‘Faking faith’ to get children a Heysham school place

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Parents are “faking religion” to get their child a place at a popular Heysham school, it has been claimed.

The controversial claim comes after St Peter’s CofE Primary School proposed to change their admissions policy for next year.

If given the go-ahead, the policy will require parents to prove their children are attending church on a monthly basis for at least 24 months, compared to its previous six month policy.

One dad, who does not wish to be named, has welcomed the potential changes and said it will “weed out” those who are faking their faith.

“There is clearly a case of people currently faking their faith to gain access to one of the best schools in the area, never to be seen again,” he said.

“When attending church for a number of years you can see the attendance bulge at a time before parents apply for a place and then they are never to be seen again.

“This is currently penalising families who do follow the faith.”

Another parent, who did not wish to be named, said: “I’m sure some people will jump through whatever hoops they can to get their child into their first choice school.

“I have no problem with the school changing their policy.

“Christian church-goers will be attending church anyway over that two year period, so it won’t make a scrap of difference to them.”

St Peter’s said they want to make their admission policy fair for those applying with a religious commitment.

“These changes would mean that anyone joining the school in September 2020 would need to have 
demonstrated their faith at least once a month for the previous 24 months,” said Nicola Gomersall, headteacher at St. Peter’s Church of England Primary School.

“At the moment the requirement is once a month for six months. This will increase each year until September 2020.

“These are proposals currently, and full details are on our website about them. Parents and carers are encouraged to let us know what they think about the proposals, via this consultation.

“I would like to point out though that a worship commitment is only one of the five criteria regarding admission and that these proposals are in line with the admissions policies of other faith schools in the area.”

All schools have admission criteria which is set by the school or county council. Admission criteria is different for each school, depending on the area and type of education.