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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:45 pm 
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Here is something to take our minds off next week's result.

Bucks CC have launched a new consultation on home school transport, closing on 12 January.

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

The main proposal seems to be that even if you qualify for a grammar school place, you won't get free transport if you take it up, if your nearest upper school is closer than your nearest grammar school. Bucks justifies this by saying "we generally consider that an upper school is able to provide an adequate education for a grammar qualified pupil" - so if you want free transport, you should just go to your nearest school. (This makes no sense to me. If the aim of the 11+ process is to allocate children to the school where they will best thrive, how can it be justified to impose a charge for getting to the nearest GS?)

The consultation does, however, have the option of voting for a modified proposal, which is that "nearest" school should be defined as the nearest grammar school for those who qualify for a GS place. But confusingly, this modified proposal seems only to apply if you live more than 3 miles from your nearest upper school (see page 4 of the consultation). I wonder if anyone might be able to clarify this?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:52 pm 
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newbucksdad wrote:
Bucks justifies this by saying "we generally consider that an upper school is able to provide an adequate education for a grammar qualified pupil" - so if you want free transport, you should just go to your nearest school. (This makes no sense to me. If the aim of the 11+ process is to allocate children to the school where they will best thrive, how can it be justified to impose a charge for getting to the nearest GS?)



Indeed - they go to a whole shedload of time, trouble and expense to run a selective system, only to undermine it with a statement like that. Sounds like a bit of a cheap trick to me...can't see it standing up, somehow.

:shock:

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:21 am 
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Unbelievable.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:24 am 
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The law says transport to the nearest school - this is precisely what this is proposing!

What happens when all the Grammars are Academies anyway?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:45 am 
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Guest55 wrote:
The law says transport to the nearest school - this is precisely what this is proposing!

What happens when all the Grammars are Academies anyway?


Interesting point - they still presumably will only be able to admit qualified pupils, though. I can only imagine the outrage that would ensue if the selective system is effectively sacrificed to save money on transport...

It's interesting, though, that BCC seems to be proposing sticking to the letter of the law on this one at the risk of being discredited or, at best, looking a bit silly. You could follow it to its full logical conclusion by saying that they don't actually have to run a selective system in the first place (and indeed would not be allowed to in most places.)

It will be interesting to see the outcome of the consultation, and also how the results of the consultation are actually incorporated into policy - i.e. it's worth monitoring the process from the user's perspective to ensure that small but significant details not covered by the consultation are not tweaked or added at the last minute. Experience tells me that this is something you need to keep a very close eye on.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:50 pm 
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Location: Bucks
According to the current guide for parents (which no one complained about), the types of mainstream secondary schools in Bucks are:
- Upper schools – for children of all abilities,
- Grammar schools - for children who qualify through the 11+ process.
I think this proposal follows on logically from that, and the saving looks like being around £1.4M p/a?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:03 pm 
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If i have understood correctly, if you qualify for a grammar school that is not your nearest school, you wont get free transport (or even a paid seat if none left on the bus). However if you dont qualify you get free transport to your nearest upper school even if it is not your nearest school. Is that not discriminatory against qualifiers?
One of the most quoted justifications for the grammar system in bucks is that it selects on the basis of ability rather than income. Whether or not that is correct in the era of very expensive widespread tutoring is arguable but surely BCC risk ridicule for suggesting that a large proportion of qualifiers will be charged to reach their nearest Grammar school. Would be interesting to see the models used to reach their costings to see what proportion of grammar children will end up paying compared with upper school children, bet they wont be equal.
Still might not matter this time next week, who knows!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:13 pm 
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pippi wrote:
According to the current guide for parents (which no one complained about), the types of mainstream secondary schools in Bucks are:
- Upper schools – for children of all abilities,
- Grammar schools - for children who qualify through the 11+ process.
I think this proposal follows on logically from that, and the saving looks like being around £1.4M p/a?
If they described Upper schools as for "children of lower/ lesser ability there would be total public outrage. I am afraid that saying it follows logically doesn't really apply, pippi. Sorry!

everythingcrossed wrote:
If i have understood correctly, if you qualify for a grammar school that is not your nearest school, you wont get free transport (or even a paid seat if none left on the bus). However if you dont qualify you get free transport to your nearest upper school even if it is not your nearest school. Is that not discriminatory against qualifiers?
I suspect you may be right. I haven't had time today to look very closely at the consultation.

I am not sure how many U/S children this would affect, because their catchment areas are rather smaller and therefore the 3 mile limit will be exceeded less frequently, but there are bound to be some people affected i more rural areas of the county.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:12 am 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Everythingcrossed wrote:
If i have understood correctly, if you qualify for a grammar school that is not your nearest school, you wont get free transport (or even a paid seat if none left on the bus). However if you dont qualify you get free transport to your nearest upper school even if it is not your nearest school. Is that not discriminatory against qualifiers?
Our nearest school is a grammar school so we would fall into the "positive discrimination" category if DS2 doesn't qualify - the bus would actually drive past the GS to get to the nearest upper school. With school bus passes costing from around £350 per year, (we have to pay for DS1 to get to our nearest GS because it is just under 3 miles away) ability to pay rather than academic ability may become the deciding factor when choosing schools so children from lower income families are penalised. That's just not fair :( .


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:29 am 
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I think this is the way that Lancashire have done it for some time. The Catchment for Lancaster Grammar schools is huge. free transport is only to the nearest comprehensive school not the GS.

Quote:
- The passing of an entrance examination for a school is not regarded on its own as a valid claim for travelling expense.


Quote:
- If your child attends the nearest suitable school, as determined by the County Council, at which a place is available, assistance with the cost of travel will be provided if the shortest walking route recognised by the County Council from your home to the school is three miles or more.


Quote:
From September 2011 entitled pupils from non-low income families who are new starters at a secondary church school will be required to make a contribution of £380 annually towards the cost of travel.


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