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advice on change to school admissions policy

(18 Posts)
schadmissions Sun 03-Mar-13 22:12:33

Since recently becoming an academy our local outstanding primary school is proposing to change its admission policy. The proposal is that all siblings get priority above children in the priority catchment area. Currently children in the priority area get a place before siblings outside this area but siblings in the priority area get priority over first borns in the same area.

Many parents move out of the area once all their children have places at the school as houses are much cheaper / more desirable a few miles drive away. I believe the school should serve the local community and children should walk to school and have local friends and if parents move too far they should risk a different school for siblings. A situation could arise when first borns living by the school dont get a place and siblings 10 miles away do.

Any suggestions for feedback on the proposal? Presumably academies can do what they like despite assuring everyone they would not change the policy if they did convert to an academy?? Many thanks.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 03-Mar-13 22:13:33

I thought sibling priority was pretty standard.

prh47bridge Sun 03-Mar-13 22:22:45

Academies must conform to the Admissions Code. However, there is nothing wrong with the change they are proposing. Many schools prioritise siblings ahead of other children regardless of how far they live from the school. If the consultation on the proposed change is under way you can register your objections but that won't necessarily produce any change.

BreconBeBuggered Mon 04-Mar-13 00:32:39

Make sure you voice your objections in writing. Too often these only take the form of complaints amongst other parents and never get as far as the governors so aren't part of the consultation process.

schadmissions Mon 04-Mar-13 12:05:39

Thanks. Is sibling priority very common regardless of where siblings live? Does it make any difference that school said the policy would not change if they became an academy?

This will just encourage more parents to rent for 6 months to get a place but I guess school wont mind this as this is the type of parent who will do everything to ensure their children achieve better than average sats and tutor if necessary.

Mintyy Mon 04-Mar-13 12:10:32

Sibling priority is very common in primary schools.

I wish it wasn't so common in secondary schools, but can fully understand the reasons in primary schools.

There are other things the school could do to catch out the 6 month renters though.

jellybeans Mon 04-Mar-13 12:11:46

Out LA had this policy and then changed it back when they realised it was unfair. As you say people move away or rent houses in the area to get first one in and then move away while someone living next door can't get a place. Catchment kids should come first before out of area with siblings. If someone chooses to not use their local school there is no guarantee that future kids will get places, this is usually stated on LA forms. I would do your research into different areas etc and think of all the arguments against it.

cazza40 Mon 04-Mar-13 12:49:46

Sibling priority is really sensible tbh. I have had a complete nightmare taking my two dds to 2 separate schools - the school run for me each day takes over an hour. I have to rely on after school clubs and favours from friends as both finish at rougly the same time but the schools are 5 miles apart. Thankfully my younger Dd will join the elder for the summer term.
There is always politics, renting and house moving I am afraid with the whole primary school entry nightmare that we have in England.

prh47bridge Mon 04-Mar-13 13:53:14

It is very common to give priority to siblings regardless of where they live. Schools that give priority to siblings only if they live nearby or in catchment are rare.

When objecting you can point out that they said they were not going to change their admissions policy but whether that will give you any leverage depends on how long ago the statement was made and whether or not the current governors feel they are bound by it. No promise like that can be forever.

schadmissions Mon 04-Mar-13 14:27:04

Thanks for all the replies. The school would not want to catch out the 6 month renters as they are often the parents that will do the most for their childs education and will ensure their results as there is no limit to what they will do to ensure their child gets what the parent wants.

lougle Mon 04-Mar-13 14:35:05

DD2's school has siblings as top priority after the mandatory Looked after Children, Statement of SN, Serious medical/psychological issue.

Runoutofideas Mon 04-Mar-13 14:41:26

Our local school has exactly the problem you are trying to avoid. Sibling priority means that someone 10 miles away would get a place above a first child in a family who live 500 metres away. I think they should lose sibling priority if they move out of area, especially when the family only moved into the area temporarily to get the first child in. The system is being played by a lot of people, especially in highly populated cities where there can be a vast difference in standard between one school and the next closest.

Tabbykat Mon 04-Mar-13 14:44:30

At ours you have sibling priority but if you move more than 2 miles away from where you were when you got the first child admitted, you forfeit your priority.

cazza40 Mon 04-Mar-13 15:00:39

OP I don't like the sound of your school from your comment about the 6 month renters and how driven they are ! Do you have any other alternative schools your DC could go to ?

schadmissions Mon 04-Mar-13 20:01:03

cazza - I have 3 children already at the school!! Sadly I had no idea what type of parents would be attracted to our local school before mine started. The change in policy wont affect any of my children I just think that it is wrong and prefer Tabbykats policy for example.

Lougle our school has looked after and medical needs as first priority as yours which there has been no mention of changing although I am sure most of the parents would love their priority to be lowered.

Shocking what people will do for a so called outstanding school.

Surrealistrhinoceros Mon 04-Mar-13 20:30:40

Schools in our LEA have priority first for siblings in catchment, then for catchment children, then siblings out of catchment, then children not in catchment. As far as I know that's standard across the LA. can Pm you if you want to know which one.

Seems a fair compromise to me. DS is out of catchment due to SN and it didn't seem fair to expect a priority place for DD. I suppose it depends on the extent to which parents have to send kids out of catchment for reasons beyond their own control eg housing moves, shortage of places, SN, etc. perhaps you could look at what's going on in your particular school to bolster your case?

Floggingmolly Mon 04-Mar-13 20:34:46

I would have thought sibling priority was fairly standard?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 04-Mar-13 20:36:27

Both are "standard" policies in place in quite a lot of locations so I don't think the change is unreasonable. It's fair to query if it was a key pillar of the change to academy status being agreed though.

It's the LA not the school who should be enforcing any rules about six month renters, I believe.

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