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School giving priority to nursery children

(21 Posts)
Somemumsodd Mon 02-Feb-15 13:08:17

Can some one clarify whether the admissions code allows state schools to give priority to children who attend the school nursery? I know of a couple that do, as friends go to them, but other people have said its not allowed? The schools I know of are in totally different parts of the country. Can academies do this and free schools?

PatriciaHolm Mon 02-Feb-15 13:20:49

They can, if their admissions criteria make it clear that it what is happening. Academies and free schools are free to do so too. Most don't, but it is entirely legal.

That's interesting, I didn't think they were allowed to either, but the current admissions code implies they can. Wonder when they changed that? The 2012 code doesn't mention it at all.

Strictlyison Mon 02-Feb-15 14:19:33

Local councils issue guidance when applying to school places (usually a long leaflet) and there are no primary schools in our local authority who priority to children who attend their nursery. This applies to faith schools and non-faith schools. Many schools even get the parents to sign a document stating that having a place in the nursery does not give them priority over children who don't.

OwlBeGoing Mon 02-Feb-15 14:21:40

My local council don't either

DeWee Mon 02-Feb-15 14:21:43

It is legal if their admissions code says there is priority given.

However people do also often assume this is the case without it being true. So I'd advise anyone for whom they've been told this is the case to thoroughly check the admissions procedure as it certainly isn't as often true as people think it is.

admission Mon 02-Feb-15 15:43:27

The reality is that it is not banned therefore could be used as an admission criteria. It has not normally been used as a criteria because of other bits in the guidance, specifically the bit that says that over subscription criteria must be reasonable, fair, clear, objective, procedurally fair and comply with all relevant legislation. It has been felt that meeting that reasonable and fair criteria was difficult to achieve.
What the new 2014 admission code does is not give carte blanche to admit from an attached nursery but is far more prescriptive. Firstly it will only apply from 2016/17 entry and it is only for those pupils who are in receipt of early years pupil premium. The nursery either has to be part of the school or a nursery that is established and run by the school at an arm's length arrangement. The admission criteria for the school also must name the nursery they are giving this priority to.
As others have said, check the school's admission criteria very carefully because in the vast majority of cases attending a nursery on the school site will confer no priority.

NaiveMaverick Mon 02-Feb-15 15:51:54

I know a faith school that has this as part of it's admission criteria.

It's another way to make sure it selects the kind of pupils it wants - ie ones with SAHMs

Somemumsodd Mon 02-Feb-15 15:52:25

Very interesting thanks. Sounds like maybe the people who have stated it may have got facts wrong uum

Somemumsodd Mon 02-Feb-15 15:55:00

NaiveM there would be no SAHM bias at our school as nursery can be 7.30-6 as it can at my friends school - which gives priority - wrap round care is available for nursery children at all our local schools too (x5). In effect you can use the school nurseries in same way as private nursery

ChocolateWombat Mon 02-Feb-15 17:35:01

I know a local Church school which had this an a criteria, but has had to remove it for 2016 applications.
There was a nursery next door, which was not actually run by the school itself. They ran 5 sessions a week, 2 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon, which began at different times according to the day. There was a strong sense in the area, that it was deliberately done to make it difficult for working parents to send their children there and to control the school intake. The school was outstanding and achieved extremely high levels of L3 at the end of KS1 (just an infant school)

Interestingly, as part of their admissions criteria, they still include people at siblings, if they are still if primary (ie years 3-6) age, despite only being an infant school - a further attempt to 'keep it in the family' and restrict different types. As a 1 form entry school, siblings and those from the nursery always gain all of the places, unless people get in as Looked After, Special Needs, or as Church-goers to the very local and tiny Church. Anyone going to another Church had lower priority than those in the nursery.

It has been an extremely middle class school with well over half moving onto private junior schools.

Once the nursery criteria is removed, I suspect things will change!

Somemumsodd Mon 02-Feb-15 18:09:05

Omg that's shocking. I can see that that is totally excluding certain people. I can see why others would do it if they think educationally it starts children off on a stronger path etc - but would have to offer what working parents need!!

