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Faith admission criteria

(30 Posts)
lizzytee Sun 25-Sep-16 20:29:35

Our local Catholic school has just revised its admission criteria for 2017-18 - 3 years regular mass attendance (previously 2), baptism dates asked for but not first holy communion.

I've been a regular attended for 2 and a bit years. Damn.

No feeder schools, choir/music places or any other route.

Any thoughts?

missnevermind Sun 25-Sep-16 21:01:52

If they are feeding from a local catholic primary school then surely they have had regular attendance during that time So hopefully will be more than the three years requested

missnevermind Sun 25-Sep-16 21:04:21

Are you Catholic or just want a catholic school experience.
My children have always gone to catholic school, my eldest has just started university and I am very surprised that the differences in levels of teaching all down the line

lizzytee Sun 25-Sep-16 21:13:52

I'm Catholic, kids baptised as babies but didn't start attending with them regularly until DD was 8, partly because I hated sitting through Mass as a kid.

They're at a non-faith primary.

DiscoMike Sun 25-Sep-16 21:51:20

How are they monitoring the attendance? How is it quantified? After a spate of successful appeals, the attendance criteria at our schools has changed from the rather woolly 'get the priest to sign if he thinks he's seen you since 2005' to 'must be witnessed signing the register at mass every week for X weeks with the signature that matches your driving licence whilst remaining in the building until mass is fully over' type approach.

lizzytee Mon 26-Sep-16 06:57:48

It's the priest's signature on a supplementary form - places allocated on whether you attend weekly, fortnightly, monthly.

So I think for anyone to have weekly signed off you really do need to have been - and we really have, just not for long enough to sign off that it's been for three years.

It's interesting what you say about appeals - my guess is that growing pressure on secondary school places has meant they've dealt with more of them. I did think that the old admission criteria were quite broad compared to some London Catholic schools. I also asked when at the open day whether they got a lot of applications that simply didn't meet the admissions criteria - the answer was yes. So fingers crossed.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Mon 26-Sep-16 07:20:57

You might be able to average it - so weekly over two years becomes fortnightly over 3 years. Ask the school which category the last person admitted was. To be honest if there are no registers taken it is likely to be the squeeky wheel that gets the oil, so if the priest sees you every week he is unlikely to know whether it is every week for two years or every fortnight for three years. We thought we would have to justify days not there for holidays, visiting parents etc but we both help out and faces known so it wasn't an issue. I think though signing a register is fairer, but without that it is down to whether the priest recognises you or not.

meditrina Mon 26-Sep-16 08:12:29

"so weekly over two years becomes fortnightly over 3 years"

Not unless that is specified. Unless the school wants a spate of successful appeals from those who followed the requirements as laid out and must therefore be admitted ahead of those who did not.

PatriciaHolm Mon 26-Sep-16 08:15:55

For changes in the admittance criteria into the 17/18 academic year, admissions criteria must have been put into consultation for a minimum of 8 weeks and consultation should have finished in January 16. Objections to Admissions criteria could then have been submitted if required.

If they have just turned around now and changed them, then that is illegal under the Admissions Code and they can't implement them for the 2017 intake.

lizzytee Mon 26-Sep-16 10:15:24

Now that's interesting. I have checked a couple of times over the last calendar year and up to the end of August the only material listed under admissions was last year's forms.

Do you know what form a consultation has to take?

prh47bridge Mon 26-Sep-16 10:46:39

The regulations require them to put the proposed new admission arrangements on their website along with details of how to submit comments. Many admission authorities go beyond that and put notices in the local press but that is not required by the regulations.

Once the consultation was complete they were required to finalise their admission arrangements and publish them on their website. The Admissions Code isn't entirely clear but it strongly suggests that the new arrangements should have been on their website from 15th March. Parents then have until 30th June to lodge objections with the Schools Adjudicator.

If they have not complied with the consultation and publication requirements they cannot implement this change.

I think the first thing to check is whether or not this is simply a typo and it should still be 2 years. If it is not a typo the next question is whether they have adequately complied with the consultation and publication requirements. If they have not you can, if necessary, refer them to the Schools Adjudicator who can force them to back down.

lizzytee Mon 26-Sep-16 11:14:56

Thanks prh47bridge I was kind of hoping that you or admissions would be along.smile

I doubt it's a typo as a number of other things have changed too as has the format of the form.

