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Catholic School my only option?

(16 Posts)
tiggytape Tue 29-Jan-13 14:59:48

Catholic schools are community schools unless they are private.
Sometimes faith schools are funded slightly differently or own some of their own land but unless, it is a private school, it is included as a state school that the council allocates places at.

PureQuintessence Tue 29-Jan-13 14:54:33

To be honest, if your son is in Y6, I would accept the place on the C&E school.

You have less grounds for appeal if you have turned down a place for him and sent both children to the Catholic school.

If I were you, I would let them be at two different schools for a while, and hope that your dd can get a place on sibling policy, while you prepare your appeal.

Good luck.

WhatKindofFool Tue 29-Jan-13 14:52:46

That is the nearest community school with places.

WhatKindofFool Tue 29-Jan-13 14:50:56

I thought that the LEA would allocate you places at the nearest community school, and not offer you a place at a Catholic school unless you specifically asked. Have you spoken to someone in School Admissions? This sounds totally bizarre to me!

tiggytape Tue 29-Jan-13 14:28:05

hippppy - moving to a new area and schooling is often difficult so I do sympathise. In your situation, parents often end up getting allocated 2 different schools and not always ones they are happy with. I think it is worth putting DS into the CofE school as you have nothing to lose by doing so: It is the school you want, it will see him through to secondary and his presence there boosts DD's chances of getting a place all the time he is a pupil there.

As for DD, you can either put her in the Catholic school and hope a place comes up quickly at CofE, you can explore other schools further away from home that may have places, you can home school her whilst keeping her on the waiting list for the Cof E school and you can find out if, by some luck, the CofE school has less than 30 per class which means an appeal is viable even if they are technically full.

hippppy Tue 29-Jan-13 14:24:34

sorry about the spellers! Auto on my phone is not the best ;)

tiggytape Tue 29-Jan-13 14:22:54

Pyrrah - in some cases it would mean withdrawing a child from all aspects of worship including assembly when hymns were sung, religious plays or prayers or saying grace etc. In practice many parents feel this would be too hard for their children and make them feel left out or too different from their peers but it is a parent's right to insist upon it if they want.
I know that in some faith schools, the faith aspect is very hard to escape (crosses on the wall, religious books in the story corner, prayers at set times each day etc) but the appeal and allocation system does not have special allowances for this. The only allowances occur once the child is actually at the school.

A parent cannot avoid being allocated a faith school solely on the grounds that it is a different faith to their own or they are of no faith.
A parent can only make preferences about school places. If the only school with spaces is a faith one, then that is what they will be allocated.

hippppy Tue 29-Jan-13 14:22:04

I really do not know why in this day and age that this is rammed down Primary School childrens necks. Its so silly. You have parents pretending to be catholic to get in lots of schools. Where does this leave small children....confused at the best! I have to something I do not believe in because I am told to do it by a teacher whom I should respect... (?!)

It would be like getting a job and told you had to pray 3 times a day in office hours - and forced to listen to someone preaching about god, and be unable to object.

I know you can withdraw a child from worship - but again, its so interwoven into some catholic schools I do not know how they could possibly keep their beliefs away from the child. and, you have the added problem of being the new kid that has to go and stand in the hall, several times a day to avoid to go along with it or sit out??

I have never had a problem before as we live near london - the schools are a true mix of faiths, and no single one is pushed upon my children...and that I do like. RE should me that, exploring different religions and beliefs...but I really cant understand why faith is in schools..not one bit!

Thanks again Tiggytape - I need to have a think. Do I put one in the c of E and one in the Catholic in the hope a space will pop up...but if it did, my daughter would need to change schools again..not ideal..

Pyrrah Tue 29-Jan-13 13:41:22

With the withdrawing from all aspects of worship, I understand how that works in terms of collective assemblies, but what happens in the case of a school where religion and prayers are woven into the whole curriculum?

My DD is at a CofE school at the moment and they have prayers in class several times a day. I've not said anything as she will be going to a non-faith school in September, but how would one go about withdrawing your child from classroom prayers?

