Guidance regarding requests for faith references for School applications.

Many people apply for places for their children at Church Schools and a faith reference is normally a part of that process where a particular Church is asked to confirm the Church
Attendance of the applicants, where they have applied for a place on faith grounds.
The applicants must look at the particular schools admissions policy as they often differ and that will set out their particular criteria that needs to be met for an application where faith commitment is to be considered.

For example Bishop Rawstorne policy in appendix 1 says:
2.5 If an application is to be considered under ‘faith commitment’ this is fortnightly worship for a period of at least one year by the more involved parent who is involved in the worshiping life of a Christian church with membership of Churches Together in England. (Please note – the period of worship would be at least 1 year before 1 September 2019).

This clearly states that it is for the more involved parent, parents cannot share the attendance and other members of the family i.e. Grandparents are not eligible.
This is also a minimum requirement i.e. if a parent attends less than fortnightly it will not count.

How do we verify Faith commitment in our three Parishes?
Admissions policies talk about church attendance and /or being involved in the worshiping life of the church community which means attending a regular recognised form of worship/ prayer to achieve the required criteria for a particular school application. We are introducing a consistent method of verifying the church attendance across all our three parishes where we ask that:
Parents register with the Church they most frequently attend, at this point family details will be required and the historical church attendance will be agreed with the applicant.
They will be then given a card to cover the weeks in the next school term, i.e. September to December (Autumn Term), January to March (Spring term), April to September (Summer Term).

When they attend church they must then get the form stamped or signed by a Church official (usually a Warden, minister or person who has been designated to verify this).
When the next term card is collected the current Church attendance will be confirmed and the old record will be retained by the church.
(Note currently the cards used at Croston run through to September 2019 – so they will continue with that system until the new school year starts)
Church attendance does not always have to be at the same Church – you may prefer our non-Eucharistic family worship which is at 9 am at Bretherton on the first Sunday of the month, at
9:15 am at Croston on the 2nd Sunday of the month and at 9:30 am at Mawdesley on the 4th Sunday of the month.
However we cannot verify any antecedence outside our United Benefice.
Please check or website, the relevant Facebook pages or notices for details and times of the services. There is a great deal of flexibility of times and types of service available across the three churches and we will in the future look to expand this.

I hope this guidance is helpful.

Please do get in touch if I can be of any further assistance.
Michael Woods (Rector)

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