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Wednesday, 25 July 2018 11:00

Schools Adjudicator Admission Arrangement Objection Upheld: Brompton Academy

I am delighted to report that the first of my four complaints to the Schools Adjudicator about admission arrangements for Medway schools has been upheld

To be fair, Brompton Academy, on receipt of my complaint recognised the validity of my arguments and withdrew their proposals,  so this formal decision is just  confirmation of their actions. I also submitted complaints relating to three other academies at the same time, but aspects of these are still contested and as the matter is currently sub judice I am unable to comment at this time. A previous article entitled 'The Unique Medway Secondary School Admission Lotteryset out my previous concerns and resulted in four academies withdrawing all, or part of their proposals, as explained here.

Brompton Academy

The big question to ask is where is Medway Council in all this? As far as I know they have not even expressed a view, although the subsequent actions of these schools as described in my second article already show recognition of the unfairness of the proposals. Medway Council, which operates under the utterly unjustified slogan 'Serving You', has once again failed to take action or even comment in the interests of its taxpayers and families, as illustrated so often previously in these pages. Surely it should not all be left to me! Is there no-one on Medway Council prepared to challenge the actions or inaction of the education service? 

 My challenge was  reported as: 'The objection is that the school arrangements do not comply with the Code in respect of the oversubscription criteria that give priority to siblings or to children of staff in any school in the multi academy trust'.

Brompton Academy is the most oversubscribed non-selective school in Medway and second most popular school taking Kent into account, turning away 193 first choices this year, with very few children being awarded places on appeal, so there is a tight geographical ring of offers around the school. As a result, fairness in school admissions is critical. The school is in an Academy Trust with Chatham Grammar School for Girls, which is usually undersubscribed for its 142 places and as a result admits a large number of out of county girls annually. 

The proposal for school arrangements was that the Admission Criteria should include the two sections:

a) Current family association (i.e. elder brother or sister) attending any
of the UKAT academies at the time of application who will still be
attending when the applicant child is admitted.
b) Children of staff at any University of Kent Academy Trust (UKAT)
academy (where the member of staff has been employed for one
year or more at the time at which the application for admission to the
Academy is made and/or where the member of staff is recruited to
fill a vacant post for which there is a demonstrable skill shortage).

My objections were that this would allow siblings of girls and children of staff at Chatham Girls Grammar who may live miles away to have priority over local girls, both of which breached the Schools Admission Code. 

Whilst the Schools Adjudicator agreed with me on both parts, he did not need to rule as Brompton Academy withdrew both, returning to the previous lawful criteria allowing preference to siblings and children of staff at Brompton Academy only.  

As an addition, the Adjudicator recorded that 'The Code says in paragraph 1.39 that priority may be given to children of staff where “the member of staff has been employed at the school for two or more years', (not the Academy Trust), and the time limit in this was not mentioned by Brompton Academy. This will also need to be changed. I await decisions on the other three schools: Fort Pitt Grammar; Holcombe Grammar; and The Rochester Grammar. 



Last modified on Friday, 27 July 2018 19:23

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