only take SOME from the out of catchment category it'll go by proximity so in that instance distance matters

remebering (sorry to repeat but some people don't realise this) that state catchments are not church catchments

and if you are thinking of having more children, think twice about schools with no sibling priority unless you are in a really high catagory anyway! Lots of people get stung by that one

BuddyTheChristmasElf Wed 21-Nov-12 20:50:53

well find out first hand where they've cut off the last couple of years. Do not! I repeat, DO NOT listen to any second hand information that's going round the town about school admissions, people have their own agendas and there's a load of rubbish floating around here about various schools and who they do and don't take.

Blu Wed 21-Nov-12 20:50:42

What about the other school that gets good results? Have you been for a look round?

You need to look at the schools admissions criteria, work out whihc criteria you would meet and then look on your LA website and see how many children from that category get admitted. If it is completely oversubscribed and no catholic children from your area fet in, then you will need to think again.

What is the matter with the other school, apart from the area it is in?

BuddyTheChristmasElf Wed 21-Nov-12 20:48:36

(in my second cut n paste cat 10 was divided into A-D but they didn't show :-S)

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