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The East Dulwich Forum
Would you recommend your East Dulwich doctor, dentist or butcher?
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messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by Curmudgeon 30 January, 2012 08:19

But those parents who have made their preferential decisions for school application based on the information provided by the government and LA, those who were previously well within the catchment both by DirectGov schoolfinder site and all the postcode mappings and the historical catchment of Charter School ARE disadvantaged by having incomplete information at time of application and subsequently their 'choice' revoked for the up-coming academic year

Changing the goalposts after the applications have gone in is inequitable to those who it detrimentally affects.

And of course you can't please all the people all the time but it seems another injustice to revoke 'choice' (laughable term)

James Barber Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> So anyone who applied on the basis of the
> advertised criteria should not be disadvantaged
> and an injustice has been resolved.
>
> That Southwark council appears to have supported
> the status quo is worrying.

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by championofthehill 30 January, 2012 09:34

The Charter School states very clearly on its website that it does not have a catchment. After places are given to siblings, children in care, and children with SEN, the remainder are given out to children living closest to the school. This distance varies quite considerably from year to year. Anyone 'well within the catchment' as Curmudgeon puts it, will still be very likely to get a place. The Secretary of State's decision to ask the school to correctly follow its own admissions policy will not affect people unless they are towards the edge of the distances previously accepted. These people could never have been sure to have been offered a place, due to normal fluctuations. A few years ago children from the Champion Hill area were offered places at the school, despite their inflated home-to-school measurement.

The council's support of the status quo is hardly surprising as they were party to this practice until 2010 when the school became an academy. Quite a few individual councillors (from across the parties) did support the Campaign though.

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by intexasatthe moment 30 January, 2012 10:11

Reading the report I am shocked by the degree of autonomy that the school assumed .

But this is the situation we have now - all secondary schools in Southwark are their own admissions authorities and this case clearly demonstrates what a strong position they are in to evade the regulations in place to ensure that they conform to the code of practice .
( don't even get me started on the yawning gap between the requirement to be clear and easily understood and Kingsdale's complex arrangement re scholarships ,lotteries ,banding and how they organise the waiting lists )

James seems to be stressing that Southwark have supported the Charter in the dubious administration of it's oversubscrition policy .
As far as I can see from the report Southwark commented that they didn't administer any secondary school admissions but that for primary schools they used the "straight line " approach and that they didn't think Charter were in breach of the code .
Presumably as the time when Southwark did control admissions to secondary schools receeds ever further into the past they will have even more reason to state as they did in this case that they " are not in a good position to comment on the technical aspects of the case ".

I'm not really clear what Southwark should have done ,presumably there were actions open to them .
But it's not just the current administration that haven't taken them - this refusal on the Charter's part to recognise a footpath has been going on for 11 years since the school opened . I have a friend who had to go to appeal in 2001 on exactly this issue and she was succesful . Southwark presumably should have taken action before .

And I agree with other posters - this corrects the administration for this years intake but has indeed altered the circumstances for applicants to secondary schools this year after they've made their applications .

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by skyblue 30 January, 2012 12:14

The way forward re admissions must be the adoption of the Report's recommendations. i.e the adoption of a radial or straight line admission criteria as set out at para 62.

This is the fairest for all children. I look forward to Charter adopting this for the 2013 intake.

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by fairadmissions 30 January, 2012 12:19

As the decision document by the Schools Adjudicator is a public document (and should be published on their website at some point soon), and as there is a need for people on all sides of the issue to see the ruling, the document can be accessed online from here:

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B9GB1PQuo9iAODYyYzZiMWEtYzEzYS00Y2U3LWE4M2MtNTJiMzhiNjc5YzZl

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by James Barber 30 January, 2012 12:43

Many thanks fairadmissions for this.

Hi skyblue,
The adjudicator makes it clear they expect their adjudication of how the school administer its admissions policy be used for 2012 admissions. They make it clear that the route to ignore their adjudication is via the courts which would be an appalling use of Charter School money which they would probalby lose. Equally seeking legal redress against the Secretary of State who they legally report to is unlikely to be helpful for the school.

