Re: Charter School admissions change
Posted by andanotherthing
08 February, 2012 16:38
I've been following this thread with interest.
I live within a snowball's distance of the school (actually a bit further than a snowball but within a couple of hundred metres).
I was among the many people who signed a letter in support of the campaign, even though if I had kids it would be extraordinarily unlikely that they wouldn't get in based either on 'safe walking route', 'driving distance' or 'straight line'.
I signed the letter in support of the campaign because it seemed to me that the way that the stated admissions policy was being applied made for a school that isn't really a 'community' school. And that saddened me, because I had previously been really impressed that the nearest secondary school to my home, in such a mixed community, housing-wise I mean, came out as OFSTED 'outstanding'. I liked the idea that the school was somehow part of the glue for that community; making it an 'outstanding community'!
Anyway, it turns out that not only was I idealistic, but also plain wrong - because it wasn't consistently a school for the whole community; it was often a sort of doughnut-shaped community because of the effect of the Wanley Road exclusion.
And another thing.... I'm having trouble understanding the rationale for the argument of parents who say that their choice has been retrospectively removed, or that their understanding that they had a reasonable or good chance of their kids getting into Charter has been (unfairly?) shown to be wrong - thwarted I suppose.
I had a bit of a google, and there's nothing on the internet that I could find to hint at the fact that the school wasn't applying its stated policy - aside from one post by James Barber in October last year.
So any expectation that your kids might get in *because* you sort of had a 0.7km jump-start over kids relying on a Wanley Road route to school would be based on chatting to other parents, scouring back-issues of local newspapers and so on.
In other words, it would be an expectation based on rather untransparent sources of information. Sources of information that wouldn't be available to everyone equally, but only to people who had some sort of inside track within the community. Or did anyone ever get the school itself to confirm, publicly or not, but formally and *in advance*, that it wouldn't be allowing Wanley Road for the year in question? I might be wrong, but I don't think the school's been prepared to do that and has remained silent, simply relying on appeals to deal with any complaints that arise subsequently.
De facto what is being defended, it seems to me (at least without further information which I can't find on this thread), is that some parents had a legitimate expectation that the school would continue to apply a fair policy unfairly. i.e.: "It's not fair that the school can't continue to behave unfairly. We had an expectation that they would continue to be unfair; we had an expectation that there would continue to be a difference between what the school says and what they do and that they would fail to incorporate the results of successive successful appeals into their administration of their policy"...
I'm not sure it's very fair to claim a legitimate expectation based on the unfair application of a perfectly permissible and fair policy...
Surely the only really legitimate expectation for parental choice is that the school, a public body (notwitstanding its Academy status), will apply its own publicly stated policy?