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!

Catholic schools don't always have a catchment area. You should be able to find what school's catchment you are in on your local council website I think? I did think religious schools had a requirement to take 10% non religious pupils?

My2012baby Thu 15-Nov-12 16:52:38

Yes I have tried to look on the barnet council website and when I put my postcode it gives me these 3 schools, but it doesn't talk about catchment area, I think it just shows you which are the closest to you, picking a radius like 1 mile or 2 miles ect.

I thought that they had a min required too, but apparently not! They state it very clearly on their website that because they are always oversubscribed by chatholic applicants, it has been more than 12 years since they were able to offer a place to a non catholic student

I feel so annoyed! This school played a massive part in the decision to move and buy this house!

Succubi Thu 15-Nov-12 17:00:27

I agree with you that it is disgusting that schools paid with tax payers money are entitled to discriminate based on religion. You wouldn't be allowed to discriminate this way in the work place or any other area that I can think of. My personal opinion is that any institution that is openly discriminatory is not a place I would want my children to attend

I should say I have no objection to those schools that discriminate being privately funded but the state should not support it.

frenchfancy Thu 15-Nov-12 17:02:38

If you want your child to go to a church school (which you say you do) then you need to go to the church. It is simple really.

So a school that you knew was a Catholic school played a massive part in your decision to move and you didn't bother to find out the entrance criteria?

Catholics are tax payers too btw. DH and I do plenty of funding for schools thanks, as do the rest of the parents at DD1's school. We've paid for massive extensions to the school ourselves and we also pay while at the church. Lots of funding coming from Catholics so keep your hair on.

zipzap Thu 15-Nov-12 17:11:28

Why not just ring up the school and ask them what their policy is?

I think the thing you need to ask them is something along the lines of how far away is the furthest non-catholic child that attended your school from in the last couple of years? and the furthest catholic child?

That would give you an idea of if your child was in school this year whether or not they would have got in.

If they say no non-catholic children, ask if they are allowed to do that, say you thought there were rules that said they had to take a percentage of non-catholic children and see what they say. They might be putting stuff on their website to try to discourage non-catholics from even applying...

malinois Thu 15-Nov-12 17:17:31

I don't understand how a state-funded school can get away with this.

Would we tolerate NHS hospitals that only treated Catholics? Or how about a fire brigade that only responded to calls from Jews?

SoupDragon Thu 15-Nov-12 17:20:49

I don't understand how a state-funded school can get away with this.


Catholics are tax payers too btw.

And this entitles you to segregated schooling and a wider choice of schools does it?

Succubi Thu 15-Nov-12 17:21:36

Malinois I agree with you completely. The state should not fund such open discrimination.

JakeBullet Thu 15-Nov-12 17:24:50

It's crap, and I say that as the parent governor in an RC school. Our school takes children from lots of faiths and none but the Infant school has been oversubscribed for the past two years as there has been a rise in the Filipino and Polish community locally who work in the NHS (big employer locally).

I think it's mad that a child living two seconds from the school gate goes half a mile (okay not much) to a school because he is not Catholic.

It is much less pressured in the Junior school.

All I can say OP is that people do move and my DS got his infant place at Easter when we moved into this area and the only school with a place was this catholic one. So get your child's name down, you are Catholic, not sure if your child is baptised or not but you can say you are Catholic and want him/her to attend a Catholic school.

notcitrus Thu 15-Nov-12 17:25:03

I didn't think London schools had 'catchment areas', only 'last admitted pupil' distances from the previous year which vary from year to year, obviously.
Most London schools are oversubscribed - while I dislike the fact that state-funded schools are allowed to discriminate against children on the basis of their parents' religion, it doesn't really matter who it is getting into a school if it's not me. My dn goes to a London school where the last admitted non-sibling lives under 200 metres from the school - and it's not a church school!

OP - what you need to know is what schools kids in your road end up getting into, and if all those schools are also oversubscribed, lobby the council, MP etc for bulge classes at your nearest schools and expansion of the schools.
My nearest school (CofE) was single-form entry and never managed to admit any non-Christians for years, but then added bulge classes and lots of other children can get in now.

SoupDragon Thu 15-Nov-12 17:25:41

In 2002, Frank Dobson, to increase inclusivity and lessening social division, proposed an amendment to the Education Bill (for England and Wales) to limit the selection rights of faith schools by requiring them to offer at least a quarter of places to children whose parents belong to another or no religion. The proposal was defeated in Parliament.

In September 2007, attempts to create the first secular school in Britain were blocked. Dr Paul Kelley, head of Monkseaton High School in Tyneside, proposed plans to eliminate the daily act of Christian worship

Interesting how you are not allowed to have an equivalent non religious school. How's that for equality?

