St George's School Harpenden

(27 Posts)
hct123 Mon 05-Dec-11 11:26:12

I have a child whom i am desperate (like everyone else) to get into St Georges. I am a Christian and regular Church goer.

I live in St Albans so within the 10% catchment.

Is there any backdoor route?

what about the funding side of it, are people making financial contributions to help 'buy' their way in?

Are there any of you who have a child at St Georges?

Thanks very much for your time xx

prh47bridge Mon 05-Dec-11 11:59:52

There is no backdoor route into a maintained school such as St George's and they are not allowed to give priority on the basis of financial contributions to the school. Admissions must be determined entirely in line with their published admission criteria.

Based on the information you have posted your child will be considered under category 3b of this school's admission criteria provided your child attends church with you. If your child does not attend church with you they will be considered under category 5.

Like many schools they haven't made the tie breaker completely clear but, based on what they have said, I would expect straight line distance to be the tie breaker if there are more children in the category than places available.

prh47bridge Mon 05-Dec-11 12:03:23

By the way, if your child hasn't been attending church with you they will be in category 5. You cannot move them up to category 3b by taking them with you in future. To get into category 3b the child must have been attending church regularly with you for the last 2 years.

hct123 Mon 05-Dec-11 12:51:03

Thankyou so much for your time, yes we have been going as a family nearly every week for more than two years. Thanks again so much for bothering to answer xx

QueenofHerts Mon 05-Dec-11 15:59:46

Large numbers of families from St Albans apply to St G's each year, most of whom meet the churchgoing rule and their preference for interdenominational families (eg CofE and Catholic). Sadly, out of those I know personally I know several for whom it is really important to have a christian education, but most apply because of its academic reputation. The one family I know who got in were in the latter camp - started weekly church attendance 3 years before and stopped the week they got their acceptance letter hmm

I honestly have no idea exactly how they make their decisions as I assume that on paper all these families look the same.

So apply, but don't build your hopes up. There are loads of other really good schools in StA. smile

prh47bridge Mon 05-Dec-11 16:26:50

They make decisions by applying their admission criteria, just like any other school. They are not allowed to make subjective judgements as to how Christian a family is so they have to rely on things like church attendance. The reason the parents want a place at the school plays no part in the admissions process at all. The school simply places children in categories according to their admission criteria and orders them within each category according to their tie breaker (which appears to be distance). They then admit from the top of the list until they are full up to PAN.

That is, of course, a gross over-simplification and ignores the fact that significant parts of the process are carried out by the LA but it gives the general idea.

hct123 Tue 06-Dec-11 16:03:59

thanks folks for soooo much for your timexx

pchick Sun 18-Dec-11 19:32:41

I know someone who successfully managed to get thir child inno St. G's in year 8 - there s less pressure then. It may be worth considering.

hct123 Tue 10-Jan-12 19:49:50

does anyone know how much parents are supposed to donate? regarding the VA part of it?

mummytime Wed 11-Jan-12 07:00:01

VA doesn't mean parents are supposed to donate. Google what it does mean, it is to do with the way the school is funded by a mixture of LA and Church money.

hct123 Wed 11-Jan-12 09:56:47

ok i have gone searching and found out that the recommended minimum amount per month for parents to give to st georges is £12....although this is still voluntary.

mummytime Wed 11-Jan-12 10:32:56

My DCs schools both have donation schemes (one is community ones is voluntary aided). Only the treasurer/bursar knows if you do donate, it has no influence over admission or how your child is treated. It is just a way of raising funds. Most schools in middle class areas do this, as a way of getting extra funds. Some parents donate, some don't; and I have no idea who does what, and don't want to.

hct123 Wed 11-Jan-12 10:43:19

thanks mummytime for your help.
i guess that even if people were putting money in with applications they would never know if it was the money that got them in or not!

MrsJAlfredPrufrock Wed 11-Jan-12 21:48:08

It's not just VA schools that ask for voluntary donations, my DC's primary school ask for voluntary donations.

