Guidance on the admissions process at St Leonard’s.

St Leonard’s Catholic School was founded by the Catholic Church to provide education for children of Catholic families. The school is conducted by its governing body as part of the Catholic Church in accordance with its trust deed and instrument of government and seeks at all times to be a witness to Jesus Christ. Whenever there are more applications than places available, priority will be given to Catholic children in accordance with the oversubscription criteria listed below. 

As a Catholic school, we aim to provide a Catholic education for all our pupils. At a Catholic school, Catholic doctrine and practice permeate every aspect of the school’s activity. It is essential that the Catholic character of the school’s education be fully supported by all families in the school. We therefore hope that all parents (see note 10) will give their full, unreserved and positive support for the aims and ethos of the school. This does not affect the right of an applicant who is not Catholic to apply for and be admitted to a place at the school in accordance with the admission arrangements. 

Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust is the admissions authority and is responsible for determining the admission policy. The local authority coordinates the admissions process on behalf of the Trust. The administration and operation of the admission policy is delegated by the Trust to the Local Governing Committee. 

Policies and documents in relation to admissions can all be found on our policies page linked below.

Feeder primary schools

  • Our Lady Queen of Martyrs’ Catholic Primary, Newhouse, Durham Road, Esh Winning, Durham, DH7 9PA
  • St Bede’s Catholic Primary, Sacriston, Front Street, Sacriston, Durham, DH7 6AB
  • St Benet’s Catholic Primary, St Benet’s Way, Ouston, Chester-le-Street, DH2 1QX
  • St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary, Chester-le-Street, Ropery Lane, Chester-le-Street, DH3 3PH
  • St Godric’s Catholic Primary, Durham, Carrhouse Drive, Durham, DH1 5LZ
  • St Joseph’s Catholic Primary, Durham, Mill Lane, Gilesgate, Durham, DH1 2JQ
  • St Joseph’s Catholic Primary, Ushaw Moor, Durham Road, Ushaw Moor, Durham, DH7 7LF
  • St Michael’s Catholic Primary, Esh Laude, Esh Village, Esh, Durham, DH7 9QW
  • St Patrick’s Catholic Primary, Langley Moor, Goatbeck Terrace, Langley Moor, Durham, DH7 8JJ
  • St Thomas More Catholic Primary, Thorndale Road, Cheveley Park, Belmont, DH1 2AQ

Published admission number

The governing body has set its admission number at 232 pupils to year seven in the school year which begins in September 2024. 

Children with an Education, Health and Care plan or a statement of Special Educational Need

Children who have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan or a statement of Special Educational Need where the school is named as the most appropriate educational setting for the child will be admitted.

Application Procedures and Timetable

To apply for a place at this school, the parent must complete a common application form (CAF) available from the local authority in which the child lives. The parent will be advised of the outcome of the application on 1 March 2024 or the next working day, initially by a letter or email from the local authority on behalf of the admissions authority. 

If the parent is required to provide supplemental evidence to support the application (e.g. a baptismal certificate), this evidence should be provided at the time of application. If not provided, evidence may be sought by the admissions authority following the closing date for applications. This information must have been correct at the date of closing for applications. 

All applications will be considered at the same time and after the closing date for admissions which is 31 October 2023. 

Late Applications 

Late applications will be administered in accordance with the local authority coordinated admissions scheme. Parents are encouraged to ensure that their application is received on time. 

Admission of Children outside their Normal Age Group 

A request may be made for a child to be admitted outside of their normal age group, for example, if the child is gifted and talented or has experienced problems such as ill health. 

Any such request should be made in writing to the Head Teacher of the school. The admissions authority will make its decision about the request based on the circumstances of each case and in the best interests of the child. In addition to taking into account the views of the Head Teacher who has statutory responsibility for the internal organisation, management and control of the school, the admissions authority will take into account the views of the parents and of appropriate medical and education professionals. 

