I've long thought that those schools that don't explicitly call it kata are doing a disservice esp to beginners - it puts the whole cooperative training thing in perspective.
Peter Boylan and I exchanged blog posts early this yr or last yr about the freedom that comes with surrendering to kata training and then exploring all the variables inherent within the form.
I am in full agreement with you and Peter on this issue. I genuinely enjoy exploring the depths of the kata training that comes when we can begin to let go of the physical form. I learn as much from my failures in this area as I do from my successes.