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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 3:39 pm 
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Hello, could someone help me with unravelling something which is confusing me?

As far as I'm aware, the Pupil Premium scheme is designed to help disadvantaged children to access the same level of education as their advantaged peers, normally through free school meals and extra funding in the classroom for specialist support. Because of this 'fair access' policy, which I believe is a nationwide scheme, many selective schools include Pupil Premium as a priority in their admissions categories.

Example School A admits along the following categories:

"Category 1: Any Looked-After or Previously Looked-After Children who either achieve the Automatic Qualifying Score or above for this School for this particular year of entry, or who score up to 20 marks below the Automatic Qualifying Score.

Category 2: Children who live in the priority area who attract the Pupil Premium via eligibility for Free School Meals who achieve either the Automatic Qualifying Score or above for this School, for this particular year of entry, or who score up to 20 marks below the Automatic Qualifying Score. Up to thirteen places only will be offered in this category (including any re-offers which are made from the waiting list in this category after Thursday 1st March 2018). Admissions will require, on behalf of the School, evidence of Pupil Premium eligibility and the School reserves the right to withdraw the offer of a place if the offer has been made on the basis of an incorrect, fraudulent or misleading application.

Category 3: Children who live in the priority area who achieve the Automatic Qualifying Score or above for this School, for this particular year of entry.

Category 4: Children living outside of the priority area who achieve the Automatic Qualifying Score or above for this School, for this particular year of entry.

Category 5: Children who score below the Automatic Qualifying Score, but above the minimum score for the waiting list score for this School, for this particular year of entry."



According to my research, this seems fairly standard practice among grammar schools, and shows that they are committed to fair access. Now consider, however, School B, whose admissions policy states:

"Category 1: ​Looked-After or Previously Looked-After Children who achieve the automatic qualifying score or above for this school for this particular year of entry.

Category 2: ​Children who live in the priority area who attract the Pupil Premium via eligibility for Free School Meals who achieve the automatic qualifying score or above for this school for this particular year of entry. Admissions will require, on behalf of the School, evidence of Pupil Premium eligibility and the School reserves the right to withdraw the offer of a place if the offer has been made on the basis of an incorrect, fraudulent or misleading application.

Category 3: ​Children who live in the priority area who achieve the automatic qualifying score or above for this school, for this particular year of entry.

Category 4​: Children living outside of the priority area who achieve the automatic qualifying score or above for this school, for this particular year of entry.

Category 5: ​Children who score below the automatic qualifying score, but above the minimum score for the waiting list for this school, for this particular year of entry. Looked-After or Previously Looked-After Children in this category will be given first priority in ranking within this category, with the rest ranked according to score and distance as per paragraph 2.2.3."



Note that School B effectively denies fair access by not offering their LAC or PP admissions lower than the AQS, thereby rendering Categories 1 and 2 completely useless - if a child achieves above the AQS, they'll have no need to claim their Category 1 or 2 status as they'd get in under Category 3 anyway. Notice in Category 5, they make provision for LAC but not PP children. It's as though for this school, PP children don't really exist.

My question is, knowing that each school is its own admissions authority, is it something I could challenge on, as it's not in accordance with national fair access policy? We have the Pupil Premium for a reason, and this seems discriminatory, and also morally out of step with other schools locally and nationally.

Thanks for your thoughts.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 4:07 pm 
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Location: Reading
Frustrated18 wrote:

Note that School B effectively denies fair access by not offering their LAC or PP admissions lower than the AQS, thereby rendering Categories 1 and 2 completely useless - if a child achieves above the AQS, they'll have no need to claim their Category 1 or 2 status as they'd get in under Category 3 anyway. Notice in Category 5, they make provision for LAC but not PP children. It's as though for this school, PP children don't really exisT.


That would only be the case if there were enough places for everyone who achieved AQS in the priority area which is often not the case. So then scores come into play except cat 1 and 2 ‘only’ have to pass whereas cat 3 have to have the highest scores


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 4:11 pm 
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Quote:
So then scores come into play except cat 1 and 2 ‘only’ have to pass whereas cat 3 have to have the highest scores


But in this school, everyone in Cats 1 2 & 3 have scored at the AQS or above. They set the AQS based on the 11+ test results and their PAN. An AQS is an AQS - if you achieve it, you're in, surely?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 4:33 pm 
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No. The achieving the AQS is not a guarantee of a place. It is just the first minimum score at which you will be considered for a place. This is clearly stated on the letters from WCC. (You can also subsequently be considered if you achieve the minimum score for the waiting list.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 4:40 pm 
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Okay. But my question about whether I could bring this into an appeal still stands. I know that each school is its own admissions authority, but not admitting under AQS for Cat 2 does strike me as something of an oddity. Or if they didn't want to do that, why not mention it in Cat 5, since they've prioritised LAC on the WL?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:35 pm 
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This is my opinion - and I am not Etienne or Toadmum, who both have eons more experience than me with appeal stuff!

