Mother has to send three children to separate schools due to religious discrimination

Posted: Tue, 19 Jan 2021

School sign

A mother must send her three children to three different schools due to discriminatory faith school admissions policies, a complaint to an ombudsman has revealed.

According to a recently published decision report by the local government and social care ombudsman, the mother, named as "Mrs X", applied for one of her children ("D") to start at St John Fisher Catholic Primary School in September 2020.

However, all places at the school were allocated to children "in a higher category" than D. This is despite the fact D's older sibling attends the school, and that D had attended the nursery attached to the school.

Mrs X indicated that had D been categorised as 'Catholic', they would have been given higher priority according to the school's admissions criteria.

When Mrs X appealed against the school's decision to reject D, she said she would face "logistical difficulties" because her three children would attend three different schools.

She also said D had "settled in with friends and staff" at the school's nursery and moving to a different school "would not be in D's best interests". She said D was "upset" at having to go to a different school.

The ombudsman did not investigate the complaint further, noting that "the faith Mrs X belongs to is not the Catholic faith".

Alastair Lichten, coordinator of the No More Faith Schools campaign, said: "Cases like this show how the arbitrary and discriminatory nature of religious admissions causes havoc for many families. Ending direct discrimination in school admissions should be a priority.

"And the fairest solution would be to end the fragmented and confusing faith school system, so every child has access to an inclusive and suitable local school."

Note on ombudsman's role

  • The local government and social care ombudsman is the final stage for complaints about local public services, including schools. Parents who believe that an incorrect decision has been made regarding school admissions can make a complaint to the ombudsman to try and overturn the decision.

Tags: Admissions, Discrimination