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Wednesday, 04 April 2012 21:27

Westlands & Hayesbrook

Written by

Westlands School in Sittingbourne, and Hayesbrook School in Tonbridge are the first two Kent schools to take advantage of their academy status by offering additional places in the past few weeks, outside the rules on waiting lists and appeals. We can expect more to follow, taking advantage of there being no sanctions against these actions........

Although there is now opportunity to increase numbers in any year, this is required to be in co-ordination with the Local Authority, in order that the process they are required to manage can continue to work, and both schools could have done this within new rules by making the additional offers on 1st March. It can be argued that they are acting in the interests of children, ensuring freedom of choice, the only losers being less popular schools who face seeing their numbers dwindle even faster through the year and having to process children who do not take up places. However, this is another nail in the coffin of the co-ordinated admissions process in Kent which has worked effectively for many years. 

 

Hayesbrook School, which over recent years has offered places to all families who have appealed after following the rules, has short circuited the process this year and has written to parents stating that they are "accepting all appellants without prejudice". In this case it merely cuts through the appeals process, although those on the waiting list who had not appealed may have been excluded, and should now put in a late appeal. 

Westlands School, who offered places to everyone on the waiting list in March last year outside the rules, are reported to have done the same for 2012 entry, They may have left out children from Sittingbourne Community College, with whom they are federated, as they seek to maintain numbers there. If so this would certainly break additional rules, and parents who go to appeal, if turned down, would have a good case to follow the complaints procedure. 

What we are seeing here is freedom of choice taken to its logical extent, as popular schools expand, and others (some perhaps deservedly so, but others who are doing a good job, often not having been provided with the modern facilities their competiors enjoy) wither away until they are no longer viable. One can only specualte what will happen to those unpopular schools in expensive new buildings, who come at the bottom of the pile. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read 15530 times Last modified on Friday, 06 April 2012 12:34

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