St James' High School denies ‘most selective’ claims
A SCHOOL has hit back at claims it is one of the 10 most socially-selective state schools in the country.
St James’s CE High School in Farnworth has been listed as the eighth most socially-exclusive high school, according research published by the British Humanist Society.
The study ranks schools by how many children are eligible for free school meals (FSM) — where households earn less than £16,000 — compared to the numbers of children living in the vicinity of the school who are eligible for free meals, to highlight the disparity between the two.
The research shows that 39 per cent of local pupils are eligible for FSM, compared with just seven per cent in the school.
Describing it as a “100 per cent selective school”, the report adds that points are given for parent and child worship but does not state how often or frequent that worship must be.
Headteacher Tania Lewyckyj said the school — which is one of the best performing in Bolton — welcomed families from all backgrounds and faiths.
She added that more than a third of children were from non-Christian families.
Ms Lewyckyj said: “St James’s Church of England High School does not select pupils for admission on the basis of parental income or wealth, or by reference to ability or aptitude.
“Being a Church of England school we believe that Christian families have the right to seek a Christian education if they so choose, but we welcome children from all faiths and none.
“Thirty-five per cent of our children are from non-Christian families.
She added: “Our admiss-ion policy specifies ‘how often or how frequently’ attendance at worship needs to be under the school’s points system. Any parent can view the admission policy on the school’s website, and in developing the policy the school has followed the School Admissions Code and has liaised with Manchester Diocese and the Local Authority.”
The research compared the figures for each school to those of its Middle Super Output Area, a geographical area roughly equivalent in size to the intake of a secondary school.
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