The Priory CofE - Wimbledon - Too religious?

(70 Posts)
Iamdefinitelyworthit Fri 14-May-10 17:24:49

Hello everybody this is my first post. First of all can I just say I do not mean to offend anybody, this is just my opinion and only applies to me. So! My DC go to the priory cofe primary school in Wimbledon. We are not religious but reluctantly chose this school based on its proximity to where we live as our nearest non-faith school is Garfield which I am not keen on.

From other people's comments I was under the impression that the religious aspect wasn't too strong. However, since the new Head (who has come from Dundonald) started there, I am finding that the school is becoming quite 'militant' in its religious approach.

Assemblies are now called 'collective worship' and children are made to pray. Parents are regaled with a passage from the Bible in every newsletter (I find this wasteful and patronising but mostly boring and no, I don't have to read it). These are just two tiny examples; Religion has basically permeated on every single aspect of education, quite pointlessly in my opinion, and I no longer feel comfortable with my DC attending the school. I find the overall religious approach to be passive-aggressive despite the constant reminders that they believe in community, being inclusive, love to all and so on.

I know you might argue that it is a CofE school and I knew this when my DC started, all I'm saying is that I didn't mind before but I do now. So, bearing in mind I don't want my DC to attend my nearest non-faith school, what do you think my options are? I would be delighted with Dundonald or Pelham. If any of you out there are familiar with The Priory I would love to know your opinions on how things have changed since the new head started. Or am I going mad?? Cheers all.

prh47bridge Fri 14-May-10 17:40:13

I know this isn't answering your question but...

Although many schools seem to ignore the requirement these days, ALL schools are required by law to provide daily collective worship for all registered pupils (except for those whose parents have withdrawn them from this). The worship must be mainly of a broadly Christian nature (except for non-Christian faith schools). So all the new head has done regarding assembly is comply with the law.

Merton is very anti transfers (they say that "very strong evidence will have to be provided in order for a transfer to be approved"), but you could call their School Admissions Team (020 8274 4906) and see what the chances of places for your DCs at Dundonald or Pelham are.

Also, do you work? Could you consider HE while your children are primary aged if you can't find a school that suits you?

Iamdefinitelyworthit Fri 14-May-10 18:31:57

Thank you both for your answers. prh47bridge, I am aware that the school is not breaking the law, it is a Christian school after all, I just personally feel uncomfortable with the way the school is going, i.e. too religious for my liking. I realise that a non-faith school would also have to provide worship of a christian persuation but I would hope that apart from that, religion and god would not get mentioned constantly.

Professor, but if I request a transfer based on faith issues, wouldn't I have a case? My issue is that garfield would be the obvious offer for my DC and would not transfer my DC to that school despite being non-faith.

Iamdefinitelyworthit Fri 14-May-10 18:33:21

Professor, no I'm afraid I would not consider HE because I'm simply not cut out for it and because I believe (and this is only my personal opinion) that the social aspect school provides is extremely important.

prh47bridge Fri 14-May-10 19:11:34

The point I'm making is not that this school isn't breaking the law. It is that you may find that a regular, non-faith school also has collective worship. They are supposed to do so every day. Many don't but that's the law.

If it is simply the worship that you are unhappy with you are entitled to withdraw your DC from worship (and RE). If this is a possibility it might be less disruptive for your DC than a change of school.

Exactly -- I suspect you might persuade them that you have a case for a transfer, but if you are making it a faith issue you might have to accept Garfield if you couldn't get places at Dundonald or Pelham. It can't hurt to call and ask, though.

Iamdefinitelyworthit Fri 14-May-10 20:47:51

prh47bridge, sure yes, I'm with you... I somehow feel though that it's more disruptive to request that my DC are removed from worship because that singles them out; also, it is not only collective worship I feel uneasy about; it's the whole thing really, the direction that this particular school seems to be heading... I just don't feel comfortable anymore.

Professor, if I make it a faith issue, do I need to lay out exactly what the problem is? I mean, most of it is my uneasiness with what I believe is happening, the way the head is recruiting and how much religion seems to be placed ahead of everything else. I don't know... should I start gathering my evidence or just move??

I'm still really keen to hear opinions form people who might know this school first hand.

