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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:45 pm 
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Location: Hertfordshire
In south Hertfordshire each year it seems that that the numbers of siblings at the most popular schools is increasing. Is this fair? I know some areas that have a true grammar school system don't have the sibling rule.

Should there be a maximum number of siblings per year? If so how would these places be allocated?

Why should a sibling be given a higher priority than a non sibling?

Do schools like sibling because they already know the families? Or is there another reason?

One argument I was given is so that the siblings can travel together on public transport together. This isn’t a strong argument because if the first child or a non-sibling can travel alone on public transport then the second sibling can.

Is they remove the sibling rule for secondary schools How would this impact on primary schools?

Parents should be selecting schools because they’re suitable for the child not just because the sibling goes to that school. I’m not saying that the same school isn’t right for the sibling, it may well be.

If you look back at post from previous years at allocation day so many parents have said “Got school X, sibling ruleâ€


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:51 pm 
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Don't have any answers for you just some of our local info.
The Chelmsford grammars do not have any lower "passmark" for siblings as I know some grammars do elsewhere.
As to other schools locally, here it is catchment before sibling even in primary. :shock: So if you have a low birth rate year and get your child into a primary or secondary school you like, even though it is not your most local one, the siblings may not get in.This is exactly what happened to two parents in my youngest's year.They had older children in the school but their 5 year olds didn't make it in to reception.
A logistical nightmare :cry:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:53 pm 
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our grammar schools don't have a sibling rule and, frankly, given the tough hoops to jump through to get in, I think that that is fair. If a school has an academic selection, that should take priority. I can understand a geographical rule (we don't have that either) however.
Personally speaking, one thing I think IS wrong is when comprehensives don't have a sibling rule. Some comprehensives seem to operate under strange rules, such as fair banding which doesn't sound very fair and all a bit unnecessary.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:01 pm 
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Location: Hertfordshire
In south Herts an simplified version of the selection criteria for one of the most popular schools is

Looked After children
Distance only 10% of places , but need to live very,very close to the school
Sibling / Cross-Sibling
Medical Reason
Academic - up to 25% of places
Music - up to 10%

For the last three criteria you have be be within certain postcodes. Any remaining places are done on distance

So as a non sibling it can be very difficult to get a place


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:09 pm 
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Ally wrote:
In south Herts an example of the selection criteria for one of the most popular schools is

Looked After children
Distance only 10% of places , but need to live very,very close to the school
Sibling / Cross-Sibling
Medical Reason
Academic - up to 25% of places
Music - up to 10%

So as a non sibling it can be very difficult to get a place


I can see what you mean. :?

Here it is (grammars aside)
1 looked after children
2.children living in the priority catchment area
3 Siblings of those living in the priority catchment
4.Other siblings
5 other applications

This is for primary and secondary.
10% catchment seems too low :shock:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:33 pm 
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What's a "cross-sibling"? (Actually I had a couple of those last night, but I don't think that's what is meant.)

I think siblings should certainly have priority for primaries, so parents can take them.

At secondary it's more complicated. If it's real grammar school, siblings should need the same mark as everyone else; if it's a comprehensive, it seems sensible to give siblings priority for family convenience.

The Watford situation is very unusual. Is there anywhere else in the country where the schools have 35-40% intake on academic/musical ability and the rest of the intake comprehensive? And of course that is why the distance criterion has to be so low at only 10%.

The Watford schools also cause problems with league tables: if they're classed as grammars (which some have in their name), their performance, especially at GCSE might look a little weak, but if classed as comprehensives, their performance looks unfairly good.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:36 pm 
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Location: Hertfordshire
Like your meaning better, but its a half-brother or sister living at the same address


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:00 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
In Bucks a sibling must qualify for a grammar school place the same as everyone else and then in catchment siblings rank higher than in catchment "first timers" and out of catchment siblings rank higher than ooc "first timers" - an in catchment "first timer" will not lose out on a place to an ooc sibling.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:03 pm 
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Here's part of your problem:

http://www.hertsdirect.org/docs/pdf/r/RSD150909

Buried amongst this lot (it's not a very well written report, I have to say - partly because the arrangements it's ruling on are such a mess) is reference to para 2.26 of the Admissions Code - which prohibits the Schools Adjudicator from reducing sibling access to schools selecting more than 10% of their intake until the 2008 intake has worked their way through the system. Which effectively renders para 2.24 (sibling rule must not unfairly disadvantage other families) toothless in the meantime, unless the admission authorities decide to tackle it themselves.

(As far as I can understand this, the 10% nearest is supposed to be 10% who wouldn't qualify under any of the other rules but it isn't clear that the 2011 arrangements are doing that.)

The Admissions Code generally likes the sibling rule, which is fine when you're talking about primaries and perhaps to some extent the local comp (especially in rural areas) but seems unfair when you have partial selection giving families further away a way of jumping the queue over local families for their subsequent offspring.

Mike


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:07 pm 
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Personally, and taking your point that not all schools are suitable for all children, I think siblings should be given priority if that is what the family wishes, HOWEVER if such rules are applied then they should be consistently applied. The same for systems in which there is no sibling priority - whatever system that is in place should be applied consistently. The situation in Bucks is that siblings are given priority but must still qualify for a GS place, rightly so and to do otherwise would contravene the rules mentioned by Mike in the last post. However, there is one glaring inconsistency.

Last year we found ourselves in the ludicrous situation of having to appeal for a place for our daughter to attend her sister's school, in a LA system which DOES give priority to siblings but only if the older sibling is not in the sixth form at the time of admission of the younger child. This situation applied to us, so our younger daughter - having qualified - was denied one of the 30 or so available OOC places at a Bucks GS, being categorized behind OOCs who lived closer to the school but had no sibling, and OOC siblings who lived further away than us whose older siblings were not sixth formers. If, however, the school applied for had been a foundation school, then in all probability she would have been offered one of the OOC places on sibling grounds in the first round, since foundation schools are allowed to set their own rules in this respect. This lack of consistency was not lost on the appeal panel!

Seven years ago Bucks council balloted parents on the very question you posed in your original post as part of a questionnaire about admissions procedures, which focussed mainly on catchment areas. The parents came out in favour of retaining the sibling priority for secondary schools but were never actually asked whether the rule should be scrapped for applicants with siblings in the 6th form . However, this is what was imposed by the council (if anyone is interested as to how this happened please PM me, it makes for fascinating reading :wink: ), and led to the situation we have today.

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