Author Topic: Owen's Admission Criteria  (Read 9328 times)

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Offline Nonloso

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Owen's Admission Criteria
« on: October 24, 2006, 02:59:54 pm »
The government are proposing to change the admissions criteria for partially selective schools, which will include Owen's. See www.dfes.co.uk/sacode. The relevant sections are 2.10 and 2.13.
The gist is that siblings will not be automatically admitted in the future. So if your eldest child passes the exam, the others will not get in unless they too pass the exam. This is clearly a nightmare for any family with a child at Owen's, in that you could end up with your children at different schools.
This will affect anyone with a child at the school at the moment who has younger brothers or sisters, or anyone who intends sending their children there in the future.
If they do not take siblings, then they will be forced to allocate the places to local children. This will obviously make a big difference to the nature of the school.
There will also be knock-on effects on other local schools  in that if 60 or so Potters Bar children that would otherwise have gone to Mount Grace or Chancellors now go to Owen's, then one of those schools will end up closing.
All in all this is bad news for our community. Owen's is of course fighting this to the bitter end and Mount Grace and Chancellors are supporting them.
If this affects you please look at the Owen's website (damealiceowens.school-portal.co.uk), look at the information there, and lodge a formal objection by writing to the DfES (see the school website for details).
Local MPs are aware of the problem and are also fighting it.
 

Offline Alfred the Great

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Re: Owen's Admission Criteria
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2006, 07:51:46 pm »
Have the government given any reason for doing away with the sibling rule (apart of course from allowing them to close down schools...)?

ATG
Confucius he say "a dog is for life not just for Christmas Dinner"
 

moggins

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Re: Owen's Admission Criteria
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2006, 08:04:38 pm »
While I agree that there should be no more closures of any schools, there are some obvious benefits to these proposals

Those of us living in the locale and paying council tax will see some benefit for those monies demanded under menace

There will be a reduction in pollution due to transport no longer being required to transport out of borough children to the school in question

No longer will we have to put up with the melee of schoolkids hanging around the station forecourt of an evening

I do agree with keeping the entry exam, but I would go one step further and apply the restrictions so that those teaching or working at the school are not automatically be granted a place for their immediate family unless in exceptional circumstances.
(those offspring of teachers and workers at the school should have to sit the self same exam as other prospective pupils)

My views may well be unpopular, but there should be some benefit as i said for those in the locality. †
 

Offline peppermint

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Re: Owen's Admission Criteria
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2006, 09:54:35 pm »
I know that for many years local people have complained that although we have three secondary schools in our area, only two were realistically available to our children.† †This is now going to change.† †I also believe that if a school is going to be selective as Owen's is, it is only fair that all children should sit the entrance exam and not just the firstborn in a family.

I do not have a problem with younger brothers and sisters having to sit the entrance exam.† †All children should be treated individually for their needs and not necessarily sent to the same school as their older siblings purely for convenience, especially in the case of a school like Owen's where, if a child might not be as academically capable as an older sibling, they may struggle.†† †I am sure there will be a slight change in the nature of the school, but lets not forget, all children will have to have passed the entrance exam.† †I know of children in recent years who have passed the exam but not with a high enough grade to get a place.† †In future these children are likely to get places, this does not necessarily mean a dumbing down of the school, as siblings are now being replaced with children who have passed the exam.

I am sure that when the new criteria are introduced there will be an influx of parents applying for Owen's but I do not think we should assume that just because Owen's will be more accessible to us that we will all be sending our children there.

I think that what we must remember in all of this is that when we actually have to make our selection for secondary school we choose the school most suited to our childs needs and the school that they feel they will be happy going to during their teenage years.

My concern in all of this is that as we are being told the birth rate is falling, together with priority being given to local children, can our area sustain three secondary schools if they are not taking children from out of the area.

Presumably, it will be survival of the fittest.


 

Offline Mermaid

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Re: Owen's Admission Criteria
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2006, 09:48:41 am »

The phrase "a school as selective as Owen's is" is rather misleading. 65 places are available by exam out of an intake of 200, that leaves 135 places - the majority - for other children, thus Owen's is classified as a Comprehensive school. The phrase " as selective as" more properly fits QE Boys which is a Grammar school and where every boy has had to sit an exam.

We are fully behind the sibling priority entry as we believe that families should be kept together, if they so choose and if it is appropriate for the children. We know families where one child is at Owen's (not always the first-born either) and the others are elsewhere because it suits them better.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that if the dfes has its way, then suddenly all the Owen's places will become available to Potters Bar children, because paragraph 2.13 stresses that the dfes is concerned that sibling priority results in "children from poorer families and certain social groups being given lower priority compared to others". This could well mean the social engineers bussing children in from other areas.

There will be many different views on this, but Nonloso is right - if you want to make your view heard, write the letter!
 

Offline Nonloso

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Re: Owen's Admission Criteria
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2006, 11:06:33 am »
In answer to Alfred the Great, I think that the reason for the change is because the Government is trying to find a way to undermine selective schools. Schools which were selective the last time this was all changed (can't remember the date but it was several years ago) were allowed to remain so. The Government has never been really happy with this, so tinkering with the other admissions criteria while still allowing them to be selective will cause the nature of the school to be changed by stealth. So I think this is probably political. However, this is just my opinion.
 

