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Are my DDs likely to get into the local C of E School if we are both Catholic?

(17 Posts)
inadreamworld Wed 12-Feb-14 11:27:28

DH and I are both Catholic and our 2 DDs baptized Catholic too. The local Catholic School is around 30 mins walk away (I don't drive), I didn't really like the vibe of the school when I visited it (a bit stuffy and pompous) and we live opposite a lovely C of E School which I am seriously considering sending the girls to - may of my friends children will be going to the C of E school too.

I am happy for them to attend C of E services, and all I want is a Christian school, I am not too worried about Catholic and Protestant. We will take them to catholic church on Sundays anyway.

The priest where I attend mass is not too happy to write a reference for local C of E school as he thinks we should have a Catholic school but tbh it is our decision not his!! I know all priests are not like this and I am thinking of going to another Catholic church where the priest is more liberal.

How likely are the DDs to get in to the C of E school, they give priority to C of E, then other Christian, then other/no religions? So we would either be other Christian or no religion (if can't get priest reference).

I have Muslim and atheist friends who attended this school bu that twas years ago!

MumbleJumbles Wed 12-Feb-14 11:34:19

Are you catchment for the C of E school? If so, i'd have thought a 99% definite yes you'll get in (unless its a school that is MASSIVELY oversubscribed).

Oh yes - you say you live opposite the C of E school, so i'd say yes! Our kids are in a C of E school and we worship at the alter of Richard Dawkins wink so no religion at all. Didnt affect our application at all. You probably won't even be asked for a reference for the application so I wouldnt worry about asking your priest.

mummytime Wed 12-Feb-14 11:38:33

It all depends on the school. Sorry.

For the C of E school my DC attend/ed, the top priority (after SEN, looked after and Social and Medical) is those who attend a certain church, but only 1 or 2 every couple of years are admitted in that criteria. However in other areas eg. London, you pretty much have to attend the right church to get in.
At DC's school there are several Catholic children each year (along with Hindu, Jewish, Muslim etc. and Atheist background children).

So you need to find out the specific wording of the entry criteria. Then ask the school about which criteria have been used in the past, eg. have all places been filled on the first 2 or 3 criteria or have they usually got down to criteria 7. Schools are usually very willing to discuss this with prospective parents.

Finally you can always put it down as choice 1, and put the Catholic school further down your list if you fulfill their criteria. The Catholic school cannot discriminate against you if you do not put it first.

Meita Wed 12-Feb-14 12:27:22

You can always 'fib' and imply to your priest that you ARE putting the catholic school first (and need his reference for this) but that you want to ensure that if they don't get in, that they at least get a Christian education, so you are putting the CofE school second, and hence need a reference for that one too. What order you then actually put them in is strictly none of his business!
Furthermore, you probably don't need a 'reference' as such, but simply need the priest to sign a form stating how often you attend church (and since when). He can't really object to that. However if you do change to a different church, you might find you still need first priest's signature, as the school might want to have proof that you have been a regular church goer for more than the time that you will have been going to the new church.
When we had our forms signed, we actually presented the deacon with 3 forms from 3 different schools, only one of which was catholic, the other two CofE. Whereas others I know brought forms from 4 different catholic schools, spread wide and far, with zero chance of them getting in anyway (because of the distance). All they are doing is risking that they won't get into any of their choices and are thus allocated a random school.

As to the second part of your question, how big is the chance of getting in? There really is no point in guessing, and asking on MN won't really help you much, as the situation is different with every school.
You can however ask the school for a break-down of admissions in the last year(s) - how many children applied, and were admitted under, which category. Sometimes schools even list this info in their admissions leaflet, sometimes however you have to ask them for it separately. It should look a bit like this (for eg. an intake of 30):

Looked after children: 2 applied, 2 admitted
CofE children: 17 applied, 17 admitted
Other Christian denominations: 18 applied, 11 admitted, furthest distance 0.7km
Any other children, 21 applied, 0 admitted.

In which case you would have good chances, given that you live nearby.

Or it could look like this:
Looked after children: 2 applied, 2 admitted
CofE children: 44 applied, 28 admitted, furthest distance 0.8km
Other Christians: 22 applied, 0 admitted
Any other children: 12 applied, 0 admitted

In which case your chances would be very small and would depend on a massive change of circumstances (bulge year, recent downgrade from outstanding to special measures, …)

Or it could look like this:
LAC: 2 appl. 2 adm.
CofE children: 12 appl. 12 adm.
Other Christians: 7 appl. 7 adm.
Any other children: 14 appl. 9 adm. furthest distance 2.1km

In which case you would be nearly certain to get a place and could even risk applying without your priest's reference.

My point is, without knowing this, it is really nothing but guesswork, based on nothing factual.

inadreamworld Wed 12-Feb-14 12:32:32

Really really helpful answers thank you - knew I could depend on MN!! I will be visiting the school for open morning in March so will be asking for breakdown of admissions!

