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Battle goes on for Bookham's children

Howard Admissions latest

Don't Drive Our Children Away (DDOCA), the committee formed to press for Bookham children to have greater rights of admission to the Howard of Effingham school, issued its latest newsletter on December 16, 2009. The Bugle has reordered some of the material to make it clearer.

Revised admissions criteria
In 2009, two children living within the Howard's catchment area did not gain a place at the school. But 17 out-of-catchment siblings did. In 2008 both of these figures were higher, meaning that children living closer to the school lost places to children for whom the Howard is not their nearest school.

In future these figures could be even higher, with numbers losing places being closer to 30 as in 2007. The east of the catchment is most affected.

Please follow this link to the 2011 Consultation - How to respond—it will only take two minutes to fill in.

Surrey County Council proposes no changes to the existing criteria except that both older and younger siblings would have priority—irrespective of how far they live from the school. This proposed change would apply to the whole of Surrey. The nearest alternative school (NAS) criterion would remain as a tie break for The Howard within the catchment; this favours children west of the school ahead of those closer to the school, in conjunction with attendance at a feeder school.

DDOCA strongly believe that it is in the best interests of ALL those living in the catchment to DISAGREE with the proposed criteria and instead propose a 'tiered sibling priority' so places would be allocated, after special circumstances to:-
1. Siblings living in the catchment
2. Children living in the catchment who are in designated partner / feeder schools
3. Other children living in the catchment (non partner and private education)
4. Siblings outside the catchment
5. Other children outside the catchment

DDOCA believe that ALL children in the catchment could obtain a place by including a standard criterion used by the majority of neighbouring counties. Once embedded, the criterion of tiered sibling priority gives priority for all children living in the catchment over siblings living outside. This would not be retrospective and is why it needs implementation in 2011—before it is too late.

Although the security provided by partner schools should be retained, our wish is that if a child is “In the catchment they are In the Howard”, regardless of where they live in the catchment and in state or private education.

Increased Pressure On Places
[] SCC’s proposed change to include older as well as younger siblings could increase the number of “out of catchment” siblings in the Howard unless they have the tiered priority we are proposing.

[] 2010 admissions – details are awaited but this is likely to be a lower birth year and most, if not all, in the catchment should get a place which is excellent. However if there is spare capacity places will be awarded to non siblings living outside the catchment thus giving their siblings priority in the future.

[] SCC admits there will be severe pressure on places at all secondary schools in the area over the next few years as a result of high birth years and people joining from the private sector. We believe by including this no later than 2011 it would become embedded in time to meet the high demand for secondary school places within the catchment in 3 years time.

[] Some people play the system by moving into the catchment for the admission of one child preventing children who genuinely live in the catchment gaining a place – the tiered sibling priority would discourage this practice.

[] It is not in any community’s interest for an event, such as a non partner school child in Effingham not getting a place, to trigger the Schools Adjudicator being called in.

[] Seeking a win:win

We are aware of how emotive NAS is amongst the different communities. We firmly believe that, with the retention of NAS, the tiered sibling priority provides even more protection for the access of all Horsley children (especially those not in a partner school) to the Howard while improving the position for the rest of those in the catchment.

This is why ALL should support this proposal.

We are pleased to say we have a joint meeting with SCC on the 21 December when hopefully we can demonstrate the benefits to all.

New DDOCA Committee members
We are pleased to announce that the following have joined the Committee:-
Nick Shepherd (Eastwick)
Diana Steadman (Polesden Lacey)

If anyone else has an interest in the future of the Howard wants to know how you can help, please let one of us know or email

Lastly, we wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year

DDOCA Committee.

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