Iamdefinitelyworthit Sat 15-May-10 07:14:57

Hi I'm going to bump this as I'm keen to hear from people who know the school.

cuppycakesong Sun 16-May-10 13:25:00

MY DC go to Holy Trinity but I was seriously considering changing them for The Priory!! I do not like what you're saying about The Priory though. In the past I have asked about feedback on The Priory and haven't got very far; I'll be checking this thread hoping you get some useful feedback from people in the know!

slummymomma Sun 16-May-10 20:35:18

Cuppy cake - why are you trying to transfer from HT to Priory? Most people seem to do it the other way round. I know HT has gone/is going two form entry but the standard of education at HT is amongst the best in the borough if you look at SATs results and destination of leavers.

cuppycakesong Sun 16-May-10 21:58:37

Hi slummymomma, am I wrong in thinking that HT and The Priory are pretty much interchangeable in terms of SATS results and destination of leavers? I know where to check SATs results but where do you check destination of leavers? Anyway, back to your question, I just feel my DC don't fit in there because they haven't managed to make any friends at all and they hate school. This is a situation that has been going on for 3 years now and nothing seems to change. Every morning is such a struggle I feel really depressed about it. Is The Priory not doing just as well as HT then?

deaddei Mon 17-May-10 11:27:47

Re destination of learners- remember children going to grammars/passing entrance exams are normally tutored...nothing to do with standard of teaching.

slummymomma Mon 17-May-10 11:40:19

The last set of SATs results for HT are better than Priory - though on 'value added' they are both exactly the same. To be honest the majority of the state primary schools in Merton are pretty good.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/table/2009/apr/01/primary-school-league-tables-merton

On destination of leavers the schools normally publish a list of leavers at the end of last year. If I recall correctly there were maybe 6 or 7 (out of 27 or so) that got into grammars and/or independents from HT. HT might let you have the list if you ask. I think this year the results are fairly similar - they'll publish it again I think.

I note deadei comment's about tutoring - it clearly is rife at all primarys anywhere near a grammar school area. However, I don't believe that passing any entrance exam can ever be solely down to tutoring. The school has to provide the foundation on which further work is done - either by a parent and/or tutor. I can say this as the parent of a DC who has been through an entrance exam. My DC passed with the help of a tutor but the school did the bulk of the 'work'.

deaddei Mon 17-May-10 11:50:04

I made the point as schools don't do the vr/non vr for local grammars.
cuppycakesong- it may be hard to get all your dcs in the same school, and what's to say they wouldn't make friends at the Priory?
Do they have friends out of school/go to clubs?

alanyoung1000 Mon 17-May-10 18:14:11

Just a comment, but I believe religion is the greatest impediment to the development of the human race by miles. And on so many different levels. The sooner we abandon it, the sooner people can start taking responsibilty for their own lives and not have to kowtow to the greatest lot of mumbo jumbo ever invented.

Well, that's my opinion.

Iamdefinitelyworthit Tue 18-May-10 12:15:56

Alan, I just think each to their own, but would like for the school to concentrate on educating children, not indoctrinating them with something that should be a private matter. Actually I think the school is SO clumsy, boring and shallow with the way they shove religion down childrens' throats, they're probably educating the future atheists of the world.

cuppycakesong Tue 18-May-10 20:34:44

I know what you mean but my DC do not have problems with socialising with children outside school, clubs, my friends' kids and so on. I just feel they have been unlucky with the mix of children they're with so I don't necessarily thing the pattern will follow in The Priory. I am honestly not sure about The Priory now though! confused

Hello, Iamdefinitelyworthit!

Welcome to Mumsnet. smile

Just wanted to let you know that your nickname is very similar to mind - just in case you get some odd replies from people!

JJ6 Tue 18-May-10 20:49:58

My daughter goes to a non-faith school and we have the same problem. No prayer or such in the newsletter but assemblies have bible stories and the children pray. I have met the RE co-ordinator and have been told that children are not expected to pray but can spend time 'thinking about things that make them happy'. However for a 5 year old peer pressure is great so my daughter says that she prays and shows us how to. Our family is aetheist back to my parents and my husbands grandparents. We have been told that evolution is not on the national curriculum and would be to complex to teach!! I asked my daughter if anyone does not attend the assembly (there are a lot of muslim pupils) and she says only people who have been naughty so we would not want to exclude her and when we talk amongst ourself about our concerns she gets quite upset and says that she likes the stories and praying.
God and religeon features strongly in the playground too yesterday the children in line were discussing how God made their shoes. I despair and agree with alanyoung on this subject

Iamdefinitelyworthit Tue 18-May-10 21:32:47

BecauseImWorthIt, I wanted that nickname...sad

JJ6, if my DC went to a non-faith school and they had to deal with all that nonsense I would be fuming. Evolution difficult to teach?! for Darwins sakes...

