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Dear Stephen - review of controversial selective admissions procedure

Discussion in 'Governors' started by Rott Weiler, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Interesting qustion Bonzo. I've never seen any guidelines, how you review your Admissions Policy is up to you.
    I assume you are a governor and are chairing a working party of governors which is tasked with making recommendations to the full governing body, yes? Are you being asked to consult with other stakeholders - parents, LA etc - now, or only when the GB has a firm proposal to make?
    Although you say the previous head introduced it I take it you mean the previous head was the person who persuaded the governing body that it was a good idea - the head can't change the admissions policy, it's a decision reserved for the governing body. What were the GB's objectives in introducing the selection by musical aptitude? Can you evaluate whether those objectives have been met? Why was it controversial?
    What type of school are you - Academy? LA-maintained VA?
    It's well worth you signing up to the UK Governors Forum and posting the question there too
  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Subject of course to the School Admissions Code requirements which deal with the timetable for reviewing your admission arrangements and the the statutory consultations that must take place - para 1.42 onwards of the Code.
  3. Thanks Rott,

    yes, I'm a parent governor chairing this committee and will have to make recommendations to the full GB. We're going to run a consultation over 8 weeks, before making our recommendations.

    Yes, the GB was persuaded by the previous head, however it was a pretty bloodthirsty affair by all accounts! One of the compromises was that there would be a full review (which is now).

    We're all very keen to make a good job of the review, but there is this issue that so many of the pros and cons of selective admission are either political or highly subjective. The original criteria for the change in policy refer to improvements in school music etc but are themselves pretty subjective.

    I presume that other schools have run consultations like this and I'd just like to see an exemplar before reinventing the wheel as it were.

    I'll have a look at the forum you mention.

    Thanks for your help!
  4. I think the simple answer is consult widely and offer as many different paths to comment as you are able: face to face, paper and online. If the review is to determine whether the admissions criteria should be changed, then as well as parents of existing pupils you need to try and consult parents of potential pupils - so send requests to your feeder primary schools. You should also probably consult your neighbouring secondary schools as they may well have been affected when your admissions criteria changed previously - with pupils who might otherwise have been expected to attend their schools attending yours instead.
    You will presumably want to assess both the impact on admissions to the school - has your intake materially changed- and on the performance of the school.
    Given that the issue is likely to be contentious I am not sure however, inclusive your consultation that everyone will feel they have been listened to. Inevitably, those who like the outcome of the review are more likely to think they have been listened to than those who don't like the outcome. All you can do is ensure that you have provided the widest opportunities to comment.
    If the outcome of the review is to recommend to the governing body a change in its admission criteria then that will need to be done within the timetable and procedures set out in the Admissions Code.
    Stephen Adamson

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