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Religious schools in London: how to obtain a place for your child

A religious education can provide advantages beyond a strong sense of faith: high-achieving academic performance, community spirit, moral values, and a stable learning environment – but is your child eligible to attend one of these sought-after faith schools?

Religious schools in London: how to obtain a place for your child

Faith schools – those with a particular religious character or formal links with a religious or faith-based organisation – must follow the national curriculum but have two distinct differences from non-faith institutions: they can choose what they teach in religious studies, and they may give priority to children from a particular religion.

They are top of the class at primary and secondary level:

  • In 2019, faith schools accounted for almost half of the top 500 state primaries – an impressive achievement for a category that makes up just 36.8% of schools at primary level.
  • At secondary level, the proportion of pupils achieving 5+ GCSEs at grades A* to C, including English and maths, is higher in most categories of faith school than in non-faith schools.

As a proudly diverse city, London is home to schools linked to a broad spectrum of faiths – so how do you get your child enrolled at one?

Admission policies are a vital element in preserving and developing their distinctive religious character. To this end, many faith schools have their own admissions authorities, allowing them to give preference to children from families that share their religion – so always read the admission policy on the school website.

Catholic schools

Catholic school admissions are largely dictated by how popular a school is. They will prioritise Catholic pupils in their admissions, but if they have space for more anyone can apply – regardless of their faith.

Parents typically only need to provide a Baptism certificate as proof of Catholicism. When a Catholic school is oversubscribed with students of that faith, Catholic practice is considered.

Church of England schools

Church of England (CofE) schools typically welcome applications from all members of the community. As part of their commitment to the local community, they operate an admission policy that encourages applications from parents who are keen to educate their children in a school with a Christian ethos. This ethos is underpinned by Christian values concerning the well-being of all in the community, irrespective of religious, cultural, or socioeconomic background.

Jewish schools

Jewish day schools require the completion of a Certificate of Religious Practice (CRP) form for admission – which allows applicants to demonstrate Jewish practice when applying to schools. This is dependent on collecting points for religious service attendance, Jewish education, and volunteering in the Jewish community. Each school has unique admission criteria which you can find on its website.

Muslim schools

Admission policies and criteria for Muslim schools aren’t subject to any overarching governance; they are developed and administered by each school – so visit the school’s website for details and contact them directly.

This is far from an exhaustive list of the types of faith schools out there. Many other faiths have schools linked directly to their religious beliefs – including: Sikh, Protestant, Methodist, Christian Science, 7th Day Adventists and Quaker.

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