JJ6 Tue 18-May-10 21:41:18

Thanks 'I am definitely' we try our best at home but it is a bit uphill and I feel sorry for her having to deal with this conflict in what she is told at home and at school. I think she copes well she says - we can say 'Oh my God' because we don't believe in God can't we Mummy!!! I went to a C of E school and turned out as I am but as my partner says this is 2010 not 1978!! I think being in a city is a factor as most of the children are from more religeous cultures than would be representative in the Uk; somalian, nigerian, portugese, algerian, jamaican etc. Lovely kids and families but most if not all are very strong in their belief system.

HeavyMetalGlamourRockStar Tue 18-May-10 21:44:45

There is no such thing as a non faith state school. Our state school does the praying, the Bible stories and the hymms at assembly, but also sees fit to put religious -propaganda- leaflets into bookbags, religious advertisements into the newsletter. I have overheard children in Year 1 say that you'll get into trouble for saying there's no God.
But it's got easier since we've moved on from the "Christian" teacher - I think she had her wings clipped by a very annoyed non-christian parent.
I do find it really creepy that kids are being brainwashed with this nonsense as standard, but be assured that it's not just CofE schools, the state education system is riddled with religion and I'm not sure a school move will necessarily give you enough of what you want.

If it helps, it gets easier as they get older; they start to see religion more for what it is and are happy to allow their classmates to continue in their spiritual journey without them and as they do you'll feel less concerned that any of it is having any impact at all.

JJ6 Tue 18-May-10 23:18:16

I am writing to the local 'Sacre' to express my concerns (I cannot remember exactly what this stands for ... standing conference on ... religeous education). I was told that they agree the structure of RE in schools. They include ministers of all the major faiths, reps from education and have (in my LA) proudly reccently recruited a humanist and a pagan (although pagan has not yet attended - prob stuck in the woods !! lol!!!)

HeavyMetalGlamourRockStar Tue 18-May-10 23:28:33

JJB I'm really impressed they've pulled the humanists and pagans into the discussions. For my part I've joined the Humanist Society as a direct response to God-washing. We need a lobbying body to represent us, the Church have been at it for years.

JJ6 Tue 18-May-10 23:36:19

Yes it is a good sign but no action as yet. We are going to write to the humanist member and ask what she is doing to represent our beliefs and values as I feel we are a minority group in the school. The RE co-ordinator told me 'the humanist was really lovely (as if this was exceptonal) for a non-godly person?? It was said in a lovely way but very patronising as far as I could see (especialy as my Dad had had a humanist funeral only a month prior to this discussion!!)

JJ6 Tue 18-May-10 23:45:02

One profound question I have not really found the answer to:
Did God make our shoes? maybe it was Richard Dawkins? or the elves ?
OR maybe even the shoemaker!!

Iamdefinitelyworthit Wed 19-May-10 10:54:57

Alright great, but what about The Priory in Wimbledon? Come on, there must be someone out there who knows the school.

Iamdefinitelyworthit Thu 20-May-10 06:04:08

I'll try again wink

Iamdefinitelyworthit Fri 21-May-10 17:49:47

Hey, does anyone want to know what today's Christian thought in the newsletter was?

deaddei Sat 22-May-10 11:09:40

Go on then.

Iamdefinitelyworthit Sat 22-May-10 22:25:30

“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

The verse changes every week and follows the following permanent sentence:

THE PRIORY IS A VIBRANT, CHURCH OF ENGLAND SCHOOL, AIMING TO PROVIDE AN OUTSTANDING EDUCATION FOR ALL CHILDREN AS THEY ARE CHALLENGED WITHIN A CHRISTIAN ENVIRONMENT OF CREATIVITY, LOVE AND RESPECT.

I'm soooooooooooo bored

lou031205 Sat 22-May-10 22:39:50

So let me get this right. Your school is a CofE school, was always a CofE school, and your objection is that it is too....Christian? confused

So what you are saying is that you wanted them to be CofE but not actually do any of the CofE related stuff?

Iamdefinitelyworthit Mon 24-May-10 14:43:56

Lou031205, hi, yes, I guess my stance is nonsensical, I can't deny it. Here's the thing.

