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School pushing for change to admissions despite opposition

(11 Posts)
HilaryM Tue 02-Oct-12 10:19:10

Where I live it's mostly separate infants and juniors. quite rural. There are more infants schools than juniors (infants usually 1-2 form entry, juniors usually 2-3 FE).

Our closest junior school where my son in in Y3 is expanding. There'll be a couple of years of bulge classes probably, and then it will switch from 2FE to 3FE. Great for all the people who can't currently get a place there even though they live very close by.

Traditionally children go to our closest junior school from 4 or 5 local infant schools, 5-15 from each school. For some reason, though, to do with infant bulge classes, the council proposed that one of the infant schools becomes a feeder to the junior school, so that they get priority entry. This could result in 60 of the 90 places in year 3 going to the 60 pupils from one infant school, leaving the pupils from the other 4 infant schools (who have NO linked junior) scrabbling about for the remaining 30 places.

There was a public consultation and the feeder school proposal was rejected due to massive opposition (80%+). We were thrilled because it means that the admissions arrangements for the juniors seemed much fairer. ie if you're close you get in, if not you don't (despite what infant school you go to).

Yesterday parents of the junior school pupils (where my son has just started in year 3) received a letter trying to persuade us to support this feeder school link again. I'm angry and quite amazed, that despite a recent proper council run consultation, that the head and governing body are still pushing for this regardless of public opposition. Is this allowed? Can a governing body keep asking the council for a change in admissions arrangements as often as they want? Eventually, people will get tired of fighting and I guess they'll get their way regardless of the knock on effect to local families.

(This doesn't affect me directly as my younger children will get in on the sibling rule, but I am aggrieved on behalf of other local families who will get pushed out by pushy parents working the system to their advantage.)

Does anyone have any experience or knowledge of this? Is this one for the Schools Adjudicator?

prh47bridge Tue 02-Oct-12 11:47:12

What type of school is this - community, VA, VC, foundation?

It is too late to change the admission criteria for children starting in 2013 but the admission criteria for future years are still up for grabs. They can change the criteria every year if they want.

The Schools Adjudicator has no power to stop the school pushing for a change. They will only step in if there are objections after the admission authority has made the change.

HilaryM Tue 02-Oct-12 11:50:03

thanks prh47bridge.

It's a community school.

That's as I thought re School Adjudicator, never mind.

So the gist is, they can request a consultation every single year? It's so insulting, they're basically saying: we know better than you, and despite all the local opposition, we'll keep trying until we get what we want. Gah.

Thanks for replying.

titchy Tue 02-Oct-12 12:03:09

The Governors can try, but it's up to the LEA to progress any change in admissions in a community school and presimably they wouldn't want to consult again so soon after a previous consultation failed.

HilaryM Tue 02-Oct-12 12:22:25

You wouldn't have thought so, but that seems to be the plan. We got the letter last month from the council to say that they wouldn't be proceeding, then yesterday another letter from the school governors asking for parental input on another consultation.

prh47bridge Tue 02-Oct-12 13:26:18

As this is a community school the LA has the final say on admission criteria. The governors can lobby all they like but they don't decide the criteria nor do they run the consultation when changes are proposed. It is possible the LA could run another consultation in a month or so but, given the result of the last one, I wouldn't be surprised if they simply told the governors to accept the current position. The governors could, of course, lodge an objection to the current admission criteria with the Schools Adjudicator but the result of the recent consultation suggests such an objection would be unlikely to succeed.

HilaryM Tue 02-Oct-12 13:29:42

Thank you. It's all a bit mysterious, as the current 'consultation' is coming from the school rather than from the council.

I will need to look further.

Thanks so much for your help. You've clarified a few things for me.

choccyp1g Tue 02-Oct-12 15:48:32

OP, so at the moment, about 15 come from one particular junior school, but if it was linked all 60 of them would come? but it is going to expand to have 30 more places, so there will be 15 less to share around the other schools?
Where do the other 45 from the "favoured" infants go at the moment, why wouldn't they just carry on going wherever they wanted to go anyway?
Or is it a case of this junior school is the "best" and everyone wants to go to it but can't currently get in? If that is the case surely all the "pushy parents" will try to go to the linked infants school, and they'll only get in if they live near, so although they get priority, the places at the junior school will end up going to the same people.
Just thought, I am assuming that the "Linked" schools are very close to each other which may not be the case, and would completely invalidate my theorising.

crazymum53 Wed 03-Oct-12 09:34:42

Was going to add that in my LEA having linked infant and junior schools is very much the norm and that parents know this when they apply for infant schools. However it is specified that for the feeder policy dcs should have been at the linked infant school for all 3 years of infant education.
The only real problem here is trying to change this retrospectively so that parents with children already at another infant school could be disadvantaged.
However it is also possible that there are some children who attend the linked infant school who are missing out on places at Junior school because they do not live near enough. It could be that the governors are concerned about these children. If families are moving into the area close to the Junior school because it is the "best" in the area and displacing children already at the linked infant school this isn't really fair either.

HilaryM Sun 07-Oct-12 16:18:13

"Or is it a case of this junior school is the "best" and everyone wants to go to it but can't currently get in? If that is the case surely all the "pushy parents" will try to go to the linked infants school, and they'll only get in if they live near, so although they get priority, the places at the junior school will end up going to the same people.
Just thought, I am assuming that the "Linked" schools are very close to each other which may not be the case, and would completely invalidate my theorising."

This is basically it. The plans will mean that far away children from the linked infant school will take priority over closer children from other infant schools. The schools are quite closer to one another (0.9. miles vs about 1.5 miles for the other schools) but not on the same site.

"However it is also possible that there are some children who attend the linked infant school who are missing out on places at Junior school because they do not live near enough. It could be that the governors are concerned about these children. If families are moving into the area close to the Junior school because it is the "best" in the area and displacing children already at the linked infant school this isn't really fair either."

The governors may well be concerned about these far away children, but at the expense of children who live closer and don't have a linked junior school to feed into? This is what's unfair IMO.

Thanks for your comments, both. Very useful. I'm going to hand in my objection this week. I have already had support from the head of our infant school, which is really nice. Apparently the heads of the other schools will be objecting strongly. I really think re feeders schools - all must have feeders, or none. And that can't be the case if there are far more infant schools than juniors, unless more than one infant school becomes a feeder for each junior, which the governors say will not happen, and is not being proposed.

crazymum53 Mon 08-Oct-12 14:15:45

Should have added that in my LEA all infant schools have a linked Junior school and that this is clear to parents from the beginning when they apply for Infants school places. In practice the number of children who move from one school to another at KS2 is very small.
If the LEA are wanting to introduce this in the future this would have to apply only to families with children starting in reception for September 2013 and there would need to be some sort of transitional arrangement for families with siblings at the junior school already.

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