School Admissions Arrangements 2020-21

Closed 16 Nov 2018

Opened 8 Oct 2018

Results updated 21 Mar 2019

Giving priority for places to children of school staff at school sixth forms

Last year consultation was undertaken on making a change to the oversubscription criteria, which sets out the way school places are offered if there have been more applications made than there are places available, by introducing an oversubscription criterion for children of school staff, which was considered necessary to allow our schools to recruit and retain staff.

This change gives priority for children of all school staff, up to one child in each form.

Places will be allocated to both children of staff recruited to fill a vacant post for which there is a demonstrable skill shortage, and to children of staff employed at the school for two or more years at the time at which the application for admission to the school is made, ranked by distance.

This change was agreed for the 2019-2020 admission arrangements, and it is now proposed that places are also offered on the same basis at school sixth forms. This would be consistent with the School Admissions Code and give this priority at each stage of study.

This part of the consultation received 132 responses, 48.53% of which were in favour of the proposal, confirming either their strong agreement (25.00%) or agreement (23.53%). 15.44% of respondents disagreed.

Of the twelve respondents who commented, four agreed with the proposal, opining that recruitment and retention issues may be eased and teachers would be saved time and travel expenses trying to take their children to other schools. Three respondents expressed their opposition to the proposal, with the view that places should go to local or catchment students and that sixth formers did not have to be in the same school as their parents.

Priority for previously Looked After Children from outside England and Wales

The Department for Education School Admissions Team has written to Local Authorities asking them to consider making a change proposed by the Minister of State for School Standards which gives the second highest priority to previously looked after children from outside England and Wales, who have been adopted by families that either live in the UK or have moved to the UK after adoption.

It is proposed that a second priority is given to ensure that these children also receive the highest priority we can offer for admission into a school in Redbridge, until it is set in law as a first priority, which is the Minister’s intention.

The additional wording would be:

b. children who appear to have previously been in state care in a place outside of England and Wales. State care is defined by the Children and Social Work Act 2017 as being in the care of, or being accommodated by: (a) a public authority; (b) a religious organisation; or (c) any other organisation the sole or main purpose of which is to benefit society;

There were 133 responses received, 59.55% of which were in favour of the proposal, confirming either their strong agreement (22.79%) or agreement (36.76%). 17.64% of respondents disagreed.

Of the seven respondents who commented on the proposal, two agreed, noting that all looked after children should be given the best start in life regardless of their country of birth and need all the help that is available. The four respondents who disagreed with the proposal opined that children coming from abroad should not be prioritised before children who live in the country, catchment children should come first and one was not sure why a child that was not in care should have a lower chance of attending a school than someone in care.

Change to sibling priority

Parents applying for Primary school places often express concern that despite living close to their preferred local school, they are unable to secure a place for their child, as those families with a child already in the school are given a higher priority even if they have moved further away since their child took up their place.

 The following replacement for the existing sibling criterion is proposed:

a.           for applicants applying under sibling priority for a primary school place, if the   address has changed after the date the child on roll was offered their place, and the distance is now greater than one mile from the school, this priority criterion will not apply.

This part of the consultation received 132 responses, 43.38% of which were in favour of the proposal, confirming either their strong agreement (15.44%) or agreement (27.94%). 38.24% of respondents disagreed.

Seventeen respondents commented on the proposal, with seven supporting it due to concerns about parents abusing the system and the view that community schools should serve the local community. The nine respondents who disagreed with the proposal opined that it was difficult for parents to take children to different schools if they did not have sibling priority and families should be kept together.

Removing wording from admission arrangements

To avoid any potential risk of not fully adhering to the School Admissions Code 2014, following concern raised by the School Adjudicator that it may not be lawful as stated, removing the following section from the arrangements is proposed.

The children it relates to are ensured places at their named schools under other sections of the arrangements, so will not be disadvantaged in any way;

Children with statements of special educational needs/Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP) or those being re-integrated back into a mainstream school from the Churchfields Infants Language Facility or the Roding Unit for Hearing Impaired or such other educational facility as, in the opinion of the Authority’s professional advisers, serves a similar function, will be admitted to the named school as ‘excepted pupils’ even if this causes the class size to rise above 30.

There were 132 responses to this proposal, with 40.43% in favour of the change, confirming either their strong agreement (9.559%) or agreement (30.88%). 8.823% of respondents disagreed.

As the majority of respondents agree to the proposal, it is recommended that it is accepted.

Change in pupil admission numbers at Cleveland Road Primary School and Mayespark Primary School

It is proposed to reduce the pupil admission number at Cleveland Road Primary School from 120 to 90, as pupil projections and pupil place numbers show that there are sufficient places within the local area, with some schools in the vicinity experiencing falling Reception rolls, which is expected to continue for several years.

Whilst acknowledging Cleveland Road Primary School’s popularity and the quality of education the school currently provides, it must be accepted that the overall demand for places has reduced considerably and there is now a surplus of primary places in the local area.

It is proposed to reduce the pupil admission number at Mayespark Primary School from 120 to 90, as the school’s Governing Body has made an application for an in-year variation to make this reduction from September 2019.

The Governors considered that it unlikely that more than 90 pupils would be admitted to the school in the foreseeable future, as there is no potential for growth in the immediate area of the school, given that a large part of it is a conservation area.

Reducing the admission number to 90 means that the school can be protected from having to run a fourth class if the number of applications rises above 90, but not sufficiently so to provide enough funding to meet the costs of an extra teacher. It would be unlawful to restrict the number of classes to three if the higher admission number were to remain.

The authority agrees with their views and propose that this reduction is also agreed for 2020-2021.

There were 134 responses to this proposal. 30.14% were in favour of the proposal, confirming either their strong agreement (11.76%) or agreement (18.38%). 51.47% disagreed.

Thirty respondents commented on the proposal, with twenty-five opining the reduction in parental choice in the area if a preferred school, Cleveland Road Primary School, had reduced admission numbers. There was the suggestion that other schools should have their admission numbers reduced if they were undersubscribed. A respondent believed that this would prevent their child’s siblings gaining a place at Cleveland Road Primary School. However, this would be very unlikely as they would still have higher priority than other children, and it is not anticipated that there would be more than 90 siblings in any year group.

Any other views on school admissions

Sixteen comments were made which covered the following points:

  • Not reducing school admission numbers at preferred schools,
  • Sibling priority should not change,
  • Concern about not being able to get local school places,
  • More checks to be made on people who rent a property just to get a particular school place,
  • Council to listen to views of the community and act accordingly,
  • A concern about “the admission between Churchfields Infants and Juniors, I feel the arrangements are potentially discriminatory and need urgent clarification”,
  • Classroom size should not exceed 30, and
  • Make this process fair for all.

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Overview

We would like your views on proposed changes to school admissions. Please complete this survey and tell us what you think.

Please note that Redbridge schools that are responsible for their own admissions may also be consulting on the admissions for their own schools if they propose any changes to their arrangements. This includes all voluntary aided faith schools, foundation schools and academies, including free schools. Details can be obtained from the schools directly.

What happens next

The outcomes will be considered by the Council's Cabinet on 12 February 2019.

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Children
  • Young people

Interests

  • Schools
  • Nurseries