New Secondary Schools for Richmond 4(1001 Posts)
Welcome. This is the fourth (or perhaps fifth) in a series of threads about Richmond Secondary Schools.
The discussion was originally triggered by Richmond council's publication of its Education White Paper in February 2011. It started with two parallel threads here and here.
In November 2011 the most active of the original two threads reached 1000 messages (the maximum allowed) so we continued the conversation here.
That thread filled up in May 2012, and was continued here.
It's now November 2012, and once again we're at the start of a new thread ....
BayJay2: I agree with you. I said that it looks like hypocrisy, not that it is hypocrisy. Those of a faith who disagree with faith schools should lead off by opposing schools of their own faith rather than starting with those of other faiths. In fairness to the free churches (Methodists, Baptists, Quakers, etc.) they've always been pretty good at taking this approach.
My apologies for referring to St Richard Reynolds as Richard Rich in my preceding post. Getting mixed up between English Reformation characters. Richard Rich is the last person that the Catholic church would name a school after.
retrorobot, going back to your first point about how sibling admissions erode the number of open places in a 50:50 system, I've been doing a little excel modelling to see whether the open places are eroded any more than the foundation places. My conclusion is that I don't think they are.
You can see my model here. I assumed a PAN of 30, with a 50:50 split between Foundation and Open places. I also assumed that each child would have 1 sibling, who would be in the cohort 2 years behind. As you'll see, the numbers rapidly stabilise, with the total number of Foundation versus Open places remaining at 50:50. (Let me know if you spot any errors though).
Of course, in reality things are more complex, with SEN and Looked After children taking top priority, and siblings throughput being more random, but provided those factors affect the Foundation/Open places equally, then there shouldn't be any bias creeping in.
(Unless of course you count the fact that if the faith places are over-subscribed, faith-applicants will often automatically be considered for open places too - i.e. they have a second bite at the cherry, competing on distance with applicants for the foundation places. That will introduce a bias).
"Those of a faith who disagree with faith schools should lead off by opposing schools of their own faith rather than starting with those of other faiths."
I think you'll find he's spoken out against exclusivity in all types of Faith Schools, including Jewish ones. He presumably made a comment on the Sikh one specifically because it was close to where he lives or works (he's a Rabbi in Maidenhead, which is fairly near Slough). It was only reported in the local press, and its not clear to me whether his comments were in response to a direct question, because people knew of his national work with Accord and were seeking his views on the local issue, or whether he was pro-actively speaking out against the school. In general, Accord deal with national policy issues, but also provide support to local campaigns (like RISC) that are in line with their aims.
The RTT has a letter (p. 25) from Cllr Paul Hodgins, cabinet member for schools Stop criticising our schools responding to recent statements by the borough's Liberal Democrats.
I am described, in passing and incorrectly, as the Lib Dem webmaster but he makes no attempt to address the points I made in my letter last week, which still stand.
"Unless of course you count the fact that if the faith places are over-subscribed, faith-applicants will often automatically be considered for open places too - i.e. they have a second bite at the cherry, competing on distance with applicants for the foundation places. That will introduce a bias"
Yes, that is exactly what I am talking about.
However, none of the admissions criteria that I have looked at are clear on whether the faith places are filled first or whether the open places are filled first. It must be way one or the other surely.
Consider this example:
Primary school: 60 places, 30 faith, 30 open
Only one criterion for faith place (no hierarchy among different faith place admissions)
Within faith places and open places priority is first to siblings, then to distance.
- 80 applications in total
- 15 meet faith criterion and have sibling already attending school
- 25 meet faith criterion and don't have a sibling already attending school
- 15 don't meet faith criterion and have sibling already attending school
- 25 don't meet faith criterion and don't have sibling already attending school
Asssume that the 40 children meeting the faith criterion are equidistant from the school with the 40 children not meeting the faith criterion, i.e. at any cut off distance there is an equal number of faith/non-faith children inside the cut off.
