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Council sustains admissions objection

Hertfordshire County Council has voted to continue with its objection to the proposed changes to Chancellor’s admissions criteria.   The issue now rests with the Schools Adjudicator who will rule on the matter in September.

The decision is being seen as an important milestone for parents at Brookmans Park School who are campaigning against the plans.   They turned out in force on Tuesday to deliver a 420-name petition calling on the authority not to withdraw its objection to the changes which, the parents claim, would make it more difficult for local children to move from the village primary school to the village comprehensive.

The local authority had been opposed to the proposed changes to the admissions criteria, but a shift in the political make-up at Hertfordshire County Hall in May meant that objection could have been dropped

Close vote

Before the full council met, the Education Committee considered the issue and voted 9 - 7 in favour withdrawing their objection to the proposals.   An hour later the chair of governors at Brookmans Park School, Jeremy Silverstone, had three minutes in which to present the case for the criteria not to be changed. 

After his presentation, which was applauded from the public gallery and by some councillors, the authority voted 37 - 37 with the chairman's casting vote going in favour of the Brookmans Park campaign.

Another petition containing more than 100 names has been sent to the Schools Adjudicator along with a letter, written on behalf of the governors at Brookmans Park,  who say they ‘strongly object’, to the proposed changes.

Not enough time to object

The governors said they hadn't been given adequate time to oppose the plan and claimed that letters, which should have been sent out in May inviting the school to comment, never arrived.   ‘Clearly, had we been aware of the proposals, we would have ensured that full representations would have been made at the time’, the letter author Jeremy Silverstone wrote.

The letter also questioned the claim that all schools in the area have been part of the consultation process and expressed surprise and disappointment at the lack of direct contact with Brookmans Park School over the issue. 

Brookmans Park has, up to now, enjoyed a special relationship with Chancellor’s as the preferred feeder school.  Now that criterion is about to be removed and Brookmans Park will become just one of 21 Hertfordshire Schools entitled to compete for places.  Proposed admission changes

Possible solutions

Brookmans Park governors have suggested two possible solutions to the Chancellor's admissions issue;  to retain the school as one of a select list of perhaps six local ‘feeder’ schools or qualify applicants by proximity. Brookmans Park Letter in full

Chair of governors Jeremy Silverstone says this would continue to give local families priority access to their local school – the alternative he says will change the complexion of the village itself, adversely affecting the community forever. 

The Brookmans Park governor’s have called on the Schools Adjudicator to press for, ‘the reversal of these unnecessary and inappropriate changes with immediate effect'.  

Parents write to Schools Adjudicator

Many parents have also written independently to the Adjudicator's office and replies are beginning to arrive inviting those parents to fill out forms making their opposition official.   If anyone who has written doesn't receive a form they should contact the Schools Adjudicator's office (01325-391318 or 01325-391304) and ask for one to be sent.  

Have your say

Do you think Chancellor’s new admission criteria is fair?  Should the Schools Adjudicator rule against Chancellor’s or do you think the proposed changes are better?  Have Your Say

Recent news:
Chancellor's new admission criteria - June 16

Chancellor's chairman of governors defends position - July 6

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