I don't think that is an appeal issue - Admissions law says the school has to admit according to their Admissions Criteria which has to be clearly laid out. As long as they follw the rules they have laid out, there is no appeal case. What you are trying to argue here is that the rules don't follow other school rules - not exactly, no, they don't, but as the school is it's own admissions authority, I think they are allowed to set their own reasonable rules - which these are - effectively, it is as Reading Mum has pointed out - PP kids "only" have to achieve the AQS as a minimum. Other students have to achieve the AQS AND be in the top x (where x = PAN - any PP).

I don't think criticising the rules is the way to win an appeal - because, actually the rules are ok (I mean, possibly less OK than School A that you used in your example) but still OK as long as they follow those rules.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:14 pm 
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I wouldn't raise this unless there are strong grounds for you to think:
      1. The arrangements are unlawful or have been incorrectly applied.
      2. And you would have got a place if the arrangements had been lawful and correctly applied.

(Even so, the number of children similarly denied a place would need to be low enough that to admit all these children would not cause serious prejudice to the school.)

With regard to point 1 (lawfulness), the Admissions Code simply says:
      Quote:
      1.39A Admission authorities may give priority in their oversubscription criteria to children eligible for ..... the pupil premium ......
      Admission authorities should clearly define in the arrangements the categories of eligible premium recipients to be prioritised.

Normally I wouldn't favour querying the admission arrangements, unless there are reasonable grounds as indicated in points 1-2.
If there is little or no substance to the issue, it would probably just cause irritation to waste time by raising it.
Best to focus on your own case (reasons for wanting or needing a place).

(Elsewhere, even if point 2 above doesn't apply, I do suggest asking the panel to consider the lawfulness of withdrawing a place after what might be considered an unreasonable period of time, because of the legal precedent. I think there might be some sympathy in that particular situation, even if the matter is still likely to go to stage 2 where the appellant's reasons for wanting a place would be balanced against the prejudice to the school.)

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:30 pm 
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My child is a PP child who was bumped after the raising of the AQS. Hence questioning the ethics of the admissions policy. It absolutely does apply to our situation.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:57 pm 
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As far as I can see, both schools in further than they are required to by the Admissions Code, with regard to PP. There are requirements wrt Looked After pupils:

Grammar schools
1.18 Only designated Grammar schools24 are permitted to select their entire
intake on the basis of high academic ability25. They do not have to fill all of their places if applicants have not reached the required standard.
1.19 Where arrangements for pupils are wholly based on selection by reference to ability and provide for only those pupils who score highest in any selection test to be admitted, no priority needs to be given to looked after children or previously looked after children.
1.20 Where admission arrangements are not based solely on highest scores in a selection test, the admission authority must give priority in its
oversubscription criteria to all looked after children and previously looked after children who meet the pre-set standards of the ability test.


Authorities may give priority to those in receipt of PP, but do not have to under the current Code.

They must not

... give priority to children according to the occupational, marital, financial or educational status of parents applying. The exceptions
to this are children of staff at the school and those eligible for the early years pupil premium, the pupil premium and the service premium who may be prioritised in the arrangements in accordance with paragraphs 1.39 – 1.39B

1.39A Admission authorities may give priority in their oversubscription criteria to children eligible for the early years pupil premium, the pupil premium and also children eligible for the service premium. Admission authorities should clearly define in the arrangements the categories of eligible premium recipients to be prioritised.

(The must and must not bits are mandatory).

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:04 pm 
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Frustrated18 wrote:
the ethics of the admissions policy
The issue for the panel is lawfulness not ethics.

      Quote:
      3.2 The panel must consider the following matters in relation to each child that is the subject of an appeal:
      a) whether the admission arrangements (including the area’s co-ordinated
      admission arrangements) complied with the mandatory requirements of the
      School Admissions Code and Part 3 of the School Standards and Framework
      Act 1998; and
      b) whether the admission arrangements were correctly and impartially applied in
      the case in question.


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