Atheist St Albans family refuse to send son to allocated Catholic school

PUBLISHED: 14:49 17 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:49 17 May 2017

St John Fisher School, St Albans - photo Google Street View.

St John Fisher School, St Albans - photo Google Street View.

Archant

An atheist St Albans family are refusing to send their son to the Catholic school the council has allocated him.

Claire Donachie, 36, from Marshalswick, did not list St John Fisher Catholic School as any of her four preferences for a primary school place.

Yet Herts county council offered them the slot as the school was the nearest to them.

Claire said: “I am finding this whole process extremely stressful.

“If I had been given a school miles away I would not be objecting as all schools in St Albans are amazing.

“My objection is that I was given a religious school without any consideration for what I believe in, and what I feel is adequate educational needs provided by the council for my son.”

Claire’s family have roots in St Albans stretching back nearly a century, something she thinks ought to be taken into consideration.

She said: “It is so unfair that the system does not take this in to account.

“My husband’s family has provided over 60 years worth of support to the community.”

Claire’s husband Thomas was schooled in St Albans. His parents worked as nurses in the city. and have lived here their whole lives.

Yet, Claire says: “An individual can move to the area and be offered a space at a school due to distance.”

Last week, several families from St Albans city centre spoke out about how new housing developments are likely to put further strain on schools in the area.

A Hertfordshire County Council spokesperson said: “In cases where it is not possible to allocate a place at any of a family’s preferred schools, it is necessary to allocate a place at the nearest school with a vacancy.

“In this case, the nearest school to the family’s home address is a faith school and it was also the nearest school with a vacancy.

“The school admissions team is now contacting the family to talk through all alternative available options and the allocated school can be amended to any other school with a place available should they wish to do so.”

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