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SCC committee fudges decision

February 15, 2008: Surrey County Council (SCC) has fudged a decision about its admissions policy to the Howard of Effingham School.

The non-decision is a blow for Bookham parents concerned that SCC admission policy puts local children at the back of the queue if the Howard is over-subscribed.

By the January 31 deadline, the SCC's Schools and Learning Committee reports(item 4 on this SCC web page), it had received 864 submissions in favour of the modified local admissions arrangements for the Howard and 899 against. As the committee says in its report on the consultation published on February 12, "the majority
of those supporting the proposals were from Horsley. Those that disagreed were from the Bookham and Fetcham areas."

The modified local admissions arrangements for the Howard proposed the following order of priority:
1) Looked After Children
2) Exceptional circumstances
3) Siblings
4) Children attending the following partner schools:
a. The Raleigh
b. Eastwick Junior
c. The Royal Kent
d. St Lawrence
e. The Dawnay
f. Oakfield
5) Any other applicant.

"In cases where there are more applicants for this school in any one category than there are places available, priority will be given to children living furthest away from the nearest alternative school. Distance will be measured by a straight line from home to the nearest entrance to the school accessible to pupils."

A report in today's Surrey Advertisersays Surrey's refusal to take a decision leaves the modified admissions policy in place and casts leaves all the Howard's potential students and their parents in uncertainty. The two factions are agreed, says the paper, that Surrey's catchment area map (which the Bugle has been unable to download successfully from the SCC site) will do nothing to resolve the conflict. It covers all the villages at issue so will do nothing to prevent the Howard's becoming over-subscribed again.

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