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The East Dulwich Forum
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messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by redjam March 11, 07:55PM

Monkey Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> This whole system really is a waste of time and
> money for everybody: students, parents and
> teachers too when you take into account open days,
> banding exams, and the huge amount of time
> administering the whole system.
>

Totally agree, Monkey, it's a colossal time investment for both parents and schools. And when you think of all the endless banding tests the kids have to do, not to mention music scholarship tests etc... Could never understand why there couldn't be a simple system whereby there was one single test and the results got shared between secondary schools (like they do in Wandsworth, for example) - or even more radically, dispense with extra banding tests altogether and go on primary school expected SATs results. Every pupil is graded to within an inch of their life throughout primary school so the data must be available.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by James Barber March 11, 10:29PM

I suspect that lack of simplicity is just another way of selection - selection of parents who are likely to ensure their children do their homework, turn up on time, etc.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by Monkey March 11, 11:10PM

But selecting the right kids/parents is not even always paying off in terms of progress 8 score... which goes back to my point: waste of time, energy and money.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by Toots March 13, 01:38PM

Hi
we have been allocated Evelyn Grace in Brixton as its our closest school. Does anyone have any feedback on the school?
Thanks

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations
Posted by muccimagic March 18, 05:04PM

colabottle Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I was in the exact same position last year, having
> Sydenham down as our first choice, and getting
> none from our list, and offered Peckham Academy.
> I really understand how stressful this can be and
> upsetting for your daughter. I would also advise
> calling Harris Girls - they were so lovely and
> understanding when I contacted them in a panic
> last year.
>
> What I didn't know then, which I wish I had known
> about, is that there are specialist lawyers who
> can help you put together a case for appeal (even
> though they don't go to the appeal with you). If
> your child falls into an SEN category then I think
> there is also legal aid available. If you'd like
> any more information please feel free to message
> me.
>
> From my experience of last year it does eventually
> work out, but it's so hard waiting. Good luck and
> try to stay positive.

There is NO LEGAL AID available for those appealing on the grounds of special needs! If only. I have been to 2 tribunals via Sendist and it costs a fortune.It is supposed to be free but you absolutely need independent professional reports and expert witnesses. Then..if you win, like I did, you are likely to face a further tribunal as the council appeal against the decision in your favour.
.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was april 02, 07:51pm by muccimagic.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations
Posted by Oscar38 March 29, 05:23PM

Does any know how we can change the allocation process for residents on the "Hill" and get the distance criteria changed, I am so gutted. we have three perfectly great schools about 1km from our home. and we have been given a school 3km away all because we live in a part of East Dulwich that is considered a black whole for secondary schools.

I contacted the schools, all of which are over subscribed with long waiting lists. We have to change this, I think the Local Authority should be negotiating with the schools to position their distance wider in areas not cover by any school and shorter in areas covered by at least one school.


Can we get a petition going,

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations
Posted by kristymac1 March 30, 08:26AM

Hi Oscar38, where do you mean by "the hill"?

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations
Posted by Curmudgeon March 30, 09:10AM

Oscar38 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Does any know how we can change the allocation
> process for residents on the "Hill" and get the
> distance criteria changed, I am so gutted. we have
> three perfectly great schools about 1km from our
> home. and we have been given a school 3km away all
> because we live in a part of East Dulwich that is
> considered a black whole for secondary schools.
>
> I contacted the schools, all of which are over
> subscribed with long waiting lists. We have to
> change this, I think the Local Authority should be
> negotiating with the schools to position their
> distance wider in areas not cover by any school
> and shorter in areas covered by at least one
> school.
>
>
> Can we get a petition going,

How would you imagine that working?

The one thing about distance is that itís objective, if distance is an admissions criteria it has to be fairly applied to all who would like a place

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations
Posted by Oscar38 March 31, 07:52AM

Apparently the Wards, in Southwalk have been rezoned, South of Crystal Palace Road in now call Dulwich Hill and East Dulwich, Goose Green.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations
Posted by Oscar38 March 31, 09:49AM

Curmudgeon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Oscar38 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Does any know how we can change the allocation
> > process for residents on the "Hill" and get the
> > distance criteria changed, I am so gutted.
> >
> > Can we get a petition going,
>
> How would you imagine that working?
>
> The one thing about distance is that itís
> objective, if distance is an admissions criteria
> it has to be fairly applied to all who would like
> a place

That's my point; in my opinion, it is not fairly applied and I would like a place. In my case, we have three secondary schools approximately 1 -1.5 km away from us. All three are outstanding schools with a distance criteria of 800-900 meters. On this bases we fall short. The Councils approach is to give our children the nearest school with available place, no matter the distance. In our case, Harris Peckham 3km's away, and place us on a waiting list for the three schools that we choose which are naturally local to us.

The Schools approach is to service, children in care, Special needs, medial, siblings of other students and children of staff, before they look at the list. Most of whom. may have had a choice of more than one Secondary school. One School told us "our child was not a priority".


