Catholic schools educate a much higher proportion of pupils from the most deprived backgrounds than other schools, according to the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI), with ten times the catchment area of local schools so less reflective of immediate localities.
Free school meals are an inaccurate indicator for example, they continue after after household incomes exceed the threshold. Catholic schools welcome children with SEND, and parents will want to choose the school that is best for their children’s needs.
For a child with an EHCP, it is the local authority, not the school, that makes the decision about which school the child will attend, based solely on the child’s needs.
If parents decides that the local mainstream Catholic school is not the best fit for their child’s particular needs, they might instead opt for another school, such as a Catholic special school or a Catholic school approved for SEN pupils, of which there are 26 in England and Wales.
Catholic schools nationally take 50% more children than other schools from the 10% most deprived areas, and about 25% fewer from the 10% most affluent areas: for IDACI figures see page 53 of the 2022 Census of Catholic schools in England