AuntieStella Wed 12-Feb-14 12:33:21

You need to check if the CofE school specifies CofE attendance or if (as many do) membership of a church that belongs to Churches Together. If the latter, you would stand a very good chance of getting in as good standing in RC church would count the same as CofE

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 12-Feb-14 12:44:27

our local Catholic school ranks Catholics, then other Christian and so on. The local CofE ranks Churches Together as all equal so would have to offer Catholic alongside CofE if info form provided and close enough to school.

Adikia Wed 12-Feb-14 16:51:59

Do you have your DC's baptism certificates? If your priest refuses to write a reference then a baptism certificate will still prove you are christian and I know some of the C of E schools here are happy with just a certificate.

Also I gather a few of the Bishops in England are less than impressed with priests who refuse to sign forms as it pushes families away from the church, long story that would out myself too much as to how I know this but a couple of priests have been convinced to change their mind on this.

tiggytape Wed 12-Feb-14 18:54:53

Distance doesn't matter if their criteria state CofE followed by Christian followed by no religion.
A CofE candidate 10 miles away would take priority over a non religious family living next door using those criteria (this is the same at many faith schools)

What really matters is how many children normally apply under the CofE category. If the answer is 45 and the school only takes 30, it is a fair bet you'd stand almost no chance of a place

If it is 20 CofE applicants and there are 90 places to fill, your odds are much, much better.

itsahen Wed 12-Feb-14 22:00:58

Our local CofE requires attendance x amount of times at specific churches in a specific order. Those who attend the exact church the most and live within 0.1 - 0.2 miles (after sibling priority etc) are those that get in, in reality. Will hugely depend if they over subscribed. I know our RC priest would refuse a reference - his view is that when we got them baptised we chose to bring them up RC etc. needless to say I have applied to multi faith schools as I don't like the RC one !!!

ShoeWhore Wed 12-Feb-14 22:06:01

You need to check the school's admissions policy OP. My dcs all go to a CE school but it's the only option in our little town and takes everyone. Voluntary aided schools often set their own admissions criteria and these are the ones where parents are often required to provide proof of baptism, regular worship etc. Some will give all applicants who can demonstrate Christian faith equal priority, others will give higher priority to CofE or a specific parish.

It might be on the school's website or the website of the local authority.

inadreamworld Wed 12-Feb-14 23:25:05

itsahen I think we will apply to one of the multifaith schools as I really don't like the RC one either and it is a bit of a trek to get there. I do see your point about the priest's reasoning - I can see why he would refuse.

tiggy I have checked and their criteria is C of E followed by Christian followed by no religion. Churches Together not on an equal footing.

I think I should apply elsewhere......

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 12-Feb-14 23:49:16

Don't necessarily count the CofE out. If you are in England you will get a number of preferences (between 3 and 6 depending on area). If it's your first choice put it down. Just make sure you have as close to a guarateed option somewhere on your list. As a pp said, it depends on who their admission criteria break down.

Our RC has:
-looked after children
-rc (3 categories)
-siblings
-other christians
-other faiths
-all other applicants based on distance from school.

About 1/2 (15 out of 30) are admitted under the RC criteria, then a handful of siblings and 'other christian faiths' makes up the rest. So CofE children do get in even though it is 6th out of 8 criteria.

It really is worth talking to the LA and asking for a breakdown of the admissions from the last few years. At least that way you would know if it was a long shot, 50/50 or a realistic chance.

Starballbunny Thu 13-Feb-14 00:15:10

And our undersubscribed rural CofE schools are so happy to see a pupil they don't ask, religion, distance from school or even if your in the same county.

prh47bridge Thu 13-Feb-14 00:22:40

I think I should apply elsewhere......

Before giving up you need to check what has happened in previous years. Even though non-CofE Christian applicants come after CofE applicants it may well be that they don't have enough CofE applicants to fill all the places. Even if it hasn't happened in the past it is always possible it might happen this year.

However low your chances, you have nothing to lose by naming this school as your first preference. If you are lucky you will get a place. If not you won't have affected your chances of getting a place at the other preferences you list.

inadreamworld Thu 13-Feb-14 08:26:45

starball This school is in a popular area of London and is oversubscribed!

prh I phoned them and they said in the last few years they had been very oversubscribed so had not taken any non-Anglicans. I have friends of my age who went there who are non Christians but that was a long time ago!

I think you are right - put it as first choice and put the local non religious school (not so oversubscribed, considered not as good but my friend works there and says it is perfectly ok) as 2nd.

tiggytape Thu 13-Feb-14 09:19:38

inadreamworld - that sounds like a good plan.
As prh says, you lose nothing by putting the church school first. If all their places do go to Anglican children, your second choice gets treated as your first choice and, if you live close enough, you will get in.
If this year is a blip and most Anglican children apply elsewhere, you will get your 1st choice.

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