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Catholic secondary schools -how do you get in?

(112 Posts)
allok Mon 19-Oct-09 16:43:36

OK, my ds is only 3.5 but we're applying for schools at the moment.

I'd like the option of ds to go to a catholic secondary should he not get into grammar school. dh is catholic and I'm not a christian. DS not baptised as I strongly feel that we should do itwhen he says he's ready and he's had no tuition from his catholic side as yet. But in any case I reckon he'd be between 6-9 years old before he gets it.

I though that secondary catholic schools want baptised kids and that's all - but I'm now really worried as lots of catholic kids at ds's nursery are applying for catholic infant/junior school in preparation of getting their little ones into catholic secondary school.

I was planning to sending ds to the infant/junior opposite my house which has the best reputation in our area.

What should I be doing? Does a kid need ot have gone to a catholic junior school in order to be considered by a catholic senior school?

Prosecco Mon 19-Oct-09 16:54:57

Am in Scotland and it sounds as if you are not, but I'll tell you how it goes here.

Catholic schools accept children baptised into the Catholic church and also those of other denominations. They will obviously have a much larger percentage of the former.

If places are limited, you are more likely to be accepted for entry to secondary if your primary schooling has been in a Catholic school.

Goblinchild Mon 19-Oct-09 17:01:31

I've just copied the criteria for our local Catholic secondary.
Places will be allocated in the following order of priority;

1. Baptised Catholic “Looked After” children.

2. Baptised, practising, Catholic children, who live in the St X’s catchment area.

3. Baptised Catholic children who attend one of our five Catholic partner schools and who have a sibling attending St X’s at the time of application and who is expected to still be on roll at the time of admission (September 2010).

4. Baptised Catholic children, who attend one of our five Catholic partner schools and who live within the St X’s catchment area.

5. Baptised Catholic children who attend a non-Catholic school in the St X’s catchment area, who have a sibling attending St Paul’s at the time of application and who is expected to still be on roll at the time of admission (September 2010).

6. Baptised Catholic children who live in and attend a non partner school in the St X’s catchment area.

7. Baptised, practising Catholic children who live outside the St X’s catchment area, but who have a sibling attending St X’s at the time of application and who is expected to still be on roll at the time of admission (September 2010).

8. “Looked After” children who are not baptised Catholics.

9. Children who are not baptised Catholics, who have a sibling attending St X’s at the time of application and who is expected to still be on roll at the time of admission (September 2010).

10. Children who are not baptised Catholics, who live within the St X’s catchment area, who are preparing to become members of the Catholic Church (Catechumens or Candidates). The Governors will require evidence from the Parish Priest that such preparation had been in progress at least six months before the closing date.

11. Baptised practising Catholic children who live outside the St X’s catchment area.

12. Baptised Catholic children who live outside the St X’s catchment area.

Children who do not fall into the above categories, whose parents would like their children educated within a Catholic school.

They filled all their places using categories 1-4 and numerous children in cat 4 had to go through the appeals procedure. Some failed to get a place.

webwiz Mon 19-Oct-09 17:06:48

The answer is it depends on the secondary school. My DCs have all attended a catholic secondary school but not catholic primary schools, at the time that DD1 went we just had to show her baptism certificate but by the time DS1 went 6 years later, you needed a priests letter as well to show that you regularly attended mass. We are in an area where there is more demand for catholic places than there are available but for my sister's DS there are catholic schools aplenty and so the entry criteria is more lax.

If you have a look at the websites of the local catholic school(s) you should be able to see their current entry criteria obviously this may change but you can get an idea whether they use feeder catholic primary schools in your area.

allok Mon 19-Oct-09 17:24:57

OK, many thanks - based on this I still want ds to go to the school in our street as it's excellent and as he's not baptised he probably wouldn't get into the local Catholic junior school anyhow.

I'm going to look at the boys catholic school's admission.

Ideally I want him to go my primary of choice and then grammar but if not I want him at a catholic boys' school in my area - by then he will be baptised.

What is a 'looked after' child? What does that mean?

sunshinecity Mon 19-Oct-09 17:49:19

Be aware that some secondary catholic schools require that the child is baptised within a year of birth.

tvaerialmagpiebin Mon 19-Oct-09 18:07:58

think it means "in care" or "fostered"
Much nicer language

teamcullen Mon 19-Oct-09 18:10:29

"looked after" is children in care.
Usually if your child is baptised and lives within the catchent area, you should be ok.

It really depends on how over subscribed the school is. My DS has just applied to a catholic school as his first choice, but because we have moved out of the parish bounderies (even though we still attend the school and church) we have moved further down the list on how they priortise places.

zanzibarmum Tue 20-Oct-09 11:17:55

Why wouldn't your catholic husband want the child to be baptised within weeks of his birth - that's what catholic parents are expected to do do. I know of no catholic doctrine which says "leave it up to the child when he wants to be baptised".

summer111 Tue 20-Oct-09 18:15:46

couldn't agree with you more zanzibarmum!

zanzibarmum Wed 21-Oct-09 12:49:37

summer111 - it seems to me that the trend to water down the catholicity criteria has allowed more "game playing" by middle-class parents thereby undermining the wider public's support for catholic schools rather than (as I think the intention was) to underpin that support.