When I found out this was our nearest school, I made some inquiries around the neighborhood, friends, friends of friends and so on, and the impression that I got was that yes, it was a Christian school, but rather low key. Initially when my dc started it did seemed this way, there were assemblies and other stuff but I felt it was manageable for a non-religious family. My current concern stems from the fact that the new head seems to be taking things to a whole new level with the way she's recruiting, the changes she's introducing and so on. They sometimes go on about other religions making a big point of how community focused and inclusive they are, but disregard the existence of non-religious families.

I mean to cause no offense whatsoever, I know it's a Christian school and it's not my first choice of school, it's just our nearest one. I was also hoping to hear from people who know the school and confirm/deny my impression about the way it's going. That's all.

KeithTalent Mon 24-May-10 14:57:17

Oh bugger off to your nearest non faith state school and stop bellyaching.

You are a hypocrite.

It is a C of E school, you a loon to be complaining about religious content.

But your kids are too good for the local community school I guess.

omnishambles Mon 24-May-10 15:05:58

Its funny cos the impression I get from Merton friends is that Garfield is actually fine and in fact more rounded than the Priory - whats your beef with Garfield?

Oh and btw I think BIWI was actually politely asking you to namechange - or at least consider it...

deaddei Mon 24-May-10 21:54:55

Have they appointed a new head at Garfield yet?

cuppycakesong Mon 24-May-10 22:49:31

Keith, The OP is merely asking for feedback; your post is laden with insults and assumptions. Shame on you.

Iamdefinitelyworthit Mon 24-May-10 22:55:41

It's okay Cuppy, I can take her... Oh wait, actually I can't be arsed...

Ouma Wed 08-Sep-10 00:23:44

I've just come across this thread, which sadly looks as if it ran out of steam a few months' back. I just wanted to make a few points: I have taught as a supply teacher at both schools, and remember them being quite different, although very close geographically. HT was an infant school which fed into Priory as a middle school, and it is this history that made the differences. I won't go into them now, as they are not from a parents' POV, but I remember they both did the whole Christian thing in a cultural, rather than a spiritual, way, and they also celebrated Diwali, Ramadan, etc. I am an atheist and although I am not brave enough to come out in the staff room, I make sure that all my teaching is entirely fact-based; I regularly draw parallels between the stories from the major religions and myths/fables. I don't just hint that they are fictional, I tell the children that these are all stories which give us moral guidance, or in primary-speak "teach us how to treat other people kindly". I've done this throughout my teaching career, and the only complaints have come from 'born-again' colleagues. I would love to wish away faith schools, but then like grammar schools and independants, they are part of the landscape.

deaddei Wed 08-Sep-10 10:07:07

And there is a very good head at Garfield now.

BookClubLass Wed 08-Sep-10 18:11:46

I have changed my nickname as I have two DC at the Priory. I am afraid the OP is quite right. Unfortunately, the new head is a bit of a Bible basher and unashamedly so. Some of the parents now feel that the school pays lip service to the concepts of community, integration, tolerance and respect. The constant Christian references and the way religion has permeated into every aspect of education within the school is alienating a lot of families. The head is not particularly well liked amongst the parents but she seems to be good at her job from an admin/bureaucracy point of view. She's just not very personable.
Ouma, from what you're saying, you thought at the school before the current new head because things have changed quite a bit and they're set to change even more, for the worst as far as many parents (Christians and non Christians) are concerned.

ak12 Thu 09-Sep-10 01:30:21

hello mums my daughter goes to a catholic school in merton, the school is just not pushy enough on education so Im thinking of transfer to a school called Singlegate in merton, has any one heard of this school or does your son or daughter goes to this school? please let me know my daugter is in year 3 so time is running out need to transfer her quite urgent. thanx

Ouma Thu 09-Sep-10 09:33:18

I hope everyone is also following the other 'local school' thread entitled "Another Wanky Guardian article"

First read the article itself:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/sep/04 /andrew-penman-schools-education

BookClubLass Thu 09-Sep-10 09:38:44

Ouma, I'm intrigued but link doesn't work for me

waiven Sat 01-Jan-11 20:09:25

Hi there, I just happened to stumble across this post, and whether it is still helpful or not, I thought I'd submit my ideas. I know both Holy Trinity and Priory well as my children have been to both. My opinion is that the Priory is a really good school. I haven't noticed the new head being much of a bible basher and people get far too wound up about that kind of thing. As another post mentioned, they celebrate diwala and ramadan and all sorts of things and the school itself is pretty multicultural and open (especially compared to HT although that has changed a bit after the school went to two form entry and found their catchment area expanded). I think religion is fine so much as the very woolly C of E message is just about caring for each other etc. And that feeds into all the fundraising for South Africa and Tanzania etc. There is also a hardship fund for kids who can't afford school trips. I don't think there's any danger of any kids being brainwashed.

