Admissions Clarification (Covid-19)
St. Thomas’ Catholic Primary School Admission Arrangements 2021-2022
Parents and carers applying for places in the academic year 2021-2022 are asked to note the following statement in relation to the Mass Attendance oversubscription criterion set out in St. Thomas’ Catholic Primary School’s admission arrangements: On the advice of the Education Commission of the Archdiocese of Southwark, the governing body of St. Thomas’ Catholic Primary School has agreed the following statement in order to clarify how its faith-based oversubscription criteria will be interpreted while churches are closed or attendance at church is not possible due to Covid-19. This statement has been shared widely with parishes by the Education Commission in order to ensure that determinations made by parish priests concerning regular practice of the faith are being made on a consistent basis.
The suspension of the obligation to attend Sunday Mass was announced on 18th March 2020 by Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. If a parent/carer attended Mass at a certain frequency at a particular parish (or parishes) prior to 18th March 2020 then they will be considered to have attended Mass in that parish (or parishes) at the same frequency since that time. This will remain the case until the Sunday obligation is reintroduced by the Bishops
ADMISSIONS POLICY 2021-22
St. Thomas’ Catholic Primary School was founded by the Catholic Church to provide education for children of Catholic families. The school is conducted by its governing body as part of the Catholic Church in accordance with its trust deed and instrument of government and seeks at all times to be a witness of Jesus Christ. Whenever there are more applicants than places available, priority will always be given in accordance with the over-subscription criteria listed below. The Governing Body has responsibility for admissions to this school and intends to admit 30 pupils to the reception class in the school year commencing in September 2020.
Admission and Over-subscription Criteria
Where the number of applications exceeds 30, the Governors will offer places using the following criteria in the order stated:
The following order of priorities will be applied when applications within any of the above categories exceed the places available and it is necessary to decide between applications.
Catholics include members of the Ordinariate and the Latin and Oriental Rite Churches that are in union with the Bishop of Rome. Reference to other Christian dominations refers to denominations that are full members of Churches Together in England.
A “brother or sister” means children who live as brother and sister including natural brothers or sisters, adopted siblings, stepbrothers or sisters and foster brothers or sisters. It would not include other relatives e.g. cousins.
Home refers to the permanent home address at which the child lives for the majority of his/her time and with the parent who is in receipt of child benefit.
Children in Local Authority Care or Previously in Local Authority Care – a ‘looked after child’ or a child who was previously looked after but immediately after being looked after became subject to an adoption child arrangements, or special guardianship order. A looked after child is a child who is (a) in the care of a local authority, or (b) being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services functions (see the definition in Section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989).
Admissions of children below compulsory school age
The Governing Body will provide for the admissions of all children in the September following the child’s fourth birthday. Parents can request that the date their child is admitted to the school is deferred until later in the school year or until the child reaches compulsory school age in that school year; parents may also request their child attends part – time until the child reaches compulsory school age.
Admission of children outside their normal age group
Parents who are seeking a place for their child outside of their normal age group, e.g. the child has experienced problems such as ill health or the parents of a summer born child preferring not to send their child to school until the September following their fifth birthday, may request that they are admitted out of their normal age group – to reception rather than year 1.
Governors will make decisions on the circumstances of each case and in the best interests of the child concerned. This will include taking account of the parent’s views; information about the child’s academic, social and emotional development; where relevant, their medical history and the views of a medical professional; whether they have previously been educated out of their normal age group, and whether they may naturally have fallen into a lower age group if it were not for being born prematurely. They will also consider the views of the school’s head teacher. When informing a parent of the decision which year group the child should be admitted to, the governors will set out clearly the reasons for their decision.
Where the governors agree to a parent’s request for their child to be admitted out of their normal age group and, as a consequence of that decision, the child will be admitted to the age group to which pupils are normally admitted to the school the local authority will process the application as part of the main admissions round, (unless the parental request is made too late for this to be possible) and on the basis of the determined admission arrangements, including the application of oversubscription criteria where applicable. Parents have a statutory right to appeal against the refusal of a place at a school for which they have applied. This right does not apply if they are offered a place at the school but is not in their preferred age group.
Parents of children who have not been offered a place at the school may ask for their child’s name to be placed on a waiting list. The waiting list, which will be maintained for one year, will be operated using the same admissions criteria listed above. Placing a child’s name on the waiting list does not guarantee a place will become available. This does not prevent parents from exercising their right to appeal against the decision not to offer a place. It is possible that when a child is directed under the local authority’s fair access protocol they will take precedence over those children already on the list.
Parents whose applications for places are unsuccessful may appeal to an Independent Appeal Panel set up in accordance with section 85(3) of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. Appeals must be made in writing and must set out the reasons on which the appeal is made. Appeals should be made to the Admissions Appeal Clerk at the school address. Parents/Carers have the right to make oral representations to the Appeal Panel.
Infant classes are restricted by the legislation to 30 children. Parents should be aware that an appeal against refusal of a place in an infant class may only succeed if it can be demonstrated that:-
a) The admission of additional children would not breach the infant class size limit; or
b) The admission arrangements did not comply with admissions law or had not been correctly and impartially applied and the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had complied or had been correctly and impartially applied; or
c) The panel decides the decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the case.
In-Year (casual admissions)
The school’s Supplementary Information Form (SIF) should be completed to enable the Governing Body to rank the application in the event of there being more than one application for a place. The Governing Body will use the same criteria to rank the application as that listed above. The offer of a place at the school will be made by the Governing Body. In the event of the Governing Body deciding a place cannot be offered, parents will be offered the opportunity of placing their child’s name on the waiting list. This does not prevent parents from exercising their right to appeal against the decision not to offer a place.
Fair Access Protocol: The purpose of Fair Access Protocols is to ensure that - outside the normal admissions round - unplaced children, especially the most vulnerable, are found and offered a place quickly, so that the amount of time any child is out of school is kept to the minimum. This is why every local authority is required to have in place a Fair Access Protocol, developed in partnership with local schools.