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An education body for the whole of London? ILEA 2 ?

(20 Posts)
TalkinPeace2 Sat 20-Oct-12 10:16:18

Boris wants to undo what Maggie did ...
your thoughts?

tiggytape Sat 20-Oct-12 10:29:27

I don't understand fully the ins and outs of it but I do know that somebody looking at the bigger picture, in theory, would be useful.
When the pressure on school places was less, problems weren’t so evident but the situation in some places is now ridiculous. London boroughs aren't that large so a lot of people live on borough boundaries which causes all sorts of problems. They are too far away from schools in their own borough to get a place but equally neighbouring boroughs are setting all kinds of obstacles to anybody gaining admission from outside the borough. There are whole pockets of London where residents are not eligible for even one school and this causes huge amounts of upset, worry and real problems for families every year.

muminlondon Sat 20-Oct-12 11:07:21

There definitely needs to be cooperation - lots of London schools have converted to academy status and are now beyond LA control but competing with each other rather than sharing good practice. Councils are still responsible for providing places even when for 20 years (since the Greenwich ruling) it's been impossible for them to reserve places in their own local authority schools for children of that borough.

The report makes it clear that a group of London councils also met with the DfE a few days ago and have been lobbying the government for a while on this, so Boris is trying to take political advantage as usual. But it would be good to see them working together towards the same end. There's another BBC report linked to this article about striking improvements in London schools which are a result of investment, teacher recruitment and training that predates this government. Good practice should be shared - I'm wary of Boris's proposal for a 'Gold club' of elite schools - but partnership and cooperation are definitely the way forward.

muminlondon Sat 20-Oct-12 11:16:10

The 'gold club' idea was in the Standard but the BBC has a different emphasis in its report.

Blu Sat 20-Oct-12 11:44:21

Tiggy - I don't think it is borough boundaries that cause problems -i didn't think schools were allowed to discriminate between applicants within thier admissions policies based on borough boundaries?

It is certainly true that there are 'balck holes' and that families can live inbetween schools with no chance of admission to either.

But with the gvt introduction of Academies and even more so Free Schools it is hard to see how any control over the siting of schools in reponse to provision can be regained. angry. For example there is a Free School being planned for the N of Lambeth. The shortage of school places is actually in the S of the borugh and on the border between Lambeth and Southwark. Local councils are powerless to influence this for the benefit of their residents.

tiggytape Sat 20-Oct-12 13:25:41

Blu - they are not supposed to but it is more indirect than that.
Feeder school systems in some boroughs mean that they effectively reserve places at secondary school for their own children. So if you live on the border right near one of their secondary schools, the chances are you won't be at the right primary school to get offered a place. Children from further away but in the right borough get places instead.

Ditto catchment areas. At least one London borough has just introduced fixed catchment areas that incorporate the entire borough and only tiny fragments of neighbouring ones. This means if your closest secondary school is in that borough, you fall totally outside the process and don't get priority for a place anymore at your closest school. And the schools in your own borough may be too far from your house for them to be able to offer you a place instead.

We have encountered outright hostility between neighbouring boroughs who all claimed to be fed up with the others not making enough provision for 'their own children' (and it was described in those terms). One told us that they are infuriated at being expected to deal with the excess number of pupils in the neighbouring borough even though children on the border live far closer to neighbouring schools than their own borough's schools.

The lack of provision in general though has made all of these issues much more of a problem.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 20-Oct-12 13:31:38

The problem with London - from where I sit out in the sticks - is that there are too many tiny LEAs and nobody taking into account the fact that parents can cross 6 LEAs in a single days travel.

Part of the driver of the whole Academy thing is to weaken LEAs - which is stupid in the shires where they tend to work well
- One set of top admin people each on £90k to several hundred schools
in London you have one set to thirty schools or less - so the effectiveness is much less.

It is INSANE that there is no standardised school application form for the whole of London (and the country)
The LEA boundary here is 100 yards from my house ...
Friends in London live at the junction of three ...

prh47bridge Sat 20-Oct-12 13:42:25

It is INSANE that there is no standardised school application form for the whole of London

Actually there is, at least online. You apply at for all London boroughs and Surrey County Council. Your application will then be handled by the admissions team where you live.

tiggytape Sat 20-Oct-12 13:44:04

There is a PAN London CAF form that all parents fill in but each school can also have extra forms too.
And of course, each school can have hugely varying admissions criteria so that, of 3 local schools for example, some parents qualify for none of them!

