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Anyone with experience of the consultation process when an Academy wants to change its entry priorities?

(18 Posts)
PeaQiwiComHequo Tue 11-Dec-18 21:28:47

is there any point interacting with a consultation when an academy wants to change its criteria?

I know that academies are their own admissions authority. are they accountable to anyone and do they have any wider obligations when setting their criteria?

There is an academy in my home city which is basically the only decent school that most kids in the city have any chance at all of getting a good education at.

the alternatives are - one good faith school that you can only get into if you qualify under strict church attendance.
a couple of good schools in very rich areas that you only get into if you are rich,
various depressing comprehensives which clearly are doing their best but have extremely challenging intakes and plenty of problems.

this academy used to be a private school and converted to an academy in Blair's "Education, Education, Education" years.

Their criteria (excluding obvious sen/looked after that all schools have) are
(1) music specialisation
(2) siblings
(3) random allocation by lottery.

every year the poor alternative options in the city mean that there are about 950 applications for those lottery places, and the number of music specialism places and sibling places means there are typically only about 50 places available for those in the lottery phase - so about a 1 in 19 chance which is grim but at least a hope.

6 years ago this school founded its own primary school. the first cohort that joined reception in 2013 will be applying for year 7 in 2020.

The academy want to change the admission criteria to give kids from the primary school priority before the general lottery. The effect of this will be to almost entirely close admissions to everyone that might otherwise have had a chance.

best case scenario - maybe a handful of those primary kids will be included in the higher priority groups anyway, say 20 out of the 60 - obviously guessing here - so 40 lottery places gone, only 10 lottery places left and now the odds for the rest of us are more like one in 90.

This is a horrific prospect but is there any actual grounds to object?
do they have any obligations to keep any number of places open for "ordinary" applicants?
so they have a right to do whatever they want?

I don't have a lot of energy or emotional resilience and fighting this would probably break me. I will do it for my son's sake if there is any chance of success. if I would just be banging my head against a brick wall and will get nowhere then I might be better off moving to a different city in the 10 months we have till the applications have to be submitted.

OP’s posts: |
anniehm Tue 11-Dec-18 21:40:48

To be honest, if there's an attached primary, it's normal to give them priority (obviously named school for sen and looked after get first priority). I suspect that no matter what people submit these changes will go ahead because that would have been part of the deal when they were allowed to set up a linked primary. My DD's old school now has a linked primary and people from where I live no longer get get places unless they commit to the primary (a 3 mile drive) from 4.

Witchend Tue 11-Dec-18 22:36:08

I would agree with annie and expect an attached primary to get priority. I doubt you'll get anywhere contesting that.

admission Tue 11-Dec-18 22:58:02

You can contest that the admission criteria as a whole is not fair and reasonable but you cannot contest that pupils at the primary school will get a level of priority.
From your post it would appear that the level of places as music and siblings is significant and if you are correct about the likely level of places for the lottery then you should argue that the school will already be placing preference on pupils to get into the primary school and therefore the places for this should be instead of music and sibling places. You need to emphasise that the proposed admission criteria are not going to be fair to those pupils who do not have a sibling at the school and that a lottery for 10 places for up to 900 pupils is unfair and unreasonable.

malmontar Wed 12-Dec-18 00:05:01

Primary places is correct but normally they only have a dozen or so music places when there is criteria for music. From what you’re saying it sounds like they let in nearly 100 which seems impossible

MissWimpyDimple Wed 12-Dec-18 12:37:04

What is their intake? To be honest, it sounds like the random allocation lottery is a long shot anyway so you would be ill advised to rely on that

Hersetta427 Wed 12-Dec-18 13:27:14

I thought State schools could only take a maximum of 10% of places for a specialism. How many places does this school offer?

I doubt you will get far regarding the linked primary. in our town people complained vociferously when the best girls school in the county wanted to introduce automatic admission to the girls at their newly linked primary school. In the end all the complains were dismissed and their proposed criteria allowed to stand.

titchy Wed 12-Dec-18 14:33:34

Is there a paper published showing their workings out for how many would get placed under the new criteria? You might well find that most of the siblings go to the linked primary so the situation won't be as dire.

FWIW my dc's school, also an academy, did quite a detailed report which was published on the LA website as well as their own, which included a detailed analysis of other local schools admissions as well.

prh47bridge Wed 12-Dec-18 16:38:01

I thought State schools could only take a maximum of 10% of places for a specialism

That is correct. That limit applies to all types of state-funded school including academies.