The main thing I have noticed is that the school is a good all round one. There are around 35 after school clubs (and a post school club) which is way more than any others in the area. It has a really good rounded emphasis. I think last year 5 kids went to grammar schools, which is a bit less than HT, but as one poster pointed out, HT has a culture of extra tuition which the Priory doesn't have so much. That is changing a bit though. Last year I noticed their level of level 5 attainment (ie kids getting better than the bog standard) was also much higher and comparable with the best schools in the borough. Their CVA scores (ie how good the teachers are) were really good, better than HT. And raw scores - the ones you see in the newspaper - aren't a very good way of assessing a school as it doesn't tell you anything about a school. For example, a couple of years ago, about 30% of the final year had some kind of special need. Unsurprisingly the raw scores dipped a bit. But the bright kids were still attaining.

I would encourage the mumsnetter who wanted to swap from HT to do just that - we did and haven't regretted it. The atmosphere is a bit friendlier and more people stay at the school into year 6 than at HT which says something. Generally I think the head has brought about many positive changes. She's made some good appointments and weeded out a few of the weaker teachers. Remember that she ran Dundonald before - a) previously the best primary in Merton and b) a COMMUNITY school so she can't be a missionary. The word is that if OFSTED had done a new report (they seem to have run out of money), on the basis of the SIP reports they would have given the school a good with outstanding elements, which sounds good to me.

So, I would say, stop moaning and support the school. And if there's something you don't like, feed it back, it's not constructive to gripe online.

TheCalvert Tue 04-Jan-11 23:48:26

OH. MY. GOODNESS.

Didn't you investigte what you applied for before you applied for it???

Don't gripe about it. There are some of us in this world who would love for their children to go to a CofE school BECAUSE of the religous teachings rather than in spite of them but can't because some athiest has managed to get their child in first and then belly aches about the teachings.

You have very probably taken the place of a Christian child who would have benefitted from the spiritual guidance rather than a confused athiest child who doesn't know whether to 'beieve' his/her parents or 'believe' the doctrines the school teaches.

I hope you are proud of yourself.

Idiot.

Gah.

OneDayInYourLife Wed 02-Feb-11 17:18:54

The word is that if OFSTED had done a new report (they seem to have run out of money), on the basis of the SIP reports they would have given the school a good with outstanding elements, which sounds good to me.

Hello. I am interested in this information. What is a SIP report? How can I find the latest report on this school? Thank you!

OneDayInYourLife Thu 03-Feb-11 07:10:37

Sorry, bump
x

Floandno Tue 08-Feb-11 18:04:54

Hello,
I started a post like this a while back as i had similar issues with my son's C of E school. Whilst i'm by no means anti-religion, I personally believe that no state school should be secular and believe me when i say we didn't have much of a choice when it came to picking a school.
I think one of the problems is that C of E schools vary so much in how religious they are. Even if you do ask, i think it's hard to get a feel for it until your child is actually attending. You can withdraw your child from the collective acts of worship, but i do understand that you don't want your child to be singled out.
Unfortunately, apart from moving schools, i'm not really sure what else you can do. The new head was probably employed, in part, for her ability to uphold the Christian faith. She's just doing her job.
My solution to the problem was to flexi-school my son one day a week, so i could give him a well rounded religious education (among other things obviously). It's been very successful, we've had loads of fun and both learnt so much.

arboretum1 Thu 19-May-11 15:35:04

Perhaps you should try working with the school - faith schools generally perform very well and in my experience as a headteacher the school will be doing the best for all its pupils you choose the school and now you want to change it - typical!!!!

twinsandbabymum Mon 21-May-12 00:57:29

Really sorry if this offends, but i've just stumbled across this unbelievable posting completely be accident and am pretty hacked off.
I totally agree with TheCalvert. We are a Christian family, and both my older children attended the nursery there, but neither were offered places in reception - despite being on the waiting list, and not receiving any explanation why we were turned down.
I was gutted, and have been forced to send them to a non-religious school, where so many of the children are learning English as a second language.
You seem to be completely ungrateful for your place. For what it's worth, I don't believe the school is strictly religion-orientated, since they seem to allow all faiths and obvious non-religious people in a bid to be "PC". The Priory is turning away children that would be an asset to their school and should be bloody ashamed of itself.

tiggytape Mon 21-May-12 08:18:46

Even if you move your child to a 'non-faith' school like Dundonald or Pelham, the school will still have Collective Worship of a broadly Christian nature.
As prh says it is the law for ALL schools to have this not just CofE schools.

