Jump to content


Photo

Academies And Admissions


  • Please log in to reply
23 replies to this topic

#1 HP6

HP6

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 214 posts

Posted 15 November 2011 - 11:56 AM

Academy status has become the trend among secondary schools in Bucks. There are many reasons cited by proponents, although they are usually too shy to put the financial carrot at the top of their list.

Converting schools (not just the one in the thread below) had "no plans" to opt out of the County's admissions policy.

http://www.amersham....?showtopic=3482

However, Highcrest Academy (an upper school in High Wycombe) is now consulting on plans to change its admission rules. The two proposals which stand out are a major expansion of the catchment area and the "banding" of children's 11+ scores in relation to each other. (Under the county's admission scheme, 11+ results are only measured against a pass mark, although a good aggregate score can be crucial in an appeal against an unsuccessful result).

It wouldn't surprise me if other Bucks schools are monitoring developments very closely.



#2 Fran

Fran

    Advanced Member

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,171 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Amersham
  • Interests:Reading, writing about reading, theatre, film, restaurants, walking through woodland, Scrabble.

Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:40 PM

The school I know of that has become an academy was quite open about the financial advantages, though they also mentioned the greater degree of autonomy. Of course, once all schools are academies, the relative financial advantage will cease.

I looked at Highcrest's proposals and if approved, their catchment would be more than doubled and extend to include Coleshill, so pretty close to Amersham (map of proposed catchment and proposed new admission rules).

I confess I don't really "get" the idea of banding. Well, I know the theory, but it seems as if a desire for one definition of fairness is likely to cause much greater uncertainty for all.

In this example, more than twice as many children would be in catchment, but the number of places will be the same, and the school is already oversubscribed. The problem is, it's harder to predict a child's band than their proximity to the school, so it will be harder for parents to know whether their child is likely to get a place or not, and so make the decision about which schools to apply to even harder. If other schools in the area introduce banding, that confusion and uncertainty will increase.

#3 HP6

HP6

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 214 posts

Posted 24 April 2012 - 03:18 PM

Academy watch update. Pay attention at the back of the class, otherwise you might, er, miss something.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...cation-17784352

The longer version is on the Highcrest website.

Your homework is either (1) draw a flowchart illustrating the secondary admissions process for all the autonomous schools in Buckinghamshire, or (2) write an essay discussing the following assertion: "Affluence is a factor in verbal reasoning tests but not in non-verbal reasoning tests."

Answers received by PM will be banded. A representational sample will be offered positions as educational advisors and, oh, forget it .....

#4 K&P

K&P

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 363 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Amersham
  • Interests:Good food, good wine, The Chilterns

Posted 24 April 2012 - 06:26 PM

"There are many reasons cited by proponents, although they are usually too shy to put the financial carrot at the top of their list."

It seems these carrots are proving less fat and juicy than hoped.

#5 HP6

HP6

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 214 posts

Posted 21 May 2012 - 09:59 AM

And here is another contribution on the topic.

http://www.buckingha...82398-30989484/

Rather sensible observations from both BCC and the NUT - I had to read it twice to be sure.

I presume you were opposed to DCHS becoming an academy, Mrs Seagrove? Do you have younger children?

How do you know, Mr Page?

#6 Danny Boy

Danny Boy

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 21 May 2012 - 10:40 AM

Controlling their own admissions may be a problem if those running the Schools develop ambitions that are not in the interests of the local population. They may choose to widen the catchment to the London suburbs to raise standards even higher (easy access along the Met Line). This has happened at Tiffin School in Kingston. They have pupils arriving by taxi and mini-bus from all over West and South London, whilst the local primary school (literally next door) sends no pupils to the top achieving school. You end up with the situation where parents pay for a school out of their council tax that their children are unable to attend.

#7 David P

David P

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,731 posts

Posted 21 May 2012 - 10:52 AM

You end up with the situation where parents pay for a school out of their council tax that their children are unable to attend.

Academies are not funded by council tax but by the Dept of Education (via the EFA).

