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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:44 pm 
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Location: Bucks
There's a draft report from the recent catchment area review at:

http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/bcc/schools/school_admissions_review.page?

The terms of reference were:
Quote:
To assess the impact of current secondary school catchment areas on the Local Authority and the school based admission authorities and to recommend a range of options for further development which may better secure the fair allocation of places. Any recommended changes could not be implemented before September 2011.

The report was written by Alan Parker - I think I'm right in saying that he's a Trustee of NFER.
http://www.nfer.ac.uk/nfer/about-nfer/whos-who/BoardMembersWoAppendix.pdf


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:34 pm 
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Thanks. I've just been looking at this. The draft report is quite radical. It recommends that in the south of the County, the existing catchment areas be scrapped and replaced with new areas, each containing three GSs - one boys, one girls and one mixed. These would be smaller than the existing areas - the idea being that each boy or girl would be able to get a place at one of the two schools in their areas.

The really controversial bit is that the oversubscription would be decided on the basis of LOTTERY rather than distance. The idea is to avoid people trying to move ever-closer to particular schools. Mr Parker notes that this would be controversial and that extensive public education/consultation would be required.

Mr Parker recommends that no decisions be taken until we know the outcome of the current allocation round (March 2010), to see if the 2009 problems are repeated.. He therefore doesn't see how any changes could be implemented before September 2012 admissions.

The three controversial things here seem to be

(i) wholesale redrawing of catchment areas. This could be pretty disruptive to lots of families. The report isn't clear about eg transitional arrangements for siblings (I declare my interest here, since my DS is at Dr Challoner's) , or how to maintain the links that communities have to particular schools. Mr Parker does. however, point out that changes should only be made if the benefits exceeds the downside. I wonder if the blank sheet of paper advocated by Mr Parker here would do more harm than good?

(ii) smaller catchment areas. It is tricky to see how this would work without more people moving into them just as under the distance rule at present. I suppose this could be discouraged if each catchment area had a mixture of "good" and "bad" schools, since you'd have no guarantee of getting a place at your first choice.

(ii) the use of lotteries, which I think would be a very hard sell. Even though it may only affect a small number of people.

What do others think?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:07 pm 
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newbucksdad wrote:
The report isn't clear about eg transitional arrangements for siblings


I haven't read the whole report, but if you trust(!) the Bucks Free Press' summary (here http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/47 ... ar_places/), the lottery would only come into play AFTER children in care and siblings had been offered places.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:13 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi newbucksdad

I have skimmed through the document because it is rather a daunting read! Your summary seems to be entirely correct at first glance.

It is very important to go back to the reasons that this report was commissioned in the first place.

There has been a problem with over-subscription in the very south of the county (Iver/Denham) for many years. Last year was the most difficult year that I can recall for Chiltern/South Bucks.

The entire report is based upon the premise that the outcome of this year's allocations could be the same or worse for boys in CSB. If the 2010 allocations round is straightforward then no change will be necessary.

The other factor that is clearly stated in the report is the problem of address fraud. That is a well-known problem for over-subscribed grammars. The rules have changed this year, and perhaps that will save us all from the Lottery system?

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 8:41 am 
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Sally-Anne wrote:
The other factor that is clearly stated in the report is the problem of address fraud. That is a well-known problem for over-subscribed grammars.


I don't know how the rules have changed this year, but when we moved to the area, I was surprised how little checking there seemed to be.

We did everything above board, but pretty close timewise: sold our house in Herts and moved to a rented house in Bucks only 2 months before 11+. We had to provide a couple of utility bills and a copy of the tenancy agreement, but I expect they would be easy to fake if you were so inclined and I don't think they checked we'd actually sold our old house. On the other hand, if the checks had been much more rigorous, maybe genuine people like us would fall foul of it? (We subsequently bought in Bucks as intended.)


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:45 pm 
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Hi

It was not easy for us, we moved only 5 minutes down the round from our old house, but into a different school catchment area. So we had been in BUCKS all along. We had to provide lots of additional proof to prove that we were telling the truth. We have now satisfied them we have permanently moved but it was a stressful few days

Tootstalou :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:38 pm 
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Bucks are still seriously considering the idea of a lottery - http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/47 ... be_agreed/

(I wonder if this topic had "lottery" in the title, if more people would comment? I'm surprised how little controversy it is causing.)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:35 pm 
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Perhaps there are so few comments on the subject because no one can come up with a viable alternative. Any change to the current system is going to benefit some to the detriment of others - the gist of the report was that there was no point in just shifting the problem from one place to another.

Luckily for us we fall into the "I'm all right, Jack" category. As things stand at the moment we have the choice of 2 boys grammar schools which is great. If catchments are made smaller together with a lottery along the lines mentioned in the report, then although we may only be in catchment for one boys grammar school, it is very likely to be the one DS1 is already at and we would fall under the "preference to siblings" criterion (assuming DS2 makes the grade).

Whatever method is used will be supported by those who stand to benefit and will be derided by the ones who lose out. In an ideal world children should be able to attend their closest grammar school (if they want to).


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:34 pm 
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Must admit I had assumed DCGS’s recent move to foundation status is so they can re-introduce a ‘super-selective’ (for want of a better term) system which enables them to offer places to very bright DCs from further afield.

Historically, families in GX could always get places at either of the Challoner’s schools – when I was a kid in GX loads of my friends went to DCGS, from the other side of A40, Hedgerley, the whole Dukeswood area etc. I understand these parts of Bucks are no longer within catchment, but as you say Andy, whatever system is used there are always going to be some who benefit and some who lose out – as a basic principle I can’t see the advantage of a lottery system which results in more DCs having to travel further to school.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:40 pm 
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Does Foundation status allow schools to have their own selection procedure at 11+? I didn't think it did - although am happy to stand corrected.

RGS is a Foundation school and it has the same selection procedure as all the other Bucks grammars at 11+


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