Surrey County Council and the Howard of Effingham School
have called a meeting to discuss the Howard's admissions policy for 2010 onwards. According to the Don’t Drive Our Children Away (DDOCA) campaign
set up to give Bookham children a greater chance of admission to the Howard, "What is agreed for 2010 will apply for admissions up to 2012."
The consequences of the decision will affect our communities for very many years, says the DDOCA: "We must all make the effort now, as this will affect any local children of any age who want to attend our local secondary school."
The DDOCA says the proposals for 2010 are that places will be allocated with the following order of priority:
4. Effingham (0.2 miles from school )
6. Little Bookham (0.4 miles from school)
7. Great Bookham
8. Fetcham borders.
The campaign says SCC admitted at a public meeting last year that, with this policy, it could not guarantee that even a child living in Effingham will get a place at the Howard of Effingham: "The only slight concession to this unjust criterion last year was the inclusion of feeder schools and catchment. It is rumoured that there may be pressure to remove feeder schools which would mean that more children in Bookham and the Fetcham borders would lose [their places]. The recession will increase this pressure further."
The DDOCA action plan is:
Attend the public meeting on 2nd December– this is a rare and important opportunity.
AND Circulate this note and inform others living in the Bookhams, Effingham and Fetcham about this issue and the need to complete the consultation.
AND Write and express your views to:-
Anne Macavoy, Head of Admissions, Surrey County Council, E mail:- email@example.com before the 2nd December if possible. This does not replace the online consultation.
AND Respond to the online consultation which closes on 9th January.
In October the DDOCA issued a statement summarised below:
Admissions criteria – 2009
On 12th September DDOCA was advised that the Royal Kent Primary School in Oxshott had objected to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) to the admissions criteria for the Howard of Effingham for 2009.
We had already registered as an interested party with the OSA so, in contrast to the situation in 2007, our community was potentially in a position to place the counter-argument to such objectors’ statements as, “The changes for admission criteria 2008, which were the result of an Adjudicator decision, worked perfectly well and all partnership schools and parents were happy with the numbers of pupils admitted to the Howard of Effingham,” or that the 2008 criteria, which made no allowance for the distance a child lived from The Howard, should“ be reinstated”
Many local parents were far from happy. In 2008 children living less that a mile from The Howard, attending non-feeder state schools, have had to give their places to non-siblings living in Oxshott, Cobham, Stoke D'Abernon and Ripley. All these places have access to a number of alternative schools significantly closer to them.
We are relieved that the adjudicator did not reinstate 2008 criteria, but disappointed that, because she has concluded that she does not have jurisdiction to make a determination on Royal Kent’s objection, she also was unable to take the opportunity to rectify the damage done by the adjudicator’s involvement in 2007, as we had requested.
The problems began in March 2007, when 35 children, including children in our area, received disappointing placements and were offered schools in Banstead, Esher and Woking. In order to avoid significantly worse headlines in March 2008, Surrey County Council over-offered at the two nearest schools alone: The Howard by 15 and Therfield by 55. Both are now apparently at capacity and we are concerned that they will not be able to over-offer in 2009.
What the current proposals mean to Bookham and Fetcham
If you live in the catchment area and attend one of the feeder schools (Oakfield, Eastwick, St Lawrence, The Raleigh or The Dawnay) you have priority over those who do not.
However, in any tie break within the catchment, those living to the west and north west of the catchment (Horsley, Ockham, Downside) and who attend a feeder school will have priority over those in Bookham who also attend such a school.
It is irrelevant whether your nearest alternative school has any spaces, only that it is there. Outside the catchment, places would then be allocated according to the standard Surrey tie-break of distance from the school. However we still firmly believe that the tie break clause of “distance from the nearest alternative school” is unfair, favouring those who do not walk and cycle to the Howard, and will continue to oppose it.
Concerns about the admissions criteria for 2009 and the future
2009 is a ‘high birth year’ with the classes in all feeder schools for The Howard being at full capacity. Further, Surrey County Council (SCC) has confirmed that the 2009 intake will have a significantly higher number of siblings at the Howard, because of the anomalies of the last two years, with siblings having priority regardless of where they live now and which primary school they attend and therefore it is likely that 20-30 fewer places will be available to non siblings. The result is that children in the catchment for the Howard who live in the Bookham/Fetcham borders, despite DDOCA’S efforts, may not be offered places in 2009, whilst children living further away to the west and north west will.
DDOCA - the future
The issue of admissions to the Howard has not gone away. Indeed, we believe that there is likely to be a problem especially in high birth years. If the question of capacity at Surrey’s secondary schools goes un-addressed it will only be a matter of time before Therfield suffers similar issues.
DDOCA need new representatives especially from the Primary and Junior schools for whom school admissions are either an issue now or will be in the future. We support the Village Plan and we will be taking an active part in the education element of this.
DDOCA would like to thank everyone for their support in fighting to allow local children to walk and cycle to their local school. Keep up to date and keep us informed by visiting our website www.dontdriveourchildrenaway.co.uk.
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