Eveyone seems to be missing the fact South of Crystal Palace Road, part of Court Lane, etc is a "black whole" for secondary schools, we have no choices for secondary school local to us at all, unless someone wants to correct me on this point. The Coucnil are well aware of this!


I recently questioned this with Southwark, and they sent me a list of available Secondary Schools across London, with available places to choose from.

I would like to see the distance Critria changed, we should be allowed to be priortised in the schools closest to us and given a fair chance of applying.

Or the distance critria, should be wider in areas of no coverage and low in areas where, families would have a choice of more than one Secondary School. In our area we have four junior Schools and no secondary school call it approximately 300 students a year for Seoundary intake.

I am keen to meet any families that are or have been, affected by this.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by Monkey March 31, 11:44AM

Iím with you, Oscar. Iíve been in touch with councillors but was told to send my daughter on a 1h30 round trip to a school which Ofsted says requires improvements. One of the solutions would be for Kingsdsle, which recruits heavily from outside Southwark, to have a band for Southwark residents in black holes. And also for schools to stop the sibling priority criteria. Or move everything to lottery. Frankly when I heard the head of Charter North saying he improves the life chances of his students - who are all recruited from a tiny radius in a very privileged part of town - it really grated with me.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was march 31, 03:10pm by Monkey.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by Oscar38 March 31, 03:16PM

Have you engaged with the local MP or South London Press, I contacted both my local MP and the Councilor in charge of Schools at Southwark not a word from them. I also contacted the leader of the Labour Party, I heard back from him, but his office say we need more families to come forward, in order to be heard.

So I am looking for genuine families with the same issue, passed or present, willing to stick their necks out for the sake of the Community.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by Monkey March 31, 05:38PM

Not contacted MP yet. Sheís never had anything useful to say to me.

Problem is that most of the schools in the area are academies so they do what the hell they want... and there appears to be enough school places at the moment.

But still iíll be in touch the councillor in charge of education tonight and copy in the councillor in charge of Dulwich Hill.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was march 31, 05:57pm by Monkey.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by motorbird83 March 31, 06:01PM

*Oscar* I can't understand what you want to happen. The only way for your family to be prioritised would be for someone even closer to the school not getting in and being forced to go to a school 3km away. Given all the schools are full there is no other outcome unless you want everything to be done via lottery where everyone has an equal chance of admission irrespective of where their house is.

There is an argument for removing sibling priority at secondary level but no one could really think children in care and with special needs don't deserve priority selection for schools.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was march 31, 06:06pm by motorbird83.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by tomskip March 31, 06:31PM

This has been an issue in East Dulwich for years! It's a shame that the new Charter school (with virtually the same catchment as Charter 1) doesn't appear to have alleviated the problem and there are still black hole areas. I think the removal of sibling priority would help but as motorbird says, when all the schools are in charge of their own admissions and there is no overall Local Authority control, then an "I'm all right Jack" mentality prevails. Automatic sibling priority doesn't even apply equally to all children in the borough. It's a mess.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations
Posted by nunheadmum March 31, 09:28PM

Lottery isn't the solution. Kingsdale is a lottery and look where that gets us. Harris Girls is a lottery and now local girls in Nunhead aren't getting a place.

Basically unless all schools are good+ or there is a glut of places, some kids will end up in schools that aren't good or better. Horrible if it's your child that's caught. But the small consolation is that the chances are, a good child in a school that is struggling to improve (particularly one with the might of Harris behind it) will be picked up and given all the help they can, to show what the school can do.

And waitlists do move a lot up until the start of term and beyond.

I hope you get a solution you feel happier with.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by Monkey March 31, 09:54PM

I wish it were true, NunheadMum, but if you look at progress 8 scores for some of the schools that people in ďblack holesĒ are being sent to, youíll see that theyíre negative. This means these schools are taking high prior attainers and not progressing them.

On a positive note, Harris Girls should be going back to a simple distance criterion and weíll hopefully be offered a place next year. Looking at their website every day...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was march 31, 10:07pm by Monkey.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by Honor Oakey March 31, 10:18PM

No system is perfect but at least the lottery system stops people playing the system with short term renting etc. Agree thereís no reason for sibling policy at secondary school. Itís a horrible, emotional, unsettling time. But getting a school 3k away is not a lobbying issue - Itís about a 20min walk. So for the sake of your own equiblatrm, Iíd personally try to play the long game via the waiting list.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by Monkey April 01, 06:22AM

In its 2017 school places strstegy meeting minutes, Southwark Council said of Kingsdale: ďThe Council welcomes the interest and will continue to explore whether an expansion of benefit to Southwark pupils could be secured through alternative admissions arrangements.Ē Not seen an update since.

