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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 2:06 pm 
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Location: Watford, Herts
I've just heard from WGGS that 21 parents have lodged an objection with the Schools Adjudicator regarding some aspects of their admissions criteria (they didn't say which), and that they feel that all aspects of their criteria are under threat. (See the letter they suggest parents send to the adjudicator.)

According to the Admissions Code (4.17), individual parents have the right to object to violations of mandatory parts of the Code, and 10 or more parents have the right to object to partial selection, but there is no right of parents to object regarding non-mandatory parts of the code (like sibling criteria). I also understand that the adjudicator may also alter any part of the arrangements he/she considers to violate a mandatory provision, whether the objection is upheld or not (s47(2) of the Education and Inspections Act 2006), but there is no other power to alter criteria not objected to. Still, the cross-sibling criterion used by these schools has no support in the Code, and may be vulnerable. (Mrs Hyde did seem to linger on that one.)

PS: an anonymous source tells me that the objection is to the cross-sibling criterion.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:14 am 
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Thanks for drawing this to people's attention WP.

The schools seem concerned that whatever specific issue has been objected to, that the adjudicator has the right to call into question ALL aspects of the schools admissions criteria.

Anybody who wishes to express concern at this, and ensure that a small group of parents don't disenfranchise potentially larger groups, might like to visit the Boys Grammar website, down load the letter (see the link in WP's post above) and register as an interested party.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:46 am 
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watttyg wrote:
The schools seem concerned that whatever specific issue has been objected to, that the adjudicator has the right to call into question ALL aspects of the schools admissions criteria.

Reading paragraph 47(2) of the Education and Inspections Act again, it seems they're right:
Quote:
Where the adjudicator or the Secretary of State is required by virtue of subsection (3)(a) or (b) or (5)(c) to decide whether to uphold an objection to admission arrangements, he may consider whether it would be appropriate for changes to be made to any aspect of the admission arrangements, whether or not he would be required to do so for the purpose of determining the objection.

It's a very broad power. In practice, the adjudicators used it last year only where they thought arrangements were unclear or illegal. Unfortunately I think an argument could be made that the cross-sibling criterion contravenes a mandatory part of the code. But changing the other criteria as well would be a radical step. The schools will argue that they were just knocked down from 35% to 25% last year, increasing the number of local places, and there is no need for further change. It may be that writing to the adjudicator might be helpful on that score.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:16 am 
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Location: Hertfordshire
Does this mean that all the Consortia schools would be impacted or only the Watford Grammars?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:28 am 
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As far as I know, the current objection is to the Watford Grammars only.

None of the other schools in the area have cross-sibling criteria. However if, as the schools fear, other criteria are also altered, it might set a precedent for other schools in the future.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 11:07 am 
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Location: london
sorry to be dim but what is the cross sibling criteria?

_________________
mad?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 11:14 am 
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mad? wrote:
sorry to be dim but what is the cross sibling criteria?

These are a boys' school and a girls' school with a common history. Each of them gives high priority to children with a sibling already in the same school, but lower priority to children with a sibling at the other school. The latter is the "cross sibling criterion".


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 9:53 pm 
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I intend to follow the WB's request and send the letter to the adjudicator.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:43 am 
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I have recently heard that the objection refers to the Inner and Outer zones of the Grammars too.

It seems to me that these objections might have a 'knock-on' effect on the other schools in the consortium. Surely it is possible that more people will apply to Parmiter's, Queens, or Rickmansworth if they are guaranteed a place for their cross siblings ?

I have sent in WB's letter, and hope that as many people as possible will do the same.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:47 am 
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I've sent my letter. There is a template letter in Word format on the WB's web site so is dead easy to do. Recommend others do the same - be a shame if it got adversely changed through complacency.


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