But if you are happy to accept that a new school will still have this religious element (but probably less so and only once a day) then you can look into transfering schools if their are places available or you can ask for your child to be withdrawn from worship (you can ask for this too if you get a place at Dundonald or Pelham).

You won't however find a totally non religious school to send a child to (unless oyu go private) and I suspect this is what you want. You say faith is a private matter but in the UK, every single ststae school is obliged by law to have daily worship so it is not something you can avoid altogether. For that reason it is best to think carefully about a transfer because you are likely to have some of the same problems wherever you go and its not worth the upheaval of a transfer only to find you're still unhappy.

Mrsrobertduvall Mon 21-May-12 10:31:20

Twinsandbabymum...that's quite offensive. Let's segregate the EASL children from the rest of Wimbledon.

PeaceLoveandCandy Mon 21-May-12 13:58:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

teacherwith2kids Mon 21-May-12 17:59:13

TABM,

Has the school applied its admissions criteria properly, according to the published over-subscription criteria?

If not, appeal.

If so, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. If there are others who are higher up in those oversubscription criteria than you are, they have complete entitlement to their place. Read the oversubscription criteria - they will not be allowing other faiths in to be 'PC', it will be because it is in those criteria, which by law have to be applied strictly and impartially.

You do yourself - and your Christian faith and values - no favours by your venom.

wimbledonian Mon 21-May-12 20:49:42

Wow, TABM, that is offensive.

Did you fulfil all the criteria for a Church place? If so, maybe you don't live close enough to get in. The school is obliged to offer a certain number of non-Church places, so this is why children of no/other faiths are also let in. Attending the nursery has no bearing on your chances of getting a Reception place and as far as I'm aware, the school doesn't have to tell you why you didn't get in. Presumably you can find out the furthest distance allocated and that will probably give you your answer.

What school did you get?

Wobblypig Mon 21-May-12 22:12:16

TABm - that is unfair of you. You were too optimistic in the first place and on another thread you were warned not to count you chickens by people with experience of applications in MErton. I don't mean to be harsh on you when you are disappointed but some basic research would have prepared you for the difficulties in WImbledon whatever your religion.

tiggytape Mon 21-May-12 22:13:56

The school don't have to take a certain number of non-Church children at all. Some faith schools choose to do this. Others choose not to. Some have a category for non faith children that is well below all the rest so in practice non faith children rarely get in unless the school is under subscribed.

And they do have to tell you why you didn't get a place. How else would parents know if the admission criteria had been fairly applied? The most common reason of course if that more people were in a category higher than yours eg through attending the right church for the right amount of time or that people admitted in your own category won the tie breaker by living closer. Each school has its own admission criteria and must follow these.

wimbledonian is right though in saying that nursery attendance doesn't guarantee a place at reception.

wimbledonian Tue 22-May-12 10:12:16

I stand corrected on the school not giving a reason for turning people down.

However, I thought that each Church school said in advance how many Foundation/non-Foundation places there would be and then had to stick to that? Obviously that could be zero but I don't think it's the case with the Priory. Certainly, 5-10 years ago, everyone jumped through hoops to get the Foundation places at Holy Trinity and Bishop Gilpin, which left most people who weren't church-goers with places at the Priory by default. That may well be different now.

tiggytape Tue 22-May-12 11:18:40

wimbledonain - You are right. Some church schools do that. Others just have a list of criteria and no places specially set aside for non worshippers.

Looking at the Priory, it has 30 places that it alloactes to worshippers but the rules are very strict (stating the exact churches that get priority and a minimum of 2 years of regular worship).

Then it has 30 open places which are based on the usual stuff like siblings, medical criteria and distance.

I can see actually how some people could be confused over their policy though. For example you might apply for one of the foundation places (thinking that having gone to the right church for 2 years you are a dead cert) only to find that so many people apply under the church criteria that the tie breaker counts against you - there are two tie breakers for church goers: siblings followed by distance.
You might also apply for an open place and live quite close but miss out to siblings and the medical criteria placed above you.

