Says Dorset Humanists’ Richard Scutt in a recent letter to the Bournemouth Echo:*
Following Echo letters 29 May from Councillor Whittaker (“Church schools can expand”) and Mrs. Brigid Hincks (“How could fairness to all be achieved?”), I wonder if readers are aware that voluntary aided church schools, which are funded by and intended to serve the local community, are allowed to formulate their own admissions policies.
These schools provide part of the stock of places for children in the local authority community yet are able to discriminate on grounds of religion. As Mrs. Hincks says, the admission arrangements for St.Joseph’s Catholic School, Christchurch, are to be found on the school website and I urge readers to look at them. Under “Oversubscription Criteria” they will find a list of eight categories showing that baptised Catholic children are strongly favoured, followed by children of other religions and lastly “other children”. Surely this should not be the case in what should be inclusive community schools. Furthermore the proliferation of Free Schools and Academies, some of which are under religious control, will make this divisive situation worse.
An article in the Echo, May 24 told of how a child had missed out on a place at St. Joseph’s because the mother had not submitted her baptism certificate with the application form. This despite living next door to the school and having a sister already attending it!
*The Echo titled Richard’s letter ‘Surely every school should be inclusive’.