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New code of practice stating teacher's children will get priority on school places

(91 Posts)
McTemp Thu 02-Jun-11 11:18:46

Not sure if there has been a topic about this before - I couldn't find one.

Has anyone seen the Draft Admissions code that is being consulted on here ?

It states Children of staff at the school
1.33 If admission authorities decide to give priority to children of staff, they must set out clearly in their admission arrangements how they will define ?staff? and on what basis children of staff will be prioritised.

This is new - children attending mainstream state funded schools have never been given priority if their parents teach there before.

What are your thoughts on this?

Personally, I think its very unfair. It discriminates against other working parents who also have to manage the school drop offs/pick ups. Teachers already get the benefit of not having to find childcare during school holidays, this seems like a ridiculous 'perk' to have, surely?! Not to even get started on the problems I can imagine arising where good teachers no longer want to work at the under-achieving schools, because they will only want jobs in the outstanding schools, so their children can go there. I'm not a fan of this proposal at all!

FranSanDisco Thu 02-Jun-11 11:24:36

My sister's dd is at her school and seems to be doing very well there. Alternative was a not too good school. Sis had to get Headmaster to put up a fight with the LA as she lived out of catchment. Personally, I think it's wrong but if I were in that position I would think differently I guess.

scurryfunge Thu 02-Jun-11 11:27:53

So what is to stop people working on a temporary contract for one term as a teaching assistant just to get their child into the school?

SarkyLady Thu 02-Jun-11 11:29:00

I worry more about the idea that in areas where admissions are very competitive then good teachers will be more likely to want to work at 'good' schools to make sure that their kids get to go to a 'good' school. This will make it even harder than it already is for 'bad' schools to recruit the best staff.

McTemp Thu 02-Jun-11 11:33:02

Scurry - I really don't know how it will work in practice, I can only imagine that admission authorities would have to define very clearly what 'staff' is - is it dinner ladies? Office staff? Its a complete minefield, and very open to abuse I would imagine!

scurryfunge Thu 02-Jun-11 11:38:30

I think good teachers have always wanted to work in the good schools anyway -so I am not sure whether that will have such a massive impact.
I agree that teaching hours are not so anti social that they need special perks to manage their own children. I am an ex teacher and it is naturally suited to childcare.

IndigoBell Thu 02-Jun-11 12:22:22

I think the point of it was so that free schools could be set up.

Otherwise you could set up a free school and find out that your own children don't live close enough to get in........ So no incentive to set up a free school.

I doubt teachers will all be flocking to some 'outstanding' school - because they all know the OFSTED rating is not a good indicator of schools....... And I think most teachers don't want to work at the same school as their kids.....

Bellabellabella Thu 02-Jun-11 12:53:00

It has happened before in some LEAs and is not new. It was sometimes used as a means to retain staff.

McTemp Thu 02-Jun-11 12:58:03

But before now, the code of practice always said "Admission authorities must NOT give priority to children of staff/governors at the school" - so anyone doing so would have been in breech of the code of practice (and therefore the law).

I would have assumed that any LEAs who have done so before have done so very quietly and off the record!!!

admission Thu 02-Jun-11 13:13:42

The current code does give some very limited opportunity for school staff to be given a place at a school. 2.16J says that the admission authority cannot give priority to children whose parents are current or former staff or governors or who have a connection to the school. That is a general blanket ban but then 2.18 says that the blanket ban does not prevent an admission authority from offering a place or places to the children of a new appointee to a post at a school after the published offer dates, where there is a demonstrable skills shortage for the vacant post, even where this will be in excess of the published admission number.
Obviously the new code does make this a much wider opportunity for admission and as indigobell has said it has been done for Mr Gove's pet project of free schools.

prh47bridge Thu 02-Jun-11 13:27:32

This doesn't just apply to teachers. A school could give priority to children of all its staff - cleaners, kitchen staff, secretaries and so on.

I suspect that most schools won't take advantage of this unless they are having difficulty attracting teachers. Even if they do, the number of pupils involved in any year will be minimal. But that doesn't mean I'm backing this change - personally I am unsure about it.

IndigoBell is, of course, right about free schools. Many people who might set up such schools may be put off if they can't be guaranteed a place for their own children.

jackstarb Thu 02-Jun-11 21:14:25

"This is new - children attending mainstream state funded schools have never been given priority if their parents teach there before."

I'm not sure this is totally correct. The first admissions code of practice was introduced in 1999, but it was not until 2007 that schools were explicitly prevented from giving priority to children of staff. And even then an exemption could be made in the event of a skills shortage.

I think it's reassuring to see teachers sending their dc's to the school where they teach. And their experience of the school as a parent is probably informative too.

YummyHoney Thu 02-Jun-11 22:17:40

I think it's unfair - jackstarb, I don't imagine the teachers who work in poor schools will take up the offer.

It just means teachers with DC of a certain age will all be trying to get jobs at the best schools; I don't understand why their DC deserve a place more than others - surely it should be about the DC and not the adults.

PaddingtonStare Thu 02-Jun-11 22:45:19

My fears were the same as Sarky's - that such an arrangement will encourage a greater number of teachers to only apply for positions in schools with good reputations and grades, so creaming off the better staff. Then it occurred to me that the better schools are going to be more appealing to the higher quality staff anyway, so I'm now not so sure it will make a difference IYSWIM.