RustyBear Mon 02-Feb-15 18:35:32

I don't see a problem with counting Y3-6 children at a linked junior school as siblings, as long as it is clearly stated in the admissions criteria.

Our borough started doing this relatively recently because though most schools in the borough are YR-Y6 primaries, there are a few which have separate infant and junior schools - it was seen as unfair that someone who got a child into an YR-Y6 primary would have sibling priority for younger children, but if your catchment school, or the school you were allocated, was an infant school you could lose out when it came to sibling priority if the older child had moved to the junior school.

ChocolateWombat Mon 02-Feb-15 21:29:05

I agree that it would be fine if the Junior school was linked, or if it was common practice.
However, this is an area where many schools are either infant or junior. There is no linked junior school. Children from the infant school in question go to one of three junior schools, or to private schools. The junior schools don't give priority to the infant school children....that isn't the issue. The issue is that the infant school admits anyone under sibling criteria if they previously had an older sibling in the school, REGARDLESS of where they now go.
And importantly, none of the other infant schools in the area do this - for those schools the sibling rule only applies when siblings are in the school.

The point is that this school is much more restrictive than others. Most places go to so-called siblings, and the remainder to children whose parents can get them to the nursery sessions which start at 4 different times on 5 of the 4 days. And then of course,those people automatically get the younger ones in too. It is a sneaky way of restricting the broadness of the intake. Add to this the fact the school is in a village with very little housing and poor public transport, and the school itself offers absolutely no morning or after school care.......and you have a school with a very very narrow social intake. But lots of other people would like to go there and benefit from the great education. Many of those who don't get in live nearer and/or work so their children go to pre-schools with more regular hours.

At least the outrageous nursery rule has been done away with! Given time and a slightly broader intake, including working parents, there might be pressure on both the nursery and the school to be a bit more working parent family....but it will take a long time.

Somemumsodd Mon 02-Feb-15 22:22:16

I am left wondering how on earth they got away with it for so long. I'd love to see justification for 4 different start times - insane !!

RustyBear Fri 06-Feb-15 11:35:31

Just reading in the staff room a summary of the OSA Chief Adjudicator's latest annual report, which includes this:

"Main finding 5. The practice of some primary schools of giving priority for admission to the reception year to children who have attended particular nursery provision has again been found to be unfair to other local children, constrain parents’ preferences for child care and pre-school provision and not comply with the general requirements of the Code."

Somemumsodd Fri 06-Feb-15 15:55:46

Rusty that's great - ends any argument !!!

tobysmum77 Sun 08-Feb-15 18:25:41

why on earth would a school want to give priority to non working parents confused

op I've heard it loads, round here it is an urban more no less wink

JaniceJoplin Sun 08-Feb-15 19:35:26

I think schools like SAHMs as they often volunteer in the class, field trips, become reading helpers plus they tend to get involved in PTA which is massive for fundraising. Our school has mums in classrooms, once a week on an outing and helping sort out homework, putting letters in books etc. Literally they would chop your hand off to get more of you! Free labour basically.

Some of the mums like it as it gives experience of working in a school or with children which can help form a new career, so it can work both ways. It's also a good way to get to know people and find out more about what is actually going on at the school.

boddingtons Mon 09-Feb-15 12:15:31

Nottingham had nursery preference for the first time the year my daughter started primary but withdrew it a year or two later because it did not comply with the Code and appeals against it were being lost by the Council. The preference was only to differentiate between out of catchment children. It was: looked after children etc; siblings in catchment; catchment; siblings out of catchment; nursery children; others.

It also had the unintended effect of filling the nurseries of popular schools with out of catchment children as it was the only way they had any chance of getting a place. Most of them would then not get a place anyway. At a primary near me about 20 of the 60 children at the nursery did not get a place in reception.

Somemumsodd Mon 09-Feb-15 12:59:03

I have to say I ours did it, tons would get into nursery but not the school and it would be chaos - despite some people thinking it would work

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