I donít think this would be an unreasonable ask given how many out-of-borough kids Kingsdale takes.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by Honor Oakey April 01, 07:23AM

Not sure what the stats are, but I donít really think of school places as a boarder issue. Take Sydenham girls with its 800metre catchment area. Likewise we are Lewisham but my kids went to a Southwark school only 200 metres away. Kingsdale straddles loads of boarders. The whole system is tough but itís not straightforward.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by Scrummymummy April 01, 07:38AM

We live in Dulwich Hill area and got Sydenham school first round (we are 1.5KM from the school). We knew that we were out of catchment for both Charters and Kingsdale chances are low unless you get a scholarship. Sydenham is 10 minutes on the bus and a good school.

Whilst ideally Charter North is our first choice, we knew that realistically the chances were very low. We are 120 on the waiting list and it's our nearest school!

I believe also from friends that Forest Hill boys also stretches out this far. Oscar have you checked Sydenham/Forest Hill boys? You can be added to the list if you didn't put them down originally.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by goldilocks April 01, 07:52AM

Removing the automatic sibling priority would seem sensible at secondary though to get away from the problem where people get one child into a secondary and then have another 10 years of school places from the next 2 even if they move significantly out of the area. Whilst I recognise that its nice to have your kids at the same school and is what we'd all want, unless there are specific needs that make independent travel etc unfeasible, the sibling priority isn't as critical as at primary.

In addition, in an area where there are a high number of single sex schools the sibling criteria is even more ridiculous. I have a boy and a girl so why is their need for a sibling place lesser than in a family with two girls or two boys?

Also, whilst I understand the frustration whereby others seemingly have 'a choice' of schools, its worth noting that the greatest distance for some like charter is tiny in a lot of years (partially because of the point I note above re siblings!) so those who seemingly would have a 'choice' may not. Also the distance varies significantly year on year.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by Honor Oakey April 01, 08:13AM

Totally agree with Goldilocks. Re Harris girls. Whilst I can see the pros and cons of lottery, I think itís fair to say that Harris has always divided opinion locally despite being hugely successful and outstanding. So I can understand why they have looked to more imaginitive ways of filling places.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by motorbird83 April 01, 09:05AM

A lottery doesnít help a school fill places if itís undersubscribed... I understand itís much more popular now anyhow

The distance / sibling point seems a bit of a red herring. There are enough schools within a reasonable commute. The issue is that schools that parents desire the most canít let everyone in.

The solution is to make all the schools as desirable as the most popular ones or make access to the most popular schools a lottery (if distance is seen as unfair criteria) within a reasonable geographic catchment like 2 miles.

A petition for anything else I think is a non starter politically.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by tomskip April 01, 11:24AM

"The solution is to make all the schools as desirable as the most popular ones ..." easier said than done, I think!

The removal of the sibling priority would make the whole process fairer (and yes, in an area with many single sex schools it's an oddity in itself) and would discourage the adroit moving into and out of rental properties that we all know goes on. Also, Kingsdale should not operate a lottery system in a vacuum. Either all schools in a borough do it or none do.

But I and many other parents were saying all this back in 2011 - so good luck with your petition Oscar 38!

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by Monkey April 01, 12:35PM

When it comes to Kingsdale, it's not just a "border" issue. I know families from Beckenham who have two/three kids at the school. And a lot of the kids who showed me around on my visit were from quite far away. I wouldn't mind if I had access to Langley Park School in Beckenham for example but the school applies a distance criteria so it's closed to me.

Kingsdale is a drain on school places for people in Southwark as per the report in the Southwark School Places Strategy meeting [moderngov.southwark.gov.uk]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was april 01, 01:27pm by Monkey.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by argrahame April 01, 02:11PM

On a different note...for Lewisham schools, we are meant to find out where we are on waiting lists today. I've logged into e-admissions and can't find the info. Does anyone know how we access it? Many thanks

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by Honor Oakey April 01, 04:15PM

Monkey thereís kids from all over in all the secondary schools as this thread testifies. If kingsdale didnít have a lottery, I bet youíd have even less chance of getting in - youíd literally have to be on the doorstep with a house worth several million. The whole system - whether distance, lottery etc is unfair. None of us have a divine right to our first choice school, but it looks to me like most people got schools that are not unreasonable to travel to. I think the best bet would be to scrap the sibling policy and I bet half of kingsdale intake this year is siblings after many years of bulge classes. With that, and teacherís kids being prioritised and (to be fair a very small number of scholarship places) itís a wonder anyone gets in.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was april 01, 04:18pm by Honor Oakey.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by tomskip April 01, 07:21PM

Yes, siblings automatically getting a place on the first sibling's lucky outcome in the lottery. Odd.

messageRe: Secondary School Allocations 2019
Posted by Oscar38 April 01, 09:59PM

Thanks Scrummymummy, for the recommendation, I would really like us to work towards getting a proactive solution that works better for the community and need people to join forces, so t0 speak. How can we have two or three local secondary schools in the area and not get into one.

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