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Request for a variation to Church of England Schools and Academies admission policies for 2021/22

Due to the closure of church buildings for public worship from 17th March 2020, Church of England Schools and Academies have been asked to make a variation to their previously Determined Admission Arrangements for 2021 if they include Church Attendance as part of their Over Subscription Criteria. Advice and guidance on how to do this has come from the Church of England Education Office in consultation with the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) and the Department for Education.

A standard wording has been agreed with the OSA to clarify the application of the attendance requirement for schools and to request a variation to their admissions arrangements for this specific situation. The variation is in fact a clarification as to how church attendance is to be calculated in these unique circumstances. That agreed wording reads:

“In the event that during the period specified for attendance at worship the church [or, in relation to those of other faiths, relevant place of worship] has been closed for public worship and has not provided alternative premises for that worship, the requirements of these [admissions] arrangements in relation to attendance will only apply to the period when the church [or in relation to those of other faiths, relevant place of worship] or alternative premises have been available for public worship”.

All Diocesan Schools have been asked to request a variation from the OSA which adds this clarification into their Admission Arrangements 2021. This process is being administered by the Diocesan Boards of Education. It is expected that these variations will be approved by 1st September 2020.