A Catholic school has been ordered to drop references to ‘mothers’ and ‘fathers’ from its admission forms after a parent claimed it discriminated against gay couples.
The Holy Ghost Primary School, in Wandsworth, south London, were found in breach of regulations by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA).
It also came under fire for being ‘discriminatory’ against separated parents and stepparents, by leaving just one space on the school’s Supplementary Information Form (SIF) for their place of worship.
The Holy Ghost Primary School, in Wandsworth, south London, were found in breach of regulations by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator
Schools adjudicator Peter Goringe said in his report that the complaining parent at the school in Wandsworth, south London, objected on four grounds.
He did not uphold three, relating 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 Mr Goringe 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 over-subscription criteria only require one parent to be a practising Catholic.’
The over-subscribed school can only admit 30 pupils each year, but had 48 first-choice applicants this year.
He found the form to be in breach of the code, which prohibits admission authorities from seeking unnecessary information.
Mr Goringe said: ‘It is unnecessary to seek information about the religion of more than one parent and, in the absence of any clarification of the term ”parent”, the use of the words ”mother” and ”father” might, as the objector suggests, be taken to imply that the school is restricting its definition.’
He also found that the arrangements give priority to those worshipping at Holy Ghost church, contrary to the Southwark Archdiocese’s own guidance.
Two neighbouring schools also came under fire for the same form, and Mr Goringe ruled that they should all revise their admissions arrangements.
A spokesperson for the Catholic Education Service said: ‘We expect all Catholic schools to comply with the School Admissions Code and we work closely with dioceses and the Office of the Schools Adjudicator to ensure this happens.
‘In the vast majority of cases where objections to admissions are upheld, it is down to insufficient clarity or poor communication.
‘These are issues which affect all schools, not just those with a religious character.
‘Specifically in London, we are seeing increasing cases of Catholic demand outstripping Catholic school supply.
‘This is because for the last seven years the Government has effectively banned the Catholic Church from opening any new Free Schools.’