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Admissions criteria - am I missing something here?

(28 Posts)
EduCated Mon 02-Jul-18 20:35:46

A school is being opened relatively locally to me, and the admissions criteria are:

1. Looked after children and children who were previously looked after but immediately after being looked after became subject to adoption, a child arrangements order, or special guardianship order.

2. Siblings of pupils attending the school at the time the application is received.

3. Children who live within 2 miles of the School.

4. All other children

The tie break is distance measured in a straight line from the school site - on that basis, what is the point on category 3? When I first saw mention of a ‘catchment area of a two mile radius’ on their website, I guessed they would prioritise in-catchment siblings or something, but they don’t.

Am I missing something? Why bother with category 3?

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spanieleyes Mon 02-Jul-18 20:48:04

What if they had 33 applicants from LAC or previously LAC children ( far fetched I know, but what if!)
Then, the distance would be used as a tiebreaker.
similarly, if they had 35 siblings, the tiebreaker would be used

RicStar Mon 02-Jul-18 20:50:31

Op. I can also see no point in category 3 - in that it doesn't add anything over distance. Odd.

Herculesupatree Mon 02-Jul-18 20:51:21

Maybe it's just to give an indication that if you are over 2 miles from the school you are unlikely to get in?

spanieleyes Mon 02-Jul-18 20:52:18

The tiebreaker surely applies to ALL the categories, not just the distance one.

EduCated Mon 02-Jul-18 20:52:45

Oh I totally get that, criteria 1 and 2 and using distance as a tie breaker makes sense.

What I don’t get is why category 3 needs to be a distinct category - if there are more children in category 3 than remaining spaces, the nearest ones will get in. If there are less children in category 3, then the nearest ‘all other children’ will get in.

Basically, whoever is nearest is getting in regardless of the 2 mile radius they’ve drawn on the map, which is why I’m confused about why it’s been drawn out as a separate category - unless I’m missing something, it makes no difference?

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EduCated Mon 02-Jul-18 20:58:43

Hercules Possibly, although it’s a new school so something of a gamble at this stage. The two mile radius (it’s literally a circle on the map) also prioritises children who live the other side of a big river and who could have up to a 6.5 mile journey, over and above those living 2.1 miles.

The radius on a map looks to pick up a very odd area, and combined with not seeming to add any benefit, just seems a bit of a baffling thing to do.

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Racecardriver Mon 02-Jul-18 21:01:54

Maybe children who fall into category three are picked at random rather than by who is closest?

EduCated Mon 02-Jul-18 21:05:55

No, definitely says distance as tie breaker for all categories (except category 1, actually, so let’s hope they don’t get 33 LAC!)

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SmashedMug Mon 02-Jul-18 21:13:51

It'll be so people applying know that if they live more than two miles out, they might struggle for a place so might want to rethink putting it as a first choice school.

I think they have to do it as a radius because that's the way that looks fairest. If they chose an area on one side of the river and wrote off the other because of travel time they'd get loads of moaning people who want to know how they picked the area and how they measure it etc. As the crow flies is simple.

EduCated Mon 02-Jul-18 21:16:50

But then category 3 and category 4 are the same? It’s just children living closest to the school in a straight line distance.

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Bombardier25966 Mon 02-Jul-18 21:21:40

The radius makes sense for accuracy. If you go by actual routes you'll have someone claiming they could swim or take a boat!

I agree that the third one is pointless. It's not even an indicator of how successful you might be, in fact it could lull someone into a false sense of success, only to find that the furthest child is much closer to school.

SmashedMug Mon 02-Jul-18 21:22:52

But they aren't. Category 3 gives an exact distance of the catchment so shows that there's high demand in two miles of the school so people outside of that might struggle to get in. Category 4 clarifies that if there's space after that, children from outside the catchment can come.

If they just had "nearest children get the spaces" as one category, people wouldnt know if the demand for spaces was high or not and might waste a space on the school applications for a school they have no chance of getting in based on distance. People will understand that the closer you are, the better chance you have even work one category but with the two categories they can understand how small the chance is beyond a certain distance.

Having two categories helps people make an informed decision.

EduCated Mon 02-Jul-18 21:31:26

I disagree - it’s a new school, they can’t with much level of accuracy predict how many children live within two miles and how many will apply to go there.

