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Schools failed to give families of rejected pupils a fair appeal
Times - 8th Nov 07
Two grammar schools have been told to pay compensation to parents for mishandling their admission appeals. The Skinnersâ€™ School and The Judd School, near Tunbridge Wells, Kent, did not consider the appeals in a fair and impartial manner, and were guilty of injustice and maladministration, the Local Government Ombudsman said. The ombudsmanâ€™s report said that The Judd School refused places to two boys, even though both scored more than 94 per cent in selection tests. Pupils who had older siblings at the school, and also did well in the tests, were given preference. The fathers of both boys appealed against the decision, arguing that the admission procedures were complex and unfair. Their appeals were heard in April and May last year. In August the ombudsman recommended that new appeals be held and the request was reiterated three months later, but hearings were not arranged until May this year. Both boys were, by then, attending other secondary schools.
Schools to compensate parents over admissions appeals
24dash - 8th Nov 07
Two leading grammar schools have been ordered to pay compensation to parents for mishandling their children's admissions appeals, the Local Government Ombudsman said today. Parents' appeals against the refusal of places for their sons at the Skinners' School in Tunbridge Wells and the Judd School in Tonbridge, both in Kent, were not considered in a fair and impartial manner, the ombudsman found. In two separate reports, ombudsman Tony Redmond ruled that the maladministration identified in both schools' appeals process "caused the complainants avoidable uncertainty and anxiety". Mr Redmond heard 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. The main faults relating to the appeals included inappropriate links between those considering the appeals and those involved in the school and its governing, the report said. It added: "These links cast serious doubt on the independence of some members of the appeals panels, so that the ombudsman cannot be satisfied that the appeals were properly and independently considered, or that conflicts of interest were properly resolved." The report added that the governors used some of the same panellists to consider appeals for several years, and the governors' arrangements for administering appeals were inconsistent and insufficiently independent. In the case of the Skinners' School, one boy had failed selection tests, while the other had been successful in his but was later told by the governors that the school was full and his application was turned down. Most of the main faults in their appeals were similar to those found in the case of the Judd School, Mr Redmond found. The ombudsman said both schools shared a clerking service. The governors accepted the ombudsman's suggestion to offer fresh appeals with a different panel and clerk. Of the four cases, one reheard appeal was upheld, two were not, and in the fourth case the complainant did not take up the offer of a new appeal. Mr Redmond told the schools they should pay Â£350 to each complainant.
Two grammars 'mishandled appeals'
BBC - 8th Nov 07
Two leading Kent grammar schools have been criticised for failing to operate fair admissions appeals procedures. The Judd School in Tonbridge and The Skinners' School in Tunbridge Wells, were found guilty of maladministration. The Local Government Ombudsman found some members of the panel deciding appeals against refusal to admit pupils had links to the school in each case. This was a "conflict of interest" and meant the ombudsman could not be sure that the appeals were heard properly.
Kent grammars rapped over 'unfair' admissions process
ATL - 8th Nov 07
Two grammar schools in Kent have been told to pay compensation after they were adjudged not to have handled a number of admission appeal cases fairly, according to reports. Parents of four children appealed against the decisions made by the Skinners' School in Tunbridge Wells and the Judd School in Tonbridge to deny entry to their respective sons and daughters and subsequently complained to local government ombudsman Tony Redmond about the process. Links were discovered between individuals who sat in the entry appeals panel and the schools and governors, and these were deemed by Mr Redmond to be 'inappropriate' and meant that the appeals could not be 'independently considered'.