Does a'looked after' child always legally get to the top of the admission criteria for primary school?

(93 Posts)
Hellokittycat Mon 21-Apr-14 14:06:00

I understood that they did.
Have seen a faith schools admission policy that puts looked after children of faith, all other children of faith, non faith looked after children and then non faith other children as the order
Just wondering if this sits in with the legal requirements... Does anyone know?

AngelEyes46 Mon 21-Apr-14 23:32:23

Not sure if anyone will agree with what I'm going to say re: non RC LAC (and their families) but RC schools (not sure about CofE) work on partnership between the 3 groups: family/church and the school. A child (either LAC or non-LAC) would not have the same as either a LAC RC child or one that is within a RC family. This isn't about getting the best school because it's outstanding - it may not be right for a non-RC child as they wouldn't have any commitment to the Church and their family wouldn't practice the Catholic faith.

Tether - the LAC that you know of that was baptised at 2 - not fair at all.

AngelEyes46 Mon 21-Apr-14 23:37:31

2468 - x posted. I agree with you in your example - I think my dd's school's admission policy is good. I just don't think that a child (LAC or not) who has no faith connection should be top priority for a faith school. I could be accused of placing 'faith' over 'vulnerability' but the child could actually feel ostracised (as explained about the 3 partnership)

Devora Mon 21-Apr-14 23:41:17

AngelEyes, of course it may not always be the best thing for a non-RC child to attend that school. But it may be. I've given some examples of situations where it may be. So why have a blanket refusal of priority? Who should decide which particular school suits an already disadvantaged and possibly traumatised child: the people who understand that child's needs best, or the school admissions policy?

Seriously, would Jesus have supported this practice for one second?

And actually, what you say about faith schools working in partnership with church and families: I imagine ALL schools see themselves as working in partnership with families. Too bloody bad for those kids without families, eh? Already lacking the most basic building block of healthy functioning, so let's kick away another? It makes my blood boil.

ReallyTired Mon 21-Apr-14 23:42:41

"ot sure if anyone will agree with what I'm going to say re: non RC LAC (and their families) but RC schools (not sure about CofE) work on partnership between the 3 groups: family/church and the school. A child (either LAC or non-LAC) would not have the same as either a LAC RC child or one that is within a RC family."

AngelEyes46
That is utter bullshit. Very few children who go to catholic school attend church every week once they have a place. If its deemed so essential for a child to attend church then surely the catholic school should kick out kids who families have stopped attending church in year 3 when all the children are in the school.

Do you not think that there is an element of protectionism? Surely a school should be capable of educating a child of any creed or colour. A school should be capable of taking on the extra reponsiblity of educating a LAC kid.

Devora Mon 21-Apr-14 23:43:00

I've just read your latest post. Yes, I'm afraid you are placing faith over vulnerability. You are telling yourself that this is in the child's best interests - how very compassionate. You'll have to make your own peace with that.

AngelEyes46 Mon 21-Apr-14 23:43:11

Another thought - you wouldn't want to put a LAC in a grammar school (if they didn't meet the pass mark)!

However, why not have LAC as the top priority for private schools with the bursarys being allocated to them. Would like to hear what mnetters think of that suggestion?

Kewcumber Mon 21-Apr-14 23:47:41

I went to a catholic primary in fact a pretty hard core convent school as a non RC.

I didn't feel one bit excluded or ostracised, even as a very obviously non-RC child. And I can't imagine for one second that if there had been any hint of it that the sisters wouldn't have stamped on it pretty hard.

But then that was in the days when catholic schools (at least the one I went to) felt a responsibility to educate first and foremost not to ring fence catholic children from the pernicious influence of non catholics which seems to be the trend these days around here.

If a school cannot comply with the spirit of the legislation and to prioritise education for those most in need over those with the best religious credentials then they have no business taking tax payers money.

As I said - would love to see the response to a state funded hospital run along the same lines.

2468Motorway Mon 21-Apr-14 23:48:10

A really committed school who really cared about a kid I think can work wonders. It should not be the case that every LAC doesn't get the best school they can for them because they only moved to the area 6 months ago.

It makes me really sad, this could be a no brainer to fix. Back in the 70s and 80s faith schools did teach anyone and everyone because they were not oversubscribed. They coped fine and would still be fine with the less than 2 kids per school they'd probably get if they were genuinely prioritized LAC.

