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Non-christian applying to Christian schools?

(14 Posts)
mummymum1 Fri 09-Jan-15 21:32:30

I am applying for my son's primary school (a little last minute, I know, but we weren't sure if we were moving or not). We live in Twickenham and there is only one non-Christian school near us (well there is another in Whitton but it is "inadequate" according to Ofsted).

I'd like to apply to the other CoE schools nearby as my other choices but they all have supplementary forms which require evidence that we are regular worshippers... which we're not. Does this mean there is literally only one school I can apply to? And if we don't get in... what next?

Thanks - I'm from the States so this is all a bit new to me!

MMmomKK Sat 10-Jan-15 03:12:08

No it doesn't mean there is only one school. C of E schools have aces allocated to kids selected by proxity to the school. Their websites must have their admission policy - You can look it up.
However, he best schools might be quite full and here is only a few of those places. You'll need to be smart about it and find best combination of location/school ranking for you application to have a good chance.

Good luck!!!

BMO Sat 10-Jan-15 07:52:04

Not all church schools give places to non-believers MM, none near me do unless not enough church-goers apply to fill the places.

Unfortunately if you live near lots of schools that select by faith you are a bit screwed.

ShadowSuperNova Sat 10-Jan-15 08:07:31

If you done get a place at any of the schools you put on your application form, the council will allocate your DS a place at the nearest school with places left, regardless of whether it's "inadequate" or not.

You can apply to a CoE school without being a regular worshipper, but that's likely to mean that you're at the bottom of the list when it comes to admissions - most church schools prioritise worshippers so they get considered first for places, which means you're unlikely to get in if it's typically oversubscribed. The council should have details of the admissions criteria the individual church schools use available somewhere on their website for parents to look at.

My council's schools admissions brochure (available on their website) gives details of how many children applied to each school last year, and what criteria was used for the last child admitted if the school was oversubscribed. If your council provides similar information it might help to give you an idea about how likely it is you'll get a place.

ShadowSuperNova Sat 10-Jan-15 08:08:25

My first sentence should have started with "If you don't get a place..."

prh47bridge Sat 10-Jan-15 10:56:37

I don't know exactly where you are in Twickenham but I make it that there are 4 non-faith primary schools - Chase Bridge, Heathfield, Orleans and Trafalgar. There is also a new non-faith school opening in September - Twickenham Primary. If you want to apply to the new school you must apply direct to them, not through the council. You can therefore use them as an additional choice.

In addition to the above, one of the faith schools (Archdeacon Cambridge) has 30% of its places awarded purely on distance from the school with no faith requirement.

You can apply to any school. CofE and Catholic schools can prioritise regular church attenders but if there are not enough of those to fill all the places they must award the remaining places to other applicants. As others have said, if these schools are heavily oversubscribed you are unlikely to get in (apart from Archdeacon Cambridge where you have a good chance if you live close enough).

The council must find a place for your son somewhere. Even if all the schools are completely full they must still offer him something. Your son will not be left without a school. Unfortunately if there is a shortage of places you may not be able to avoid the "inadequate" school.

Note, however, that there have been major changes at Nelson Primary School since it was declared inadequate. It is now an academy which means it is under new management. It has not been inspected since it converted in January 2014. It may well no longer be inadequate.

tiggytape Sat 10-Jan-15 11:28:56

Church schools all differ. There is no rule that they must reserve places for non church goers. Some do but many popular ones don't and so anyone not attending church won't get in because all 30 or 60 or 90 places get filled up by the faith category long before they even get down to the distance category.

That doesn't mean you can't apply. Apply for all of the schools you'd genuinely consider even if you think your chances are slim. That's why you get to list so many. You never know - they may have less faith applicants this year or they may have a bulge class (last minute extra class) that you'd get considered for.
Try to also list your closest non-faith schools or any school you are more certain of qualifying for eg based on sibling criteria or if it is less popular/ undersubscribed.

If the worst comes to the worst and you do not qualify for any of the schools you list, the council will allocate you a place at a school you did not list. It will generally be the school closest to your house that still has places spare after allocation day. If you want to avoid this, you need to try to make sure your list includes a school you will probably get into even if you don't like it much (eg you may want to list an "inadequate" school that is known to be improving rather than one that is far from your house and has worse prospects).

mummymum1 Sat 10-Jan-15 13:49:33

Thanks so much for all the replies. Sorry if this all seems obvious!

