In October 2015, a grammar school in Kent received approval from Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, to open a new satellite site 10 miles away that will operate as an extension to the existing school. The government’s decision to approve the first selective school in 50 years will inevitably encourage similar applications for ‘annexes’ to more schools.
Selective state schools are free but only offer places to pupils who pass their entry test. It is worth remembering that the test checks whether the school is right for the child, as well as the school testing for a specific level or type of intelligence that fits in with their way of teaching.
In some areas there are many children chasing each place, so competition can be fierce. It is important to choose a non-selective school as well just in case your child doesn’t gain entry.
Schools Admissions Code
All school admissions in England are regulated by the Schools Admissions Code. Schools must ensure their admissions policy is transparent and fair. Therefore, not manipulating waiting lists, enticing the parents of bright children or gazumping other schools to attract the best pupils.
Parents also have a responsibility to abide by the code and not employ underhand tactics, such as starting to get involved in religious activities to assist their entry, or use a relative’s address or rent a second home in order to have an address in the catchment area.
There are just 163 state-funded selective schools in England (there are 68 in Northern Ireland, but none in Wales or Scotland), and most are based in Kent, Buckinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Trafford and Gloucestershire. But the number of students attending these schools has risen slightly over recent years.
Applications have flooded in for grammar schools, faith schools and flagship academies in recent years, and there are no signs of a decline in this trend. Many of these schools receive more applications than they have places, so tens of thousands of parents are left disappointed when trying to enrol their child. There can be as many as 15-20 pupils competing for each place at top state schools.
High demand for places
This high demand has been created by an increase in parents seeking a top-quality free education as an alternative to private schools during the recent economic crisis.
As selective schools are oversubscribed, there could be an improvement if more were created in the future, albeit in a small way – as of 2013 there were more than 3000 secondary schools in England educating over 2.5 million students, as issued by the Department for Education.
This, in turn, could help alleviate some of the pressure on parents who want to ensure their child is enrolled into the best possible school, and for pupils who find the stress of the 11-plus exam distressing. The impact of failure on those not selected can cause disappointment and even damage their confidence.
How Match Solicitors can help you
If you believe you have a case for an Admissions Appeal, it is important you receive advice as early as possible. We have assisted hundreds of parents through the appeals process, so we have the expertise and understanding to support you when preparing your case to submit an appeal, or we can provide advice whilst going through the process. Please contact us for more information.