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Special Measures School vs CofE but child isn't CofE - what to do?

(11 Posts)
Moomin Tue 23-May-06 22:27:57

Anyone any idea what to advise my BIL about our nephew? He is in Y5 at the moment but obviously next year they need to sort their application for secondary school out. Their nearest school is awful. It just had a terrible ofsted after a history of bad inspections in the past and my friend who is head at another school has told me he expects this school to go into special measures in the next year (that's the talk at the LEA apparently). If it does go into special measures it might be years before it's sorted out and then it may be too late for dn's education. I think it's a crap school anyway, whatever happens and is likely to be so for the forseeable future.

Their next nearest school is a very good one but is a CofE school. Given that this school is already over-subscribed and is likely to be bursting at the seams if/when this other school goes into special measures, I was wondering what the chances were of getting dn into this church school given that he's not CofE? He was christened but not confirmed and in any case i think it may have been a catholic christening as his mum's catholic. He's bright academically - would this make any difference or are the CofE criteria after religion likely to be first-come-first-served? Should I advise BIL to start taking dn (and his younger brother) to church in advance of the application?

frogs Tue 23-May-06 22:41:38

Moomin, tell them to find the school's website and look at the admissions criteria. Or the LEA website, which will usually also have the admissions criteria on it. Somewhere on the LEA website there may even be a breakdown of how many people got into the school under each of the criteria, possibly even set against the total no. of applicants so you can see what you're up against.

VA schools can set their own admissions criteria, and they vary a lot in what they prioritise, with CoE schools usually being more eclectic than Catholic schools are. They may have a set percentage of 'open' ie non-church places, or they may give priority to children living in certain designated parishes, or closest to the school, or even practising members of other faiths. Check what the deal is, remembering to read between the lines, particularly if regarding church attendance does it really mean it? How much, how often and for how long. How greatly do you actually have to smarm up to the priest, or is it simply a case of making a half-way decent attempt at church-going?

As a rule of thumb, a seriously over-subscribed church school will require a priest's ref for a church place, and even more serious school issue complicated forms on which the parents and priest can break down their devoutness into minute criteria. You can sometimes download or view a copy of these forms online -- if they go into that level of detail, then it means what it says on the tin, for church places at least. BIL needs to do his homework and get cracking -- he's cutting it a bit fine.


Moomin Tue 23-May-06 22:54:55

thanks frogs. yes, he is cutting it fine [sigh] that's BIL all over. he's in la-la land half the time. our LEA is pretty crap and i can't find the info i need on their website at the moment. will carry on looking.

dh told him tonight that he (bil) may have to start going to church but he said it would be against his principles, which is fair enough i spose, but if the sacrifice you make is your son's education then i hope they're worth it. but there again, i spose he's not being a hypocrite about it. there are enough churches packed to the rafters with people trying to get their kids into church schools i spose.

thanks again for your help.

frogs Tue 23-May-06 22:59:09

Try the school's own website. Unfortunately, the state of schools being what it is, you need to read the writing on the wall early and well, and act accordingly. We've just done secondary transfer for dd1, and am flabbergasted at the number of people who seemed to think they'd get into incredibly oversubscribed schools just by writing it down on the form. The LEA should have a booklet called something like 'Admission to secondary school' which they can send you. They do a new one each year, usually in time for the autumn open day round, but they might be able to let you have last year's.

Failing that, phone the school and ask for a copy of their admissions criteria.

Moomin Tue 23-May-06 23:06:09

it's ok. have just found the booklet. I think bil will have to get his knickers into gear and contact the school. in the booklet it had the admissions crieria for the catholic schools but not the CofE one, but i expect it will be pretty similar, i.e. get your sorry arse to church!

Tortington Tue 23-May-06 23:22:08

whees the local catholic - too far away?

scienceteacher Wed 24-May-06 17:04:19

You have to look at the admissions policy of the school to see high up in the criteria church membership is.

If it is high, then it is likely to be church attendance and involvement that is assessed, and not baptism (although from a CofE viewpoint, an RC baptism is just as good as a CofE one).

For each set of admissions criteria, they assess all applicants on category 1 first. If there are too many pupils, they then assess those that fit category 1 by category 2, and so on. They don't give you points for each bit of supporting evidence you give - just clinically go through each area by its priority.

Moomin Wed 24-May-06 21:50:10

that's interesting. The catholic school is about 4 miles away. it would mean 2 bus rides which i'm not sure they'd (bil & sil) be ok with. sil is catholic but doesn't attend a catholic church here. she's from india where everyone in her family/village attended church. they had dn christened in the catholic church as he was born here but as far as i know she doesn't go regularly here.

bil will just have to pull his finger out and do some ringing. I've a feeling he will not go to church on any account and he will not risk dn being given a place at the failing school. he's now started talking about the private grammar school. dn would pass the entrance exam i'm pretty sure and they'd have to apply for a scholarship or whatever it's called. i think they get half the fees paid for then(?)

scienceteacher Thu 25-May-06 06:23:49

As for independent schools, major scholarships (25 - 50% off the fees) are highly competitive and I think need a fair bit of coaching and/or extra tuition. When I worked in a prep school, I had a special class for the scholarship boys once a week and also gave them tons of homework; the other teachers did the same.

Minor awards (10%) may be awarded on the strength of a good 11+, or for an excellent art portfolio.

frogs Thu 25-May-06 11:36:00

Yes, without wanting to be too discouraging, the private school scholarships are ferociously competitive. Dd1 scored the highest mark in the (state) grammar school entrance exam out of 400 or so applicants, yet only got one proper (50%) scholarship out of the three private schools we applied for. I have a sneaking suspicion that state primary pupils are at a disadvantage for private school schols, partly because they haven't been prepared for it in the same way (and yes, dd1 did have some extra tuition for a couple of years beforehand) but also because I suspect the secondary heads use scholarships as a way of keeping the prep school heads sweet.

So as with the state schools, you do need to look long and hard at what the deal really is and make sure your application ticks all the boxes.

sunnydelight Fri 26-May-06 13:24:11

TBH if your nephew was baptised catholic and started to attend a CofE church regularly in year 5 it doesn't take a genius to work out what's going on. A friend of mine is a governor at a (very oversubscribed) church school and the "miraculous conversion" applications go straight to the bottom of the pile!

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