Devora Mon 21-Apr-14 23:49:27

Actually no, I can't let it go. AngelEyes, if a LAC chid had a choice of your dd's school or one attended by other members of their birth family - a birth family responsible for torturing and traumatising that child - would you still close the door to them?

If a LAC desperately wanted to go to your dd's school because it is the one that has the most children who share their ethnicity, and they already feel 'different' in so many ways, then would you still close the door to them?

If everything about the ethos of the school, range of subjects, specialist areas etc suited this particular LAC, would you still close the door to them?

Seriously, would you? Because if you still think that faith purity is more important, then stop kidding yourself that you care about that child.

ReallyTired Mon 21-Apr-14 23:50:27

One of those nasty LAC kids might contaminate those nice RC kids. The nice RC kids might learn a few swear words. Or shock horror the LAC kid might pull down the SATs results of the school.

Surely the most vunerable children in society should have pick of the best schools in the area. The fact that they may not have a supportive family or a church community is more reason for giving them priority at the most popular schools. I believe that the child's social worker is the best person to decide on a school for a child.

Kewcumber Mon 21-Apr-14 23:50:53

You might want to put LAC's in a grammar school - why on earth not?! My brother failed his 11 plus for social reasons and my father managed to persuade our local grammar school to take him anyway. He did fantastically well.

Many LAC's don't have such strong parental involvement so miss out.

You can;t compel privately run organisations to take a specific group - any discussion about that is totally pointless though there are private schools who (for example) prioritise children of single parents.

Devora Mon 21-Apr-14 23:54:15

I think it would be a lovely gesture if private schools offered free places to LAC children - but as they're not run on taxpayers' money it's unlikely to happen.

Faith schools, though - why it is we are using public money to support the social engineering motored by many faith schools is truly beyond me.

tethersend Mon 21-Apr-14 23:56:36

Some LAs do fund private school places for some children- given that they fund expensive (private) specialist residential/educational placements as a matter of course, it can sometimes be a far better use of money to send a child to private boarding school if that is the right option for them.

Also, children who attended a private school before being taken into care should continue to attend.

ReallyTired Mon 21-Apr-14 23:56:45

In our county the few grammar schools left do give priority to LAC kids. In practice few social workers want to put a LAC child in a school where they wouldn't cope academically. Social workers aren't silly.

I feel that schools that recieve state funding should be required to have LAC children as top priority.

ReallyTired Tue 22-Apr-14 00:03:51

Devora
There are private schools that do offer 100% burseries to children who have lost one or both parents. My brother had a friend who lost both parents at the age 11 and he attended a private boarding school where previously he was a day boy.

For example Reeds. Another school is Christ Hospital. The problem is that these schools cannot fund many places. The money has to come from somewhere.

tethersend Tue 22-Apr-14 00:04:40

"In practice few social workers want to put a LAC child in a school where they wouldn't cope academically. Social workers aren't silly."

Unfortunately ReallyTired, this can sometimes be a problem- some SWs see academic rigour as a demand to be placed on a child and wrongly decide that they will not cope. This thinking can contribute to a culture of low educational expectations, and may not take account of a child's prior educational achievement or predicted targets.

"I feel that schools that recieve state funding should be required to have LAC children as top priority."

Wholeheartedly agree.

Devora Tue 22-Apr-14 00:06:42

Thanks, ReallyTired. Your post has reminded me that I did once know a bright child from a very troubled family who attended one of the schools you mention. As the family was on benefits the social workers must have identified the opportunity and a free place organised. It was a wonderful opportunity for him, but sadly he struggled with being apart from his younger siblings, feeling that he had to be with them to protect them sad.

ReallyTired Tue 22-Apr-14 00:11:39

"Unfortunately ReallyTired, this can sometimes be a problem- some SWs see academic rigour as a demand to be placed on a child and wrongly decide that they will not cope. This thinking can contribute to a culture of low educational expectations, and may not take account of a child's prior educational achievement or predicted targets."

That is awful. Prehaps we need to think how a school is selected for LAC kid. Prehaps LAC should be assessed by an educational pychologists to ensure that gifted LAC children are nutured appriopiately.

I imagine that being sent to a non selective school is a bigger problems somewhere like Kent than a county where there are virtually no grammar schools. I suppose it shows how vital it is for a LAC child to attend the best school possible. An outstanding comprehensive school will bring out the best in a LAC kid.