If academies can set their own admission criteria, does this mean that the whole country could return to selective education?
David P

#8 147

147

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 749 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:amersham

Posted 21 May 2012 - 03:03 PM

Dr Challoners already have pupils travelling in from Finchley Road, so I would assume that we are not paying for them via our council tax, unless their parents are renting a small flat in the catchment area and using that as an address to gain admission.

#9 Zoom

Zoom

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 821 posts

Posted 21 May 2012 - 09:40 PM

Doesn't banding mean that a wider spread of students will get in rather than simply those with the highest marks or those nearest the school ? (which have been the previously used criteria)...

My reading of it is that 25% of their students will come from each of the quartiles of VRT scores.... in other words the school is deliberately attempting to ensure that it has a spread of students of all VRT abilities.

Isn't this a case of an academy making sure that DOES NOT become MORE selective ?

#10 Fran

Fran

    Advanced Member

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,171 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Amersham
  • Interests:Reading, writing about reading, theatre, film, restaurants, walking through woodland, Scrabble.

Posted 21 May 2012 - 10:12 PM

I think Highcrest in Wycombe is the only local school to consider banding so far. Their admissions policies are here: http://www.highcrest....uk/Admissions1, including a document with an explanation of how their banding will work. I think there may be more information than when I posted a link above in the autumn.

I haven't studied it in detail, but it looks as if one complication for other schools is that it effectively means Highcrest will be drawing pupils from a larger area (encroaching on their catchments), and a complication from a parental perspective is that it will probably be harder to work out whether an application is likely to be successful than if based on catchment or 11+ qualification.

From a purely selfish perspective, I'm glad I don't have a child of about 8 or 9 years old: I wouldn't fancy navigating secondary transfer with all the changes that are likely to happen in the next few years.

#11 Danny Boy

Danny Boy

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 22 May 2012 - 08:33 AM

Academies are not funded by council tax but by the Dept of Education (via the EFA).

If academies can set their own admission criteria, does this mean that the whole country could return to selective education?


Where does the DofE get its money from? Its just recycled tax and local tax contributions, I don't know the full detail, but I suspect Central Govt will keep part of the local taxes it gives back to the LAs in the form of ring-fenced Education grants and then give them directly to the Academies. So, effectively, the LA bureaucracy is replaced by the Centralised bureaucracy. Otherwise, if all the schools in the area became Academies, we would be getting a very large discount on our Council Tax.

#12 roob_the_doob

roob_the_doob

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 600 posts

Posted 22 May 2012 - 05:39 PM

Academies are not funded by council tax but by the Dept of Education (via the EFA).

And the amount that goes to an academy is taken from the funds provided by central government for the LEA.

Dr Challoners already have pupils travelling in from Finchley Road, so I would assume that we are not paying for them via our council tax, unless their parents are renting a small flat in the catchment area and using that as an address to gain admission

Surely not, whoever heard of such a thing?

#13 Fran

Fran

    Advanced Member

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,171 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Amersham
  • Interests:Reading, writing about reading, theatre, film, restaurants, walking through woodland, Scrabble.

Posted 10 September 2012 - 11:28 AM

Highcrest won permission for their scheme, against the wishes of BCC:
http://www.bucksfree...cation_system_/

#14 Zoom

Zoom

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 821 posts

Posted 10 September 2012 - 04:35 PM

Dr Challoners already have pupils travelling in from Finchley Road, so I would assume that we are not paying for them via our council tax, unless their parents are renting a small flat in the catchment area and using that as an address to gain admission.


When my son got into Challoners nobody from outside the catchment got in... however that doesn't mean that people don't move afterwards... also there were quite strict restrictions on what travel was funded by BCC

Highcrest won permission for their scheme, against the wishes of BCC:
http://www.bucksfree...cation_system_/


Anyone know what Highcrest was before it became an academy ?

If it was a community school then this banding system may attract applications from students at the higher end of the VRT test scale (from parents who want their children to be in a school that has a wider social and academic mix.

If it was a grammar school then this is like introducing a half-way school (half between a grammar and a community school) but I find it difficult to believe this would do anything other than reduce standards and reduce opportunities for academic high achievers - and that being the case it seems difficult to see how many of these it would attract.