TalkinPeace2 Sat 20-Oct-12 13:46:40

sorry yes, I meant process rather than form.
it should be an online, done and dusted, put the codes of the schools you want and they fill up their places geographically starting with the nearest, regardless of boundaries and stuff.

muminlondon Sat 20-Oct-12 14:04:01

Isn't it just faith schools that require another application form? Some of the grammars too if pupils are sitting tests. But there are some areas that have banding tests (Wandsworth?) - not sure about them. I didn't think many areas still had feeder schools either but perhaps that's also religious schools.

tiggytape Sat 20-Oct-12 14:06:47

Richmond is a London Borough with a feeder school system.
Tower Hamlets is a London Borough with fixed catchments for their borough's children

Loads of schoosl have forms for all sorts of things: faith, 11+, fair banding, music aptitude, drama aptitude. One in Sutton or Merton even has a tennis aptitude one!

muminlondon Sat 20-Oct-12 14:44:27

Tiggytape, no Richmond is not, it abolished the feeder school policy this year so it's all distance now.

meditrina Sat 20-Oct-12 14:51:25

It doesn't look remotely like LEA2, as it doesn't seem to have much (if anything) to of with the running of schools.

It could do a great deal if good if it is going to help in the provision of more (sorely needed) school places in the places where they are needed, not just the first site a particular borough comes up with within its own boundaries. Even more important to extend this to Free Schools, I'd have thought.

tiggytape Sat 20-Oct-12 15:08:45

It hasn't been abolished yet but it will be next year. The meeting was only held in March this year to finally abolish it.

Up until now, and this year included though, it is another example of a borough going off at a tangent and doing its own thing regardless of the negative impact on people living in neighbouring boroughs who cannot get into a local school despite living very close.

muminlondon Sat 20-Oct-12 15:35:40

It's been abolished for those applying now for 2013 if you mean the same thing. It was an old policy, unchanged since 1993 when the Greenwich ruling meant that LAs had to admit children from other boroughs but most schools were located close to boundaries. The (mainly) LibDem council just never got rid of it but it was way out of date. Two schools in the borough were so oversubscribed, no one got in just on distance without a link, but there were feeder primaries in Hounslow and Kingston while some Richmond children living closer didn't have a chance as not all primaries had links or had lost them.

muminlondon Sat 20-Oct-12 15:59:19

... not all Richmond primaries had links I mean.

tiggytape Sat 20-Oct-12 16:03:18

ah o.k muminlondon - it sounds like you have been on the receiving end of it at some stage. I only know about it second hand from people who are dead against it or dead against the changes. Waldegrave has always had a very odd catchment thing but the feeder school priority for the other schools was quite popular with some parents and infuriating for others.

I think the main point though about supporting an overall policy for all of London is that, at the moment and also in the recent past, so many boroughs seem to go off and do their own thing.
They act as if their policies only affect their own residents and ignore the fact that schools in their area should actually be serving children who don't live in their borough at all purely because of where they are located. Richmond (and now Tower Hamlets) are examples where it seems boroughs don't agree they have an obligation to local children, they are under pressure with fewer spare places and seek only to serve the people of their own borough.

muminlondon Sat 20-Oct-12 16:41:36

Yes, I do agree. Kingston council was as bad as Richmond because it has been planning a big school near the borough boundary while playing down the links it did have with two Richmond schools. It didn't get the funding but now there's fairer access to other nearby schools, although there may still be a shortage of places further away. It's irritating to see how local politicians bend the arguments but local papers play into that too so parents get a filtered view. We need local accountability but definitely London-wide coordination.

Blu Sat 20-Oct-12 22:04:34

But once the majority of schools in a borough are academies or free schools, faith, endowment or grammar, the LEA has no say at all. All those categories of schools can set their own admission criteria and processes. Southwark does not have a single community secondary under it's control!

But that must increasingly be the case nationwide as more schools become Academies.

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