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 Post subject: 12+ Late Transfer
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 12:01 pm 
Fortunately my son passed the 12+ but yesterday we received a rather dismissive letter from BCC telling us that he was not a high enough priority under the schools admissions rules. Despite giving them the choice of 6 schools they did not even advise us as to why he had not been offered a place at any of them. No information has been given to us about where he is on the waiting list for each of the 6 preferred schools but strangely they have also asked us for new preferences.
We are at a considerable disadvantage as our ONLY catchment area school is Dr Challoners, probably the most popular grammar in Bucks!
The whole system is unfair, discriminatory, lacks transparency and is open to abuse. We are surprised that BCC have not been called to account in the Courts because of the above.
There is an urgent need for BCC to either build more grammars or enlarge the existing to cope with the increase in population plus ALL out of county applications should be rejected.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 6:57 pm 
My sentiments exactly! This whole system stinks - why allow the kids to go throught the trauma of sitting the exam to then be told there are no places for them - I'm very interested to know who was offered the places and why they had priority! I agree that all out of county should be banned from applying. Do you know if the VR score is taken into consideration? There is no mention of this on the admission criteria.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 7:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8208
Location: Buckinghamshire
Mal - I am horrified to hear that, as my son is taking the 12+ next year. As far as I am aware the only criteria that Bucks LEA use once a child has passed is distance from school gates. I guess if you are a long way from Challoners then it might be the problem. I'm very much hoping that Etienne will see your post and be able to give us more information.

I would also be interested to hear about what the letter actually said - I want to be prepared if the same thing drops through our door next year! Thanks

Sally-Anne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 8:25 pm 
The letter does not state what the criteria are for the prioritisation except that they are in line with the Schools Admissions Code. It consists of more text advising you to get your child's name down for the 13+ rather than why you did not get a place this time. Of course there is no way of telling if these have been applied fairly as you will never find out which children, if any, got places. The only thing you can do is go and live as near to the school gates as possible and hope. Strangely enough, one of the criteria is not how long you have been resident in the catchment area or if your child went to one of the feeder schools. Surely this should be one of the major factors.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 8:37 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8208
Location: Buckinghamshire
Thank you Guest - I assume your are Mal?

Etienne - can you please help further on this? I would really appreciate your advice. I thought I had the admission rules pretty well sorted after 6 months of research, but now I am concerned that distance from school gates is not the only criterion?

Many thanks

Sally-Anne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:21 pm 
Mal - the reason that you have not been offered a place at Dr Challoner's could actually be that there were no vacancies at all not that people of a higher priority were allocated the places. If you ring up the admissions team they will tell you how many vacancies there were if any!Are you planning on appealing? We intend to for our daughter but from what I've heard you have to have a very strong case -surely the fact that they have attained the necessary VR score proves that! but I'm sure there are many of us in the same situation and it's very unfortunate that all the Grammar schools in Bucks are over subscribed.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:59 pm 
This is what I was worried about concerning the 12+. I posted earlier about all the Aylesbury grammars being full this year. I've been told by more and more parents that they are considering the 12+ and yet there doesn't even seem to be places for all those who passed the 11+. Granted some of these are out of county, but still they will fill the schools in Year 7 according to the criteria and where does this leave those who pass the 12+ and want entry into Year 8?

If I were in this position, I would be ringing all the schools (or asking the county under the FOI act) to find out if Year 7 is full BEFORE taking the 12+ or putting down choices. Otherwise you're just relying on some pupils leaving - which is fairly unusual.

It's easy enough to say that from a position of having your child already in a grammar, but I don't want parents and children to suffer a lot of uncertainly for nothing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 10:58 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7063
Nice to hear from you again, Sally-Anne. I'll do my best .......

Sally-Anne wrote:
I thought I had the admission rules pretty well sorted after 6 months of research, but now I am concerned that distance from school gates is not the only criterion?

The usual admission rules apply, starting with statemented children, children in public care, in-catchment children. If too many children are in-catchment, the next criterion is applied, and so on, finishing with distance as the ultimate tie-breaker.
The rules for voluntary-aided and foundation schools could be different. (A summary can be found towards the back of the current Guide for Parents.)

"Guest" is right in pointing out that (at some schools) it may be there were no vacancies at all, not that people of a higher priority were allocated the places.

Mal wrote:
There is an urgent need for BCC to either build more grammars or enlarge the existing to cope with the increase in population plus ALL out of county applications should be rejected.

I'm not sure there's any evidence that the increase in population so far has affected grammar school numbers. There is no significant difference in the number of pupils qualifying immediately with 121+ (2113 as at 1/12/05, compared with 2115 as at 29/11/04). I doubt that an extra grammar school would be viable, and as far as existing grammar schools are concerned, the ones I know about either have no space for expansion, or are so large they would not want to become any bigger.

Bucks couldn't ban out-county applications even if it wanted to. It would be illegal. (The Greenwich judgement)

Anonymous wrote:
Why allow the kids to go throught the trauma of sitting the exam to then be told there are no places for them ...... Do you know if the VR score is taken into consideration? There is no mention of this on the admission criteria.

I'm not an apologist for Bucks, but they do make it quite clear that there is no guarantee places will be available at late transfer. The problem is the law does not allow them to reserve places in the expectation that other children might wish to join the school at a later date.
The alternative to the present system would be to abolish it - and this is something Bucks might be considering for the future. Personally I'd rather see late selection continue, despite the problems that accompany it.

The VR score was dropped from the admission criteria two years ago, and replaced by distance.

Anonymous wrote:
We intend to appeal for our daughter but from what I've heard you have to have a very strong case - surely the fact that they have attained the necessary VR score proves that!

I fear you would be wasting your time if you appeal on that basis. In effect you are not appealing for a grammar school, but rather for the grammar school named in your submission, and need to put forward specific reasons for wanting that particular school.

As to whether you need a "very strong case", it would be more accurate to say that your case has to be stronger than the school's case for refusal. It's called the "balance of prejudice". (The more overcrowded the school, and the more problems they have to cope with, the stronger their case will be.)

Hope this helps.

_________________
Etienne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 7:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8208
Location: Buckinghamshire
Thanks Etienne

That has pretty much brought me back to where I came from on this, which is a relief!

I think AHS Mum makes an interesting point about ringing the schools to check for vacancies before embarking on the 12+. Children do leave schools of course, for all sorts of reasons, and at short notice, but at least if parents know that the "No Vacancies" board is hanging outside their preferred grammar when they put their children in for the 12+, we can manage our and their expectations of success.

Still nearly a year to go before we reach that point, so I'll stop worrying about it again for a few months!

All the best
Sally-Anne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 6:48 am 
I would think that it may depend as well on whether the current Year 7 was a bulge year so all spaces are more likely to be filled and you are very dependant upon leavers.


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