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Thursday, 28 February 2013 19:45

Fraudulent school admission offers

I am regularly consulted by parents concerned that others are abusing the school admission system, by either fraudulent applications or 'bending' the rules' to gain a place at their preferred school and my advice is always to bring it to the attention of the authorities as they are depriving a child who has a greater right to a place at the school of their choice. This news item has its root in a concern I expressed to Kent County Council in November about the vagueness of the definition of the "child's only or main residence' in the Kent rules, which appears open to wide interpretation and hence manipulation by parents  who understandably want their child to go to their preferred school. I wrote an article back in 2010, covering some of the issues which are still current.These issues have been covered by Radio Kent, BBC SE and Meridian today (Friday)........

You will find my previous article in the Information pages of this website, here. The 10,000 plus visitors to the page indicate the level of interest in the subject. My concerns about the level of policing of the rules which operate remain, and are now joined by the newer issue of Kent County Council's failure to introduce clearer and unambiguous rules on definition of residence. These rules are defined on page 13 of the Kent Secondary School's prospectus, although this is both a primary and secondary issue. I have put forward an example of such rules in another county which you will find here.  I accept these may well not be appropriate in Kent, but they are at least an attempt to resolve the issue and may serve as a useful starting point for revision of the current definition. 

I do sense a rising awareness of the issue of fraud, and understand that last  year Kent withdrew 12 places, and Medway seven, on these grounds, although my comments on the lack of definition for the place of residence do apply equally to Medway.   

The government's School Admissions Code of Practice identifies its main purpose as: "The purpose of the Code is to ensure that all school places for maintained schools (excluding maintained special schools) and Academies are allocated and offered in an open and fair way. The Code has the force of law.....In drawing up their admission arrangements, admission authorities must ensure that the practices and the criteria used to decide the allocation of school places are fair, clear and objective. Parents should be able to look at a set of arrangements and understand easily how places for that school will be allocated". I do not believe that the current arrangements meet this aim. 

Last modified on Friday, 01 March 2013 17:46

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