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Have your say on proposed changes to school admissions
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michael


Posts: 3,217
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #1
31-01-2014 09:46 PM

?Should children of staff working in schools get priority in admissions? Should nearness to school be measured to one single point on the school site rather than to the nearest entrance?

These changes are being proposed as part of the 2015/16 school admission arrangements in Lewisham community schools - those schools in which the Council employs the staff, owns the buildings and land and sets the admissions criteria.

Details and link to the survey at http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/news/Pages/Ha...sions.aspx

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #2
31-01-2014 10:42 PM

Hi Michael

Thanks for posting this link, I've just completed the survey. I now have to voice my opinions on the shortage of school places for local kids, as I have chats with customers daily about this. They are worried they won't get a local school for their kids.

So many local schools have had to add bulge classes over the past few years, and are continuing to do so.

The Police Station on Dartmouth Road has recently closed. I assume the land belongs to Lewisham Council. I have seen on estate agent sites that the land is up for sale. Could we get a petition on the go to change the building into a much needed school instead of Lewisham Council selling off the land to developers if that is the case?

Sorry to bug you Michael, but I know you are always the voice of reason.

Speak soon P

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Sherwood


Posts: 1,355
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #3
03-02-2014 10:46 AM

It could be used as a "free school".

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michael


Posts: 3,217
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #4
03-02-2014 11:37 AM

There isn't really a shortage of school places at that end of Dartmouth Road. The expansion of Kelvin Grove as well as three other local primaries (including two church schools) means this is not the best choice of sites for a new primary (not that I would oppose any such plans).

Additionally the council owned depot on the other side of Willow Way will become temporary space for a Sydenham school that is being rebuilt.

The police station does not belong to the council but belongs to the police. The police station in East Dulwich was recently sold off, possibly for a new primary school.

What I don't understand is why children of teachers should have priority on waiting lists above other children who live closer to a school. If we didn't have a serious shortage of places then it might be more reasonable, but when there are some areas of SE23 where you are unlikely to get into the three closest (non-religious) schools, I don't think allowing others to jump the queue will be popular except with teachers and the Independent schools sector.

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lacb


Posts: 623
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #5
03-02-2014 12:18 PM

Quote:
What I don't understand is why children of teachers should have priority on waiting lists above other children who live closer to a school. If we didn't have a serious shortage of places then it might be more reasonable, but when there are some areas of SE23 where you are unlikely to get into the three closest (non-religious) schools, I don't think allowing others to jump the queue will be popular except with teachers and the Independent schools sector.


I think this is entirely analogous to giving priority to siblings of existing students. Cuts down on unnecessary journeys across the borough, simplifies childcare arrangements but also good for staff welfare and management at schools.

It would surely be better to focus on the "serious shortage" than make the lot of inner city teachers even harder than it already is.

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michael


Posts: 3,217
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #6
03-02-2014 12:30 PM

Quote:
I think this is entirely analogous to giving priority to siblings of existing students. Cuts down on unnecessary journeys across the borough,

I don't think that is accurate. If teachers were the only people with children then I would agree. But lots of other people work locally (or not) and just have to travel further if they don't get a school close to their home.
I'm sure it will make childcare arrangements easier for teachers but not for the family that lives just outside the 200m catchment area, and has to travel a mile to their allocated school.

What most worries me is that good teachers will naturally want good schools for their children and rather than relying on the same criteria as every other parent, they will get a job in one of the best schools, leaving the poorer performing schools finding it harder to recruit the best teachers.

I completely agree that addressing the shortage of places would be a better use of everybody's time.

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lacb


Posts: 623
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #7
03-02-2014 01:25 PM

So to be consistent, surely the closest families should get priority, regardless of other considerations such as siblings?

Quote:
What most worries me is that good teachers will naturally want good schools for their children and rather than relying on the same criteria as every other parent, they will get a job in one of the best schools, leaving the poorer performing schools finding it harder to recruit the best teachers.


Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Michael, but this is absolutely the position at present and indeed has been so for many years already, though I would contend this is far from being the prime cause of difficulty in recruiting teachers in poorer performing schools.

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michael


Posts: 3,217
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #8
03-02-2014 01:34 PM

lacb, A policy to give preference to school staff is not included in the current admissions policies (http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/ed...teria.aspx) nor would there be any need to consult if there was no proposed change of policy.
I suspect I'm missing the point you are making, could you clarify?

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lacb


Posts: 623
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #9
03-02-2014 02:11 PM

Michael, you expressed a concern that poorer performing schools would find it hard to recruit the best teachers. My point is that this is already the case and is hardly likely to be materially affected by such a change of policy. Hope that clarifies.

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michael


Posts: 3,217
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #10
03-02-2014 02:23 PM

That is certainly true, but it is a problem that this change may well exacerbate, reinforcing the best and worst schools in a way that other policies (i.e. the pupil premium) are attempting to reduce.
I'm sure it is not Lewisham's intention to make it harder to recruit good teachers, but they offer no reason behind this proposal.

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lacb


Posts: 623
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #11
03-02-2014 03:14 PM

As I said, am not wholly convinced that such a change of policy would cause the effect you ascribe, but no matter am happy to run with it. If so, it is surely not such as stretch that the current policy could cause good schools staff retention issues?

Either way not really a policy change to be concerned about in my view, given the bigger picture. Am glad that we agree on the fundamental issue here: localised shortage of primary places.

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P1971


Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #12
03-02-2014 03:20 PM

Thank you Michael for making me aware that the land is not owned by Lewisham Council.

As everyone is in agreement that there is a serious shortage of Primary School places how do we go about solving this?

I know it won't be an easy or quick task to achieve, but we desperately need another Primary School in the area especially as more and more young families are moving in.

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AMFM


Posts: 306
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #13
03-02-2014 04:28 PM

Actually, I think the biggest problem is people playing the system - renting in any given street for 12 months, getting your child into the school and then promptly moving out. I'm not sure a fix to that problem is possible but hey ho.

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chica


Posts: 17
Joined: Jan 2009
Post: #14
18-02-2014 11:55 PM

I looked at the proposed allocation of places for 15-16 (at the end of the policy document which accompanies the survey) and can't see where the extra 5 classes for Forest Hill and Sydenham (which a Lewisham document from the last year or two has forecast will be needed for 15-16) are planned to be, except for an extra class at Stillness?

The planned allocations for some schools are really alarming when you think of the likely impact of bulge classes in previous years and the siblings policy. Catchment areas are going to be tiny for places like Eliot Bank.

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