The John Fisher School, Purley

(82 Posts)
marsbar22 Fri 04-Feb-11 19:59:22

I wondered if any parents had experienced difficulties with the admissions process we found that the John Fisher School does not adhere to it's own admission policy. In the process of applying for a place for our son we discovered that a boy was given a place in Sept 2010 who was not baptised in the first year. By the school's policy this makes the boy a subcategory C when the school governors stated that the school was oversubscribed with subcategory A candidates. The school governors can and do make discretionary decisions based on appeals received from parents at admission rather than at the appeal process. The Governors obviously feel that their opinions matter more than the published criteria which is odd as they changed the admissions policy in an attempt to make it fairer!

Ladymuck Sat 05-Feb-11 14:52:43

Do you know for certain the date of baptism? Is it possible that the child was baptised as a result of Catechumen initiation?

To be honest if the governors have made a mistake in applying the criteria, then obviously any other candidate can make an appeal.

Yes, but as it wasn't me I'm not really comfortable about giving details (sorry!) Suffice to say, what I know tallies with your conclusion and caused a good friend a great deal of problems. Personally I wouldn't have had the patience or ability to deal with them, but I'm not Catholic and would have had no pressing desire for my DCs to attend.

Apart from that it's a very good school by all accounts.

marsbar22 Sat 05-Feb-11 21:40:52

I don't know the date of baptism but the Mum told me the circumstances of his application and how she managed to pull it off. I have challenged the school at appeal but they refuse to discuss another child's application and say they acted correctly in my son's case. As they set and administer their own admissions policy it is very difficult to get any clarity or honesty from the Governors, very disappointing in a Catholic school!

penelopewellingtonbowes Mon 05-Nov-12 14:28:32

MrsDmitriTippensKrushnic, it's not as bad as it used to be.

You should have tried getting your sons in during the 1990's selection policy.

Try being:
-interviewed,
-your son being interviewed,
-prepping your son through a Catholic prep school in order so he could pass the religion test, with the deputy headmaster asking the questions!!
-Not to mention the application forms, written statements (by your son, talking about his interests and motivations for wanting to join the school)

So basically what I am saying is, getting your son into John Fisher thesedays is incredibly easy in comparison. You have never had it so easy!

John Fisher's selection policy was banned in September 1999.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TheJohn_Fisher

penelopewellingtonbowes Mon 05-Nov-12 14:30:59

And I say bring back the selection policy as John Fisher was a wonderful alternative to Surrey independents such as Whitgift and Epsom College.

The fact that it was so popular, oversubscribed and highly-selective; made it one of the best state schools in England.

Bring back more selective schools like The John Fisher School.

penelopewellingtonbowes Mon 05-Nov-12 14:52:16

''John Fisher was a small highly selective school from January 1992 until September 1999. John Fisher no longer selects its boys but instead takes candidates using a religious observance points system; because of this boys come from all parts of London and SE England to attend. John Fisher does not operate a catchment area.''

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_John_Fisher_School

confusedperson Mon 05-Nov-12 15:33:54

Few years ago John Fisher was accused by selecting candidates by postcode and dismissing single parents - this was investigated but not confirmed by the school. Judging from their intake (low SEN, low free meals) I wouldn't be surprised that they find their ways to select students, and by the way there is no surprise that children of pushy religious parents are more focused and do better in schools.

tiggytape Mon 05-Nov-12 16:13:10

They don't really need extra secret selection. In all honesty, the published admission criteria and religious requirements are so strict (and the number of applicants so high) that only those of very faithful or very determined families will get in.
If they had less applicants, people meeting their lower criteria would get a place and potentially even up the numbers a bit but, as it is, only those who meet the very rigorous requirements of the top criteria bands tend to get places because so many apply from all over who meet this criteria (early baptism and regular mass attendance over many years)

AngelEyes46 Mon 05-Nov-12 21:46:32

There can be very valid reasons as to why a baptism is late and it is in the governors interest to read every singly application and adjust where necessary. I feel for you marsbar as i am sure your reasons were real and in that way it is subjective. There is flexibility in baptism date (I know a number of boys that were baptised after a year and are currently at JF). Mars - are you happy with your current secondary school?

penelopewellingtonbowes Sun 11-Nov-12 14:48:15

I'd rather go through the points-system and complex admissions than the selection policy.

As a middle-class mother my son was fortunate enough to attend Catholic prep and in hindsight the selection policy was unfair; my sons got in but it was wrong.

chloe74 Sun 11-Nov-12 15:18:55

Is it not ridiculous to base entry into a school on when they were baptized? I know it goes on in religious schools but it seems so wrong.

