OBJECTIONS made against the admissions policy by rival schools and the county council have been thrown out by an independent adjudicator.
The Office of the Schools Adjudicator rejected claims the system was not fair, would disadvantage local children and that the school had inadequately consulted other schools in the area and the public.
Dr Bryan Slater also refused to uphold objections over the academy’s removal of its catchment area and those that allege ‘new selection contrary to The Schools Admissions Code was being introduced’.
In his determination, Dr Slater said the above objections were "unfounded".
He said banding is legal and allowed under the code, and he had "seen no evidence" that the new policy was unfair on either pupils applying for a place or to other schools.
And after studying an impact analysis from the school using county council data, Dr Slater felt it was a "reasonable assessment" that more children who live closer to Highcrest would actually gain a place in the new system – contrary to objections from other parties.
He also backed the use of the NVR, calling it "nationally recognised" test which would give a "reflection of ability which is accurate".
But Dr Slater did, however, asked Highcrest to reword the new arrangements in a clearer manner to ensure they fall in line with The School’s Admissions Code.
Delighted Highcrest principal Shena Moynihan, who had been braced for objections said: "We’re delighted as not only does it mean that all the hard work has been worthwhile, but actually what we wanted to do, to make Highcrest a family school, is now a reality.
"Every single aspect of the decision - it’s fair, it’s not selection, it’s legal, the banding is fine, the test is the best test available - everything we’ve said, the adjudicator has agreed with.
"And it wasn’t just Dr Slater, the notetaker was Dr Elizabeth Passmore, the country’s chief adjudicator - I guess they knew it was groundbreaking.
"But the main thing for us is it’s fair and lawful, and for people to still say otherwise on various websites is just ludicrous."
The determination from the Schools Adjudicator listed the following as objectors against Highcrest’s admissions policy:
• Mr D Berry
• 11 Secondary Schools: (Cressex Community School, Great Marlow School, Holmer Green Secondary School, Princes Risborough School, Sir William Ramsay School, St Augustine and St Bernard’s Catholic School, The Amersham School, The Beaconsfield School, The Chiltern Hills Academy, The Misbourne School, The Wye Valley School)
• Buckinghamshire County Council
• Dr K Simmons
• Mr J Bajina
• Three primary schools: (King’s Wood School, Beechview School, The Marsh School)
• Ms R Hickman