Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rule

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Honeybee
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby Honeybee » Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:08 pm

I've been mulling over this and don't like it. This is because I, like Balhamite, am in a bit of a schooling black hole. My eldest has got into a school more than 800m away. Some years we would have had no chance, but this year we were lucky and I found out that we were the last to get in. Why should my kids have it go to different schools just because we were lucky one year? It would only be fair if the catchment for ALL pupils, not only siblings, were 800m, then it would be consistent. But that wouldn't work for the council as the school places have to be filled.

I quite like the concept Gruffalo's Dad is proposing. Something like that would address my concern.

The thing is, also, for people moving into an area and hoping to get their kids into a school with tiny catchments of no more than around 200m, that information is there upfront and they have to work around it. What if you don't have the resources to move to get into the school you like the look of? The proposed policy is unfair to people who stay in their current house/flat for years, for whatever reason. You shouldn't be forced to move because of a school. It is ridiculous.
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Thatsnotmymonkey
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby Thatsnotmymonkey » Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:43 pm

Could the council just spend more resources on officially checking people's place of residence. They are proposing this for 2016- why not start it earlier to prevent people working the system. My son doesn't attend one of the most sort after schools, this is why we got in living 915m away. Yet we love it and want our youngest son to go there!
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gruffalo's dad
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby gruffalo's dad » Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:43 pm

Petal: The qualification that I have suggested would address the problem that you have raised. Assuming that qualification being added - and accepting that there is scope for debate about the appropriate distances in metres to be used, do you still have objections to what is being proposed?
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townieatheart
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby townieatheart » Thu Sep 11, 2014 11:45 pm

What about those families who having sat on the waiting list finally get their eldest child into their preferred school in the later academic years? Some of them live way beyond 800m, some so far they get buses in to school. Should their younger children then not get priority?
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gruffalo's dad
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby gruffalo's dad » Fri Sep 12, 2014 12:37 am

townieatheart: I agree with your point. However, the qualification that I proposed in my earlier post addresses it.

The qualification I proposed refers to "the address from which application was made for the oldest sibling attending the school", i.e. the address that was the basis for the oldest sibling attending gaining a place, irrespective of whether that oldest sibling gained a place as part of Reception entry or from the waiting list.

What are your thoughts on what I proposed?
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townieatheart
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby townieatheart » Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:20 am

Gruffalo's Dad, I think what you're proposing sounds like a very sensible solution.
I actually said what I did more to highlight that those travelling in from a distance haven't necessarily cheated the system to get their place, as too many posts seem to assume.

Presumably if the rules on siblings do change then it will only apply for new pupils and their siblings? The council should have to honour the admissions criteria that existed on entry of the eldest child for those that already attend a Wandsworth primary school? So if you're eldest child is already in school, and siblings currently have priority regardless of where they live, then for you surely that rule shouldn't change?
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jg75
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby jg75 » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:47 am

What this thread ultimately proves is that it is a good thing that Wandsworth council is consulting parents about this. Parents, make your views known! They obviously need help to think through the plans and we all need to voice our ideas and thoughts about this.

I would invite the OP from Wandsworth Council to give us more information about how and when parents are to be consulted, and please keep us updated as it is vital that parents are heard. The plans as currently explained would clearly be unfair.

And Gruffalo's Dad, I hope you will let them know about your idea which sounds like a good one.
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AbbevilleMummy
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby AbbevilleMummy » Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:09 am

Before a change in sibling priority is made I would like to see a breakdown of the 174 siblings by school and then an assessment of the impact the proposed change would have on those schools catchment areas.

i.e. if 10 of those siblings related to BV and so 10 spaces were freed up, how far away from the school does the 10th waiting list person live?

My suspicion is that many of those 174 sibling are not from overly subscribed schools and that for the massively popular schools, only a handful of places would be made available, increasing the catchment by only a few meters.

I think that the issue is more that whilst Wandsworth may have plenty of school places across the borough, in the areas where there are large clusters of families, there are simply not enough primary school places.

Changing the entire sibling system to increase the catchment by 10 or 20 meters will not solve the overall problem but will cost time and money and also have a negative impact on many.
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Flowermummy
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby Flowermummy » Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:22 am

The council needs to insure the fairest possible distribution of a limited resource (so no way for everyone to get what they want). They need to ensure that no group is particularly advantaged/disadvantaged while keeping to the main principle that schools should be as local as possible to the children.

I think the proposal is a good start. I find the 800m arbitrary though, the main factor in school admission is catchment area, so this should be somehow reflected in the siblings policy too.

I would propose:
Priority for siblings provided that either:
(a) they are within a distance of [2] x the previous year's catchment area (in m) of the school; or
(b) the home address from which application is being made is no more than [400]m FURTHER from the school than the address from which application was made for the older sibling attending the school; the older sibling needs to have joined the school in Reception; the new address to be subject to the same temporary address checks as the non-siblings addresses;

I am using part of the proposal made by gruffalodad, which i think is very sensible.
I do think however that people who join from the waiting lists in later years should be subject to further restrictions, as they join the school because of preference not because it is their closest school.

I also think that the checks on temporary addresses should be thorough for those moving in from neighbouring boroughs. This is to weed out cases like someone owning a house in neighbouring Lambeth but renting very close to a Wandsworth school.
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hellokittyerw
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby hellokittyerw » Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:37 am

Abevillemummy - i think you are absolutely right about clusters of areas with many families where school places are not enough whereas other parts of the borough are undersubscribed!!
This is perhaps the issue with Alderbrook - not that it is not a good school, but that when families from BTC are offered a place there, its simply quite far for them.

Flowermummy - i think somehow linking the catchment area into the siblings policy (by applying a multiplier) is a good idea. Most people are affected by the catchment area, so it's only fair that this is somehow included in the siblings policy (albeit favourably to siblings, my doubling it).
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Honeybee
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby Honeybee » Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:40 am

Flowermummy, I don't agree that people joining after reception shouldn't get sibling priority.

People may join after reception because they have moved to that area when their kids are older.

Also, in our case, we are on the waiting list for a school that is much closer to our home than the one our child currently attends. However it is still more than 800m away. We live in an area without many schools in the close vicinity. So I think, in our case, it would not work to disapply the sibling priority rule if our eldest child got a place, say, in year one or two.
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Flowermummy
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby Flowermummy » Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:56 am

Honeybee - you are right, in the case of families who move to Wandsworth after Reception, the council would consider the 1st Year in which the elder child was offered a school place in Wandsworth
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Honeybee
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby Honeybee » Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:07 am

Thanks Flowermummy but what about my case? (On a waiting list for a school closer to me than the current one but still more than 800m?) Do you still think we shouldn't get sibling priority if we eventually get in?
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hellokittyerw
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby hellokittyerw » Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:09 am

How about:
(b) the school is still the closest school to the home address
instead of
b) the home address from which application is being made is no more than [400]m FURTHER from the school than the initial address address

It sounds simpler and it would address honeybee's concern
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Flowermummy
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby Flowermummy » Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:18 am

Sorry, Honeybee - i think i misunderstood your situation (thought you were saying you moved to Wandsworth...)

How about the above suggestion - "(b) the school is still the closest school to the home address"? - would this cover your case?

If the school you want is the closest to you, i think you should get sibling priority.

Quite difficult to consider all cases while keeping it the fairest way possible - I can see how the Council would have had a hard time comimg up with the proposal ..but i think it's commendable that they are doing something about the issue.
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