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 » Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:29 am

Thanks both - it still wouldn't address my concern though because our first choice school isn't the closest to us. This is my situation:

Current school - approximately 1400m
First choice school - approximately 900m
Closest school (and only school within 800m) - approximately 600m but the catchment is around 400m at the moment and shrinking.

Therefore we wouldn't get a place at either of these schools for younger siblings if the proposals are passed and could potentially end up with a school that is further away in the opposite direction.

As you say there are loads of different scenarios which is why the council has to be careful they are not making life even more difficult and complicated.

The more complicated the rules the more confusing and uncertain it is.

I still like Gruffalo's Dad's suggestion.
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nuttymummy
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby nuttymummy » Fri Sep 12, 2014 1:44 pm

Of all the many, many suggestions that have been made on this site on this heated subject in the last few years I think Gruffalo's Dad may have just proposed the first potentially workable solution to the issue!! However, it may also be worth pointing out that some schools in the borough, for example Belleville & Honeywell, are Academies/Foundation Schools and therefore the council will have no power to enforce any changes to their admissions policies....which in respects of these schools would render the above debate moot.
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papinian
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby papinian » Fri Sep 12, 2014 2:27 pm

petal wrote:My issue with Gruffalo Dad's suggestion is that it does not take into account families who genuinely need to move in order to accommodate a growing family.
I think there is a difference between moving in the same locality and moving way outside the locality. I know of one case of a family living in Streatham Common with their children in Belleville. Children already at the school keep their place. However, I don't think it's reasonable that in such circumstances for younger siblings to keep sibling preference. In such case, if the family doesn't want two drop-offs they can move the older child(ren) to a school local to their new address. As regards the point that there may not be sufficient places in the relevant classes available at any school local to their new address to move older children:

- That's ultimately the family's fault for not checking availability before they moved - at least as much as it is the fault of someone who moves to a "school black hole" for not checking that they will be near enough to a school to get a reception place for their child. Right now movers are advantaged relative to those who stay put.

- In general, because of "state til eight" (parents not paying for pre-prep but moving children into the independent sector at eight) and because of a fairly mobile demographic, in Wandsworth it isn't particularly difficult to get places in the older years of primary school, at least compared with reception places.
petal wrote:Perhaps the new rule would only have to apply to schools which already have small catchments.
It does not make sense to apply 800 m to all schools when Alderbrook for example accept children from further than this. Why should these parents suffer with two schools?
I don't understand the point that you are making re Alderbrook. If a school isn't oversubscribed in the first place, then the proposed rule would not matter at all. If the qualification that I suggested is added to the rule then someone whose first child was admitted to Alderbrook from beyond 800m would still have his/her second child admitted provided they hadn't moved more than 400m further away between the application for the first child and the application for the second child.
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simonh
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby simonh » Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:31 pm

petal wrote:the sibling rule is there because you simply can't have children in separate schools, it's stupid
Completely agree that you have to have siblings in the same primary school. Otherwise you have parents making 2 or more journeys around the area, adding to traffic on the roads (presumably), and meaning kids arrive at school at random times.

Re. the renters, many people rent because they can't afford to buy in an area. Or they may rent a flat and then move to buy a house. Or they buy a flat, rent the flat out, and move to buy a house. By setting this arbitrary 800m limit, you run the risk of distorting house prices in school catchment areas even more than they are now.

The only answer is for Wandsworth to add more schools in the underprovided parts of the borough, encourage free schools (if that is your political view), and to add extra classrooms where possible to existing schools (which is something which they're doing pretty well I think, although demand > supply).
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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 7:51 pm

Papinian, out of interest what was your suggestion? It may have got lost in the thread. Was it something different to Gruffalo's Dad?
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papinian
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby papinian » Fri Sep 12, 2014 8:06 pm

Not very different.

I think the original suggestion was a distance of 400m further away than the original address. The comment from petal was that this was rather arbitrary and too little.

The issue I see with the original suggestion is that a person who gets first child in at say 900m from the school can move to somewhere 1275m from the school and still get a sibling in whereas someone who gets in say 600m from the school and moves to somewhere 1275m from the school won't get a sibling in.

I'd prefer to define an area as the locality/catchment area of the school - and I'm thinking of a big catchment area here (much bigger than the usual distance for non-sibling admission) and say that if someone's address is in that locality/catchment area then they benefit from sibling preference as does anyone who is outside that area and already has got a sibling into the school who is still at the same address. This allows the "sibling" catchment area to be tailored to the school rather than being an arbitrary distance.
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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 8:41 pm

That would also work I think - maybe a map of the 'locality' for sibling priority - like Beatrix Potter but not as tight?
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TLS
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby TLS » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:22 pm

Would Wandsworth Council clarify to which exact schools this consultation will apply? As several other people have said, Belleville and Honeywell (and increasing numbers of others) will not be in any way bound by what the council suggest as - being academies - they set their own admissions criteria.

