What if church school shake-up came to Wanstead?

The proposals to change the way children are admitted to Church of England schools might, when heard on news bulletins, sound a bit arcane. But if carried through they could be dramatic for the character of schools and indeed the towns the schools are in.

Take Wanstead Church School. Current admissions policy has 11 categories of child, with places being awarded in order.

• Top of the list is “looked after children”, eg children in care or those who have been adopted.
• Then come cases of special social or pastoral need.
• Third in line are children whose families are at the heart of the church – firstly those who attend Christchurch or St Mary’s, and secondly those who attend St Gabriel’s Aldersbrook or Holy Trinity Hermon Hill.
• Fourth are children who aren’t classed as being “at the heart” of the church but are nevertheless “committed to it”. Then come other categories of being siblings of existing pupils, being at the heart of or being committed to other churches in Wanstead, being known to the church, and…
• Finally, category 11, “Remaining places will be offered to those living closest to the school as defined by the local authority.”

Readers might like, for the sake of diversion, to estimate the numbers of children admitted to Wanstead Church School – which has an annual intake of 30 – for the year 2010/11.

If you’ve given up guessing, here are the answers, (as recorded in Redbridge’s Primary School Admission to Reception 2011/12 document, available here):
• Looked after children – none
• Special social need – none
• Children of families at the heart of Christchurch or St Mary’s – 29
• Children of families at the heart of St Gabriel’s or Holy Trinity – 1
• Remaining categories – none, obviously.

The proposals are that 10% of places are reserved for churchgoing children would, if accepted by the church’s educational board, need to be accepted by the school governors. But if they were adopted, with just three places reserved for children of church families, it is clear to see the impact on families with young children who live in Wanstead, whether or not they go to church.

7 thoughts on “What if church school shake-up came to Wanstead?”

  1. Wouldn’t that be nice! And then people who lived near to the school would be able to send their children to the local school.

  2. And you wouldn’t get a church crammed full of non-believers desperately getting the tick against their child’s name on the creche register every sunday.

    Faith schools should be fee paying if they’re not prepared to allow the Council Tax paying general public in. (Unlike the wonderful Nightingale!)

  3. Wouldn’t it be even better if we had separation of church and state and no public money was given to religious bodies; instead all such schools were state schools and accepted children on criteria like where they lived but also for the first two reasons.

    It also sounds very odd that no children who were in care etc, were accepted. If none applied, why not? If they did, why didn’t they go.

  4. For me the highest priority should be that all primary school children should be able to walk to school if they can – i would like to know how many of the 30 do walk to school & how many of the “rejects” would have but now have to get in a car to do get to the school that they were allocated.

  5. absolutely agree with all the comments made so far. As a resident of addison road it would be lovely to walk my children to the church school or our lady of lourdes. I almost did the latter, but decided not to be a hypocrite when it came to my religous beliefs. So, instead i shall be walking my son to nightingale school. For those who live in the centre of wanstead that’s the nearest school, however, it’s popularity this year has meant many children in wanstead have not got a place. So, unless you are prepared to do the religious thing it is very hard to send your child to a local school when you live in wanstead. Separate state education from the church, it’s the only way forward!

  6. Totally agree with Claire. State funded church schools are exclusive and do not embrace the local community. Get rid of them and let everyone go to their local school!

  7. I do agree but don’t the churches fund “their” schools on top of the state? Would this be removed and the schools therefore lose funding and their apparent advantage?

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