Sadly St Matthew’s does not have its own school, and the nearest RC primary schools are over-subscribed. Because in this situation schools usually give priority to children according to proximity to the schools it is common for applications from St Matthew’s families to be unsuccessful.
However, due to population movement, the size of the Catholic population of any area tends to fluctuate unpredictably over time, and some schools that were previously oversubscribed with Catholic children have found that having accepted every Catholic application, they still had spare places, which went to children lower down the over-subscription criteria.
The Sacred Heart RC Primary School in Herlwyn Avenue, Ruislip has increased its intake by 30 places from September, 2006. Even with this expansion, applications from St Matthew’s families have to overcome 2 hurdles; firstly priority is given to children from the 3 founding parishes, and secondly the over-subscription rules favour the families nearest the School, which weights the scales against St Matthew’s families living at some distance from the School.
Because priority is usually given to children from Church-going families, it is always worth applying to the local Catholic schools, and some children from St Matthew’s have recently been accepted by St John Fisher, North Harrow, St John, Mill End, Rickmansworth, and St Teresa’s Harrow Weald. Provided parents are realistic in considering whether or not they meet the required standards of Catholic practice, asking schools if they were oversubscribed with practising Catholics at the last admissions round, could help judging the chance of successfully applying to any particular school. The Diocesan website: www.rcdow.org.uk/education has a school search facility – just type in the local authority name to find all the RC schools in the authority’s area.
The nearest RC secondary schools are St Joan of Arc, Rickmansworth, and Douay Martyrs, Ickenham. If the last few years are anything to go by, applicants from practising Catholic families at St Matthew’s have every prospect of being offered a place at either school as long as they obtain the required priest’s reference in addition to the application form. The form for the priest’s reference usually has to be obtained from the School’s Office.
The Diocesan Education Service has published a guide for parents seeking a place for their child in a Catholic secondary school. The Diocesan website: www.rcdow.org.uk/education offers a map to help locate schools, a search facility to find RC schools in any particular borough or LA in the Diocese, and the Guide to help parents through the process of applying for a place.
St Matthew’s runs a comprehensive range of classes during term-time for children attending non-Catholic schools to supplement the religious education received at home. Please refer to the separate Sunday School page on St Matthew’s website.