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I don't think our local state primary is following the published admissions criteria. Is that possible?

(21 Posts)
artichokes Mon 22-Jun-09 13:19:59

Our nearest state primary is voluntary aided but not religious. It has a great reputation and gets amazing SATS scores. It has a formidable Head who has been there for years and years.

The published criteria is (1) SEN; (2) Siblings and (3) Proximity.

The weird thing is that the school is in a very mixed area of London but the kids are 95% white and middle class. The Head told us they have no children with English as a second language (v odd compared to other local schools) and they have 1 statemented child in the whole school (again v different from others). This year our (mixed race) neighbour did not get her daughter in and was told she is 20th on the waiting list, nobody on this street has ever failed to get in before.

When you apply to the school you have to write a page of why you want your child to go there. No other local school asks for this. We asked the Head what she does with this page and she simply said it is for her own research hmm.

Is it possible for a school to bend the system? Would the LEA no stop this happening?

titchy Mon 22-Jun-09 13:50:50

If it's voluntary aided it can set its own admissions criteria and does not have to follow the LEA one. Not sure if they can get away with going against their own published admissions criteria though...

1dilemma Mon 22-Jun-09 22:43:55

My LEA doesn't even follow it's own published admissions criteria hmm

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Mon 22-Jun-09 22:57:27

Does your neighbour intend to appeal?

Where the published admissions criteria haven't been followed, anyone refused a place has obvious grounds for appeal and (if the properly-applied criteria should have meant that the child was admitted) they ought to win. Your neighbour could ask the LEA to confirm the furthest distance at which a place was awarded - that might shed some light on what's happened.

Have a look at the DCSF website for the school admissions appeal code.

EldonAve Mon 22-Jun-09 23:03:26

<apols for highjack> 1dilemma - I have emailed you

1dilemma Mon 22-Jun-09 23:17:31

I have been intending to e-mail you too, will read it now.

(another apology for hijack!)

EldonAve Mon 22-Jun-09 23:18:01

at least you can spell hijack unlike me blush

1dilemma Mon 22-Jun-09 23:29:20

grin but I struggle with their!

I have replied

mrsshackleton Tue 23-Jun-09 22:17:16

artichokes - is this school jb?

wolfnipplechips Tue 23-Jun-09 22:24:00

our first choice school that dd didn't get into is a foundation school, they are supposed to have the same guidelines as you mentioned but they seem to just make them up, there's kids from all over the city going, they say its because they like to have a wide variety of backgrounds hmm

zanzibarmum Tue 23-Jun-09 23:25:10

If its a state school even it cannot ask for the reasons why your child wants to go there. The family have immediate and clear grounds for appeal the school should have given you details of how to appeal. Write to the school and LEA saying you are appealing on grounds of breach of tje statutory admissions code.

artichokes Wed 24-Jun-09 10:16:18

Mrs Shackleton shock how did you know that???? Yes it is JB. Do you know anything about it?

My neighbour is not going to appeal as she feels her daughter would fit better into a more inclusive school. I guess if people never appeal then they can get away with it. I know that voluntary aided schools get to set their own criteria, but surely they still have to stick with what they publish.

mrsshackleton Wed 24-Jun-09 14:44:48

I just know wink - read between lines

Sadly (I wish) I am not an insider and have no idea how the system works there. It's v mysterious. All I know is the head there is formidable and bollocks all the parents about how if they ever dream of taking their dcs out mid term for ski trips they will be expeled immediately and another grateful child will take their place. I wish your neighbour luck [smile}

sinclair Wed 24-Jun-09 18:07:09

Sounded familiar to me too - the Dr benefactor and the Head who refuses to acknowledge dyslexia?

Assuming i have the right school, it has to follow LA guidelines but bear in mind that there are around 23 siblings in the incoming reception class - so very little room after any SEN who name it (and IME head strongly discourages this tho she may be being made to bend to the will of the inclusive LA on this one) so you have to literally live in one of neighbouring streets to get in on distance.

What they do do very well is proactively fill any empty places that do come up as panicking Y4/5s (and their younger siblings) go private or move out - and of course it is up to school who they ring and offer places to. I know children who have attended school A and not been happy, transferred to School B once a place comes up but one term later having been contacted by JB over the summer moved the family again to JB - such is the pull of the school!.

And of course the CVA score will give a different impression to SATS.

It wasn't my first choice - too draconian and not enough 'enrichment' but the academic is a strong selling point for a lot of parents and i know a lot of families inc one of best mates who are very happy there.

Glad to hear your neighbour is happy with where she is going - primary about so much more than results!!

clam Wed 24-Jun-09 19:04:47

For the record, the Head cannot expel a child for the parents' decision to take a mid-term holiday.

Tambajam Wed 24-Jun-09 19:07:58

Clam - she can take a child off-roll and then fill the place.

artichokes Wed 24-Jun-09 19:37:09

I think it is so amazing that I could have been posting about any school in the country and two people have correctly guessed! Sinclair and MesS we must be near neighbours. I have yet to choose a primary, that joy awaits me this autumn, but having learnt more and more about JB and met the scarey Head, I think I will opt for nearby B instead. It's seems so much more friendly and inclusive & nowadays it's results are v similar to JB's. After y neighbour's experience I have really been put off JB.

PollyParanoia Wed 24-Jun-09 21:20:28

I know of JB too, a couple of friends' kids go there. I really do think people like your neighbour ought to appeal as otherwise this is just so self-perpetuating and why should a school that is supposedly so good be the preserve of white middle class. Not necessarily the ones most in need of academic support?
My friend was on waiting list and feels that they may have been favoured over others in getting one of the very few non-sibling places.
Another friend from those parts reckons B is a much better school anyway. JB's results not really a credit to the school, more to its selection.

sinclair Wed 24-Jun-09 22:28:09

Artichokes we are N of Goldhawk so opted for G but B very well liked by parents - bigger but well run. But do go to the JB open day in autumn as the Head's talk is quite a turn!

mrsshackleton Thu 25-Jun-09 10:52:56

I really don't think results are the most important thing about choosing a school, it's all about the vibe.

SomeGuy Sat 27-Jun-09 02:53:31

I googled your school, Ofsted report says "About a third of the pupils come from minority ethnic backgrounds - this is above the national average." Doesn't sound like 95% white to me.

The head looks pretty scary though, has she had Botox?

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