I do think that non-catholic parents who complain about the unfairness in the system have a point - that nominal, lapsed/ex and shadow catholics are increasingly able to have a choice of a catholic school and their preferred non-catholic higher performing school. This is not to criticise or judge the parents who are doing this but rather to question whether the direction admissions to catholic schools is right - from both the perspective of the Catholic church and the wider society in terms of fairness.

maerose Wed 21-Oct-09 14:02:34

It's worth knowing that top-notch, sought-after secondary catholic schools, like the London Oratory and Cardinal Vaughan, expect applicants to have been baptised within THREE MONTHS of birth.So you're wise to check the admissions criteria of the catholic school you're considering. The more popular they are, the more stringent they are on catholic practice too.

TessaK Wed 21-Oct-09 14:27:49


Why would you want to send your kids to a religious school to be indoctrinated if you're not a strong believer yourself?

Some faith schools do well because they cherry-pick who they let in - they avoid special needs kids as much as they can, for example. Most of them are paid for by us, the tax payers, but they won't let our kids in unless we are of their religion.

They're also unfair to teachers as they discriminate in who they employ - and are legally allowed to do this, which they wouldn't be in other jobs.

All parents want good schools. They should not have to lie, fake belief and get kids baptised just to get them a decent education or to avoid travelling miles. All state schools should be non-religious so it's fair for everyone.

zanzibarmum Thu 22-Oct-09 19:56:07

Tessak - which Catholic schools discriminate against special needs children, or at least what evidence do you base this statement on.

summer111 Fri 23-Oct-09 16:52:48

Actually, my kids catholic primary school
specifically takes special needs kids from the borough!

LynetteScavo Fri 23-Oct-09 17:10:05

But how will your son "get it" if he has no Catholic instruction? I doubt he will suddenly want to be baptised when he is 6-9.

If you really want to play the game of baptising him to get him into a god school, baptise him now, get your DH to take him to mass, and make sure he has taken his first communion (and prefereably confimation) by before high school.

Around here there arn't that many Catholic children, so it doesn't really matter if children are Catholic or not...there are lots of places in the school for children of all faiths.

ParanoiaBigPumkinDestroyer Fri 23-Oct-09 17:23:37

"god" or "good?" LynetteScavo grin

hmm TessaK faith schools avoid special needs children. On what evidence do you base your statement. Where I live I can state absolutely categorically, based on personal experience, that this is absolutely NOT the case.

NancyBotwin Fri 23-Oct-09 17:38:06

I would say that catholic schools in our area actually take in kids with SN who have been failed by non-faith schools - and many of these kids are not catholic.

I haven't come across any that only hire catholic staff either...

ParanoiaBigPumkinDestroyer Fri 23-Oct-09 17:51:36

I agree Nancy Apart from the HT who must be a Catholic the only requirement is that staff will do nothing to undermine the catholicity of the school.

giggleloop Fri 23-Oct-09 17:53:02

The 2nd criteria for our secondry (after looked after children) is Catholic children who attend specific Catholic primary schools.

You also need a Priests letter.

In practice its weekly mass attendance from birth plus baptism within the first year.

Our Catholic primary is chock full of SN children including a non Catholic girl in ds's class with severe epilepsy and brain damage who moved from a non faith school which couldn't/wouldn't meet her needs. My own SN child will start there next year.

zanzibarmum Fri 23-Oct-09 20:19:06

Well said ladies - I suppose with November 5th coming up anti Catholic prejudice is alive and well.

Oblomov Fri 23-Oct-09 21:30:16

Wgat does your dh have to say about all of this. He is the catholic, right ? doesn't he want ds baptised ?

summer111 Fri 23-Oct-09 21:30:42

Allok, I still don't understand why you are cosidering a catholic secondary education for your dc? You are not Christian and your dh is not a practicing Catholic. Surely wanting a Catholic education is because you want dc to be educated according to the Catholic faith? If not, then I would suggest that you don't pursue this option as it probably is not the education you are striving for. The mission statement for my dc's Catholic primary school is 'We follow Jesus' - which is a fundamental truth of being Catholic.

I've just completed the arduous task of applying for a 2010 secondary school place for ds. Our no 1 school of choice is our local Catholic secondary school. I want my son to continue to be educated in a Catolic environment - as our faith is a fundamental aspect of who we are.

Maybe you should consider parents/families like mine before you begin your application process.

zanzibarmum Sat 24-Oct-09 22:04:13

Summer111 - I understand your POV but it is not realistic to appeal to the non Catholic family to restrain from applying for a Catholic school place after a baptism of convenience. What's at fault are the admissions criteria that allow this. It is unfair and wrong - not just for families like yours but for the Catholic school as a whole. Or should we see such late convesions as like the prodigal son?

TessaK Sun 25-Oct-09 12:52:24

I have evidence that I can send you (but it's at work and this is Sunday) that religious schools have fewer children on free school meals. This means fewer children from poorer income families, regardless of the catchment area. There is also evidence that children from stable, middle-class homes are favoured, too.

Yes, we can all quote examples of good faith schools, especially in areas where they are undersubscribed, but in areas where they are oversubscribed, there is a wealth of evidence that they cherry-pick their pupils.

There is also evidence that faith schools discriminate against who they employ or promote if their lifestyle doesn't suit the ethos of the school. This can mean gay teachers, teachers who co-habit or sometimes those who are just not considered religious enough. They are currently allowed to do this by a loop-hole in the law.

You may think this doesn't matter to your child but in some schools it means that the best teacher is not hired, just the one who best suits the faith profile - and that does affect your children.

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