The parents of two Catholic boys have been left disillusioned after they were told their children have not shown enough strength of faith to gain a place at their first choice of secondary school.
The explanation came as a shock to the parents of 11-year-old Hayden O’Connor and his cousin, Robert Fiddimore, who have both been regular churchgoers for their entire lives at St Elphege’s Church in Wallington and took their Holy Communion there in May 2003.
Hayden’s mother, Celia O’Connor, who lives in Wallington, said the John Fisher School in Purley should have said there were not enough places.
She said: "It was very judgmental of them to say the boys hadn’t shown enough strength of faith how can they prove that? They need to readdress their admissions criteria because they are pushing people away from their religion. My whole family are Catholics and I feel this is almost bordering on discrimination.
"I ticked nearly every box for the school’s criteria except my son is not an altar boy and he doesn’t attend Scouts."
I guess she should have taped a mustard seed on their applications.
She feels so strongly about her son’s rejection that she has written to the Pope explaining her concerns and said she feels the school’s explanation is a contradiction of the Bible, which states those who engage in prayer must not be seen as hypocrites.
Headteacher of the school, Pat Liddiard, said he could not comment on individual cases but explained the school had more applicants than places.
Well maybe the family is better off. A school that has "no means of gauging academic ability" has something wrong with it. Do they send blank report cards home?