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Dear Stephen et al - admissions fraud

Discussion in 'Governors' started by ulutoo, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. ulutoo

    ulutoo New commenter

    What are my obligations: I am a parent governor at a village combined school. It has come to my attention that the parents of one of my child's pre-school classmates has very probably committed a fraud to gain entry to to the Reception class starting this year.

    The school was heavily oversubscribed and I know for a fact that admissions only went to catchment and a few non-catchment siblings. This child is well out of catchment, has no older siblings BUT has a grandmother living in the village.

    What are my obligations. At least one other parent suspects this (and knows that I know), and the mother herself was extremely defensive and must also realise that I must know it wasn't possible for her child to gain legitimate entry.

    The mother herself is a very popular person, with lots of friends and contacts in the village having grown up there herself which I only mention because it makes it socially awkward for me :(
     
  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    You don't have any obligations, not if you mean legal obligations. If you have <u>evidence</u> the formal answer is that you should give it to the admissions authority, either the local authority or the governing body depending what type of school you are (Community or VA etc) if you feel you have a moral duty to report the circumstances. But you don't have any actual evidence that the place was fraudulently obtained; you don't know on what grounds it was offered or what addess the parents put on their application form. It's nothing more than supposition on your part. Maybe the place was offered for social or medical need? Or the parent took the case to appeal?
     
  3. ulutoo

    ulutoo New commenter

    No appeals have been heard yet. The can only have been offered on address. There are no social/medical needs other that the parents' connection with the village (which would have been considered at appeal).
    I have no evidence as I can't know what they have put on their form. The mother told me she lived in another village when we spoke about which schools to apply for and what I do know is that there is no way they could have got a place had they put that address on the CAF. She may have temporarily moved in with her mother but that would still be fraud as Admissions would not accept that to be the primary address.
     
  4. Really? That sounds strange. How can social and medical needs be part of an appeal but not part of the admissions critieria?
    If social medical needs are part of admissions, then you will not know the individual case of the pupil.
    I thought that social medical needs usually came first for non-selective schools? Is your village school so different?
     
  5. ulutoo

    ulutoo New commenter

    Looked after children come first and I image that if an extreme case were put to county it might be prioritised, however, usually, children who have exceptional medical or social needs are considered at Rule 5 in our admissions criteria. This year, even some siblings (Rule 3) did not get a place. In an appeal the social/medical needs would have been considered (the family does have very strong social connections with the village).
     
  6. The direct responsibility for admissions to the school depends on the type of school. In voluntary aided, foundation, academies or free schools the governing body is the admission authority and is responsible for both setting the over-subscription criteria and determining which children are admitted. In that case it could be argued that the governing body has a collective responsibility for ensuring its functions are carried out effectively and so there is potentially more onus on you as a governor to report any suspected fraud. The issue does to some extent come down to evidence - you don't think that the child would automatically have qualified for a place, but you don't actually know. If you genuinely think that this family has claimed a place they were not entitled to then if the governing body is the Admission Authority you could have quiet word with the chair of governors. Alternatively, if the school is a voluntary controlled or community school where the local authority is responsible for admissions you could raise the issue with it. In 2009, the Schools Adjudicator recommended that there be a confidential whistle-blowing arrangement, so that any concerns of fraudulent admissions could be reported and investigated. Although I do not think this was taken forward as a formal recommendation, a number of local authorities do have confidential admission whistle-blowing arrangements. You may want to look at your local authority's website to see whether it offers such an arrangement.
    Stephen Adamson
     

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