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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:18 am 
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I read in some local rag that the Schools Adjudicator is currently looking in to the current admissions policies at these 3 superselectives. There is going to be some kind of public meeting later this year to hear about 50 parents objections to the current policies. The objections are I presume along the lines of saying that because these schools select according to 11+ scores only, they take places away from "local children".

There is a Conservative Sevenoaks MP running the campaign (can't remember his name) who has also been trying to campaign for a grammar school in Sevenoaks for many years. He does not think that it is right that children can come from outside Kent into Kent to these superselectives.

The same article (and I hope that it was wrong) suggested that a KCC spokesman had said that KCC supported the objections.

Anyone know if this is true? If KCC has supported the objections, I really want to go to this meeting as I feel the whole thing is very silly. Since when was there any good reason to believe that children should only attend schools in their own county? In addition to this complete failure to understand schools funding and admission principles, I really can't see how a Conservative MP can, at this point in time, be making some expensive enquiry take place with the schools adjudicator or suggesting another grammar be built.

Anyone know any more about this and how people who want to support the Judd, Skinners and TOGs can get involved? The article seemed to be all about people being allowed to have their objections heard, not people being allowed to support.

The argument is something that some narrow-minded councillor somewhere or other might dream up (don't misinterpret me, I am not saying that all councillors are narrowminded, but there are some) but not one that I would expect a Conservative MP to take up, run with, and get public money spent on.

I thought one of the original aims of schools gaining Foundation Status was to take them out of local political interference (i.e. LEA). Will these schools gaining foundation status take them out of petty arguments over their admissions policies at a national level also?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:59 am 
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Please see the earlier thread regarding this.

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=13210&hilit=judd+admissions

There are many other threads supporting/objecting to the current admissions policies for the Kent superselectives. Warning - its one of the contentious issues on this forum.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:29 pm 
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I think most parents would like their children to go to their local grammar school rather than 'commute' miles just to go to school.

I would have therefore thought that a sensible 'catchment' area for these 3 schools (like the TWGGS example) would be supported by most parents...


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:02 pm 
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Yes but does anyone know how people who support the policies at TOGS, Skinners, Judd can be heard in this School Adjudicator enquiry, rather than the just the objectors, (and the LEA, who are also objecting)?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:43 pm 
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mystery wrote:
Yes but does anyone know how people who support the policies at TOGS, Skinners, Judd can be heard in this School Adjudicator enquiry, rather than the just the objectors, (and the LEA, who are also objecting)?

From what I've heard it's KCC who have put in the objection to the adjudicator, which is saying something, and supported by over 100 parents...

I really think that children should be able to attend their local grammar school rather than having to 'commute' sometimes 30 miles...

TWGGS seem to be able to operate that way to great (exam) success, why not other West Kent grammars...?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:06 pm 
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Hi all...I understand that the kcc are the body objecting..but I may be wrong. I too would support the idea of a reasonable catchment for the superselectives. I think that most parents who live in west kent would agree that the situation re the superselectives policy does mean that some local children have missed out on a place and have,sometimes, had to travel some way by train from ,for example, Tonbridge to Dover . With TW boys gs having to open an extra form to accommodate successful appeals etc and the fact that Sevenoaks do not have a gs there clearly there is an issue . I am not saying that this is due to ooc as I have no idea of the figures . If I were a Sevenoaks parent I would probably seek my MP's support too-there is very little 'catchment' choice for Sevenoaks children with regard secondary schools...the wrangle over a possible gs in this area has gone on for years and it does appear that Sevenoaks children do miss out. I do not really understand your point about Conservative MP's not wanting to pick this up,although I do agree that no one would want to see money thrown away but this complaint is not new or without substance,enough parents have expressed their concerns and MPs should be representing their constituents . Getting back to your question I have no idea about what the procedure is but if I wished to show my support for the schools policy I would write to the schools adjudicator and the schools admissions officers.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:30 am 
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Thank you for your replies. I shall contact the Schools Adjudicator, Michael Fallon MP Sevenoaks, the headteachers concerned and the LEA to try and understand the adjudication process and legal framework better.

I have read before the sort of arguments that Tigger and Villagedad produce about why the super-selectives in West Kent should change their admissions policies (effectively to be less super-selective and admit more children who live close to the school).

However I don't see the benefit of this arrangement for anyone other than 7oaks boys who wish to go to grammar school but don't want to go on the waiting list and appeal for TWGSB, and who don't have high enough scores for Skinners or Judd. This campaign has been developed by Michael Fallon MP for Sevenoaks, and is being supported by Kent LEA.

It surprises me that an MP and an LEA is supporting this without having fully looked at the pros and cons for a wider group of people than just those in 7oaks who have a worrying wait for places at TWGSB. Even within Kent, there are other towns who are a long distance from any secondary state school (grammar, comprehensive, non-selective etc etc). Children from these places have to travel a long way to school, and the only way currently that they could be offered a grammar school place on 1 March is to score highly in the 11+ and be offered a place at a superselective. If Michael Fallon is successful with the Schools Adjudicator, the problem will just be swapped from one group of children to another.

It was the Conservatives who originally brought in GM schools (completely free from LEA control, including on admissions policy). These schools came back into the LEA fold under the Labour government. It therefore feels strange that a Conservative MP is now using the LEA to help support him in trying to change the admission policy of some schools. Moreover, these policies do not contravene any code of practice on admissions so far as I am aware.


Michael Fallon MP is also campaigning both for some kind of grammar school extension on the former Wildernesse site in Sevenoaks once the new Bradbourne Academy in Sevenoaks is complete. His website says that he has recognised that it would be too expensive to build a new grammar in Sevenoaks, and so it is something cheaper than a new school he is proposing (not sure what he means, does anyone know?). Whatever it is that Michael Fallon is imagining I do not see how this sits with Conservative policy. They are not supporting new grammar schools, they are supporting Academies, and they are trying to save money and adopt a rational approach to public spending.