So you could in theory go to the right church for the right amount of time AND live relatively close to the school but still not end up with a place - missing out to someone who doesn't go to any church but lives 10m closer.
Or you could go to St John and the Divine Church in Merton for 10 years and have a sibling at The Priory School but miss out on a place if all 30 go to people worshipping at St Mary Merton which has priority.

It is one of those admission policies that works fine when they aren't vastly oversubscribed but as soon as it gets to the stage where siblings can't get places (as could easily happen with this criteria) or when living very close and going to church doesn't get you a place then I think it becomes muddled because parents will have no way of guessing what their chances are at all.

wimbledonian Tue 22-May-12 11:23:16

Is it possible under such criteria that someone could apply for a Foundation place but not get it (perhaps not enough church attendance or whatever) but because they live very close to the school, they get in under open places instead? ie can your application be considered under both Foundation and Open, if you are applying for a Foundation place? Obviously it wouldn't work the other way round, unless there weren't enough applicants for Foundation places.

tiggytape Tue 22-May-12 11:34:27

wimbledonian - that is a good point because it is not made clear in the admission criteria. This is what it says:

"The governors have designated 30 places each year as Open Places, to be offered to applicants who do not qualify for a Foundation Place but whose parents have chosen the school for the type of education it provides."

So it is perfectly possible to qualify in theory for a Foundation Place (by going to St John and the Divine Church for 10 years for example) but not actually get allocated a place because (for example) all 30 go to worshipers from St Mary Merton who get priority.

The way I read it would seem to suggest that being a member of St John and the Divine Church qualifies you to apply for a Foundation Place but doesn't guarantee you'd get one BUT by qualifying for a Foundation Place you might not then be able to apply for an open place because they are only for people who "do not qualify" for a Foundation Place.

It doesn't define qualify. Does qualify mean you apply and get a place or does qualify mean you meet all the criteria for a Foundation Place in theory but, in practice, you get beaten on the tie breaker and end up with no place? In which case you then wouldn't be eligible for an Open Place either.

wimbledonian Tue 22-May-12 11:38:22

So you might have to weigh up your chances of whether living close to the school and having attended a different church would give you a better chance under the Foundation places or the Open places! And if you went for a Foundation place there's a chance you might not get in but someone living further away than you would get in under an Open place? What a horrendous decision to have to make!

tiggytape Tue 22-May-12 11:54:04

wimbledonian - I agree. I can see why some people could be totally convinced they'd get a place and be very surprised not to and equally, I can see how some people could put the school as their last choice and be very surprised to be allocated it (on distance alone).
It depends totally on how they define that word "qualify" as to whether church goers get 2 bites of the cherry (the chance of an Open Place based on distance if they miss out on the church place) or whether qualifying and failing under the Foundation criteria excludes you from the Open Place criteria.

Its not surprising it has the capacity to cause upset though and would only really work well for as long as the number of people applying for a Foundation Place was so low that it rarely went to tie breakers.

wimbledonian Tue 22-May-12 12:00:03

I assume there is some sort of precedent somewhere so that people understand how "qualification" works, but presumably it is anecodatal rather than written policy. Otherwise, as you say, people could put the school last (or not at all) and get a place, over and above Foundation applicants who live closer.

Sooooo glad I've been through this already (totally different school) as it's a minefield.

Primafacie Tue 22-May-12 20:03:57

TABM, as a Wimbledon mother whose mother tongue is not English, and who has two mixed race children, I find your post very offensive. Perhaps you should see this as an opportunity for your children to be exposed to diversity. I suspect they, and you, would benefit from this.

I know as well as anyone that the school situation in Wimbledon is awful, but you are barking up the wrong tree by complaining about the number of EASL pupils in your allocated school.

lizyear6 Tue 10-Jul-12 20:37:47

i am curretly in year 6 i do think that calling it collect worship is taking it a bit to far however you are not forced to pray but if you do not you have to stay silent to show respect.Through out the years i have spent at school some teachers where not my favroite but where good teachers.Finally we have the best teacher ever we even got to go to france!

going to the priory is a choice i dont regret making

whataboutbob Fri 10-Jan-14 17:11:13

My son go`s to the Priory and he`s having a fun time learning there and has got many friends,so i think your being a little bit insulting saying that it is too religious.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now