Top Catholic School in UK Told to Halt Admissions Preference for Those Whose Parents Serve During Mass

The London Oratory school, a top UK Catholic school in London, has been ordered by the government to stop giving preference in admission to those students whose parents serve their parish by such things as serving at the altar, singing in the choir, or being a reader. This order came from the Office of the Schools Adjudicator, taking up a complaint from the British Humanist Association. This office is a part of the UK judicial system, an office which is over school admissions and school organization.

While I agree that preference should not be given to children of parents serving at the altar, singing in the choir, or being a reader; preference should be given simply registered parishioners who contribute to their parish (with either time and/or money). The government should have no say.

God Bless

Peace and all Good!

Thanks for sharing this story. I know the London Oratory School quite well, as my brother was sent there for several years. The following stuck out for me:

“David McFadden, London Oratory’s headmaster, said it was “perplexing” that the local Catholic diocese had supported the BHA’s objection against the use of “good acts” as an oversubscription criteria, adding: “As a Christian faith and good acts go hand in hand.””

Keep in mind that the mindset of that country was determined after hundreds of years of the Kings and Queens, heads of their government, were also the heads of their churches. There is also a greater portion of persons there who still consider the head of their government to be the head of their church, so government offices determining church rules and policies is expected. Only the Catholic minority has a problem with government interference in Church affairs. And they look across the pond for affirmation in their “rebellion” from having a human Queen as the head of their church instead of the Pope.



I don’t think preference should be given to anyone. That said, I know that some who are not Christian or Catholic may want to have their kids enrolled, but I can’t see it being huge numbers. Therefore I see no reason for this problem if everyone has an equal chance to enroll. The only criteria should be academic ability, record of good and responsible behavior from other schools if they are a transfer student.

If the school is recognizing a higher increase in applicants maybe they should consider adding more rooms, another school, something like that. People are interested in their kids having a decent education, and lot of folks in the States are getting fed up with the Public School system in terms of quality, morals and reliability. At least here we can home school if all else fails, and if I were a parent that is what I would do.

Normally, I would agree. However, with this school, it sounds like they have a ton more applicants than open spots. While academics should be counted very high, all things being equal, Catholics should have priority over non-catholics and practicing catholic families should have priority over non-practicing Catholics. This would be very similar to to discounts that parish schools sometimes offer their registered parishioners.

Building an addtion or a new school are good long term solutions. But it doesn’t help for the current & upcoming school year(s) and takes money.

God Bless.

It may very well be different for us, but here in the U.S. that is certainly not true. I would say that at least 75% of the children in my DGS’s class are not Catholic.

As Catholics we contribute to the support of our schools through our church contributions. Our parishes provide funding to the parish schools, and there are diocesan collections to support regional high schools. While I can see where a neutral admissions policy might seem unfair, requiring non-Catholic parents to pay additional tuition or provide time or financial support does not.

Peace and all Good

They do have far more applicants than available spaces. It’s an excellent school, which is very well known in the UK & the volume of applications does reflect this. I do’t think they should exclude non Catholics, of course, but as a very orthodox Catholic school where the Faith is a big part of the school life, I do think that Catholics should be given Priority.

As I said said, my brother studied there for several years. Its a great school but you’d be amazed at the competition over places

Peace and all Good!!

Certainly when my brother was there (late 1990s-early 2000s) there were quite a few non Catholics & non Christians applying there, because of the school’s academic record.

Homeshooling is also growing in the UK. I imagine its not nearly as common as in the US but when I lived in London & Oxford, I was surprised at the number of families who were doing it. I would definitely homeshcool my children if I were a parent as well.

I could rant for days on the school system but I’ll leave it for another thread :twocents:

I could rant for days on the school system but I’ll leave it for another thread

As a teacher from another country, I wouldn’t mind reading your views on the criticisms of the school systems discussed.

Do I understand this correctly to say that the UK government has decreed that a CATHOLIC school (the mission of which, by definition, is to educate children in an environment and context faithful to catholic teaching) may not consider as part of admissions criteria the level of commitment applicant families actually have to the faith?

Sickening! A catholic school cannot be what it MUST be unless there is a critical mass of families and staff who are utterly committed to Christ. Same old British government as ever, it seems when it comes to Catholicism…

No they don’t and this is a view many English Catholics would find laughable and shows a very poorly informed understanding of the UK as it exists today in favour of ‘a how I’d like to see those naughty Brits’ view.

I would very much appreciate your thoughts on the school system.

My family will return to the UK in a few years and at that point the kids will be in primary school. I’m dreading it because I have heard all sorts of things regarding Catholic schools, both state and private, and because I think that the level of education generally is quite low. I am eager to learn as much as I can in order to make the best decision for the kids.

Please PM me if you don’t mind discussing this. Thank you.

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