If there was some kind of grammar "department" on the old Wildernesse site this would still cost considerable sums of money to equip, run, staff etc as a grammar school. Also, it would take away the top end from the new Academy. Surely if Sevenoaks were instead to embrace its Academy wholeheartedly the top stream there would be of grammar standard (or maybe even better than some of the Kent grammars!). Considerable sums of money will be spent on the new academy, why would Sevenoaks also get more money spent on some kind of quasi grammar school?

If Michael Fallon's ideas are taken to their logical and fair conclusion every town in Kent should have its own grammar and its own non-selective. This is clearly not possible even in times of plenty.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:39 pm 
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Have a look at "*****'s" website who has some further background on this story.

I just don't buy Mystery's view that this is just the 7oaks mafia who want a catchment introduced. We and many parents just happen to live near to the schools and want to have a chance of a place for our children to attend, rather than them giving a lot of places to children commuting in from far and wide, not to mention those from out of county..

If you are OOC why not just live in a county that suits the type of education you want for your children rather than hijack other counties schooling and denying places to local children...


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:16 pm 
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Villagedad wrote:
I would have therefore thought that a sensible 'catchment' area for these 3 schools (like the TWGGS example) would be supported by most parents...


You may find that many parents of girls on the western side of Tunbridge Wells are not quite so sure that the TWGGS catchment is 'sensible'. Those living in Rusthall and Langton Green often miss out on initial allocations and have to wait for places on the waiting list. This year many girls in these locations were not initially offered a grammar place at all but Skinners' Academy instead.

Villagedad wrote:
If you are OOC why not just live in a county that suits the type of education you want for your children rather than hijack other counties schooling and denying places to local children...


Why should county boundaries dictate where your child attends school? The village in which I live is dissected by the county line but the closest schools are all in Kent regardless of whether you live on the favoured Kent side or the less lucky East Sussex side. By your definition "We and many parents just happen to live near to the schools and want to have a chance of a place for our children to attend" that should qualify parents on the Sussex side of the village to apply for their closest school, even if it is in a neighbouring county.

As a not totally unrelated aside, this year the pressure on places for boys looking for places in West Kent grammars must have been lower than previous years as TW Boys Grammar was offering places to boys from East Sussex from the waiting list, which would not have happened if there were still qualifying boys from West Kent.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:49 am 
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I am going to contact KCC and find out what their written objections to the Schools Adjudicator about the super-selectives admissions policies consisted of, and what amendments to the policies they are wanting the schools to have to make.

I also want to find out what statistical modelling they have done on the impact of whatever revisions to the policies they are pressing for. They need to be clever when they do the modelling. Changes to the policies change people's choices and have a big knock-on effect over a wide geographical area. They can also lead to other schools changing their policies to counter any unwelcome result of the change. Also, other schools may start to follow the example of the "local" notion (whatever it is). For example, if the Out of County children (that some people on this site seem to loathe!) become unable to travel into Kent schools, there could be schools over the county borders that tinker with their policies to prevent Kent children travelling out to them.

We live in an area (in West Kent) without any kind of school from 11 upwards. All types of kent school from 11 up are more than 7 miles away. So we either have to try and cross into a choice of two counties (one of which seems to welcome cross boarder traffic, another which doesn't), or travel a long distance into Kent. Our "guaranteed" schools to date have been Wildernesse and Bradbourne in Sevenoaks. It is hard to get into the girls grammars from here. No girls got into Weald of Kent on 1 March this year. But this is a little like the Sevenoaks problem with TWGSB. If you quote the 1 March statistics it looks like a ghastly situation but if you look later in the year after waiting lists and appeals have had time to work, I think everyone who has passed has had a grammar place if they could be bothered with the hassle.

Michael Fallon's (MP) and KCC's objections to the Schools Adjudicator could result in things either improving for us, or being severely messed up. So depending on what the KCC proposals are and the impact on our area, I too might try the local MP, the Schools Adjudicator etc.

Michael Fallon (MP) is also suggesting a "grammar campus" for the former Bradbourne site in Sevenoaks, and it sounds from his website as though KCC might be agreeing with him. No such thing is being suggested for our area and we don't have a secondary school at all. The local secondary school was closed down several years ago and the campus is being sold for development. OK, so we could travel to the "grammar campus" in Sevenoaks if it ever happens. But I'd rather that children from our area could travel to the existing grammars than some quasi grammar in Sevenoaks placed there to keep some vociferous 7oaks locals happy at the expense of other towns across the district. And surely if you lived in Sevenoaks you would really rather that your child travelled to the real grammar school in Tonbridge or Tunbridge Wells than some kind of annex in Sevenoaks.

But if this "local" notion is carried too far by Michael Fallon MP for Sevenoaks and KCC, it will see a lot of money being poured into Sevenoaks itself, and not much elsewhere. I can understand that an MP has to bat for his local voters, but I want to find out if KCC is really going down the line of a "grammar campus" in Sevenoaks.

Things really aren't as simple as you like to make them sound Villagedad!! Please get your thinking cap on and work beyond those dinky little circles round grammar schools that you are so fond of!! Schools places planning is more complicated than that. The notion of choice was introduced by the last Conservative government, and for many decades now we have had roads, bikes, cars, buses, and trains. The three mile circle (or much larger) was probably very useful when primary education first became free for all and also compulsory and children had to walk to school and back.

And please could anyone who hears about it let us all know if you hear about when the Public Meeting is going to be held in Sevenoaks about the School Adjudicator enquiry into Weald, TOGS, and Judd admission policies.


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