Home > Uncategorized > Getting The Letter, Part 1

Getting The Letter, Part 1

It’s a little early for us – our eldest is just entering Year 5 – but we are starting to get an idea of how the admissions procedure for Faith School High (as I shall call it) works. There seems to be a lot of confusion and rumour about getting in to the school judging on some of the conversations I’ve had with parents: I guess this reflects the anxiety around the whole thing.

I recently attended a meeting given by Faith High to parents of children in Years 4, 5, and 6.  The official admissions seems to work in the following order:

  1. Looked-after children get first pick – I think this is a legal requirement. There are not likely to be more than a hand-full of these at most.
  2. Then children from a Church of England background with the letter from the Vicar. About 40% of Faith High’s intake comes this way.
  3. Next, children from another Christian denomination. (This might explain the story that so-and-so went to the Methodist church for over two years and still didn’t get her kids in.)
  4. Children from another faith.
  5. The siblings of children already there.
  6. Then children from a short list of approved catchment Primaries. This was an odd one: the list was not a list of nearby CofE schools as you would expect. Indeed, some were quite a distance away, and our children’s school – which is CofE and one of the nearest Primary Schools to Faith High – was not on this list. The representative at the meeting explained this was because they were “diocese schools”. Not sure what they are: I might spend something trying to disentangle the different types of faith school sometime.
  7. Those who have put the school as first choice and got the application letter in by the deadline. (Non-believers, know your place.)
  8. Others.

That’s about it, I think. This is mainly from memory.

One woman, with great candour, asked if this meant it was possible to get in without going to Church. They replied, Yes, it was and that there are children at Faith High who are not looked-after, do not come from a faith background and have no siblings at the school. She looked relieved. I think I have seen her in church recently; I wonder is I will again?

But… Given that the whole exercise was to sell the school to us, should I therefore stop attending Church (“Hallelujah!”) and trust to the admissions process? Hmmm…. As this means moving your place in the pecking-order from slot 2 to slot 7 probably not.

So, given that the alternative is Sink Estate College, we will continue with the church-going and try to end up in slot 2.

The one positive thing we can take from this is that if you can hold your nose and attend church, you’re almost guaranteed a place. This probably explains why so many are complicit in this obviously partisan and unfair admissions system.

(Part 2 will be about how we actually get the letter signed by the Vicar when the time comes.)

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  1. Stonyground
    21/07/2010 at 8:16 pm

    Does this admissions system not strike anyone here as being stinkingly corrupt? Do not all the people attempting to gain access to this school pay for it through their taxes? Yet certain privilaged groups are so favoured that other taxpayers have to join said favoured groups to gain access to something that they themselves paid for.

    I do not understand the meaning of the phrase “Looked after children” could you elaborate please.

    • 22/07/2010 at 5:08 am

      It’s certainly not what you might call “fair”. Notice you get to number 7 before the general populace, the tax-payers who fund the school, get a go.

      “Looked after children” refers, I think, to children in Local Authority care homes. I think this is probably a fair rule: these kids have had a hard enough time already and won’t have a parent on hand to jump through schools admissions hoops for them. This is, however, a legal requirement for all schools; the faith school is not being generous in this area. In fact, the spokesperson was keen to stress that they only got “one or two” children under this rule. Message: don’t worry there won’t be hoards of troubled and troublesome kids here.

      And the sidling rule makes some kind of practical sense: it’s hard enough getting your kids to school in the morning if they all go to one school, imagine if you had to get them to several.

      I should try to find a non-faith school’s admissions procedure to compare.

  2. Stonyground
    22/07/2010 at 7:22 pm

    Thanks for the prompt reply, I suspected that ‘looked after children’ meant children in care but wasn’t sure. I do agree that of all kids, they are the ones that deserve a leg up.

  1. 22/09/2010 at 8:11 am
  2. 06/02/2012 at 12:28 pm

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