Churchgoers are tops for CofE school places

19th January 2007 at 00:00
the church of England has issued new admissions guidelines requiring children to go to church at least twice a month if they want priority at over-subscribed schools.

Committed churchgoers will be placed in the top tier of three new categories to replace the current points system, which it says is too complicated and open to the charge of "covert social selection".

Under the new guidelines, the tiers to be used when allocating places are "at the heart of the church", "attached to the church" and "known to the church".

Children who go to church twice a month will be placed in the top category, while those known only through a family connection will find themselves at the bottom.

The guidance has been sent to all of the Church's 4,600 schools.

The guidelines follow the Government's new admissions code, published last week, and takes effect from September next year. It bans interviews and also aims to stop selection of middle-class pupils by the back door with expensive school uniforms.

The guidelines also tell schools to make at least 15 per cent of their places available to non-Christians. The Church had already said that new schools would make 25 per cent of places available to children irrespective of their religion.

At schools where most prospective pupils fall into the new top tier, random allocation of places or giving priority to those living closest to the school is recommended.

If a school chooses a points system here, it should not favour children with two parents at home, or where parents did not have to work on Sundays, the guidelines said.

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