Jennie2012 Sun 15-Jan-12 16:35:45

what are my chances then if my children are muslim and live in one of the surrounding villages? thanks jennie

hct123 Wed 25-Jan-12 15:46:34

I dont know what your chances are......you have a faith....

pchick Tue 31-Jan-12 22:20:56

On the admissions policy, it states that St G is- multi-denominational school, so faith( or lack of it) is not relevant. Also, there is a list of catchment villages.

girltalk Wed 22-Feb-12 08:23:51

The donations only become relevant after you have a place at the school. On joining your are asked if you would like to set up a monthly direct debit - as already discussed this is confidential & it is voluntary. It has no impact on the admission process. I do know of families with mixed Christian faiths (e.g a catholic parent & a Methodist parent attending different churches) have stood a better chance as the school multi-denominational rather than just CofE etc. It also depends if you have any other criteria such as medical or learning needs. Other than that, once you meet the faith criteria, it is down to distance from the school for the 10% out of area which equates to about 13 places on offer.

hct123 Wed 07-Mar-12 00:35:28

so i have just read about the new criteria for entrance for the 2013 intake and they have changed to 80% Harpenden and 20% villages.....no chance then if you live in St Albans anymore!!

JoSw Tue 09-Oct-12 17:51:56

If you are looking for a Christian school, Have you considered The Kings School, Harpenden which is an independent Christian school. They have a really lovely site and a great christian ethos, and are only a short distance from St Georges on Ambrose Lane.

OldGeorgian Tue 09-Oct-12 18:14:07

As someone who went to St Gs (annoyingly I got my parents to appeal) I wouldn't make the extra effort. Try for a St A school instead

trixie123 Tue 09-Oct-12 22:45:23

One of the reasons that St G gets such great results is that they refuse to take kids with some types of SEN and pass them on to the other Harpenden Schools who are better equipped (because they have to be, sort of chicken and egg). Those schools also get v good results as do most of the St Albans Schools. Do drop the idea of a "bribe", it makes no difference to if you get a place or not and would be illegal if you did.

Gunznroses Wed 10-Oct-12 09:11:37

You are a Christian and regular church goer but want to know if there is a backdoor route? shock, you're also not averse to
voluntary donations bribing ?

My advice, find another church! Leave the rest to Jesus.

anniel123 Sat 22-Dec-12 15:30:12

The only reason that St Gs passes some children on to other schools is because of the limited lack of access for children with certain physical disabilities. The main building is Victorian and as yet they haven't been able to put in enough disabled facilities. My son has several quite severe learning difficulties (including Asperger's, anxiety, dyslexia and dyspraxia) but was accepted into St Gs with no problem and we were delighted with the help he was given by the very able SEN department and all the staff he came into contact with. He ended up with a 'B' in English at GCSE - something we would never have dreamed of at one time. I have nothing but praise for a wonderful, caring school and my son was extremely happy there. Financially we were unable to give any regular donation (purely voluntary once you start at the school, as is the case with many schools) due to my husband's redundancy and this never caused any problem with the school.

Humpty10 Fri 15-Feb-13 13:21:31

This misconception about St George's (and Voluntary Aided schools like it) keeps coming up. To retain its faith school status requires being able to set some admissions criteria which give priority to children seeking a faith element to the education on offer. The law allows this for those schools but as a result of that freedom, the school does not receive the full state funding per child that a non-faith school controlled fully by the local Council does. These schools have to look to their churches and voluntary fundraising among parents and others to make up the difference or cut their cloth accordingly ie spend less. There is absolutely no 'ask' of prospective parents as part of the application process - and while it may be tempting to think that the school might try prioritise applicants with good postcodes to help their requests for voluntary donations after a child has been offered a place etc - the admissions criteria operate to prevent this ie the proximity to school and not postcode dictates that.

That said - much more relevant is that the admissions criteria of both VA and Council controlled schools are not immune to being circumvented by the financial ability of prospective parents to simply move into the catchment area of their target school. In Harpenden that is true of all three secondaries rated "outstanding" by Ofsted - and the cost of moving and a higher mortgage dwarfs the issue of helping a VA school with its voluntary donation efforts that help them make up the shortfall from state funds. This is true up and down the country.

As to the question raised about limiting access to children with special needs - one needs to be careful not to be drawn in to the individual cases of how and why a child is accepted or not accepted at a particular school. It is easy to generalise but unless you have the full picture of the child's needs and the schools facilities and the emotional turmoil for parents wishing for "the best" for their children then the "I know someone who got turned away unfairly.." is not the best way to draw a judgement. Something that all three secondaries in Harpenden can be proud of is the the 'value added' score they achieve each year. Measuring the child's attainment levels at Y7 and again at Y11 is probably the best (albeit imperfect) measure of whether a school (and parents) genuinely moves the child on educationally - regardless of where they were on beginning the school in Year 7. Selective schools have no interest in such a measure and do not publish it in School League tables which is a pity.

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