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Chancellor’s admissions 'unfair'

The Parochial Church Council has written to Chancellor’s claiming the school's admissions policy is ‘unfair’.

At present pupils from Brookmans Park School are given priority. The PCC wants the other two primary schools within the civil boundary of North Mymms; St Mary’s School, Welham Green and Little Heath, to be given the same status.

In the July Parish Magazine for St Mary’s, North Mymms, the dispute is made public in a lead article entitled ‘PCC questions school’s admissions policy’.

The magazine points out that where applications for Chancellor’s exceed the number of places available, currently 170 each September, a list of criteria is applied to decide which children to admit.

Pupils from Brookmans Park Primary School are given higher priority on the list than pupils from St Mary’s which is included in the same category as 28 other primary schools in the surrounding area. These include Hadley Wood, Goffs Oak, Colney Heath, Cuffley, Essendon, Sunnybank, Wroxham and Little Heath.

In a letter to the Chairman of the Governors of Chancellor’s School, the PCC has expressed its concern.

"Brookmans Park Primary School, St Mary’s School and Little Heath School are the three primary schools within the civil boundary of North Mymms and one would expect that their pupils would move on to the only secondary school within the parish boundary," the letter says.

"Obviously our prime concern is for the pupils of St Mary’s but it would seem logical that all three schools should share equal opportunity status," it continues.

The letter adds that Welham Green residents were active in supporting the campaign for retaining Chancellor’s School some years ago, and that the present policy is causing, "disquiet in the community and a feeling of being let down".

According to the magazine, the headmaster of Chancellor’s, Mr Paul Wormleighton, says he understands why people in Welham Green might feel aggrieved at the admissions policy, but says that the issue has only recently come to prominence.

The Parish magazine quotes Mr Wormleighton as saying that there was little protest during the extensive consultation exercise undertaken prior to Chancellor’s becoming grant maintained in 1994 when the proposed admissions criteria were made known to the local community. Revising the admissions policy would mean further public consultation and could only be achieved with the approval of the Secretary of State for Education in a process that could take a year or more.

The magazine says it has received a formal reply from Mr George Shiells, the chairman of the Governors of Chancellor’s saying that the school’s Governing Body has considered the matter raised by the PCC, but believes it would be unwise to make any changes at the moment.

The Parish magazine says that in his letter, Mr Shiells points out that the School Standards and Framework Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, could have an impact on school policies, including admissions, which would need to be assessed.

Added to that, Hertfordshire Local Education Authority is currently seeking to impose a change of the admission arrangements on grant maintained schools and this too could have implications for Chancellor’s.

The magazine says the letter ends; "If required to review its policy in the wake of any new regulations, the Governing Body will give further consideration to the PCC’s request."

June 27, 1998

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