If the last admitted distance ends up as being 1 mile, or 1.5, then stating a 2 mile radius catchment does nothing to help.

My point about the river is a bit moot really, because even if they ditched category 3 and just stated straight line distance, someone over the river would still be closer.

There are areas which use shortest safe walking route - I personally think that slightly more sensible, but that’s by the by.

Given that the reasoning behind the school opening is to alleviate pressure on oversubscribed schools, I would have thought they might highlight a specific area, either where there are a lack of schools/school places, or where there is a particularly high density population. Again, seen it in other areas and would make sense to have a catchment in that sense, but a circle just doesn’t add anything.

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EduCated Mon 02-Jul-18 21:33:46

I should perhaps add here that I get the feeling that there’s quite a bit of spin being put on the whole thing to suggest that it will only include the leafier suburbs nearer the school, and I suspect this might be part of it, bough not sure how saying ‘those who live closest’ wouldn’t have done the same job.

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titchy Mon 02-Jul-18 21:34:01

Well as it's a new school they have no way of knowing what demand will be so people can't use that to make an informed decision. Actually once they're up and running, as previous admissions distances do not set precedents again people shouldn't rely on that distance.

However as it's new I wonder whether at some point they will introduce sibling priority in cat 3, then anyone else in cat 3, then siblings in cat 4?

EduCated Mon 02-Jul-18 21:36:13

I did wonder that about siblings, titchy, but given that they already specify siblings then I’m not sure why they wouldn’t have already put that in.

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Bombardier25966 Mon 02-Jul-18 21:49:02

@SmashedMug Logic tells you that the further you live the less likely you are to gain a place, as does the tie breaker. Two miles is just an arbitrary distance, even for an established school it wouldn't mean anything, as intakes can vary dramatically between years.

admission Mon 02-Jul-18 22:06:36

This looks like a new school's admission criteria because it is not very well thought through.
As well as the question why you need category 3 and 4, they have made a mistake on category 2, which says "Siblings of pupils attending the school at the time the application is received." What that means is that anybody with a sibling in year 6 at the time of application being received will be in cat 2, whereas usually any such sibling category specifies siblings who will continue to be at the school at the time of entry, that is September. The outcome of this wording is that they may be allowing a considerable number of pupils a place which they would normally not get.

EduCated Tue 03-Jul-18 08:39:51

I had clocked that with the sibling criteria, admission and thought it a little odd, given that it’s usually phrased as siblings who will be at the school at time of admission.

This is a new free school setting up, that is currently at the stage of a Section 10 consultation - does that mean admissions criteria are established at this point? I don’t remember seeing any specific consultation on the admissions criteria, but equally haven’t actively looked out for one so could have missed it.

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admission Tue 03-Jul-18 22:36:56

It will rather depend on just when they think the school is going to open. In an existing school, there would be a 6 week consultation around a change in admission criteria between October 2018 and January 31st, 2019. They would then become the admission arrangements for admission in 2020.
The admission guidance does not really cover new schools but I would think that there is a fair bet that they will not be able to keep to this time table. I would expect that if the time scale was wrong for the opening of the school, then they could go to the Schools Adjudicator for confirmation that the the admission criteria was acceptable.

EduCated Wed 04-Jul-18 07:03:12

They’re aiming at Sept 2019

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OverTheHedgeHammy Wed 04-Jul-18 07:18:18

Maybe it's easier to change the wording of an existing category at a later stage than to add a new category? Because then the 2 mile radius might be changed to a specific catchment area that is not just a circle.

Otherwise you're right, it's pointless.

Thundercracker Wed 04-Jul-18 12:19:42

They would need to consult either way OverTheHedge - this doesn't help. I agree, pointless.

EduCated Tue 16-Oct-18 14:28:11

Resurrecting this thread as the Section 10 Consultation report is out. I raised concerns through that that the catchment was pointless and asked for more information.

Under the ‘responses’ section of the report, it states ‘We have set the catchment area as a two mile radius from the centre of the school site. We have followed DfE Guidelines in setting the catchment area.’

That doesn’t actually answer the question, does it? I know you’ve set it at the radius, what I don’t understand is why.

Is there any point in getting in touch with them for further clarification? And does anyone know if that is therefore enough for them to consider the admissions criteria done and dusted?

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