My2012baby Thu 15-Nov-12 17:34:39

Before you all get so edgy and judgemental you should know that the reason why my son is not catholic (ie baptised) is that his father is asian and from a different religion. So while we agreed we would teach values of both our religions, we didn't agree on baptism, thinking once he is older he can pick what he feels represents him most. I thought that was fair.
But i am catholic and i would Like him to learn at a rc school. Now seeing how things run in th school, maybe it would be best to baptise anyway

BackforGood Thu 15-Nov-12 17:35:56

I can't believe you chose to move, and buy a house near a school you like to get into that school without checking the admission criteria first. It would have been pretty easy to do before you put your house on the market, and, as you say you are a Catholic anyway, then going to Church would probably have worked out as less stressful, and a whole heap cheaper, than moving.

JakeBullet Thu 15-Nov-12 17:36:04

I personally think church schools should have to take a proportion of children from the local community.
It is a difficult issue though as often the church owns the land and the buildings plus makes a contribution to the running of the school. Catholic children need education as well as non catholic children. The state funding contributes to their education which means they are nit applying for places in other local schools. It also means the Govt does not have to buy land and build extra schools so they contribute to these church owned schools instead.

My sons school has a mixture of children from all over the world and a variety if languages being spoken at home. Nearly all the children are either Catholic or have some other faith but not all, it's a good mix and ideal. I would hate home to be in a school of just one faith.

The other issue OP is how much religion you want your child to be exposed to, our RC school is minimal (Mass once a term) but others are heavy on it all....not sure what the school you have mentioned is like.

JakeBullet Thu 15-Nov-12 17:38:02

That's intersting soupdragon, didn't know about that. A shame as its what I feel would be fairer....I can understand church having a say if they own the land etc but I feel at least 25% of children should come from the local community.

mam29 Thu 15-Nov-12 17:54:07

Just want to say think its common myth about quota possibly wwas few years back but not now.

We applied for rc primary in 2010 its our 2nd nearest school.

we are not rc we are coe-well I am and kids baptised.

I had to submit a supplemtry evidence form and enclose baptism certificate.

i have no idea if this made a difference as that were was oddly under subcribed think the admissions criteria put people off thinking tehy stood no chance.

Check the admissions criteria as if its voluntary aided then they control the admissions criteria and the church/school raise 10%of its costs and lea 90%.

pecking order for ours was

1)children in care
2)batised catholics living within the parish
3)baptised catholics living outside parish-parish I think slightly diffrent from catchment check with lea.
4)kids with 1baptised parent-that could be you

which would give you precedant over

no catholic kids
kids of other faith

If you declare yourself as rc you may stand a chance.

The pecking order exists in order to cope with oversubscription and appeals.

Each schools admission specific so yours maybe different.

basically apply or 3choices with lea
they then ask rc school who decide and get back to them, if its a no then lea hopefully get you other 2choices.

There were quite a few non rc kids in dd old school and other faiths.
However spoke top lady who lives very close whos child dident get in this year as it was oversubscibed luckily she had community primary nearby.

We have now moved dd to a coe school out of cathcment.
Its voluntry controlled lea run

which means if we still living where we living risk siblings wont get in despite all being baptised, sister going their as its based purly on distance.

Heres all the coe schools have small and tiny cathments and fact they attend church or baptised areas does not matter,.
They all based in affluent areas with high house prices so one could argue thats unfair.

Uk education is unfair.

The rc senior school even turns down rc kids who went to rc primary.
The coe senior does actually select on faith and regular church attendance and has no catchment,

Normally its the non faith moaning about faith schools but you are rc and want child to go there. I would start going to church and book baptism if have time think its quite common in london/south east.

CelticPromise Thu 15-Nov-12 18:03:33

Check the admissions criteria ( on school website or available from council). My first choice school admits ( after children in care) baptised practising Catholic children from the home parish, then the one next door, then other catholic children, then siblings of non Catholics in the school, then others. In practice, some years there isn't room for the next door parish children. You have to have a priest's reference to confirm your practice. At that school you wouldn't get in as it stands.

I think it's a ridiculous situation. I'm Catholic, I practise, DS was baptised as soon as it could be done. Or closest school is Catholic, it's outstanding and we'll get in. But I would much prefer all schools to take all their children from the local community, and parents to teach faith at home. While a good quality RC education is available to me I'll take it, but I don't think it should be this way.

Pyrrah Thu 15-Nov-12 18:50:14

Getting your child baptised just before school applications is considered an old trick by many of these schools and may not help - the statement showing attendance, helping out at the summer bun-fight etc from the local priest is what counts.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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?

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

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.

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?

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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 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?

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