Waiting Lists 

In addition to their right of appeal, applicants will be offered the opportunity to be placed on a waiting list. This waiting list will be maintained in order of the oversubscription criteria set out below and not in the order in which applications are received or added to the list. Waiting lists for admission will operate throughout the school year. The waiting list will be held open until the last day of the summer term. Inclusion on the school’s waiting list does not mean that a place will eventually become available. 

In-Year Applications 

An application can be made for a place for a child at any time outside the admission round and the child will be admitted where there are available places. Applications should be made to the school by contacting Head Teacher at St Leonard’s Catholic School, North End, Durham, DH1 4NG. Parents will be advised of the outcome of their application in writing. 

Where there are places available but more applications than places, the published oversubscription criteria will be applied. 

If there are no places available, a request can be made that the child is added to the waiting list (see above). 

Right of Appeal

Where a parent has been notified that a place is not available for a child, every effort will be made by the local authority to help the parent to find a place in a suitable alternative school. Parents who are refused a place have a statutory right of appeal. Further details of the appeals process are available by writing to the chair of governors at the school address. 

Fair Access Protocol 

The school is committed to taking its fair share of children who are vulnerable and/or hard to place, as set out in locally agreed protocols. Accordingly, outside the normal admission round the admissions authority is empowered to give absolute priority to a child where admission is requested under any local protocol that has been agreed by both the diocese and the admissions authority for the current school year. The admissions authority has this power, even when admitting the child would mean exceeding the published admission number. 

False Evidence 

The admissions authority reserves the right to withdraw the offer of a place where false evidence is received. 

Oversubscription Criteria 

Where there are more applications for places than the number of places available, places will be offered according to the following order of priority. 

  • Catholic looked after and previously looked after children (see notes 2&3)
  • Catholic children who attend a Catholic feeder primary school (listed above) (see notes 3&12)
  • Other Catholic children (see note 3)
  • Other looked after and previously looked after children (see note 2)
  • Catechumens and members of an Eastern Christian Church (see notes 4&5)
  • Other children who attend a Catholic feeder primary school (see notes 12&13)
  • Children of other Christian denominations whose membership is evidenced by a minister or faith leader (see note 6)
  • Children of other faiths whose membership is evidenced by a minister or faith leader (see note 7)
  • Any other children

Within each of the categories listed above, the following provisions will be applied in the following order. 

i) Where evidence is provided at the time of application of an exceptional social, medical or pastoral need of the child which can be most appropriately met at this school, the application will be placed at the top of the category in which the application is made. (see note 11) 

ii) The attendance of a sibling at the school at the time of enrolment will increase the priority of an application within each category so that the application will be placed at the top of the category in which the application is made after the children in (i) above. (see note 9)  

Tie Breaker 

Where there are places available for some, but not all applicants within a particular criterion priority 
will be given to children living closest to the school determined by the shortest distance. In assessing 
home to school distance the LA uses a Geographic Information System (GIS) to identify and measure 
the shortest route utilising only the Ordnance Survey Integrated Transport Network (ITN) and Urban 
Paths Network (UPN) which are national recognised datasets. The LA will not include any other routes 
or any other method of measurement. Routes are measured from the centre point* of the child’s 
house, or in the case of a flat from the centre point* of the building, to the nearest school site 
entrance. In all cases the GIS identifies the route to be measured by connecting in a straight line the 
centre point* of the child’s house to the closest point on the nearest route on the ITN/UPN. 

* In accordance with the co-ordinates of the Basic Land and Property Unit on the National Land and 
Property Gazetteer. 

In the event of distances being the same for two or more children where this would determine the 
last place to be allocated, random allocation will be carried out in a public place and supervised by a 
person independent of the school. 

All notes can be viewed in the full Admissions Policy.

If, as a parent / carer of a pupil attending this school, you require a paper copy of the information on this website, we shall provide this free of charge. 

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Updated | 30th January, 2024 |

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