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How much control do Heads have over Admissions?

(21 Posts)
MerryMarigold Thu 22-Oct-15 20:45:17

So I've been offered (and accepted) a place at our closest school, an ofsted outstanding school, for all 3 of my kids. This, despite the school being 'full' at the end of the summer term. My children all started another school, for just half a term, and we're selling in, but it's a bit of a drive, so we've accepted these places.

Today, after a meeting with the Senco, she told us there are only 24 in ds1's yr5 class because it used to be a 45 intake (school is now a 60 intake). I assumed that y5 and y6 had mixed classes to accommodate the 45 intake but seems like there's 2 classes. I can't understand why we weren't offered a place earlier. A divided school run was possiblefor me as we have friends who go to this school and were happy to do drop off and pick up for me. Couldn't the County Council force the school to take a child in catchment if the class is so small?

I'm really confused. Also, I wonder if we've missed the school census now, meaning the school had missed out on funding for my 3 kids. Had they offered ds1a place earlier at least they would have had his funding.

MerryMarigold Thu 22-Oct-15 20:48:31

We're not settling anything, they were settling in!!

eddiemairswife Thu 22-Oct-15 22:11:35

The LA can't force the school to go above the PAN, which would have been 45 for that year.

MerryMarigold Thu 22-Oct-15 22:53:22

So, it doesn't matter if there are 2 classes with 23/ 22, the PAN is for the year and not the class?

MerryMarigold Thu 22-Oct-15 22:59:07

I also don't understand how a school can afford to do this. Do they not get money per child? Don't they want the max number of children in order to get the cash?

mrz Fri 23-Oct-15 06:52:30

Heads have little or no say.

mrz Fri 23-Oct-15 06:54:00

PAN is often linked to size of classrooms

exLtEveDallas Fri 23-Oct-15 06:56:21

Don't they want the max number of children in order to get the cash

No they want the max number of children they know their staff, their facilities and their teaching practices can deal with in order to get the best out of them.

fitzbilly Fri 23-Oct-15 06:57:30

Heads have very little say when it comes to admissions.

MerryMarigold Fri 23-Oct-15 07:23:42

As mentioned, the school had been on a 60 intake for several years. Next year, certainly the following one, there will be 60 in y5 so I'm assuming the classroom can handle it since building work is finished. Also, there is presumably a fully qualified teacher in with the 23 kids. I will see what I can dig up today, from the office. I'm very surrounded at how opaque this are now we've moved out of London. A lot more transparency and accountability there.

prh47bridge Fri 23-Oct-15 08:13:39

If a particular year had a PAN of 45 for Reception that PAN follows it through the school. The fact they have changed PAN for Reception does not mean they have to admit 60 to the current Y5. Some schools change PAN regularly for various reasons and could not cope if they had to apply the current Reception PAN to all years. The reason you weren't offered a place earlier therefore is that PAN for Y5 is 45 and they were full. The fact that PAN for Reception is now 60 is irrelevant.

Having said that, if they have completed the building work needed to accommodate 60 in every year they would have been in a very weak position if you had gone to appeal.

MerryMarigold Fri 23-Oct-15 08:31:30

Thanks, that's really helpful. 60 is not just the PAN for reception though, it's for YR to Y4. I understand and wish I had appealed but thought that the Y5 and Y6 extras made up a class and the school was genuinely full. It's a bit gutting as Ds1 struggle socially and emotionally so moving was hard, moving schools was harder and now moving again when it was not really a necessity. It's not about the children first!!

Cedar03 Fri 23-Oct-15 09:06:57

My daughter's school has expanded from having smaller classes in each year to having slightly bigger ones. (From 24 to 30 in a single form entry).

To do this they have had to: remodel classrooms and internal spaces.
Put in more toilets so that they have enough for the number of children.
Employ additional teachers and teaching assistants.
So it isn't just as simple as taking an extra child or two.

In fact they had to push the county council to accept their offer to expand the class sizes - this at a time when they were short of spaces in the area and pushing other schools to take an entire extra class.

MerryMarigold Fri 23-Oct-15 10:27:47

I understand, but the building work has been completed to have the whole school at 60 per year (in 2 years time this will be the case). This is why they are currently managing to have 2 classes of 23. I know it will be great for my ds to be in such a small class, but I still feel it's a shame he had to go through a school change when it wasn't necessary.

MerryMarigold Fri 23-Oct-15 10:36:37

So, I guess what I am asking now is: was it the LA decision or the Head's decision not to take an extra child, knowing they have the resources to take one? Would the LA know that there are, in fact, 2 classes in a year of 45 PAN? Or would the Head not disclose this?

eddiemairswife Fri 23-Oct-15 10:55:17

The year is full. The PAN is 45. How the classes are organised is up to the school not the LA. They could have 3 classes of 15 if they wished.

spanieleyes Fri 23-Oct-15 11:06:10

The school change was necessary as the year was full.

prh47bridge Fri 23-Oct-15 14:27:02

was it the LA decision or the Head's decision not to take an extra child, knowing they have the resources to take one

The decision to refuse admission will have been taken by the admission authority. For a community or VC school that is the LA. For other types of school that is the school itself but that does not mean it is the head's decision. Such decisions must be taken by the governors or a committee appointed by the governors. They cannot be taken by just one person.

MerryMarigold Fri 23-Oct-15 14:49:35

The school change was necessary as the year was full.

Yes, full by the slightly random in my opinion PAN number, but not full in terms of classroom space, class size, or other facilities. Sure, another child will use books, computers etc. but I would have thought the money the school would get for a child for a year would cover that.

It's no-one's fault really, just bureaucracy which has now affected a fairly vulnerable child. I think with school places so difficult to get these days, reviews of PAN should happen if a school increases class sizes and has a new build to accomodate it. It seems ridiculous to operate a system whereby kids are being sent miles away when there IS space (though not according to PAN) very locally.

admission Fri 23-Oct-15 15:35:22

The point that is probably confusing is that the school PAN for years 5 and 6 remains at 45. The school or the LA as the admission authority would normally say we stick to the PAN figure and do not admit above that. However the latest regulations have for a couple of years allowed the school to admit over the PAN limit if they believe it is not harming the other pupils in the school.
My guess is that the LA have said school is full, hence the original decision but that the school has subsequently looked at 3 siblings and said we will admit all three, including over the 45 PAN figure. They will not get funding for the 3 until April 2017 as the funding from April 2016 is decided on the number of pupils in the school on October 1st.

MerryMarigold Fri 23-Oct-15 16:09:18

Thanks admission, that's v helpful. I didn't realise the funding was so far in advance. That's a bit tough for schools who have a larger intake starting each year (DCs old school became a 4 class entry), so they won't get the funding for a whole extra class for another 6 months and so on as each year they take 4 classes and only 3 leave.

The Admission process seems archaic here. Basically someone phones round schools to see if they have places (and waits for them to get back to them) rather than just having it all on some kind of system where it would be easy to check, ah this school has a space in Y5! So it seemed the onus was on the school to say whether they had a space or not rather than the Admission Authority knowing anything. It took a friend 4 weeks from term start to get her son into school and she started the process before the summer holidays!! He is going into Y6 - I really felt for him. I haven't moved before with kids so I am not up on 'the system', but I have had friends who moved into the area where we used to live, and the system seemed a lot better! This is Essex County Council, and I used to be in Newham.

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