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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:12 am 
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Interesting article in the Sunday Times regarding Warwickshire grammar schools and the County Council being forced to reduce their catchment area and specifically being requested to "significantly reduce" cross-county boundary intake. This may become a legal precedent and impact all grammar schools and LEA's in the future.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_a ... 581302.ece

Link to the Adjudicators Determination (for Warwickshire): http://www.schoolsadjudicator.gov.uk/up ... 20schs.doc

If anyone has any ideas as to how to challenge this determination, I along with thousands of parents in Warwickshire would welcome any suggestions.

Note: Further information is available in the "Warwickshire Region" on this forum.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:53 am 
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Dadof3 wrote:
If anyone has any ideas as to how to challenge this determination, I along with thousands of parents in Warwickshire would welcome any suggestions.


Do3: two words. Greenwich Judgement. :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:15 pm 
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Hi Marylou

The Greenwich Judgement was the argument that Warwickshire LEA used to support their case for the status quo and a 10 mile priority circle which included some Northants villages.

Quote:
“priority circles were implemented following the Greenwich Judgement (1989) and have been used as an oversubscription criteria (sic) for more than fifteen years . . . The Greenwich judgement states that a child cannot be refused admission to a school because he or she does not live in the same local Authority as the school. . . We would argue that the sole reason for the changes being suggested to the Admissions Criteria are to limit the number of successful applications from families resident in Northamptonshire and therefore it is in breach of both the Greenwich Judgement and the School Admissions Code


I'm afraid that the Adjudicator hit that nail straight on the head and stated that the Greenwich Judgement does not take precedent over later acts of parliament designed to incorporate previous legal judgements.

Quote:
16. It is difficult to see anything in the circumstances of the Greenwich case that should have led to the 10 mile radius ‘priority circle’ approach adopted by Warwickshire selective schools in the first place. It would also appear to have been maintained uncritically ever since with no reference to subsequent developments in the legal position. It is clear from the Code and practice elsewhere that there is nothing in law to prevent Warwickshire adopting an alternative methodology as the Forum has asked.

Quote:

17. The second, and more important, legal point to be made is that the Code was adopted by Parliament in February 2007. In so far as previously decided cases are pertinent they are embraced by the Code; and in any respect that there might appear to be a conflict the Code is to be preferred as a more recent expression of the will of the legislature. It is therefore not necessary to engage in detailed discussion of previously decided cases; it is enough to consider what the Code itself says.


So Dadof3 is correct to raise the concerns.

In theory, according to the ruling Bucks, B/Ham, Yorks or any other LEA would be quite within their rights to change their Admissions Critertia such that County applicants are given priority over Out-Of-County Applicants without any fear of legal objections using the Greenwich Judgement as Case Law.

Regards

Ken


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:33 pm 
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I don’t mean to put anyone’s back up, but I’m not quite sure why this is a bad thing.

I can see that it is deeply irritating for individual families who live near a school but just over a county border, but from a purely objective point of view, I can’t see anything inherently unfair about schools giving priority to the children of families who live within the LEA. Or am I missing the point?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:40 pm 
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And since the Code explicitly states that it does not override the Greenwich judgement (it actually says "While it is for each local authority to decide the scheme that best suits its residents and its schools, they must ensure that they...do not disadvantage applications to their schools from families resident in other local authorities (which would be contrary to the Greenwich Judgment)") it appears to me that there may be an objection to the ruling on that ground alone.

Mike


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:00 pm 
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Thanks for clarifying that, Ken. I still don't understand why the Rugby schools can't set their own catchment areas, however, in view of their proximity to the county boundary. As I understand it, it would be unreasonable to have a catchment area that was heavily skewed to include a disproportionately large area on one side of the town. Grammar schools, by their very nature, are bound to attract applications from a wider area.


KenR wrote:
In theory, according to the ruling Bucks, B/Ham, Yorks or any other LEA would be quite within their rights to change their Admissions Critertia such that County applicants are given priority over Out-Of-County Applicants without any fear of legal objections using the Greenwich Judgement as Case Law.


I'm puzzled by this - I interpret the current rules to mean that an applicant to a grammar school from within its catchment area can only be given priority only over applications from outside the catchment area. In other words, an application to a GS from outside the county would be treated the same as one from within the county but outside the catchment for that particular school. Or have I got that wrong? :?

Just my opinion, and apologies if this sounds controversial, but if Northants LA is so bothered about people applying for school places in a neighbouring county, then perhaps it should be looking closer to home? It does have some excellent comprehensives - perhaps these could be used as a model for raising the standard of the rest?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:00 pm 
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Sorry - accidentally posted twice! :oops:

Mods - please remove.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:28 pm 
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I think Marylou is referring to the Rotherham Judgement (which came after and clarified the Greenwich Judgement).

Appeal Q&As, C9
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/11plus ... #section-C

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:50 pm 
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Hi Rob Clark
Quote:
I don’t mean to put anyone’s back up, but I’m not quite sure why this is a bad thing.

I can see that it is deeply irritating for individual families who live near a school but just over a county border, but from a purely objective point of view, I can’t see anything inherently unfair about schools giving priority to the children of families who live within the LEA. Or am I missing the point?


For the majority of parents (maybe 75%) it's probably not an issue. However it is an issue for those towns and villages that are close to county or MBC boundaries, particularly if the main transort links are to the adjoining county or MB.

We live in Wythall which is in NE Worcestershire, but quite frankly the links with B/Ham are much stronger. We are well within the M42 and it probably should be part of B/ham, but of course Worcs want Wythall to stay within Worcs so they can control the green belt and keep B/ham expansion at bay. This is really a local government boundary anomaly.

We only have 1 secondary catchment comprehensive school in Wythall (Wóodrush) - the next nearest Worcestershire comprehenive school must be at least 12 miles, whereas there are lots of other schools in B/Ham Solihull.

So if the Warwickshire Adjudicator's ruling was to spread to other LEA's then we would have a hobson's choice of 1 worcs catchment Comprehensive and no grammars; with the next nearest worcs school being 12 miles away with no transport links. So much for the governments objectives of choice.

My argument is that there is complete freedom of choice at post 16 (ie 6th form colleges) with the college budgets being determined by the number of students they attract. This encourages a quality improvement ethos. Whereas in the KS3 secondary sector we seem to be moving in the opposite direction.

I happen to think this this type of ruling will only result in standards being driven downwards. Why should schools strive to improve when they have a captive pupils population?

Ken


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:40 pm 
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Marylou wrote:
I still don't understand why the Rugby schools can't set their own catchment areas, however, in view of their proximity to the county boundary. As I understand it, it would be unreasonable to have a catchment area that was heavily skewed to include a disproportionately large area on one side of the town.

That appears to be a choice made by the schools and Warwickshire County Council. The adjudicator said they should exclude the town of Daventry from their catchment, but suggested that parts of Northamptonshire close to Rugby might be included. For some reason they've chosen to ignore that, and claim that the adjudicator made them use the county boundary.


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