AngelEyes46 Sun 11-Nov-12 20:26:27

What should be used though? The church schools take their admission policies from the code of canon law and canon 867 states:
"Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptised within the first few weeks. As soon as possible after the birth, indeed even before it, they are to approach the parish priest to ask for the sacrament for their child, and to be themselves duly prepared for it"

I agree that it can be very unfair for people that for various reasons did not get their dc baptised 'early' enough but I'm not sure what criteria should be used!

chloe74 Mon 12-Nov-12 00:49:50

whilst I wont be sending my DC to a faith school I would suggest church attendance over several years would be a much fairer system. I know many parents go to church just for the school but it but its a lot harder to fake years of attendance than a quick baptism.

mathanxiety Mon 12-Nov-12 00:56:19

There can be all kinds of reasons for not baptising a baby within a few weeks of birth and it is very possible that there were acceptable reasons. They can't discuss someone else's private life with you and you will only get their backs up by telling them you know details you really shouldn't know about this child.

Monty27 Mon 12-Nov-12 01:06:08

Had church attendance, within easy commute etc, (2008 intake, just the year after the interview process). Very close to parish priest etc, had been for about 15 years at that point..... the downfall, ds dad had an affair and left us when ds was less than 2 yo. We were turned down because of the divorce. I challenged it so they put ds on 2nd of the waiting list. He never got in...

Oh, and don't ever go for St Joseph's on Beulah Hill. Just saying.

confusedperson Mon 12-Nov-12 12:57:52

Monty27, sorry to hear that! If it wasn't my DC education on stake, I would say this is very unfair and I would never choose a school like that.
Can I ask where your DS went in the end? And why St Joseph's is a no-no?

Monty27 Mon 12-Nov-12 13:50:33

He went to St J's. I wouldn't recommend it. Lots of bullying and teachers aren't communicative. Well, he was very unhappy there anyway and didn't do brilliantly. Have you looked at it? If you get a chance for JF take it, definitely.

confusedperson Mon 12-Nov-12 14:55:28

Thanks for sharing Monty27. St Joseph on paper does not look that bad, but if you say bullying.. then not good at all! Our option 1 is to move nearer JF (Wallington or Purley) and hope to get in (our DS1 was baptized at 14 months so not top criteria), while back-up would have to be Thomas More. Option 2 is move nearer Langley boys (Bromley) and forget about catholic secondary education. Hearing all those things about JF refusing single parents makes me very cross. But half of my DS’s primary tends to go to JF, so I cannot ignore that, too.

AngelEyes46 Mon 12-Nov-12 19:30:24

JF wouldn't be able to do that now (as all other secondary RC schools). Thomas more's progress was the best this year in Croydon and the head and SLT are very stable. Is Langley Park's main criteria distance and do you need to live very close to the school?

Monty27 Mon 12-Nov-12 22:48:51

Confused Langley Boys is brilliant. The catchment is tight, so check it as it gets tighter and tighter it's so highly in demand, and of course you pay a penalty for housing for that reason. Dd who is a couple of years older than ds, after a RC secondary school where she did really well at gcse level, but wanted a change.... yyyyy boys 6th form etc, I trusted her judgement, she went to Langley Boys for 6th form and did well and is now at Uni. She thoroughly enjoyed it too. I've never come across one of her friends that I didn't think was wonderful. But St J's? Nooooooo. Don't do it. But then I was single and working full time and he probably didn't have the support that a 'functional' family could have afforded iyswim. sad

AngelEyes46 Mon 12-Nov-12 23:06:11

Confused - I have just remembered my friend's dd is currently at Langley Boys - she came from a RC secondary (it's not Monty's DD though - my friend only has one DD). The reason she went to Langley was because she wanted to do law and the secondary she was at didn't do it. She is really happy there although she did do very well in her GCSE's.

confusedperson Tue 13-Nov-12 09:32:33

Monty, Angel, thanks. JF would be a risky option due to delayed baptism, as I said, although we had various reasons to delay which may or may not be enough to move us to the top category. But most of his friends will go there. Moving to Langleys catchment would be a more “certain” option, and it appeals to me as they seem to have quite supportive SEN division (JF have very low SEN). DS1 is not SEN but I he seems on the edge of “normal” and perhaps he could benefit from SEN support. He is at the RC primary with very low SEN number and coping more or less OK. If we move to Langley catchment, we would have to swap our house for a flat, but I can accept that compromise.

penelopewellingtonbowes Wed 14-Nov-12 17:37:13

Friends of ours who sent their boy to Whitgift and girl to Worth complain all the time about the Fisher selection policy; it wasn't right, but basically ensured 700 Catholic boys were exclusively educated along selective lines for free.

If you look at the 1998 intake there were nearly 8 applications for every place, more than independents and grammars. And who can blame the school for it's really stringent points-system thesedays? It's the only way for John Fisher to remain an exclusive Catholic school without selecting its boys.

Or should we turn it into a bog standard comprehensive like St Joseph's (Beulah Hill) or Thomas More?

PWB

Monty27 Wed 14-Nov-12 21:59:21

St Joseph's is catholic selective, or was when I did the secondary school stuff. I thought Thomas More is/was too.

And to be honest, I brought my dc's up in a catholic religion because it was my upbringing (not in this country) and it was what I chose for them too (intending for them to chose their own paths in life when they were ready), I did not know the minefield that was the education system in this country. Boy was I shocked. But luckily I fitted the criteria based on 'catholicity' but for John Fisher, sadly not on marital status (by that stage). sad

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