CES responds to Ministerial statement on school admissions


Catholic schools, along with all others, are expected to have clear admissions arrangements that can be readily understood and which comply fully with the School Admissions Code. This is something that we support wholeheartedly, irrespective of being required to do it. The CES (Catholic Education Service for England and Wales) remains confident that the admissions arrangements of the vast majority of Catholic schools are sound, fully meeting all statutory requirements.

DCSF’s exercise looking at the admissions arrangements of schools in three local authorities revealed that a number of schools still needed some additional support and guidance to achieve the necessary clarity in their admissions practices. Where this was the case there was no deliberate attempt to circumvent the Code, but there may have been errors of interpretation.

This review has shown us the importance of working in partnerships to ensure that all parties fully understand what the code requires and to reflect this in individual school arrangements. Diocesan officers have worked closely with their schools to support them in these matters and will continue to do so. To enable effective support for Catholic schools, it is imperative that schools fulfil the statutory requirement to consult with their diocese at the earliest opportunity, making sure that the diocese is provided with a copy of their current admissions policy and arrangements, and that the diocese is fully involved in consultation on future arrangements. The CES has been working with dioceses and others as we prepare to publish additional guidance to deepen our schools’ understanding of the Code and its application. We now look forward to preparing for future admissions rounds and collaboration between diocesan authorities, schools, local authorities and others so that the admissions system is fair and transparent across all schools.

We anticipate working closely with DCSF officials and others as related amendments are proposed to the Education and Skills Bill. We also expect to be involved in the development of any further guidance and activities to strengthen the admissions system.

Oona Stannard (Ms)
Chief Executive and Director
Catholic Education Service for England and Wales



For more information please contact:

Laura McCann, Policy and Briefing Officer

t: 0207 901 4854