Unlike pr47bridge, whose opinion I respect tremendously, I'm not so sure that most school's won't take advantage of this. I'd think it would be an added incentive which almost all will be glad to offer just as private industry considers (understandably) share options or other benefits helpful in their drive to recruit staff.

I know that as a mother if I were faced with the choice of employment which would enable my child to go to a good school or that which would offer them the chance to attend a middling to poor one I wouldn't hesitate to apply for a post at the better school. For those without children/without children of the appropriate age there will remain the choice of employment according to their own ability and experience.

On balance I'm uneasy about this and think that time will show it to be a bad move for the non-school staff parent.

montmartre Thu 02-Jun-11 23:02:03

This isn't new- this used to happen prior to Labour's 1997 election win- it was one of the first things they changed in education I believe.

manicinsomniac Thu 02-Jun-11 23:29:12

I don't know, I think maybe the school should consider individual cases.

In some cases I think it's fair. As a single parent with no family close by and without the money for childcare I wouldn't be able to work unless my children were in the same school as me.

prh47bridge Fri 03-Jun-11 00:05:51

No, it wasn't one of the first things Labour changed in education. As Jackstarb says, they didn't get around to doing anything about it until 2007.

And PaddingtonStare may be right on how prevalent this will be. I was working on the basis that most schools are LA-controlled and an LA will have the same admission criteria for all its schools. My immediate thought was that most LAs will choose not to add this to their criteria but I may be wrong. Faith schools, foundation schools, free schools and academies are another matter. My initial thought was that whether they will take advantage of this change depends on how difficult they are finding it to recruit staff but PaddingtonStare may be right that this could become an expected benefit. However, I definitely think that for any individual school the number of pupils involved in any year is likely to be minimal.

jabed Fri 03-Jun-11 08:57:17

It may not go down too well here but my own view is that teachers generally will not put their own children in a poor school anyway, even if they choose to work in one ( or have to work in one, job situation and all variables accounted for).

Teachers either
a) live in the catchment of a good school
b) ( less often) live in the catchment of the school where they work if the school is goodish and they want to take their children with them
c) send their children to an independent.

The rules do little more than bring state schools into line with most independents who will allow children of staff to attend the school , usually at reduced fee ( and that by the way is all staff in my independent Teachers, admin staff and even the caretakers/ cleaners/ kitchen staff children if the so want)

As far as teachers are concerned I doubt it will make any difference . Whether it might have an affect with other staff ( and do they not tend to live closer to a school anyway?) I cannot say.

But teachers, like most other people will pick the best school they can for their children I believe. I do not think it will make it harder to recriut teachers in poor schools ( most teachers would be unlikely to want their child in such a school anyway). Most may not want to say it for fear of being accused of ..... wanting to send their children to good schools - just like many parents.

Bonsoir Fri 03-Jun-11 09:00:13

I don't think this is wrong, I think it is common sense as it removes unnecessary logistics from a teacher's day.

crazymum53 Fri 03-Jun-11 09:33:17

We applied for secondary school for September 2011 and found that at several high performing schools some of the teachers (including one Head) pointed out that they have/had dcs at the school. These schools were faith schools and academies so not just catchment area admissions criteria.
However our main thought about teaching staff and schools was "Waterloo Road" where it's the teacher's children who cause the most problems.
jabed I know of independent schools who give discounts & bursaries to children of staff and think that these schools should be more open about this.

jabed Fri 03-Jun-11 09:41:55

jabed I know of independent schools who give discounts & bursaries to children of staff and think that these schools should be more open about this.

I am not sure why you are addressing this to me. I acknowledged that certainly the independent where I work and many others I know of will give ALL staff fee discounts as norm and even scholarships if the pupil concerned has promise and qualified for such.

I thought that was quite well known. It isnt a secret. Most schools are open about it.

crazymum53 Fri 03-Jun-11 10:08:14

My comment was not meant personally but you were the first person to mention the situation re independent schools. There are many threads on here with parents wondering how to obtain bursaries for their children and the idea of working at the school to get a fee discount has not been mentioned so perhaps it's not as widely known as you think.
However this is a thread about state school admissions and I do think that in fairness parents should know if children of staff are being admitted under this category and that this should be published for all schools.

jabed Fri 03-Jun-11 10:19:41

crazymum - sorry for the misunderstanding. I would agree that there should be no reason why information concerning the number of children admitted to a school under the new conditions should not be public knowldege. I just do not think many teachers would be taking up the " offer" of a school place where they work for reasons outlined previously.

Of course such public information might say a lot about the nature of a school and would probably be more useful that league tables in assessing them ( just a thought).

MmeBlueberry Fri 03-Jun-11 10:29:13

This policy seems like a win-win.

For the school, they get more hours out of the teacher. A teacher with young children at a different school often can only spend the minimum number of hours at school if they don't have a childminder. Even if they do have a childminder, they may want to keep the number of hours as low as possible.

If children are in the same school, it is pretty easy to put an hour in before and after school, possibly more.

Rosebud05 Fri 03-Jun-11 13:52:34

I agree that it's so that people can set up free schools for their kids and their mates' kids keeping the oiks to a minimum.

I thought this used to happen to facilitate women returning to teaching when they had kids before childcare was as available.

Doesn't sit that well with me, tbh. Should we start letting GPs prioritise their family for appointments and waiting lists?

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