Can you tell me how the places will be allocated?
retrorobot, is that based on a real example? I ask because none of the Richmond VA schools that have split admissions work in that way. The split is normally after siblings, rather than before; like this ....
1 Children in public care
3a Foundation places in order of distance 50%
3b Open places in order of distance: 50%
So your applicants would be allocated places like this:
2. 30 (includes faith and non-faith siblings)
3a. 15 (10 rejected, and considered in next option)
3b. 15 (25 rejected)
The 10 faith applicants furthest away would be automatically considered for the open places (3b), so there would be 35 candidates for the open places in total. However, they're allocated based on distance, so you could probably assume that the faith applicants in that category are relatively unlikely to get in (i.e. if they didn't get in under the faith category, which usually has a wider catchment, they'll be even less likely to get in under the non-faith category).
"is that based on a real example?"
Actually, I can see now that Christs works like you describe, with the split occurring higher up in the pecking order.
If your example school worked in the same way as Christs then your places would be allocated as follows:
Faith Places: 30
Unlike the example I gave above there's nothing in Christ's policy to say the 10 rejected faith applicants go back into the pot for the open places.
Non-faith Places: 30
The Christs policy clearly states that the Foundation places are filled first, but I think the outcome would be the same if it was the other way round, because in this case rejected applicants aren't put back into the pot for the open places.
"you could probably assume that the faith applicants in that category are relatively unlikely to get in (i.e. if they didn't get in under the faith category, which usually has a wider catchment, they'll be even less likely to get in under the non-faith category)."
I realise you said in your description that the faith/non-faith applicants were equidistant. That's not generally the case. However, if they were equidistant then most admissions systems have a clause along the lines of "lots will be used to decide between applicants who live the same distance from the school." so both categories should have an equal chance of being selected for each place.
If the (real) faith free school below, according to admissions policy, is popular with children of the faith in the first couple of years, in practice it may prioritise 100% faith applicants and their families in subsequent years:
1. Looked after children of the faith.
2. Children whose parents are a member of a particular denomination of that faith.
3. Children whose parents are members of other denominations.
4. Siblings of current or former pupils.
5. Other looked after children.
6. Exceptionally strong special medical or social circumstances, which are directly relevant to attendance at this school, as backed up by 'consultant, doctor, psychologist, social worker or others' as requested.
7. Children of staff.
'... the maximum number of boys who can be admitted under criteria 2 and 3 is 50% of the total intake ... those who cannot be offered places under those categories will then be considered under whichever of the remaining criteria is applicable to them.'^
Sibling means 'full brother, half-brother, adopted brother, step brother, foster brother or the son of the parent/carers partner'
'If any categories are oversubscribed, then the distance category set out in 8 above will be used as a tie-break'.
For criteria 2 and 3 of that schools's policy it's not actually 'denomination' but more place of worship. The faith is a global one but all the places of worship mentioned relate to a particular community/language. So the equivalent of stipulating all faith applicants should come from three particular parishes where services are conducted in Polish or are of an evangelical belief.
"in practice it may prioritise 100% faith applicants and their families in subsequent years"
Yes, I'd put that into the category of 100% faith admissions, because there's no specific splitting into faith/non-faith places. As you said, category 8 will only come into play if the school isn't popular, or if there's a particularly low local population of faith applicants; i.e. there are only 'leftover' places for non-faith applicants rather than reserved places. All VA schools are obliged by law to offer places to non-faith applicants if they're not full, so there's nothing particularly inclusive (in the faith sense) about this type of policy.
When campaign groups like Accord/RISC talk about split admissions, they're referring to policies more like the ones in my two examples (which are both based on real local schools). Those are the types of policies that Faith Academies (as opposed to VA schools) must have by law, with a max of 50% faith places allowed.
BayJay, my example is not a VA school but a new free school. Isn't that the same as a faith academy?
