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LAC as admission criteria

Spider October 24, 2020 15:43

Hi, I'm looking for any resources or advice re the importance of looked after children getting priority in the admission process. Our local oversubscribed secondary faith school has opened a consultation on dropping non-Catholic LAC children from first to 5th place, after baptised Catholics and after siblings of current pupils. I intended to respond but would love some evidence to use in my reply as to why these vulnerable children should get priority. Grateful for any input

Safia October 24, 2020 16:14

Try ISPSEA - they are very good - if you can’t find anything on their website try emailing them

Donatella October 24, 2020 19:20

Unless I’m mistaken faith schools are able to set their own admission criteria so you may be pushing against a very closed door. Is the school worth the fight? Is its pastoral support and understanding of adoption that good that you’d want your child to go somewhere that doesn’t see them as a priority?

Bluemetro October 24, 2020 20:39

Donatella is correct regarding faith schools. An EHCP gives a higher possibility of a place.

chestnuttree October 24, 2020 21:47

There was a court case a few years back which found that faith schools were highly discriminatory, for instance they took in much less children on free school meals than the average in their catchment area. It really makes you question a) their Christian ethos and b) their charity status. You could look for that. However, that is a big playing field and while I think someone should take it up with those schools, you probably have a lot on your plate already.

Safia October 25, 2020 09:42

Also AUK probably have plenty of written information you could use

windfalls October 27, 2020 11:01

As the school has opened up a consultation on this issue I would get your local MP involved. It really is not on that faith schools are able to get away with this - they have the cheek to preach about Christian values on one hand and then openly discriminate against the most vulnerable and traumatised in society. I would also consider getting the local paper involved - if one catholic school gets away with this then every catholic school will think that they can do the same. The hypocracy of it all is astounding. Hopefully some "bad publicity" may be enough for them to reconsider their uncatholic stance - so also really consider using social media as well.

best wishes with this xx

chestnuttree October 27, 2020 20:36

A friend just told me that a faith school nearby just had a consultation on changing their admission criteria to be MORE inclusive. The new wording was "1. Looked after children and previously looked after children. This includes children who appear to have been in state care outside of England and ceased to be in state care as a result of being adopted" (proposed changes in bold).

I would point this out to your school and ask why they on the other hand are choosing to do something that is clearly contrary to their proposed Christian ethos. How do they justify the changes? I agree with windfalls that the hypocrisy is shocking. I think involving the MP and the local paper are great ideas.

BeckyAUK November 5, 2020 12:54

Hi Spider,

Although looked after and previously looked after children do have priority access to school places during the normal admissions round (Reception and Year 7), there are slightly different requirements for faith schools.

Faith schools are allowed to distinguish between LAC/PLAC (please excuse the acronyms) of the faith, and those not of the faith. So a faith school may have LAC/PLAC of the faith at the top of the over-subscription criteria, followed by other priority children of the faith, and then children not of the faith prioritised below that, with LAC/PLAC who are not of the faith at the top of that secondary list.

In practice a lot of faith schools waive this right, and prioritise LAC/PLAC at the top of the over-subscription list whether they are of the faith or not. It is disappointing if that is this school's current position and they are considering moving away from that.

You might find this article on our website useful: https://www.adoptionuk.org/blog/priority-school-admissions-faqs

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