Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Another Catholic School in peril - Coloma.....Southwark's "Vaughan"

EF Pastor Emeritus, good priest blogger that he is, posted on the Coloma Convent Girls' School issue earlier this month, you may read the post here

I particularly liked EFPE's comment:

   "Maybe Catholic Schools should discriminate, in favour of the Faith, and should be supported by Bishops and Archbishops. I have long-standing doubts about the actions of  school commissions whether in Southwark or Westminster. Time and time again the Church seems to be surrendering long fought for rights originally recognised in th 1944 Schools Education  Act.  I saw the same thing happen with Hospitals and warned over 20 years ago of what would happen if we did not insist on our Legal rights. Now we are faced with Chaplains given fewer rights and Catholics having to INSIST that their religion be recorded when they enter hospital AND that the Catholic chaplain be notified.
I sometimes despair at the level of ignorance which appears to exist amongst the hierarchy. Mind you, I think they would very quickly be educated if the Catholics in the pew kept their hands firmly closed and joined  (in prayer) when the second collection for Catholic Education is being taken. Even in the Church, money speaks, as does its absence!"

It is looking more and more as if Southwark Diocese under Archbishop Peter Smith, is trying to do a "Westminster" ie control the school absolutely as Archbishop Nichols tried to do with Cardinal Vaughan School.

Why, oh why do they always go for the decent, principled Catholic Schools and let ones like Bonus Pastor with its explicit sex ed programme go free?

Here is the report from the local newspaper 'Croydon Today' comment in blue....
                 ​CRITICISED:   Coloma Convent Girl's School's head teacher Maureen Martin, whose institution has been criticised for its 'unfair' admissions code
           Coloma Convent Girl's School's head teacher Maureen Martin

The school awards maximum points to potential students baptised within six months of birth, with two points given to any child after 18 months.
The parent said the policy was "unfair" and broke the School Admissions Code. Coloma's admissions policy was also described as "unclear and discriminatory" by the diocese, which criticised the decision to award points for involvement in "church activities".
Rated "outstanding" following its last Ofsted inspection in October 2009, the school, in Upper Shirley Road, is one of Croydon's most respected and oversubscribed schools.
When its September 2012 admissions policy came up for review the only two objectors were the parent and the diocese.
The diocese said families who could not provide evidence were being discouraged from applying to the school, adding that the policy was particularly unfair to single parents. (But, the Church insists on a Baptism Certificate being produced if you wish to be Confirmed or Married)

The parent said Coloma was wrong to use Canon Law, which states families "are obliged to take care that infants are baptised in the first few weeks", and that early baptism only reflects commitment to Catholicism at the time, not 11 years on.

Schools Adjudicator Dr Bryan Slater cited a previous adjudication which, the school said, had shown the priority given to the date of baptism did not contravene the School Admissions Code, though at the time the diocese had made it clear that it did not support the measure.
Dr Slater said in his report that the school's rationale behind awarding points for early baptism and involvement in parish life is that the alternative, distance from the school, would lead admissions to be "dominated" by those able to afford to live nearby, contradicting Coloma's inclusive ethos.
Dr Slater upheld the complaints, with the report stating the social mix of the school was already unrepresentative of the area it was in
He said: "I am unconvinced the school is able to justify its reasons for departing from diocesan guidance in employing the oversubscription criteria. I agree with both objectors that there is potential for unfairness."
Dr Slater said he had given "very careful consideration" as to whether to change the school's admission arrangements.
He added: "I am mindful that parents have only until the end of October to make their expressions of preference, and that it would be unreasonable at this juncture to ask them to do so on an altered basis.
"Accordingly, but with some reluctance, I think it is now too late to amend the arrangements for 2012-13."

Coloma refused to comment.


  1. It's hard to think of anything printable to say, beyond Mandy Rice-Davis's comment of nearly 50 years ago, "Well they would, wouldn't they?"

    The Catholic Church in England is rapidly becoming an own-goal machine.

    Someone, preferably in Rome, needs to start getting tough, and PDQ.

  2. It's good to see these problem schools, like the Vaughan and Coloma, (which give the Church such a bad name by providing excellent education, and Catholic formation, to children from diverse backgrounds) are finally being brought to heel. They should install the Head of Bonus Pastor as a super-head, to teach these outmoded people how to get with the programme. More porn, more blasphemy, and more profanity is clearly what is needed...

  3. The smoke of Satan is getting as thick as a pea-souper.