So...I know I have checked the following on the school website over the last year:
- published admission criteria - as I said 2017 has definitely only appeared over the last few weeks as I was looking for open day details
-Ofsted (would have been springtime) -they hadn't been inspected for a long time)
-GCSE results

I also go to the church associated with the school every week, read the newsletter and know parents with kids at the school, who stay focused on the requirements as sibling preference comes a very long way down the list. Not a dickybird.

In this situation and given that I won't know the outcome until March, should I ask these questions now or later?

prh47bridge Mon 26-Sep-16 11:26:12

You need to ask them now. If you wait until places have been allocated you may well have to appeal. The appeal panel may then be faced with a situation where so many applications have been affected by the illegal change (assuming that is what it is) that the school would not be able to cope if it admitted all of them. They would only admit as many as the school could handle and you could miss out. If you ask the questions now and don't get satisfactory answers you can go to the Schools Adjudicator immediately.

lizzytee Mon 26-Sep-16 11:41:58

Thanks, will approach the admissions officer. I spoke to a friend with 1 child at the school and 2 more to come - she knew nothing about the changes.

lizzytee Tue 27-Sep-16 19:06:04

Quick update - emailed yesterday asking them to advise how they'd complied with the consultation and publication requirements required by the School Admissions Code - will let you know of the response.

lizzytee Mon 03-Oct-16 15:00:48

No answer so far from the school - time to follow up?

lizzytee Mon 03-Oct-16 18:42:50

No answer so far from the school - time to follow up?

prh47bridge Mon 03-Oct-16 20:06:43

I would certainly chase them again. If you haven't had anything by this time next week I would refer the matter to the Adjudicator. They will have to answer the Adjudicator even if they won't answer you.

It is, of course, possible that the reason for the lack of an answer is that they have realised they haven't followed the Admissions Code and are in a panic as to what to do about it...

lizzytee Mon 03-Oct-16 20:28:32

My thinking exactly...thanks for coming back

YouMakeABetterDoorThanAWindow Tue 04-Oct-16 10:12:14

Something similar happened at my DC primary school.

Church attendance changed from monthly for one year to fortnightly for two years. There were other changes which made no sense.A couple of parents contacted the Schools Adjudicator and it was discovered the Admissions Code had not been followed.

The admissions criteria was changed BUT it did not revert to the original criteria. So just be wary, there is precedence for not reverting.

Saying that, a few years down the line and there is a new priest. He isn't checking the records for his favoured parents, just signing the form.

You might find your church doesn't even keep records going back 3 years. Don't tell anyone you haven't been going that long and hand the supplementary form to the priest anyway.

lizzytee Wed 05-Oct-16 20:22:10

So..I have an answer

Good afternoon

Thank you for your email.

In answer to your query;

The school consulted with the Education Commission's Admissions Officer (redacted)

The school made changes to the admissions policy in light of the advice given by the Diocese.

The proposed changes were sent to (redacted) Local Authority Admissions - , Head of Admissions - who put the policy out for consultation on the school's behalf.

The policy was published on (school)'s website.

I have asked when the policy was published (I am fairly sure it wasn't until September) and where the consultation can be found - it's not listed on the council website's completed consultations database.

YouMakeABetterDoorThanAWindow Wed 05-Oct-16 21:43:52

If its a faith VA school it wouldn't need to publish on the councils website but would need to publish in its own website. Although as I mentioned even if they haven't followed the rules AND the Schools Adjudicator get involved it Durante necessarily mean changes will be reversed.

lizzytee Wed 05-Oct-16 21:57:01

I hear you. However it looks like neither route's been taken - I finally found the council's consultation on 2017 admissions which doesn't include any mention of this school.

prh47bridge Wed 05-Oct-16 22:52:21

As a Catholic school it is almost certainly a VA school. That means it has to conduct its own consultation. The council's consultation will only be for community and VC schools.

lizzytee Wed 05-Oct-16 23:09:32

Thanks both. So if I have understood this correctly they haven't followed the correct process for consultation.

Assuming this is the case, is the next step to contact the School Adjudicator?

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