Father to pit UN against Catholics

21st January 2000 at 00:00
AN ANGLICAN plans to complain to the United Nations after his daughter was refused a place at a top-performing London Catholic primary.

Dean Buckner alleges religious discrimination in what will be the first case of its kind in the UK.

He wanted his daughter Lizzie, five, to attend Our Lady of

Victories in Wandsworth, south London.

He said: "Though we live adjacent to the school, my daughter was refused admission on the grounds of our religion.

"We are not Catholics but wanted Lizzie to go there because of the quality of the school."

The admissions criteria for Our Lady of Victories - which tops primary league tables in Wandsworth - state children must be baptised a Catholic.

The Buckners had four schools to choose from when looking for a place for Lizzie - two Church of England, one Catholic and one local authority-run primary. She now attends St Mary's CE primary.

Mr Buckner said "My problem with the school in question (Our Lady of Victories) is that it has applied its admissions criteria to the exclusion of all other minority groups."

He claimed that was overtly discriminatory "particularly in our immediate area which is 75 per cent church schools".

Mr Buckner has told Wandsworth, which provides 85 per cent of the funding for Our Lady of Victories, that he will complain to the United Nations' human rights committee in Geneva.

The committee ruled last year that Canada had violated the UN's international covenant on civil and political rights because the state of Ontario had funded Roman Catholic schools but not those of other faiths. The committee was responding to a submission from a Jewish parent.

A spokesman for Wandsworth said: "It is perfectly clear in UK law that schools are able to have admissions policies which give priority according to religious belief."

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