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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 10:03 am 
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Location: Kent & Medway
The Local government Ombudsman has today published reports extensively crtiticising the appeals procedures of these two schools. The report summaries will be published shortly on the LGO website. I will give more details later, but am off out for the day.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 10:08 am 
There is an article in today's Independent on this. Unfortunately it is being used as yet another stick with which to bash the whole grammar school system.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:28 am 
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Links to some of the articles online.

http://www.24dash.com/education/29122.htm

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_a ... 827468.ece


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 7:43 pm 
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I have now had a chance to read both complaints in full and can confirm that the Reports are about very serious maladministration. To put it in context, there were only seven other Reports on school admissions nationally published in the past year (including the one at Queen Elizabeth's Faversham).

Complaints include connections between Panellists and the Skinners Company who run these two voluntary Aided Schools (one panellist for both Panels had been a long term employee of the Skinners Company, working for the Clerk to the Governors including educational matters for the Skinner School); The clerk to the Appeal Panels was also the Clerk to the Governing Bodies of both schools - a clear conflict of interest; misleading, irrelevant and inappropriate information provided for Appeal Panels; inappropriate decision letters, etc.

There is at least one website that provides considerably more information.

These cases may have provided ammunition for those committed to abolishing grammar schools, but should never have arisen in the first place.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:33 pm 
I am curious as to how it can be that 'appeals from two parents whose sons had been successful in selection tests at the Judd School but were later told the school was, in the governors' view, full and the boys' applications had failed' when they failed to reach the Judd pass mark of 412. The boys passed the Kent test but as most people know (except some reporters it would appear) that it is not sufficient to pass the Kent test - boys need to be in the top 120 (or 125 as it is now) of those applying to the school. Such reporting inaccuracies are not helpful.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:08 pm 
Most people in West Kent with boys who have recently sat, or are soon to sit, the Kent 11+ probably know the oversubscription criteria for these schools. Nationally, of course, the vast majority of people will never even have heard of these schools. That probably included the journalists in question.

But even if they did some basic research before writing their articles, which is the "better" story: unfair, elitist grammars cause excessive anguish to parents scrabbling to find secondary school places; or, some parents applied to a competitive entry school, their sons didn't score highly enough to gain places so they appealed but were turned down? The latter isn't really newsworthy is it? At least not for the national broadsheets. And nor, in my opinion, is "a school's admissions appeal board had some people on it with connections to the board of governors".

I believe the only reason this story made the nationals was because it could be dressed up to feed into the current angst surrounding parental choice, failing schools etc. For that purpose it was necessary to suggest that these boys were unquestionably "worthy" of places at the schools and victims of "the system" not their own comparatively poor exam results.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:30 pm 
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Sorry guests.

Whatever the story, parents are entitled to a fair deal from Governing Bodies and Appeal Panels, even if they are unlikely to be successful on appeal. The Skinners and Judd Appeal Panels and Governing Bodies have flagrantly disobeyed the rules and should be exposed. The ombudsman only publishes six or seven reports a year nationally, that is the level of fault. Your quote: "a school's admissions appeal board had some people on it with connections to the board of governors" is a gross misrepresentation of the reality of the very serious maladministration which brings the whole process into disrepute. Try reading the full report before you try such a whitewash.

This is no criticism of the management of two excellent schools.

Sadly, it is the actions of the Governing Bodies and Appeal Panels that have opened up the opportunity to criticise the selective system, not the quality of reporting.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:59 am 
And how many of those other 6 or 7 reports a year get half-page spreads in the national press?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:33 am 
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Most. For example, the case of Lady Margaret School, Parsons Green caused massive media coverage.
However, that is my point. Serious maladministration by a Grammar School Governing Body is inevitably newsworthy and will attract criticism of the system. It shouldn't happen, as the rules are quite clear. It is unfortunate in this case that one Panel Chairman confessed she didn't even know that the rules existed. There was therefore little chance they would be followed.

I repeat. Send for a copy of the full reports before dismissing these very serious issues.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:31 am 
As 'Guest 1' rather than 'Guest 2' in this thread I was not dismissing the report which does show evidence of maladminstration. My problem was the report suggested that the boys in question were entitled to places at the schools in question when they patently failed to make the cut-off for places, along with many others.

Had this been made clear in the article I would have no problem with it.


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