Catholic school forced to remove ‘mother’ and ‘father’ from admissions form

Nov 14, 2017 by

by Ruth Gledhill, The Tablet:


A Catholic primary school was ordered to revise its admission arrangements after a parent objected that the use of the terms “mother” and “father”  discriminated against separated, step or gay parents.

A parent at the Holy Ghost Catholic Primary School in the Southwark Archdiocese in Wandsworth, London complained that there was only one space on the school’s supplementary information form (SIF) for the completion of details of a parent or guardian’s attendance at worship and that this was in breach of the School Admissions Code.

Holy Ghost school is oversubscribed. It can admit 30 new pupils each year, but 48 applicants made it their first choice this year.

Schools adjudicator Peter Goringe says in his adjudication that the parent objected on four grounds. He did not uphold three of these grounds of objection related to the taking of a collection, asking for details of a parent’s pattern of worship and asking the parish priest to endorse the completed form.

But he added: “I do uphold the part of the objection relating to the request on the SIF for the ‘mother’s’ and ‘father’s’ ‘religion’.

“The oversubscription criteria only require one parent to be a practising Catholic.”

In this respect the form was therefore in breach of the code, which prohibits admission authorities from seeking information that is not necessary for them to apply their oversubscription criteria.

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