Suffolk: Proposed Changes to Religious Schools Admission Rules

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Practicing Church of England families may no longer be given priority in oversubscribed C of E schools in Suffolk under new county council plans, it emerged.

Suffolk County Council has launched a consultation on proposed changes to the school’s admission criteria, which would apply from the 2023/24 school year.

Currently practicing families in the Church of England, or any other Church of the Anglican World Communion, are given priority in oversubscribed Voluntarily Controlled (VC) schools if they have been Christians for a year or more before the closing date of the school year. admission to school.

But the new provisions propose removing these priority grounds in oversubscribed VC schools, and would instead leave families treated as other children living in or outside the service area.

According to the council, arrangements have been made for the 2021/22 school year at the request of the diocese so that practicing families who cannot attend church due to Covid-19 can continue to be given priority for school places within the framework of existing provisions.


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The consultation on this for 2022/23 generated 18 responses, of which 15 expressed concerns about equality and inclusion based on this measure.

The council consultation report said: “In response to this, we have been working with the Diocesan School Board of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich to review these criteria.

“Collectively, we believe the time has come to work together on the future of religious criteria for the 2023/2024 school year.

“To put this in perspective, very few children are allocated places in voluntary schools controlled according to these criteria. “

During the last admission process, the families of nine children applied according to this priority criterion, but only one was offered a place that they would not have earned anyway according to the distance criteria of the establishment. However, this case meant that a child was displaced who, although not living in the catchment area, was closer to the school.

A spokesperson for the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich said: “The Diocesan Board of Education supports this consultation and encourages parents to respond.

The other change to the admission criteria is a reduction in the number of published admissions for Heath Primary School in Kesgrave from 90 to 60 students.

The consultation is open until Friday, November 12.

To find out more and participate, visit www.suffolk.gov.uk/consultations or call 0345 600 0981 to request a hard copy.


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