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A Different Faith than Your Chosen Faith School?

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 4 Mar 2020 | comments*Discuss
Primary Secondary Grammar Local

Most children will attend mainstream primary secondary or grammar schools and will be able to secure a place without too much in the way of difficulty.

There are however, exceptions to the rule in terms of securing a place for your child and it is important that we look at those to give you some understanding as to what you might face and what steps you might take to ensure that this is not a stressful or troubling time.

One of those occasions where finding you child a place might well be if you wish to place them at a school that offers religious education specifically geared towards a particular religion. It may be slightly harder- but not impossible – to secure your child a place if they are not a practising member of that religion.

To help this it is necessary to understand Faith Schools.

Faith Schools

Most faith schools are voluntary-controlled and teach an agreed religious syllabus. Faith schools are partly responsible for their own admissions policies and teach religious subjects in accordance with their religious beliefs. You should check with your local authority to determine how your local faith school handles admissions.

Admissions Policies

As mentioned above Faith schools operate on the basis of their own admissions policies and that of the local education authority and therefore it is only fair to mention the fact that no two Faith schools may operate the same policy of admission for their incoming pupils. Admission policies will vary according to location and school.

In saying that however there are general practices that are incorporated and although it is a good idea to contact your individual schools of choice, we can give you a general understanding as to what you can expect.

Again very much dependent on the size of their intake for the coming year Faith schools will have a system of admission which may be dependent on several key factors:

  • Firstly, is the child a member of the denomination currently enrolled at the school?
  • Secondly, does the child have a sibling already in attendance at the school?
  • Thirdly, is the child in public care and living within the catchment area of the school?
A Faith school will have, it is fair to say, a large number of its children who are practising in the main the religion that is to be taught within that school. But it is possible to have your child placed at a faith school should you feel their standard and level of education is substantial for your child’s needs.

If the child is a practising member of the religion that is being taught at the school then this is a distinct advantage (some proof of attendance at church or other house of worship may be required) but if they are not and have a brother or sister currently in attendance at the school then they will be considered on merit should there be sufficient places available for them.

If the child does not have a sibling attending the school at the time of their starting then the school may well look as to whether the child is in what is called ‘public care’ and living within the catchment area. This is very much the same principle as a mainstream school but one again must consider that such schools will have a high number of applicants and a limited number of places to allocate.

With this in mind it is worth carrying out the same checks and routines as we detailed in our article How to Choose the Right School for Your Child which you can find at: How to Choose the Right School

Also it is worth remembering that, as we have already covered, Faith schools have limited places so if your intention is to place your child at a Faith school in your locale – or surrounding area – you should begin the selection process and the application process as soon as you can to give your child every chance of success.

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Our child wasn’t given any of her preferred schools and has now been allocated a place at a faith school. We’re not religious and I wouldn’t want my child to go to a faith school. This doesn’t seem very fair - do we have grounds to appeal at all!
Nick - 4-Mar-20 @ 1:40 PM
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