When parents wish their child to get a place in a Catholic School the Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales has asked all parish priests to sign a Certificate of Catholic Practice’ for each applicant. This form states that the child and family attend Mass every week and every holy day of obligation and that this has been the practice for five or so years. A ‘Certificate of Catholic Practice’ has to be provided for applications for nursery school, for reception class and for entry to a Catholic secondary school.

As a parish we make every effort to ensure that there is no scandal of a fully practising family being deprived of a place in a Catholic school and a place given to a family who are not regular churchgoers. I now believe that we will have to have consultations to put into place a more robust system to ensure that all those who get a place in our Catholic schools are fully practising Catholics. This will probably mean a weekly registration system where a card for the applicant is stamped after Mass each Sunday and holy day of obligation.

I would ask parents who have a child wishing to enter nursery or reception class in a Catholic primary school or Year 7 in a Catholic Secondary school keep an eye on this newsletter where the details will be printed. I cannot sign a certificate if it is not accompanied by a registration card. I feel sad that this has become necessary but it is sadder still when a family who attend every week are deprived of a place in the school of their choice. It feels like lying and cheating are being rewarded.

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