So far I have not seen a credible argument offered by the out-of-towners, beyond the vague assertion that "I have the right to send my children to wherever I like" and similar inarticulate and bald assertions.
The truth is that you don't. If anybody has a right here, it's the residents of Sutton, and those rights are being tossed aside by the ********************. But let me make a few things clear (without resorting to emotional language) first.
1. The Greenwich ruling might well have been fine in its day, but its day has well and truly passed, its sell-by date has been reached - the parrot is no more! My understanding is that the Greenwich ruling was taken when there were excess places available in neighbouring boroughs, a situation that no longer exists. Looking at a lot of the academic research on the topic of catchment areas has led me to realise how outdated the ruling is, and I hope to be able to put some of these findings to the panel at tomorrow's meeting.
2. If you don't like the schools in your area, you have three options - and none of them include [disadvantaging] my kids. Firstly, you can lobby your local schools, your borough and LEA to do something about the appaling schools in your area. This is your responsibility as a citizen, not to move in on another's patch and scare them off. Secondly, you can move. If you don't like Merton or Lambeth, find a better place to live. Why should anyone be allowed to live in one area and send their kids to another one? It does nothing for the local community, and just contributes to increasing neighbourhood deprivation. Thirdly, you can go private. There are dozens of good independent schools available in this part of Greater London, and the 15k a year it will cost can be offset by not buying a new car every other year or ditching the fortnights in Bali and the skiing holidays. Put your money **********, in other words (and in the most polite of intonations, of course).
At present I have to pay for one of my sons to attend a private school, because Sutton tell me they have no places for him. That's not correct - there are plenty of places, but ************ have got in first. Why should I be out of pocket, when I actually live here?
3. Public services are typically used by the community in which they are located - that's a simple fact. Think police, NHS, etc. How would you feel if you went to register at your local doctors' surgery and found your self turned away? "I'm very sorry, Sir, but we only offer our services to healthy people. But we don't discriminate - we take healthy people from everywhere! So run along to the surgery five miles up the road, where they'll be happy to look after you..." It doesn't really add up, does it?
In short, I can not see why anybody from Lambeth or Merton, wherever, should be allowed to effectively swap their child's failing school for my local good one. Why do we have to endure this sort of humiliation?
I strongly suspect that Sutton borough colludes in this deceit, as it allows them to proudly claim that they have some of the best schools in London. They're missing the point, though, when a lot of those students are not from the borough. It's time we held this 'rotten borough' to account and claimed back our schools for ourselves.