School admissions and church attendance

Church schools are popular and the number of applications for admission often exceeds the number of places available. To allocate places, each school has its own admissions policy which sets out their criteria for admission. These criteria are different at each school but they often include:
  • Special needs and disabilities
  • Siblings already at the school
  • Regular church attendance or membership
  • The distance from the school to the child's home.
From time to time parents ask us to sign a form from their school of choice to confirm that a child attends our church. We always want to do this as fairly as possible and we're aware that with limited places, there is always the potential for disappointment.

We're glad to help but we would ask parents to remember:
  • Each school has its own admissions policy and you should speak to the school if you are unsure about its requirements.
  • It's really important that you send all the information that the school needs in good time. Don't leave things until the last minute. Each school handles the process in a different way and we cannot offer you guidance on how to apply. Again, speak to the school if you're unsure.
  • Please make sure that you fill in the forms carefully. Make sure you complete all sections that are required from parents before you give the forms to us.
  • "Regular attendance" or "membership" are defined in different ways by different schools. Parents are often surprised that the level of attendance which qualifies as "regular" is quite high. For example, some schools state that anything less than 48 times in two years does not count as regular.
  • At St Mary's our Sunday morning children's groups each have an attendance register. If your child attends one of the Sunday groups, then please ensure that they are recorded.
  • We will always be scrupulously honest in confirming church attendance or membership. It's not possible for us to make any statement that we cannot know to be fact.
  • We understand that choosing a school is an important thing to do and it can feel like quite a stressful time. As deadlines approach, it's understandable that feelings run high. A decision from a school not to award a place can be hard to receive. We believe that with great parental support, children can thrive in a wide range of schools and things may not be as difficult as they seem. Many children grow up to be thankful that they didn't get into their first-choice school.
  • The worship, prayer and pastoral support of your church community is a great help. Attending worship simply to qualify for a school place, however well intentioned, is never going to be as good as coming with an open mind, ready to receive and to give to the Christian community. We welcome people who come to church for all sorts of reasons. We also hope that participating in the life of St Mary's will bring real opportunities for encountering God and growing in faith.
As admissions policies change each year, it's not possible for us to maintain an up-to-date list of documents for all local church schools. Please check the websites of the schools themselves (try searching for "admissions" and the name of the school). Further information on admissions is available from Islington.