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School Place Thieves

(78 Posts)
jojo28 Wed 24-Jul-13 11:18:58

I had to bite down hard on my fist when I read this in the Independent. I have had first hand experience this year of Camden?s ineffective response to parents seeking to circumvent the oversubscription criteria of our local school.

The head teacher and parents with children attending Eleanor Palmer School nursery alerted Camden?s admission team to parents who had moved out of their family homes into rental flats next door to the outstanding school to ensure their applications were successful.

Despite being given a considerable amount of information about these families cynical plan to jump the queue, the council came down firmly on their side. Camden declared that as long as the families were living in the rental flats at the time of their application was submitted the parents would be awarded places, even if that meant honest parents whose homes were genuinely closer to the school lost out. Camden had left themselves with little option having failed to word their starting school guide correctly. The nebulous language in their starting school guide handed out to parents did not define clearly what was considered a valid home address, it did not clearly state that renting temporarily for the sole purpose of gaining a school place would be considered fraudulent nor did it require parents to declare if they owned additional property in the locality. The local community and the head teacher watched powerless as wealthy parents were given free reign to manipulate the admissions criteria.

It is telling that the only person Camden managed to bust was a young single mum who unknowingly applied from her mum?s address because she lives there most of the week. The parents who cynically circumvented the system, carefully planning their subterfuge, got away with it. As Camden admissions team explained to honest parents who lost out this year ?life ain?t fair.?

tiggytape Sun 04-Aug-13 22:23:20

That's exactly it meditrina and if anything bulge classes can make a future child less certain of a place not more. Bulge classes don't alter future provision at all except sometimes to hinder it for children without siblings.

This is becuase each bulge class create more sibling priority than normal. If there is a bulge class in the current Year 2 and the current Year 4 for example, it means that anyone applying for next September has less chance of getting a place because there will be far more potential siblings ahead of them.

Of course, if lots of children are then left with no school place at all, bulge classes will be added but there's no guarantee which schools will be forced to accept them and how far children will be made to travel for school.

Mumzy Mon 05-Aug-13 08:52:47

I was at a meeting with health professionals who work in London schools and they said Camden gets a disproportionate number of applications for its school places from dcs living in other boroughs thus increasing the pressure. This year seems to be particularly bad for reception school places I know at dcs primary there has been a lot of unhappy parents who have failed to secure a place for siblings. I agree with Tiggy that we should scrap parental choice because in most places its no choice really and schools should be made to take a cross section of socio economic groups and abilities. Before anyone shouts this would involve bussing dcs miles to schools what do you think happens now :11 year old having to take 2 buses and a train across London to get to their school of choice . Anyway in all London boroughs rich and poor communities live side by side eg. Blackheath/lewisham/ Plumstead, Richmond/Twickenham/Hounslow, Wimbledon Village/Tooting. I went to a school which was like this and no one had to travel for more than 30 minutes on the bus.

jojo28 Tue 06-Aug-13 18:19:35

We talked about bulge classes with Camden but it causes so many ripple effects within a planning area. Just a little update on our story one of the families who rented temporarily to score a school place have already moved back to their real home.... Shameless!

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