It is simply not possible in one school to provide both an appropriate high-end academic environment for those at the top-end of academic potential AND an appropriate life-preparing edcuation for those with few aspirations, capabilities and potential. If attempted (which this school will do) it simply means that it will provide an 'average' education that is good for the middle majority but is unable to meet the needs of those at the top or bottom of the academic potential scale.

So it will be fine for those in the 2nd and 3rd quartiles, providing a good social mix with an appropriate curriculum. Its results may make it popular to those in the 4th quartile but they'll actual receive a less appropriate education than if they were in a school more focussed on their needs. And it will attract only those in the 1st quartile who are prepared to sacrifice their children's academic success for their social principles.

#15 Fran

Fran

    Advanced Member

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,171 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Amersham
  • Interests:Reading, writing about reading, theatre, film, restaurants, walking through woodland, Scrabble.

Posted 10 September 2012 - 08:26 PM

Anyone know what Highcrest was before it became an academy ?

It was an upper school (i.e. not a grammar school).

#16 ThreeDaysGrace

ThreeDaysGrace

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 143 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 12 September 2012 - 02:45 PM

When my son got into Challoners nobody from outside the catchment got in... however that doesn't mean that people don't move afterwards... also there were quite strict restrictions on what travel was funded by BCC


The flat below mine gets rented out to people who use it as an address to get into Challoners girls.

#17 Zoom

Zoom

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 821 posts

Posted 12 September 2012 - 07:29 PM

The flat below mine gets rented out to people who use it as an address to get into Challoners girls.


Well if people live there then it is their address... I believe this has been tightened up in recent and they do require 'evidence' - utility bills, electoral roll checks.... not foolproof but a bit of a deterrent...

#18 ThreeDaysGrace

ThreeDaysGrace

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 143 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 12 September 2012 - 08:07 PM

Well if people live there then it is their address... I believe this has been tightened up in recent and they do require 'evidence' - utility bills, electoral roll checks.... not foolproof but a bit of a deterrent...


They don't live there. They stay there about one night a fortnight, and are never there during school holidays.

#19 Zoom

Zoom

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 821 posts

Posted 14 September 2012 - 02:24 PM

They don't live there. They stay there about one night a fortnight, and are never there during school holidays.


Well they still have to provide the required evidence... eg electoral roll, utility bills, etc.. if you have your suspicions about them then I'm sure Bucks CC would like to hear from you... I assume you've reported them ? If not, why not ?

#20 ThreeDaysGrace

ThreeDaysGrace

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 143 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 15 September 2012 - 07:23 AM

Yes I've reported them, and Bucks CC did nothing. I even spoke to the school about it and they said there's nothing they can do if Bucks CC don't do anything.

#21 Elliott

Elliott

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 33 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling

Posted 15 September 2012 - 12:16 PM

Evidence is pretty easy to provide for forward thinkers.
And I don't think Bucks really cares overmuch if people live in catchment for either of the Challoners school.
An insider told me that the county gets more money per pupil from outside catchment than they give to the school, and they don't have to pay for their travel either.

#22 HP6

HP6

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 214 posts

Posted 12 October 2012 - 02:35 PM

The latest news is that there is no news.

The BFP analysis is spot on, although the arrangement will have to stick together by 2014 (and, in reality, by autumn 2013).

http://www.bucksfree...admission_plan/

In other words, the independent academies, despite being independent, would like Bucks CC to hold their hand and for you to help them decide what should happen next (while they think of something).

Give them all detention. :)

#23 Fran

Fran

    Advanced Member

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,171 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Amersham
  • Interests:Reading, writing about reading, theatre, film, restaurants, walking through woodland, Scrabble.

Posted 13 October 2012 - 11:52 AM

On the other hand, if admissions continue to be handled centrally for all Bucks schools, it keeps things much simpler for parents. If the process fragments, the disadvantaged children are the ones most likely to be disadvantaged further.

#24 HP6

HP6

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 214 posts

Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:22 PM

If you’ve a child in Year 5 then you’ve got some reading to do:

 

http://www.buckscc.g...hools-2014.page

 

Scroll down to get the announcement from the Grammar Schools.  That will refer you to the admission policies of each individual school.

 

http://www.bucksfree..._new_11__exams/

 

Newspaper stuff, so not to be taken at face value.