Background to the request for a variation
Due to COVID-19, churches and places of worship have not been open during the last six months.
This meant that some children and families who wished to apply for a Voluntary Controlled school place from September 2021 on the grounds that the family or child are practising members of the Church of England (or other church within the Worldwide Anglican Communion) were not able to do so because they were not able to attend an Anglican church regularly, that is to say at least once a month.
Approval of the request for a variation
The Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) has approved our variation request to amend the admissions oversubscription criteria for applications to voluntary controlled schools. This will enable families who worship regularly at a Church of England church (or other church in the Worldwide Anglican Communion) to apply on these grounds even though their church may have been closed due to COVID-19.
However, the OSA has added a qualifying period to these oversubscription criteria and so it will only apply when the parent and/or child has been worshipping at least monthly for a period of a year before the deadline for the submission of an application for a place. This is shown in the OSA’s Variation Decision.
This only affects criteria 3(a) and 4(a) which have been up-dated and are shown below:
Children who are ordinarily resident in the catchment area.
Places will be allocated in the following priority order:
a) If the school is voluntary controlled, children whose parents/carers are applying on the grounds that the child and/or the family have been practising members of the Church of England (or other church within the Worldwide Anglican Communion) for a minimum period of one year before the relevant closing date. You must complete a Suffolk County Council Supplementary Information Form (SIF). This SIF must specifically state that you and/or your child are a practising member of the Church of England (or other church within the Worldwide Anglican Communion), which means you and/or your child go to an Anglican church regularly, that is to say at least once a month.
In the event that regular attendance has not been possible because the church has been closed for public worship, and has not provided alternative premises for worship, the requirements of the admission arrangements in relation to regular attendance will only apply to a period when the church or alternative premises have been available for public worship. The arrangements refer to regular worship and this means worshipping at least monthly for a period of a year before the deadline for the submission of an application for a place.
b) Children who live nearest to the school. We will measure the distance by a straight line (‘as the crow flies’). All straight line distances are calculated electronically by Suffolk County Council using data provided jointly by the Post Office and Ordnance Survey. The data plots the co-ordinates of each property and provides the address-point between which the straight line distance is measured and reported to three decimal places. Where there is more than one home within a single building (for example apartments) we will measure to a single point within that building irrespective of where those homes are located.
Children who live outside the school’s catchment area in the same priority order as set out in (a) and (b) above.
We have also amended the Supplementary Information form (SIF) for those who wish to apply under the religious criterion for admissions to Voluntary Controlled schools in 2021/2022.
The amended admission arrangements are in Suffolk County Council’s Determined Admission Arrangements for 2021/2022.
If you think this may affect your child and you would like further assistance, please contact the Admissions Team by email or on 0345 600 0981 (local rate).
have been up-dated and