Without knowing which school we are talking about it is impossible to judge the accuracy of the OP's figures.

FATEdestiny Wed 12-Dec-18 16:46:07

The academy my children go to (and I'm a governor at) are changing admission criteria in 2020 to give local primaries higher selection priority. These are not linked to the school in any way, just the 5 primary schools most local to the secondary academy.

I think this is a fairly normal thing?

LadyLapsang Sat 15-Dec-18 00:01:29

How far is the proposed feeder primary from the secondary?
Is it the nearest primary?
If it is not the nearest, is it the nearest of the type (faith / non faith)?
Is the primary representative of the area in terms of the pupil cohort (free school meal / pupil premium / English as an additional language / special educational needs etc.)?

PeaQiwiComHequo Sat 15-Dec-18 07:08:42

I'm so sorry for not replying. my blasted phone has just lost a long reply for a third time! I keep writing loads, then just want to check a fact before I press post and the whole thing gets lost. so I will post this one without letting the screen leave this typing box and come back with any more in a separate post. apologies for brevity too - this is the 4th time I've tried to write out this stuff.

bit more detail on numbers. the music places are effectively about 15% - they have 2 different music related categories which I conflated for simplicity. SEN and looked after is about 10%. siblings typically 45% leaving 30% for ordinary mortals currently. I was guessing that would drop to less than 5% with the new rules but I have no way to know what fraction of the primary pupils would be qualifying anyway under one of the other priority categories.

I can't find any data for the "disadvantage level" of the primary. the tables I can find that include that are part of the ks2 SATs results so won't be published for the new primary till 2020. is there somewhere else I can get this info? I would guess that the profile is fairly privileged - there's virtually no residential housing nearby, its in a business area of the centre. most families couldn't possibly commute their kids there twice a day - it certainly wasn't an option for us. I think you'd have to be fairly affluent just to get over the practicalities of getting a young child there from any distance, and anyone close enough for that not to be an issue is going to be wealthy enough to afford quite expensive housing. obviously there's no problem for senior kids getting there as they can get a bus alone.

OP’s posts: |
LadyLapsang Sat 15-Dec-18 10:35:28

Hi there, you can find information on the pupil cohort through the school performance tables. Enter school performance tables in google, enter the school, go to download data CSV / XLS (penultimate row before results) and click the link.

LadyLapsang Sat 15-Dec-18 10:40:08

Apologies, on re-reading, looks like the primary is new. Has it had a full Ofsted inspection yet?

tumpymummy Sat 15-Dec-18 10:49:37

peakiwi I think you'll find that the PAN for the senior school has increased, so there are more places available now. Also several of the children in the primary school will also qualify as siblings as when the primary school opened siblings at the senior school got priority. At the primary school children come from all over the city, most do not live nearby so all demographics are represented. The trust are also opening another senior school in the city so loads more places available. So nothing really for you to object to!

catndogslife Sat 15-Dec-18 15:01:30

I think I recognise this school and city.
The trouble is that the primary school was set up as a free school and the secondary is an academy. Although they share a site they are effectively separate schools. When the primary school was set up parents in the city were told that the schools were both separate and families at the primary school had the same chance as anyone else in the city of entry to the secondary school. So if they are changing this then I think you are justified in objecting.
I don't necessarily agree with your analysis of other schools in our city by the way. I work in a comp which has improved massively over the years and this is true of many schools across the city.

LadyLapsang Sat 15-Dec-18 15:08:32

I have guessed the schools involved. The primary ( first letter C) is also consulting on changing its admissions.If you are driven by your personal interest, I would suggest looking to move your child to the primary now and arranging some music lessons. It doesn't appear to have a strict geographical catchment and operates waiting lists. In the published data, the primary states it has 302 pupils on roll, of which 5 are LAC, 10.8% qualify for FSMs and 13.7% qualify for PP. The primary spends some of its PP budget on music lessons for disadvantaged pupils.

catndogslife Sun 16-Dec-18 12:39:40

The PP is correct that the secondary school has increased it's PAN but this would be (almost) wiped out if all the primary pupils applied to the secondary school (not accounting for siblings).
The school hasn't always had it's own way - a few years ago they wanted to set up a new sixth form free school in association with another academy. This was turned down (not sure why).
There is more than one category of music place - some by music aptitude test and others by another category (but it would be a give away to say what).

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