"not a VA school but a new free school"
Really? Which one?
Interesting. It specifically says that only 50% of the places can be allocated to category 2/3. On the face of it I'd say criterion 1 is faith-based too, so that could potentially push them slightly over 50%.
I don't think you can count category 4 as faith-based because it could equally apply to brothers of the open 50%.
Category 7 might be considered faith-based if they had an employment policy that favoured Islamic staff, but these adverts imply that they don't, unless its written into the person specification (you have to register to download that, so I haven't read it).
Did you come across this example because people are complaining about it online? If people think that the admissions policies of individual schools breach the 50% rule, then they can raise the matter with the schools' adjudicator.
It's worth remembering that the 50% rule is about giving people the opportunity to apply to schools, rather than applying a strict quota of faith versus non-faith students. In many cases the non-faith places will fill with children of the relevant faith simply because non-faith students aren't interested in the places. That's one reason why I think its unreasonable for the Catholic Education Service to claim the 50:50 rule is about turning away children 'because they were Catholics while admitting others because they were not'. Instead it admits 50% of children because they are Catholic, and the other 50% of children without any reference to faith (so in many cases they will also be Catholic).
This was the first cohort at the school and yet it accepted siblings. Distance is very last category so 'siblings' has to be those who exceeded the 50% faith category if you are working down the list.
Then if you're concerned about it, you could get in touch with Accord, as they'd be able to advise you on whether there was a breach, and would probably follow it up with the school if there was.
Interesting point to note - Hampton Academy's blog suggests it has filled up this year - no places were allocated that hadn't been indicated as a preference.
"no places were allocated that hadn't been indicated as a preference"
Yes, that's true. On national offer day was someone posting on RISC's Facebook Page to say she lived right next to HA, and didn't put it as a choice because she assumed she'd be allocated it anyway if none of her other choices were available. She got quite a shock when she was allocated St. RR instead!
From the comment thread it looks like she has a place at HA now, so the waiting list has obviously moved.
HA was almost full last year, and this year it reduced its admissions from 210 to 180, so it was expected to be full.
Interesting article in the Independent today about schools in leafy affluent areas being worse on closing the attainment gap: www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/schools-in-welloff-areas-are-failing-poorer-pupils--who-get-better-exam-results-in-deprived-areas-8583703.html
LB Richmond not specifically mentioned. I have begun to wonder how some children cope with the homework and constant revision for tests not to mention the demands for a high spec colour printer (!) if they have no parental support but I have no knowledge of the special help that LB Richmond's academies may be providing. I agree that they need to be careful not to brand all FSM children as needing help and ignoring other non FSM children who do need it.
During the last term at primary school last summer the parents of one of my daughter's best friends who is on FSM as her father is long term unemployed with health problems but actually comes from a very middle-class family and is doing fine academically, got a letter inviting her to a special induction day on the basis that she "needed extra help settling in to secondary school". It turned out that this had been sent to all children on FSM not to children that particularly needed help as flagged up by the primary school. The child was quite upset by it but not as upset as her mother was as she felt her daughter was being labelled as a low achiever.
RISC have posted a news item on the school place data. Out of borough offers up, not down as forecast, and more confirmation that St RR was not the choice of the majority of Catholic families, www.richmondinclusiveschools.org.uk/latest-news/2013-04-22-risc-s-analysis-of/.
The school's planning applications come before the Planning Committee on Thursday for the interim works to make the old buildings behind the main site fit for purpose. There were quite a lot of objections from those who live near the school, including the Church Trust who own the sheltered housing adjacent to the school, who have highlighted that the siting the Reception open play area closest to the properties that neighbour the site will spoil the amenity of the peaceful garden for their residents. There has been no dialogue between diocese, governors or Head and local residents and the Planning Officer is recommending permission without imposing any of the conditions that were imposed on the permission granted for development by the Community College to protect the safety of children travelling to and from school and to minimise the impact of traffic.
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