AngelEyes46 Tue 22-Apr-14 00:52:26

I agree with a lot of what posters have said but criteria is set:
grammar - meeting passmark (your dad devora - i'm assuming won on appeal?)
faith - for children of that school's faith
private - for families that can pay.

If it's about making sure that the LAC has the 'right' school for him/her, then there should be some type of clause written into the admission policies, for example:
grammar - even though an LAC does not meet the passmark, can still gain a place if (see examples given by Devora)
faith - even though not practicing of that faith/family not practicing of that faith, can gain a place if (examples given by Devora)
private - even though has no funds, school can apply for state funding and will be accepted.

By the way VA schools get 90% funding from state (not that it's particularly relevant as we are in agreement that it's finding the right school and not about who's paying for it.

Madrigals Tue 22-Apr-14 07:26:08

I think LAC should get priority in every school.

More generally, I don't think faith schools should receive state funding to only educate dc of that faith. The schools should be required to admit at least 30% of dc not of the specified faith.

Devora Tue 22-Apr-14 07:26:17

Angel, what is the practical difference between your exemption clause and just giving LAC children priority?

And you are wrong that the criteria are set. There is nothing stopping a faith school giving LAC priority except their own unwillingness to do so.

It was kew's dad who went to grammar school, though incidentally I too went to a selective school despite having failed my 11 plus.

Kewcumber Tue 22-Apr-14 08:16:06

They didn't do formal appeals in those days Angel - if you persuaded the head you were in.

Yes I know faith schools have to find 10% of their budget - maybe I'd concede that faith schools can admit on a selective basis the same percentage of children as the funds they find privately. So 10% of children can be selected on a faith basis and the balance should be the same as every other state funded school.

I see absolutely no reason why the state should pay for a specific religious schooling requirement. You don't need to go to a catholic school to be a catholic and atheists do perfectly well in catholic schools in the right circumstances (which tends to be about attitude of school and parents)

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 22-Apr-14 08:56:40

"Yes I know faith schools have to find 10% of their budget - maybe I'd concede that faith schools can admit on a selective basis the same percentage of children as the funds they find privately. So 10% of children can be selected on a faith basis and the balance should be the same as every other state funded school."

I like this idea. It would almost certainly end up being more than 10% too because siblings could get in on sibling not faith, some non-churchgoers would prefer non-faith so would self-select out of applying etc.

tiggytape Tue 22-Apr-14 09:14:18

It is not a religious requirement that catholic children go to catholic school.

It is for Catholic people. Canon Law requires them to seek out a Catholic education for their children and explore any means of achieving that. They are required to send their children to a Catholic school if at all possible.

I have come across another school who interviewed children before offering them a place and declined a LAC a place on the grounds that they didn't think the carer was supportive enough hmm needless to say, another part of my job is to challenge this.

Interviews are not allowed for state schools. For 6th form places they can be used to discuss the subject options and requirements but must not inform the decision making process. That isn't an LAC issue - if any school are cherry picking pupils via interview they are in gross breach of the law.

One of those nasty LAC kids might contaminate those nice RC kids. The nice RC kids might learn a few swear words. Or shock horror the LAC kid might pull down the SATs results of the school.

I still think there is a lot of stereotyping here. LAC deserve extra consideration because they have had a traumatic start in life and have more things to cope with on a daily basis in general. It does not however mean they are difficult children. They are equally likely to be quiet, reserved and (as far as any school is concerned) pose no behavioural problems at all. Not all LAC experience an 'undesirable' home life. Many subsequent and sibling children will have been with foster carers since birth and have have had a stable and 'normal' home life in many key respects.

The general objection to faith (and sometimes selective) schooling is something that has been around for years. Moreso now that places are short and parents either have no choice but to attend a faith school or not choice over other schools because of faith ones nearby that they cannot access.

Devora Tue 22-Apr-14 09:29:03

Church schools started in order to reach out to and help the poor, at a time when there was no state provision and only the rich could access learning. How on earth have we allowed them to start excluding the poor and disadvantaged? (And national evidence shows that that is exactly what they do.) Why aren't Christians furious about this happening in their name.

btw, arguing that excluding minorities is justified because they won't fit in has a long and dishonourable history. If faith schools feel they can't offer a supportive environment for the most disadvantaged children in our society they should be taking a bloody long look at themselves.

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