Falkirk Council RC admissions policy challenged

St Bernadette's opened in 2012 and already facing space issues
St Bernadette's opened in 2012 and already facing space issues

Education bosses have been urged to think again on plans to take a tighter control of 
admissions to its 
denominational schools.

The proposal to allow only baptised Roman Catholics to be automatically allocated a place at St Mungo’s High’s feeder primaries has been challenged.

With consultation involving parents and other interested parties due to end on June 27, the Scottish Secular 
Society has accused Falkirk Council of discrimination.

Chairman Spencer Fildes claimed: “We believe the council should be more disposed and attentive to the Equality Act 2010 when considering a school admission review rather than seeking to pursue the direct discrimination of children who are not of the Roman Catholic faith. We believe that discriminatory admissions policies operated by Roman Catholic schools in addition to being unfair, encourage social segregation and are antithetical to community cohesion. At a time when Scotland is endeavouring to eradicate religious bigotry, segregating children on the basis of parents’ religions is clearly divisive.”

The planned change to the policy is an attempt by the council to avoid overcrowding at its denominational primaries and only RC high school. Joint acting director of education Gary Greenhorn has warned demand for places has risen to a level that can no longer be sustained.

The crisis had already forced the council to cap the intake at all St Mungo’s High feeder primaries in 2013 which led to 40 youngsters being refused admission.

It is now proposed only pupils who are baptised Roman Catholics would be automatically allocated a place at the start of primary one.

Yesterday (Wednesday) a council spokesperson said: “Following the completion of the consultation a full report will be submitted to the 
education executive.”