Offline speedwell

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Re: Owen's Admission Criteria
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2006, 12:18:04 pm »
Regarding the Owens admission criteria I am not sure if people are aware that all secondary school admissions policy's had to change in Hertfordshire this year, ie for entry in sept 2207,  following a decision from the schools adjudicator.  This was after a complaint from Essex council.  All children in care are now the first priority, children of staff do not qualify and even worse if you have a child in year 11, 12, 13 then you do not qualify for a sibling place.

Take for instance a family with a child about to go into the sixth form ie year 12/13 and they have another child about to start 2ndry school, the 2nd child would end up at a different school.  Then factor in that this family could have a younger sibling and suddenly the mother could be driving to 3 schools to drop 3 different children.  So much for cutting done on travel which is a govt incentive.  So much for the environment.  Say one school changes to the new term proposals - when would you have a family holiday, which child would you pull from school and pay the £100 a day fine!

So how long before a parent with a child that wants to go to Chancellors complains to the DFES that Chancellors entrance criteria is unfair because they do not qualify for a % place at one of the local feeder schools but actually live closer to Chancellors, ie moved to Brookmans Park from Broxbourne whilst their child was in year 6 and didn't want to move the child to another primary school for 3 terms.

Going back to Owens I wonder how many of the 98 sibling places went to children living within the Potters Bar/ Brookmans Park area anyway.  I bet you'd find it would be a high %, which to me means local children.

I am sure that within the governors entrance criteria for Owens they confirm that a percentage of places HAVE to be allocated to Hertfordshire residents.







 

Offline Local Walker

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Re: Owen's Admission Criteria
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2006, 02:30:28 pm »
It is not "purely for convenience" as Peppermint puts it. I am not taking sides. These people may not be able to get in anywhere else or may have to travel far distances to take their child to school. They may not also be able to get the support they need. Otherwise, 2.13 states that the school may select people on their ability, therefore people which perform poorly but pass may not necessarily get in anyway.
 

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Re: Owen's Admission Criteria
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2006, 10:04:10 am »
The gist is that siblings will not be automatically admitted in the future. So if your eldest child passes the exam, the others will not get in unless they too pass the exam.

Try as I might, I cannot see what anyone could possibly object to about this. If we are going to permit the continued existence of anything so anachronistic as a school entrance exam, then I fail to see why any child should be entitled to a place by virtue of his/her (possibly far more intelligent) sibling having passed it on his/her behalf, so to speak.

And if two kids end up going to different schools, what of it? My sister and I went to different schools, and I do not remember either of us or our parents being inconvenienced by this.

 

Offline Bob Horrocks

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Re: Owen's Admission Criteria
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2006, 05:20:19 pm »
Current mantras of this government include 'sustainability' and climate change.  If you apply a bit of joined up thinking (another cliche of this government, which it obviously has forgotten about, or does not know what it means) then it follows that siblings should go to the same school, assuming the older one(s) are still attending.  This cuts down on the time and energy used to get all the kids to school.

Thinking back to my childhood (yes I can remember that far back) I was delighetde to pass the 11+ and attend the same grammar school that my brother had attended, even though he had already left by then.  It was the 'family' school.  I felt proud to attend the same school.  It is little things like that which can get overlooked in this crass world we now live in.

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Re: Owen's Admission Criteria
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2006, 08:49:45 am »
I would initially have been mortified to attend the same school as my sister, it being an all girls affair, although I imagine that by the time I was 16 my opinion might have altered!

 
it follows that siblings should go to the same school, assuming the older one(s) are still attending. This cuts down on the time and energy used to get all the kids to school.

How much time and energy is that in the Brookmans Park area? Don't kids have bikes any more? That (or the bus) was my usual method of getting to Hatfield. Didn't have much choice, as my mother couldn't drive and my father left for work at about 06:30.

Are school buses a thing of the past now? We still get them in Athens.

 

Offline woodman

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Re: Owen's Admission Criteria
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2006, 08:53:36 am »

I totally agree with everything Nonloso has said.
The consultation period is over now, hopefully we should hear in soon what the outcome will be.

I am activly supporting the team at Owens school to get this clause 2.13 removed.
We had  arranged  a meeting with Jim Knight - Minister of state for schools, but he has decided he only wants parents from Watford to attend the meeting, so we are not welcome.

The ethos of Owens school over the last four hundred years , has always been to support family values and traditions.
Owens is a great school and the schools admission criteria should remain.

If anyone wants to help in this fight , please let me know.
 

Offline woodman

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Re: Owen's Admission Criteria
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2006, 10:23:05 pm »
 
I went along to see Grant Shapps this morning MP for Welham Hatfield.
 
 
He is definitely on our side, he has signed the new edm.
 
He is co-ordinating the school admission code with the MP for South West Hertfordshire a David Gauke, who will pass all the information they gather to David Willetts who will correspondent with Alan Johnson's and jim knights offices.
 
 He has requested a meeting with Jim Knight.
 
 
The latest news is that Jim Knight- MP† said that he is likely to exempt siblings of EXSISTING pupils from the code. We have to see this in writting before we can believe it.
 
 
 
 
 

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