I would really struggle in your situation Grimma - we are very staunch atheists and DH is Jewish to boot. We've got very few options because of so many faith schools round here, but they're all very oversubscribed. I'd never contemplated the possibility of having to send one's child to a faith school because there is no other option.

tiggytape Tue 29-Jan-13 13:34:30

Grimma - parents would (as they do now) have the absolute right to withdraw a child from all aspects of worship in any faith school. They do not have the right to go to a church or non-church school but they retain the right to refuse to have their children participate.

tiggytape Tue 29-Jan-13 13:32:56

If they have a space for Year 6 but not Year 1 then unfortunately chances at appeal are still low unless for any reason the school are saying they are full but on closer inspecttion have less than 30 children per teacher for Year 1 aged children.
If you find they have small classes at the CofE school, you could appeal for a Year 1 place with a chance of winning.
If there are 30 per class as is the norm, though, the chances of winning are very, very small (it would be better if they had a Year 1 place and no Year 6 place as it is much easier to win an appeal for Year 6 than for Year 1. There's no limit on how big a Year 6 class can be).

The good news is, with DS in the school, DD will probably jump right to the top of the waiting list as soon as he takes up his place. You'd still have to wait for someone to leave, but you'd probably be first on the list when they did.

Secondary School appeal rules are the same as Year 3 upwards i.e you have a chance of winning if you have good reasons. It depends on how oversubscribed local ones are. You may not need to appeal at all - you may get an offer in March.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 29-Jan-13 13:28:29

Wonder if it would be worth asking the LEA if the school at which you have been offered a place can adequately manage this ?

I don't know what the answer is - we live in one of those areas where its all faith schools, we ended up having to drive several miles to avoid them.

You might be able to get advice if you contact the BHA or NSS.


hippppy Tue 29-Jan-13 13:13:01

Thank you very much Tiggytape, exactly the info I needed smile

We have under a month until we move, so I need to know where I stand.

The C of E school has just rang me saying they have a space for my son in year 6.. but not for my daughter in year 1. So I guess the decision will be either put him there and hope to get my daughter in also with an appeal. Or send them both to the Catholic school. It would be a big shame, the catholic school is quite a bit further away, and yo need to use an underpass then cross a very busy road.. the C of E is a stones throw away from the house!

If I put my son in the C of E and my daughter on a waiting list/appeal? Would I stand a better chance of her getting in?

All of this, and then the problem of secondary schools coming up - My son has not got his name down at a school for admissions in 2013 as we are moving. I guess we will have to see what happens there!

tiggytape Tue 29-Jan-13 12:05:17

As for 'happy to porky pie' - there isn't anything you can say or fib about that will get you into a full school or help you avoid a Catholic one if it is the only one with spaces.

If your children are Year 3 or above your best bet is appeal with as many good reasons as you can think of (truthful ones - appeal panels expect evidence) and waiting list
If your children are Year 2 or younger your best bet is joining the waiting list and try an appeal knowing that it is virtually certain it will be rejected but is always worth a go as it is free and you've nothing to lose.

tiggytape Tue 29-Jan-13 12:02:04

Yes you can appeal but you will not win an appeal on the basis that you do not want a Catholic School. The council will allocate you a school place where there are spaces available regardless of religion / Ofsted report / facilities or anything else (it will be the Catholic one if it is the only school with spaces left).

Appealing depends on 2 things:
1. Age of children (if Year 2 or younger you really have very little chance - practically no chance - of winning as Infant Class Size laws apply and can only be breached if the council made a mistake when allocating places or their decision was unreasonable in the legal sense of the word. For in-year applicants this is not really possible)

2. If Year 3 and above, class size laws cease to apply so you can win by showing how the school you are appealing for meets your child's needs.
You do not appeal against one school. You only ever appeal for the one you want. So in that case saying 'we aren't religious and don't want a Catholic School' won't work. Instead you need to focus on what clubs, curriculum, facilities the CofE school has that makes it perfectly able to meet your child's needs and interests in a way other schools can't.
If the panel decide you have a strong case, good reasons and that the CofE school won't suffer too much by being forced to go over numbers, you will win.

hippppy Tue 29-Jan-13 10:37:41

We are moving soon to a small village. My children have been attending a schools that are not religious, and quite multi-faith. I am not religious.

There are two primary schools in the village - one C of E and the other Catholic. Both have a good reputation. I have just called both schools and there are only spaces in the Catholic school for my children. To be honest I really do not want them at a Catholic school..I do not believe there should be religion in schools, and if I had to choose, I would have much rather them be at the C of E.

I have read their prospectus and the vast majority of that seems to be Catholic this, prayer that, worship this... It just doesn't sit well with me.

The C of E school is only 0.2 miles away, and a lot more fluffy - the Catholic school is 0.7-1 mile (as you would have to cross a rather busy road via an underpass)

Can I appeal? Happy to porky pie it if I need to.. I have read a lot about people trying to get children into Catholic Schools - what about non religious parents refusing a place - can this be done?

Thank you all - this is my first post, have been hovering around for a while - fantastic forum smile

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