I'd hope they'd have the good grace to accept they've been shown how to administer their admissions more fairly going forward and celebrate it will be better.

Hi intexasat the moment,
Yes, South Camberwell ward councillors supported this - especially Cllr Govier - but it does seem strange that a letter of support from the administration was issued when the evidence was so clearly indicating Southwark Council shouldn't be supporting the status. If two of the ward councillors are the council leader and another a cabinet member you'd have expected them to have spoken to the cabinet member for education to ensure such a silly letter wasn't sent.

--------------------
Regards james.barber@southwark.gov.uk
07900 227366
Liberal Democrat Councillor for East Dulwich Ward
Skype cllrjamesbarber
[www.jamesbarber.org.uk]
[twitter.com]

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by skyblue 30 January, 2012 13:24

Absolutely, Charter must do what they have been told to do for this admission's year. i.e ensure that they adopt the correct application of safest walking route. i.e that which is set out by the adjudicator.

And going forward they should adopt the recommendations of the adjudicator of a radial ar straight line catchment criteria.

That is what is fair for all.

Well done to those who brought this campaign.

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by intexasatthe moment 30 January, 2012 14:43

James " it does seem strange that a letter of support from the administration was issued when the evidence was so clearly indicating Southwark Council shouldn't be supporting the status"
the report only quotes from comments made by Southwark ,there is no mention of a letter supporting the status.
Have I missed it or is it a letter you've seen elsewhere ?

Can someone explain how radial distance works - sorry to be dense !
Guess we'd btter hope it's not "radial" as presumably this will be outside Southwark's experience and they'll be at a loss to know whether Charter are administrating the system fairly or not .



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit was 2012:01:30:15:21:48 by intexasatthe moment.

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by James Barber 30 January, 2012 17:10

Hi skyblue,
The adjudicator said The Charter might consider changing future admissions to straight line distance but equally it could keep the current safestwalking distance and that would'nt involve any change in the admissions policy - just making sure they administer it reasonably.

One of the ladies told me that The Charter School uses some of the disputed routes to take its pupils to football games at the Fulwich Hamlets.

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by intexasatthe moment 30 January, 2012 19:47

And the letter from Southwark supporting the Charter's discredited method of working out shortest walking distance ?

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by skyblue 30 January, 2012 20:04

A straight line would be a transparent, fair and easy rule. It is used by all primaries in southwark. After this ruling the policy should not only be just but seen to be just. Every parent can work out the distance and make an informed and clear decision as to prospects of success in securing a place.

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by FatherJack 02 February, 2012 08:02

Have a look at this...a shorter version of the actual report.....

[www.guardian.co.uk]

I guess the moral of this story is that hell hath no fury like a group of scorned but determined parents!

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by prickle 02 February, 2012 10:07

> I guess the moral of this story is that hell hath
> no fury like a group of scorned but determined
> parents!

The campaign was lead by a group of assertive, middle-class parents. Don't forget that the Wanley decision will make Charter more accessibe to the middle-class enclave that is Champion Hill and Grove Hill.

It is great that this has been resolved but to show it as some kind of socialist campaign to give access to Charter to the underpriveliged is naive. It is pure self interest.

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by James Barber 02 February, 2012 10:27

The campaign was led by a group of parents living in social housing. Guess some middle class but that's not really the point. The school appeared to the adjudicator to have used the way it administered it's admissions policy to block children from Champion Hll Estate and Cleve Hall Estate - both social housing.

--------------------
Regards james.barber@southwark.gov.uk
07900 227366
Liberal Democrat Councillor for East Dulwich Ward
Skype cllrjamesbarber
[www.jamesbarber.org.uk]
[twitter.com]

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by Curmudgeon 02 February, 2012 10:46

Well 20% FSM is way above national average and there was an acceptance that the school does have a comprehensively mixed background.

The more FSM students the better the school finances based on the new 'pupil premium' which means more money that can be spent on all the students so that's good.

I've read the adjudication I think it's fair if I'm honest - though I'm still stunned at the retrospective removal of informed choice from secondary school admissions for this year.

