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Letter from George Shiells, chairman of governors at Chancellor's to parents of children at the school about the planned changes to the admissions criteria for the September 2000 intake

Dear Parents,

You may well have read in the local newspapers that Herts. Education Committee has challenged the Admission Criteria agreed by Chancellors Governing Body in March of this year. A summary of the criteria is as follows:

Siblings
Aptitude in Drama. Music, Sport -10% of intake
Aptitude in Technology - 10% of intake
Named Primary Schools (20 schools within a 3-mile radius plus Cufflev School)
Proximity to School

We came to our decision after a consultation process involving the Education Committee, primary schools within three miles of the school and the Local Admissions Forum. The comments and concerns emerging from this process were carefully noted, as were the regulations set out in the Government’s ‘Code of Practice - School Admissions’.

At the same time, however, we were determined, as far as we were able, to maintain the criteria necessary to support the character and the future development of the School, for it is these that have helped build the reputation of the School.

We believe that the amendments we have made to the previous criteria both comply with the Code of Practice and recognise some of the concerns expressed to us.

Unfortunately, the newspaper reports appear to present as facts, the voiced opinions of the Chairman of Education; opinions, which we believe, will not be upheld in due course. Nevertheless, readers have been encouraged to support these opinions by writing to the Schools Adjudicator.

If, like us, you believe Chancellors should be allowed to maintain its present popular character, as a platform to its future enhancement and development, then we invite you to give us your support by writing to:

The Office of the Schools, Adjudicator,
Vincent House,
2, Woodland Road,
Darlington. DL3 7PT

quoting the reference ADAI00027 

Should you decide to support us in this way, we set out below a number of points, any of which you may choose to use in your letter.

It is important you compose your own letter stressing the points that are most important to you and your child. Such letters will add weight to the formal submission to the Adjudicator by your Governing Body. 

1)       Chancellor’s School is extremely popular and successful because of its distinctive nature. The current admission arrangements support and maintain this special character. The amendments that have been made after due consultation are such as to meet valid concerns yet continue to support both the special character and the long-term development plan. 

2)       The School is over subscribed precisely because its character and standard of achievement are what parents want. The remedy for the disappointment felt by unsuccessful applicants cannot be to remove the very qualities that led them to apply in the first place. 

3)       The Government has declared itself more concerned with success than with organisation and structures. A change in the structure of admissions could affect the School’s success and its contribution to the success of schools in Mid-Herts. 

4)       Most local schools have developed or maintained a distinctive ethos and character, allowing most parents effective choice. Parents do not wish to see this diversity reduced or their rights to choose restricted. 

5)       There has always been an abundance of talented pupils in Drama, Music and Sport. Pupils with ability in these areas are attracted to Chancellor’s because these specialisms are well catered for. Using its own resources, the School has just completed building a Performing Arts block and a second gymnasium. Pupils should be allowed to continue to apply under a special category. 

6)       In 1996, a brand new Technology block was built which allowed the School’s strength in Technology, Design and Information Technology to flourish. Pupils with ability and aptitude in these areas should be allowed to continue to apply under a specialist category. 

7)       Chancellor’s has never used any kind of written test for entry to any of its specialist categories. The current methods used for assessing aptitude and ability in Drama. Music, Sport and Technology are effective and need not be replaced by requiring prospective pupils to take tests. 

I know you will give this matter your consideration and hope you will give us your support. 

Please head your letter ‘Chancellor’s Admissions Criteria for September 2000’ and send it off before 12th July, 1999. 

HELP US TO HELP FUTURE PARENTS

Yours sincerely,

G.  Shiells
Chairman of Governors

Related Stories
Chancellor's new admission criteria - June 16, 1999
Earlier Note from Chairman of Governors - June 17, 1999

Do you think Chancellor's new admission criteria is fair?  Should Chancellor's be challenged or do you think the new system is better?  Have Your Say


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