I have done the application now and included the CoE schools on my list of preferences. On all of the CoE schools admissions pages, they say we have to supply the supplementary form which asks about our church attendance and needs to be filled out by our local priest. My husband seems to think we should just supply them with honest answers ie how often do you attend? "Never" etc. but I thought the point of them was to prove we are religious?? Should I just leave it as is without the form - ie I've applied to the council and included them in my preferences so if by some chance we get considered for a place at one of the CoE schools they'll still see our preference, or will they not even consider us without the form?

Our closest school is Archdeacon which I know accept a fair amount on just distance, our next closest is Trafalgar (first choice) - so I think we've got a decent chance of getting into one of those but of course I want to make sure I include my other preferences.

(From what I understand we are probably too far for Orleans (and major competition to get in), though I have included it - Chase is "good" which is fine, though obviously 'outstanding' would be ideal. That is interesting about Nelson - I avoided it and Heathfield as it also "requires improvement" - I understand we might end up there either way but I'd rather not include them as a preference.)

Thanks again!

BMO Sat 10-Jan-15 13:52:18

If you don't include those schools on your preferences then you will only end up there if they are undersubscribed. If enough people do put them as a preference to fill their spaces, and you don't get a place at any school you apply to, then you could be sent anywhere. Where they undersubscribed last year?

Make sure you put at least one choice down that you definitely will get into.

prh47bridge Sat 10-Jan-15 15:43:26

Just to emphasise that you can still apply separately to Twickenham Primary School. If they offer you a place that would be additional to any offer you get through the council. If the council offer you a place at a school you really don't want you might want to take a risk on the new school instead.

ShadowSuperNova Sat 10-Jan-15 18:33:35

I would guess that whether the church schools will consider you without the supplementary form will depend on how many applicants there are, particularly if they're oversubscribed with worshippers.

I wouldn't lie on the forms though. I'd fill them in honestly. Where I live, the council say they will remove your school place if you've lied to get into an oversubscribed school and you get caught out. I imagine that's the same in most places.

Hooliesmoolies Sat 10-Jan-15 18:35:01

I agree with BMO. The way it works is that if you put one you will get into as your last choice, you will ONLY get that if you are not eligible for the others (you may know this). But, if you put down 6 schools, get into none of them, then you may not get into the closest school you didn't want. You may end up with a school a couple of miles away that you don't want. I don't know what competition is like near you, but that happened to quite a few people in the year my daughter started school. The people who hadn't put any of the schools near by ended up in a school within which they opened up a new class. The school had recently come out of special measures, moving only to 'requires improvement', and the children had to go there. On another note, my DD has just joined a newly opened free school (Opened Sept 2014), and we LOVE it. As Prh47bridge says, it is an extra choice for you because you will apply direct to the school. If you get offered a free school, you can keep a place at that school, and accept the other place you get offered, until the free school funding agreement has been signed (in the summer for the school here). It gives you time to make an informed decision.

admission Sat 10-Jan-15 21:43:14

The admission forms for Archdeacon Cambridge are quite confusing. You definitely need to fill in the Richmond LA application form and get it to them by the 15th Jan. There is a supplementary form for Archdeacon Cambridge school for the foundation places at the school and this is to evidence your faith credentials for a "foundation place". Normally that would only be needed to be filled in if you are applying for a "foundation" place. However when you go onto the school website and look under admission there is another school registration form to complete, which suggests that it needs to be filled in and returned to the school by the 15th Jan even if you are only applying for an "open" place. This is not usual. From what you have said you do not meet the criteria for faith places and therefore you will be considered for the "open" places at the school. To be honest I do not know whether you need to fill this form in or not, it is not clear, so you need to ask the school, as they are their own admission authority when it comes to school admissions. My advice would be to err on the side of caution and get the school registration document into the school by the 15th Jan, then you are covered for all eventualities.
The admission number for the school is 60 and siblings living within a set distance get priority, then the rest of the places are divided up 70% foundation and 30% open places, You are actually looking to get what will be no more than 18 available places and actually could be none if there are 60 siblings in the school. So unless you live very very close to the school, you might well not be successful in applying for Archdeacon Cambridge school.

mummymum1 Sun 11-Jan-15 21:29:43

thanks all! just to clarify, we definitely weren't going to lie on any of the forms, i just wasn't sure if we needed to do the supplementary forms as we're not religious or if we still needed to submit them truthfully ie do you go to church? 'no' kind of thing. from what I gather, we DON'T need to do the supplementary forms as we aren't applying for a 'foundation' place (which is if you're religious?) but an 'open' place (ie if there is any spaces open after those people are allocatated?) Is that right?

We will call the schools in the morning to check but this is still really helpful!

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