Whether Charter will be able to keep up it's record of achievement with their revised catchment is yet to be seen.

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by intexasatthe moment 02 February, 2012 11:15

I'd like to know more about the role of Southwark in overseeing secondary school admissions .

With all Southwark secondaries being their own admission authorities Southwark might take the easy route and back out all together ,effectively leaving it up to parents to monitor and persue good and fair ( honest even ) practice .

Southwark's comment in the adjudicator's report that their experience was in straight line admission policies in primary school and that they couldn't comment on the technicalties of Charter's administration of their policy certainly sounds like they're distancing themselves .

And there is now no longer any statutory requirement for LA's to have admission forums so Southwark are free to bow out all together .

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by intexasatthe moment 02 February, 2012 12:52

I'm still stunned at the retrospective removal of informed choice from secondary school admissions for this year.
curmudgeon I agree with you .

It's worth noting for those who didn't think they,d get in because the Charter hadn't in the past recognised this route from the Dog Kennel Hill side that the ajudicator recommends that late applications could/should be accepted . ( or that's my understanding ) .

I honestly do agree with you but ,out of interest are there really that many " choices " ( ha ha ) for those who feel they now have less chance of being sucessful and have "wasted " an application that they would have applied elsewhere ?
I'm just wondering where else they'd have tried ...somewhere out of borough ,Deptford Green ?

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by FatherJack 02 February, 2012 12:58

Prickle...as far as I'm concerned it was not to provide access to the underprivileged and I have no self interest but I do believe in a fair process for all. I'm sure some if not many may have a personal agenda but please don't tar everyone with the same brush.

Edited just to say agree with Curmudgeon's comment "removal of informed choice re applications this year" ........given that the first time this was raised with Charter was back in 2000....



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit was 2012:02:02:13:10:59 by FatherJack.

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by prickle 02 February, 2012 13:18

FatherJack Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Prickle...as far as I'm concerned it was not to
> provide access to the underprivileged and I have
> no self interest but I do believe in a fair
> process for all. I'm sure some if not many may
> have a personal agenda but please don't tar
> everyone with the same brush.

Totally agree with you FJ that fairness for all is what we are after. I think the socio-economic background or precise address of the excluded families are a just a distraction, one that the press (eg the Guardian headline) is only to glad to use. All families are after only one thing - the best for their children. It somehow makes it more acceptable when the children concerned are seen as being more needy.

Think the solution to all this is to use the crow-flies distance.

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by Chippy Minton 02 February, 2012 14:45

James - the Guardian's report states the school has accepted the recommend, but also it has taken legal advice and is in the process of challenging a number of the assertions. Can you shine anymore light on what this does/might mean?

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by Carbonara 02 February, 2012 17:02

I completely agree that this is unfair on those who thought they were making an informed decision on a benchmark which is no longer valid, but impossible to see how the results of the judgement could or should be ignored for this round.

As for Charter maintaining it's record of achievement, well, what is that worth if it rests solely or mainly on the intake? And there is no reason why any potential shift in overall demography should affect the achievement of any one individual child within the school.

National Offer Day is 4 weeks away. Surely this ruling will now delay any results involving Charter?

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by Curmudgeon 02 February, 2012 17:15

Carbonara Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> As for Charter maintaining it's record of
> achievement, well, what is that worth if it rests
> solely or mainly on the intake? And there is no
> reason why any potential shift in overall
> demography should affect the achievement of any
> one individual child within the school.

Yet on a macro level and in the long-run it does and will affect the school, particularly as it already has an acknowledged and mixed demographic intake which it succeeds well with. This is what happens when you put bean counters in charge of education policy (quantifiable results) and publish league tables of narrow definition and promote a non-existant choice to families!

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by Carbonara 02 February, 2012 17:40

Curmudgeon, Surely you are not advocating managing any school intake in order to maintain a middle class cohort?

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by Carbonara 02 February, 2012 17:44

Just in case any E of Lordship Lane or Dulwich parents are panicking about changing the demography, I would like to point out that my nephews who live on one of the estates in question gained 9 A* at GCSE, and that at a school that many of you are probably trying to avoid.

