The local authority's view is that the school admissions policy of the Charter School, including use of a safe walking distance oversubscription criterion, is in keeping with the School Admissions Code of Practice. Southwark Council does not provide a safe walking distance measurement service to The Charter School nor does it advise on which routes to include/exclude as ‘safe routes’ for school admission purposes. Our view is that this aspect of the policy is a matter for the academy to determine as it is its own admission authority.
To clarify a few things:
Charter is not changing it's admission policy for 2012 entry. This would require consultation and wouldn't be implemented in the same year. The problem has been how Charter has been implementing its safe walking distance admissions criteria. I was one of a handful of Councillors (also included Cabinet member Veronica Ward, this was in a letter in last week's Southwark News)who supported the parents when they went to adjudication. The police backed the complainants claim on safe walking route to school. The governing body has accepted the adjudicator's recommendations and taken steps to implement them. The disregard of the walking route to the north of the school added up to 0.7km to some applicants distance measurement. The flawed calculation of safest walking distance to school disadvantaged applicants living on two large estates and the surrounding streets in South Camberwell, particularly recently. Charter's last place offered distance has been shrinking in recent years due to a larger number of applicants, so places cannot be guaranteed as there is no fixed catchment area as such. Only after the results have been published will it become clear what the impact of the adjudicator's ruling is.
Charter is an Academy, which means it is outside council control and sets its own admission policy (it became an Academy in 2010 when the current council administration gained control). All secondary schools in Southwark do so as they are either Academies or Faith schools. This is why there is such a huge variation in admission criteria amongst Southwark secondaries. Primary academies and Faith schools also set their own admissions criteria. Free schools are a type of academy.
A post above mentions Harris Boys School, they recently had an Outstanding Ofsted Inspection.
Cllr Renata Hamvas
Labour Councillor For Peckham Rye Ward
1st Friday, 6.30-7.30pm Rye Hill Park TRA Hall, Peckham Rye SE15
2nd Saturday,10-11am East Dulwich Community Centre, Darrell Rd SE22
4th Thursday (3rd in December), 6.30-7.30pm Nunhead Library, Gordon Rd SE15