St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School is a part of the Kent Catholic Schools Partnership. 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 to Jesus Christ. The school exists primarily to serve the Catholic community and Catholic children always have priority of admission. However, the Governing Body welcomes all applications, particularly from those of other denominations and faiths who support the religious ethos of the school.
Having consulted with the Local Authority and other admission authorities, the Governors intend to admit into the reception class, in September 2016, up to 30 pupils without reference to ability or aptitude.
Where the number of applications exceeds 30, the Governors will offer places using the following criteria in the order stated:-
- Looked After Catholic Children or Looked After Children in the care of Catholic families.
This applies equally to children who immediately after being looked after by the local authority became subject to an adoption, residence or special guardianship order (as defined by Section 46 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 or Section 8 or 14A of the Children Act 1989).
- Baptised Catholic children. Evidence of Baptism will be required.
- Children enrolled in the catechumenate. Evidence of enrolment in the catechumenate will be required.
- Other Looked After Children. This applies equally to children who immediately after being looked after by the local authority became subject to an adoption, residence or special guardianship order (as defined by Section 46 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 or Section 8 or 14A of the Children Act 1989).
- Children who are members of Eastern Orthodox Churches. Evidence of Baptism will be required.
- Children of families who are members of other Christian denominations that are part of Churches Together in England. Evidence of membership provided by a priest or minister of a designated place of worship will be required.
- Children of other faiths. Evidence of membership of the faith provided by a priest, minister or religious leader of a designated place of worship will be required.
- Any other children.
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
- A brother or sister on the school roll at the time of admission. Evidence of the relationship may be required. (NB: “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).
- In the context of school admissions Catholic children are defined as Children who are baptised or received into the Catholic Church, children baptised or received into the Eastern Churches in union with Rome and children of members of the Ordinariate. The strength of evidence of commitment to the faith as demonstrated by the level of the family's Mass attendance on Sundays. This evidence must be provided by the parents/carers and be endorsed by a priest at the church(es) where the family normally worship. (NB: Applications will be ranked in the order shown on the Supplementary Form. Highest priority to those who attend Mass weekly, then at last once a month, etc.).
- Health and Safety Access Reasons – Medical, health, social and special access reasons will be applied in accordance with the school’s legal obligations, in particular those under the Equality Act 2010. Priority will be given to those children whose mental or physical impairment means they have a demonstrable and significant need to attend a particular school. Equally this priority will apply to children whose parents’/guardians’ physical or mental health or social needs mean that they have a demonstrable and significant need to attend a particular school. Such claims will need to be supported by written evidence from a suitably qualified medical or other practitioner who can demonstrate a special connection between these needs and the particular school.
- Nearness of children’s home to school – we use the distance between the child’s permanent home address and the school, measured in a straight line using Ordnance Survey address point data. Distances are measured from a point defined as within the child’s home to a point defined as within the school as specified by Ordnance Survey. The same address point on the school site is used for everybody. Evidence of residence may be required. Where the last remaining place is to be allocated and two or more children are deemed to live at the same distance from the school, the place will be decided by the drawing of lots.
Catholics include members of the Latin and Oriental Rite Churches that are in union with the Bishop of Rome. Reference to other Christian denominations refers to denominations that are full members of Churches Together in England.
In addition to the Common Application Form (CAF) supplied by the Local Authority, the Supplementary Information Form available from the school, should be completed and sent to the Headteacher at the school not later than the closing date published by the Local Authority. This should be done even if the CAF is completed online. If the Supplementary Information Form is not completed, the governing body of the school will only be able to consider the application after all applicants who have completed a Supplementary Information Form. You are advised to make two copies of the forms. You should retain one copy and pass the second copy to the school or your priest, as indicated.
Offers of places will be sent to parents on the common offer date as notified by the Local Authority.
Applications for a place at the school in-year must be made using the common application form of the Local Authority (LA) where the child resides. This form must be returned to the LA. The school’s supplementary form should also be completed to enable the governors to rank the application in the event of there being more than one application for a place. The governors 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 LA on behalf of the governors. In the event of the governors deciding that 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.
Pupils with a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan.
The admissions of pupils with a Statement of Special Educational Needs or with an EHC Plan are dealt with by a completely separate procedure. The procedure is integral to the making and maintaining of statements and EHC plans by the pupil’s home local authority. Details of this separate procedure are set out in the SEND code of practice. Pupils with a statement or EHC plan naming the school will be admitted without reference to the above criteria.
Admission of children outside their normal age group
Parents who are seeking a place for their child outside of their normal age group, eg, the child has experienced problems such as ill health or the parents of a summer born child choosing not to send that 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 take into account 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 it is not in their preferred age group.
Admission of children below compulsory school age
The governors will provide for the admission of all children in the September following their 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 that their child attends part-time until the child reaches compulsory school age.
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 Appeals 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:-
- the admission of additional children would not breach the infant class size limit; or
- 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 the panel decides that the decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the case.
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. This waiting list will be maintained until the end of the Autumn term. The waiting list will be operated using the same admissions criteria listed above. Placing a child’s name on the waiting list does not guarantee that 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
Any late applications will be considered by the Governors' Admissions Committee, in the event of there being any available places using the above criteria. If all places have been filled, 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.
This admissions procedure, although primarily relevant to children for whom a place is sought at the normal age of entry to primary education (Year R), applies also to succeeding years, subject to availability of places.