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by Curmudgeon 02 February, 2012 22:21

Carbonara Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Curmudgeon, Surely you are not advocating managing
> any school intake in order to maintain a middle
> class cohort?

it's not a class issue particularly when the school has been acknowledged by this very adjudication to have a mixed demographic intake including a higher than average rate of students claiming FSM. However social deprivation does bring a greater number of demands in general, not in terms of specific cases, onto school provision and the higher proportion of children from socially deprived backgrounds the harder the task. So it will very much depend on the school management and capabilities. It would be disingenuous at best to turn this into an outmoded class argument.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit was 2012:02:02:22:25:08 by Curmudgeon.

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by albert 03 February, 2012 11:17

Just to throw cat among the pigeons. I wont let my daughter walk along Wanley Road path on her own in daylight, or with anyone else at night.

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by FatherJack 03 February, 2012 11:34

Albert.....this is a personal choice/preference and I understand that but if you were applying for Charter and you lived in close proximity to the pathway, you would expect to use it as far as your school application is concerned. Once at school a secondary school childs journey to school often changes for whatever reason.

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by Coach Beth 03 February, 2012 11:44

And people can always encourage their child to meet up with friends before and walk together along the path. When I was growing up, I had to cross an isolated field to get to school and would arrange to meet a small group of friends to walk together across the field.

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by Carbonara 03 February, 2012 12:29

Curmudgeon: Schools get paid a premium for students on FSMs - extra resources.
The demography of Charter may well have a higher level of FSM than the national average, but that is in no way close to representative of FSM pupils in Southwark:
Harris Peckham- 59%
Bacon's - 46%
St Saviours and O's - 33.5%
Harris Girls ED - 35%
Harris Boys ED - 39%
Sacred Heart - 25.6%
Walworth - 49%
Harris Bermondsey - 55%
City of London - 37%
Globe 38%
St Thomas Apostle - 24.3%
St Michaels - 30%

(Kingsdale: no information, but their intake is not geographical to Southwark)

So the school claiming 20% is a representative mix is disingenous. Even the nearest favoured and competed for schools in neighbouring boroughs have a higher % of FSM that Charter, with Habs at 24% and Dunraven at 25%.

Like I said, wrong that the school's process resulted in parents on both sides of the new boundaries making decisions based on shaky information. I sympathise. Most of all I hope the school deal with this well and with integrity and continue to provide a good education for our kids. Whatever anyone may think of the implications of a demography, publicly funded schools must do what is right.

messageRe: Charter School admissions change
Posted by murphy 03 February, 2012 14:17

I am sure if the walking route led to expensive housing then Charter would have changed its rules a long time ago to make sure people who lived there could attend the school.

The problem is everyone wants schools that produce great results, so schools do what they can to ensure they get a "better quality" intake. Kingsdale for years did the music scholarships which was bound to favour middle class kids.

The Charter school will find it difficult to improve results with an increase in the number of socially and economically deprived kids. Results could drop, which may or may not mean parents once again look to move out to Kent, or to the private sector, for secondary school options for their kids. If this happens then results drop further and you get a school seen to be in decline.

The biggest beneficiary of the changes to the Charter school admissions policy, apart from the kids who can now get in, will be Harris Boys East Dulwich. Their criteria for entry is closest straight line distance. The largest catchment area for the school are the relatively wealthy parts of East Dulwich, who have to an extent avoided the school so far. If most people in East Dulwich decide to apply to Harris (as Kingsdale entry becomes more of a lottery, and those on the east side of Lordship Lane lose out in the changes to the Charter admissions process) then Harris will see their results rise.

The end result could be in a few years that Harris becomes an exceptional school. If that is the case and poorer kids in the main didn't get in, as the catchment area was mostly expensive private housing stock, would local residents and Councillor Barber (East Dulwich Ward) argue that Harris was excluding poorer kids and argue perhaps for a lottery system among all Southwark residents?

All the schools, parents and councillors talk of what is right and fair, but all really have their eyes on the long term benefits to their own school, children or constituents.

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