The council can't set up any new schools now, thanks to current government policy. New schools must be 'free' from local authority control - i.e. set up as academy groups. So their only other option is to put more children into schools that are already creaking at the seams.

If WW Council spent half as much energy highlighting the successes that are being achieved at other local schools, as is given towards discussing this issue of admissions in a tiny handful of schools, we might find that there were fewer oversubscribed and fewer undersubscribed schools across the borough.
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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 11:49 pm

Several posts says the renters problem needs to be sorted ... But how???
The council's announcement does say that address checks will be tightened and temporary addresses not taken into account. What more can the council do?
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supergirl
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby supergirl » Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:36 am

I m sorry if i m thick but why 2 priority areas work at Beatrix Potter (and j ve never heard about parents complaining about moving houses, etc and it s tge zones are pretty small) but couldnt work anywhere else?

In my view:
1. Admissions needs to be sorted especially for Reception stage
2. People "cheating" the system should not be possible but i would like to get statistics as to know how many school places we re talking. Really.
3. Oversuscribtion vs. undersuscription of some schools. Like someone said the council should spend energy into advertising the schools that are on the up.

Also since it wont change a thing for HW and BV i think the debate is biaised.

Can the original OP WW Council comment on the suggestions thar have been made? Some are really interesting.
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Honeybee
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby Honeybee » Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:16 am

BP's priority zones are very small. If every school had similar priority zones we would be looking at many areas where siblings would not get priority at any primary as they would fall outside the priority zone. You might not hear too many people complaining because in my (limited) experience people just accept that BP is not an option even if they live really close.

However, supergirl, I agree with your other conclusions and that of other posters. It is shortsighted to think that changing the sibling priority rule is going to solve the problem.

Also, I'm aware of four local schools that are heavily oversubscribed to whom this rule wouldn't immediately apply: BV, HW, Holy Ghost and St Anselms. So I am not convinced we are going to achieve anything here.
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MrsAmanda
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby MrsAmanda » Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:28 am

I now live in Kent and KCC have recently introduced a new sibling policy.

If you move house after your first child has been accepted into a school, the sibling policy shoo-in for your younger children only applies if the new house is within 2 miles of the school. If you move further away, sibling policy is discounted and your application is considered on distance only.

Perhaps something similar in Wandsworth would work - although I would imagine they'd consider a 2mile leverage to be quite generous.
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isababy
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby isababy » Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:24 am

We have been desperate to move over the last 2 years, having lived in our flat for almost 5 years, but have been stuck in a very long process to buy the freehold & therefore extend the lease of our flat in order to be able to sell it. We finally managed this in July. We have just got through the ordeal of getting a reception place for our 1st child in the school round the corner and she loves it. Now, of course we can't AFFORD anything in the 800m around the school as the prices are ridiculous & have had to put an offer on something 1 mile away. I would have loved to have stayed in the proximity of the school, but as I would like a slightly bigger property for a growing family & dare I say a garden, I can't live within 800m of the school. I realise this is a very personal problem, but I would hope the council consider the families who are already in the school & perhaps apply this to future applicants only?
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Ballymanu
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby Ballymanu » Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:40 am

Essentially the current sibling policy is prioritising an individual's personal choice to move to a more affordable, more comfortable home miles away from the school their child currently attends, over local residents ability to send their children to their nearest school.

It's inconvenient to manage siblings attending different schools. It's also inconvenient to choose to move to a home a couple of miles away from your child's school but that's an individual choice. As a working parent I'd expect to manage either inconvenience myself. I wouldn't expect priority over parents who choose to live locally.

There are many flaws with the school admissions system and the siblings policy is just one of them. It's good to see Wandsworth beginning to recognise that.
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Honeybee
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Re: Parents to be consulted over plans to change sibling rul

Postby Honeybee » Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:11 pm

Ballymanu - one of the issues that I and others have been raising is the fact that as proposed the restriction of the sibling rule to 800m penalises families who haven't moved away from the home from which they applied.

Also, thinking about it - let's say for the sake of argument that most people have two children (massive generalisation, but bear with me). And, again, big generalisation, many people have two or three years between siblings.

What might just end up happening is instead of moving after baby number 1 gets into school, they hold off and move away after baby number 2 gets into school.

And there you have the same sort of problem, albeit delayed.

What needs to be done is improve the schools and make more school places available. Changing the sibling rule may seem like a fix but I am less and less convinced it will achieve anything.

The priority zone idea is a good one, MrsAmanda, maybe not 2 miles but one mile would work? After all most families will just move a few roads down?
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